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VW Nightmare

Is it worth the credit score sacrifice to voluntarily surrender my VW Jetta? It has cost me THOUSANDS of dollars in repairs with no end in sight and I still owe $15,000 on the loan. It’s a dangerous car. I am willing to pay the loan off with renegotiated terms I just don’t want to keep housing, insuring and repairing it. Enough is enough. Any thoughts out there? What would you do?

trade it in and deal with the higher payments on the next car if you hate it that much.
VWs are notorious for nagging problems

Being curious of course, I will ask what kind of problems the car has suffered. More than one poster has complained about a problem child car and when pressed as to why they state that it’s because of maintenance, tires, brakes, and whatnot.

You can surrender the car to the bank (assuming it’s something along this line) but that does not get you off the hook. Other than dinging your credit report the bank can sell the car and get what they can out of it. The bank can then turn around and go after you for a deficiency judgment.
A deficiency means the bank may take you to court and get a judgement for the difference between what’s owed and what they sold the car for. Once they obtain a deficiency they can legally go after any assets, meaning bank account funds, home equity, etc, etc.
This puts you into the situation of possibly filing bankruptcy to clean the slate.

We need more details to provide any real advice. What is wrong with the car currently? Year, mileage, warranty, etc.? Why do you say it is dangerous? What car (if any) will you replace it with?

Regarding trading the Jetta in, I tried that with Toyota last week. Due to it’s severe negative equity, they wouldn’t take it. I had to open a second car loan and purchase my Scion that way.

Regarding details on the repairs, how much time do you have? Here are a few of them:

Replaced the radiator then later had to replace radiator hoses
Replaced the transmission
Broken motor mount resulted in a cracked engine block…unbelievable.
Replaced fuel pump (exploded while driving on the fwy…lost power)
Replaced numerous brake and tail lights…problem is still repeating itself
Replaced both relay switches (in hopes of solving electrical problems…fail)
Replaced NUMEROUS coolant leaks on a number of different occasions
Replaced coils
Replaced wheel bearing, wheel hub and damaged tire resulting from this problem
Currently, strong gas fumes are entering inside of the car from the heater vents. This is dangerous and I have had enough with the endless, expensive repairs. I had to jump ship and become part of the Toyota family.

Does this give you enough of a picture? Would you continue to keep a car like this?

Thank you for the feedback!

Yes…good questions! The car had 54,690 when I drove it off the lot. Thankfully, I purchased a premium extended warranty which covered the radiator and the transmission costs. I have since put another 81,000 miles on the car. The warranty has long since expired without the ability to renew it. It cost them far too much with the first warranty to offer a renewal to me. This car has ravaged my savings account, it took a huge chunk of our wedding fund and now it is taking groceries from us. Enough is enough. If they were to take the car back, I would be happy to pay off the remainder of the balance without the need to be sued for it. I just need a break somehow.

Thank you!

Sorry this happened to you. It sounds like you need legal or credit counseling advice more than mechanical or car shopping advice.

Does anyone else know of a source of information?

I don’t think you’re looking at this correctly. You bought a used vehicle which may have been driven into the ground by someone who was leasing it and could care less whether they took care of it or not.

It’s entirely possible that overheating due to the previous owner could be behind many of these problems you mention. (cooling system leaks, radiator, transmission, and even the motor mount)
In a nutshell, the car is not bad because it’s a VW but more of a matter of you bought someone else’e thrashed headache.

Coils failed? This could lead to the question of have you ever replaced the spark plugs?
Not doing so can kill coils.

Fuel pump exploded? Bad choice of word IMO but this leads to another question of how often have you changed the fuel filter? Not doing so can kill a fuel pump.

You can take the finest car ever built and turn it into utter junk within 3 months, and sometimes less as I can attest to.

Don’t get upset over this but you’re way upside down on this car and you take out a loan to buy another car? This just makes you even more upside down financially.
You should also keep in mind that a Toyota nameplate on the rear does not assure you of a quarter million miles of trouble free, and neglected, driving.
What’s going to happen when the Toyota suffers a major problem and you’re 2 loans deep on this thing?

Yes, you are right, this really is a financial problem. My husband and I consulted with a lemon law firm who didn’t do much for us. The fact that I bought the car as is without a certification really hurt me. The car doesn’t actually fall under the definition of “lemon” under the current California Lemon Law. Isn’t that crazy? My next step is to contact the BBB to see if they can help me with a mediation service of some kind. I’m not asking to soak them on the loan. I just want them to take their wretched car back and leave me to clean up the loan at an easier pace. I take my credit responsibilities very seriously so defaulting on the loan doesn’t at all sit well with me.

If anyone has any other advice, please feel free to post it. I am at a true loss and appreciate everyone’s feedback.

Thank you!

OK4450, I have properly maintained this Jetta from the start. I took it to the dealer for regular service every 3000 miles for oil change and checkups (spark plugs, etc.) and every 10,000 for scheduled service involving the larger maintenance issues. I have quite a file on this.

What prompted me to finally jump into another loan is the fact that this Jetta is no longer reliable. Without a reliable car, I cannot be a reliable personal trainer to my clients. It has caused me to cancel on clients due to sudden breakdowns. I have continued to repair the car and pay for it on time with the assumption that things “would get better”. I ran a carfax report on it and it came out clean. That does not mean that the previous owner didn’t trashed it. You are likely right on the money (no pun intended) with that. The reason it wasn’t certified by the dealer for resale is likely because it was not a certifiable car. Yes. I screwed up big time with this deal. I own the mistakes 100% and learned quite a lot.

My Scion WAS certified, has a 7 year/100,000 mile wrap around warranty and I purchased gap insurance in case something untimely happens to this one such as theft or it being totaled with negative equity on the loan. I did much better in covering the bases. I can afford the payments on both cars, I just hate that I have to continue insuring the piece of junk that I no longer feel safe driving. Raw, combustible gas fumes in the car? Really? Would you continue to drive a car like this?

The fuel filter exploding…OK, there were not flames involved. It made a loud POP followed by all the gas left in the pump spilling out under my hood as I lost power. That left me disabled on a freeway full of nasty drivers who didn’t want to let me get over to the emergency lane. Not good. I care not to experience that one again.

Thank you for your honesty. :wink:

Good evening. Here is what I would suggest. If you have a good credit score, get yourself an unsecured installment loan. One place you could go to get one is They have good rates for people with good credit. You can get one for up to $25,000. Since you need $15,000 to pay off the loan, you can get a loan for that amount, pay off the Jetta and then sell/trade it for whatever you can get for it. You’ll still be responsible for paying off the $15,000 but at least you don’t have an unreliable car hanging over your head. Good luck!

That sounds like advice worth checking into. Thank you! My credit score is fantastic and I’d like to keep it that way. Carrying all this debt will likely lower it but nothing like a repo would! This sounds like a great possibility.

Thank you, flynfl01!!

Sorry to hear you’ve had so many problems but I’ve got a feeling that most of them were likely started by the original owner and you wound up the beneficiary of that.

A comment about the use of the word “Certified” when it comes to used cars. I’ve worked for 5 dealers over the years (only one still around and not a Subaru dealer anymore) and speaking for those 5 and some others that I’m personally aware of I would ask the question: Exactly WHO is doing the certifying?

Only 1 dealer out of the ones I mentioned above actually brought every used car into the shop and had it thoroughly gone over. If it was good they kept it; any half major hiccups at all and it was wholesaled.

Point here being what are the odds of the Toyota dealer sending their cars back to their shop for an inspection?
“Certifying” could mean like one dealer I worked for who sent the used cars back to the detail guys who had little to no mechanical abilities. They would check the fluids under the hood, detail it out both in and out, and off to the front line it would go.
It’s something to keep in mind anyway.

[i] The car had 54,690 when I drove it off the lot.[/i]  

 I would guess those were 54,690 hard miles with little or no maintenance.

You bought another car and still have this Jetta from hell? I don’t get that. You should have traded it in on the Scion. At this point you have to sell it.

You can sell it directly to a used car dealer, some offer cash for cars. You can see if you can find a car auction company in your vicinity and sell the car via auction. Lastly, you can donate the car and use the tax write off to help your finances when you do your 2011 taxes.

Just because you bought a lousy car doesn’t mean you are stuck with it for life. Sell it. If you sell it privately you can be honest with the buyer if that will help you sleep better at night.

You seem to have done every single possible thing wrong with your dealing with this Jetta.

First off, you bought a used Jetta, with ~55k miles on it.
Second, you paid well over $15k for it.

Since you didn’t indicate which model it is, or which engine it has, or what year it is, I have to guess that its either a 1.8L Turbo, or a 2.0 Turbo engine, which would explain the fuel pump in the engine compartment blowing up.

If its a 2.0 Turbo, then it has to be a pre-2009 car, since they redesigned the High Pressure Fuel Pump (HPFP) so that it no longer had a very weak cam follower bucket that would wear out, and then damage the pump and camshaft.

You managed to put an additional 81k miles on the VW, so that brings the total miles on it to 136k miles. I have no idea what the time frame on this mileage was, but I’m going to guess you didn’t do that all in 1 year. Probably 3 or 4 years.

How much did you pay for a used Jetta with 55k miles on it?
I’m going to guess it was probably 3 years old with that many miles on it when you bought it, which probably makes your car a 2005. Chances are you probably got duped for about $22k for it at that time. You could have bought so many different brand new cars at that time for that same money.

The fact that you still owe $15k at this point probably means that you got charged a high interest rate, too. Probably around 9%.

Your honest best bet, since you have already bought a replacement car, is to simply fix up any current issues with the Jetta, make sure its clean, and let your husband do all the talking after he puts it up for sale on as many websites as he possibly can. All he has to do is say it was your car, but you needed a car with better fuel economy, and winter traction (if you live in Southern California or Florida, that won’t work).

Sell it for as much as you can get for it, and be done with it.
And do a bit of research on a vehicle next time before you plunk down money on it.


God, this is why I would never buy another VW! Your story could be repeated many times over… my son owned a Jetta and it had numerous electrical problems. My younger brother owned a Vanagon, bought new, and it literally fell apart (yes, it was maintained by the book-- a common accusation made by VW and the critics on this site). Several years ago, the European Director of Volkswagen admitted that the quality of their products, especially those built in Mexico and Spain, were “not up to Volkswagen’s high standards”. Of course, nothing changed. But at least, now you know what many others have discovered: VW makes stylish, but unreliable, vehicles.

Do not under any circumstances sacrifiice a good credit rating for a temporary problem.

The unsecured loan was a good suggestion, but your current loan will be considered a liability and may throw your debt/income ratios off.

Bladecutter’s idea was probably the best, but when you sell it you need to be prepared to fork over the difference between what you sell it for and what you currently owe. Remember that the bank is a leinholder, and you’ll need to satisfy your obligation to them in order for them to release the lein. Without that release you cannot sell the vehicle.

And don’t be too hard on yourself. We all make mistakes. And we usually live through them.

VW has had several recalls for ignition coils on many models. If you paid for yours to be replaced, you might want to contact VW and see about reimbursement.

Just curious, but did your son and your brother buy their VWs brand new?

The OP says they maintained this one and I believe them, The part that no one knows is how is was driven and maintained in those first 50k miles which is very critical to longevity.

Did the original owner change the oil regularly, overheat it and never stop, drive it pedal on the floor all of the time, or what?