My Lemon Car

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ilmartello
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My Lemon Car

Post by ilmartello » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:23 pm

I purchased a new 2006 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T NEW in October 2005. In the roughly 6 years that I have owned this car using proper maintenance, I have had countless troubles with engine lights turning on and stuff. Fortunately, it all occurred during the first five years when I had warranty coverage on the engine and powertrain. During this period, I also received countless notices ranging from warnings about the about steering locks , hydraulic brakes, to the transmission, and parts of the engine. These last 4 were notices of warranty extensions beyond the first five years to ten years in case they malfunction. I am sure the total scope of recall or warranty extension notices for this car are somewhere under the web.

Coincidence or not within days of the last notice in November, I received an unsolicited letter from a law firm known as ROMANO,STANCROFF, AND MIKHOV PC, a firm that is also in my state of California. They are offering a free review to see if I am entitled to having my car bought back of lemon laws based on the problems that my car has had. Although I have not received a recall notice, I recently had a problem with my car trunk not closing and I noticed the latch on my trunk was defective. Labor and parts on opening up and replacing that part came out to about $100.00. The mechanic commented that this doesn't usually happen on cars and that he wouldn't be surprised if I also receive a recall notice on this also.

Should I purse this claim with the firm or should I wait for something really bad to happen to the car and hope maybe Volkswagen covers the repair and then speak to these attorneys or other reputable ones.

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prudent
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by prudent » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:31 pm

First thing I would consider is whether all the problems were fixed, even though you feel there were many of them. I believe the law applies to situations where defects are not corrected. But if you get a free consult with the attorney, don't know what that could hurt. I don't think the law gives you 100% of your money back though - I believe it's based on some formula related to expected life of the vehicle so if you have used half the expected life, you'd get half your money back.

fishndoc
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by fishndoc » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:43 pm

...should I wait for something really bad to happen to the car and hope maybe Volkswagen covers the repair...?
I would vote for "plan B": trade in the lemon for another brand of car- my volkswagen experience has been similar to yours.
" Successful investing involves doing just a few things right, and avoiding serious mistakes." - J. Bogle

tomd37
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by tomd37 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 4:50 pm

My personal experiences with VW Passats has been very good. My first was a 2001 V-6 Passat wagon. It ended up going to my daughter in 2008 with 46,000 miles on it. She drove it for an additional 25,000 miles with no issues.

I replaced it with a 2008 4-cylinder Turbo Passat wagon. It went to the same daughter in 2011 with 16,000 miles on it when someone ran a red light and totaled the 2001 wagon. The 2008 is still running fine and has about 45,000 miles on it. She is on her own if the 2008 gets totaled. :wink:
Tom D.

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CaliJim
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by CaliJim » Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:44 pm

To reduce your expense ratio going forward, do some TLH of the automobile variety. Sell the German version of this asset class and buy the Japanese version.

ilmartello
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by ilmartello » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:47 pm

wHAT about small-caps like Korean?

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CaliJim
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by CaliJim » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:56 pm

ilmartello wrote:wHAT about small-caps like Korean?
insufficient data for back testing

hicabob
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by hicabob » Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:10 pm

fishndoc wrote:
...should I wait for something really bad to happen to the car and hope maybe Volkswagen covers the repair...?
I would vote for "plan B": trade in the lemon for another brand of car- my volkswagen experience has been similar to yours.
It seems VW owners either rave or rant about the car (although they always rave about the feel) - I wonder what the correlation to the country of manufacture is - Germany vs Mexico for US destined cars. My kid has a 2008 rabbit since new - 52k miles now - zero problems - rear brakes/ tires/oil/ oil filter only so far - no complaints from this minimal sample but it was a German made unit. Nice car to drive for the cost so far, if one notices such things.

ilmartello
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by ilmartello » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:07 am

Don't get me wrong. The turbo on my car was really fun to play with. And the steering and stability was to die for. Unfortunately, the turbo has worn off 6 years later and the problems seem to pile up.

Wannaretireearly
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by Wannaretireearly » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:28 am

My honest advice: If your VW is already problematic after 5/6 years its not going to get any better. Sell it while the market for second hand cars is good.

I had a 2001 VW Jetta that was running 'ok' with minimal issues until 60-70k miles. The past few years were a challenge, from what i can remember: fuel filter issues, fuel pump replaced, check engine light multiple times - thousands to get to the bottom of it (with a great VW specialist mechanic) just so i could pass smog tests, etc etc etc.
I sold the car earlier this year at 104k for $4k (and thanked my lucky stars!!) and bought a Honda which I hope to have better luck.

Post your car on Craigslist for KBB price & see what offers you get :)
Buy Low, Sell High

renter
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by renter » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:34 am

ilmartello wrote:I purchased a new 2006 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T NEW in October 2005. In the roughly 6 years that I have owned this car using proper maintenance, I have had countless troubles with engine lights turning on and stuff. Fortunately, it all occurred during the first five years when I had warranty coverage on the engine and powertrain. During this period, I also received countless notices ranging from warnings about the about steering locks , hydraulic brakes, to the transmission, and parts of the engine. These last 4 were notices of warranty extensions beyond the first five years to ten years in case they malfunction. I am sure the total scope of recall or warranty extension notices for this car are somewhere under the web.

Coincidence or not within days of the last notice in November, I received an unsolicited letter from a law firm known as ROMANO,STANCROFF, AND MIKHOV PC, a firm that is also in my state of California. They are offering a free review to see if I am entitled to having my car bought back of lemon laws based on the problems that my car has had. Although I have not received a recall notice, I recently had a problem with my car trunk not closing and I noticed the latch on my trunk was defective. Labor and parts on opening up and replacing that part came out to about $100.00. The mechanic commented that this doesn't usually happen on cars and that he wouldn't be surprised if I also receive a recall notice on this also.

Should I purse this claim with the firm or should I wait for something really bad to happen to the car and hope maybe Volkswagen covers the repair and then speak to these attorneys or other reputable ones.
My two cents (as a lawyer): Don't waste your time with these lawyers. Consider this a lesson learned. Get rid of this car and find something with consistently strong reviews. Consider getting a Corolla, for example, and run the thing into the ground. I bought mine 5 years old 7 years ago and the only thing that has gone bad was the starter, which was an easy fix I did myself with a rebuilt starter from Toyota. The belt can be replaced in 5 minutes with a long screw driver and an extra pair of hands. At 128k miles mine has yet to leak (or burn, as far as I can tell) any oil. If youi want to splerge go with a Camry (probably my next car in 10 years).

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White Coat Investor
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by White Coat Investor » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:36 am

One way to avoid buying a lemon is to buy really old cars previously owned by only one person. Lemons don't last that long and people don't hold onto them very long.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

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TheGreyingDuke
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by TheGreyingDuke » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:51 am

I go back with VW/Audi many years, forst one was a 1961 Beetle that I "inherited" from my father in 1969. I remember getting stuck on the side of the road with it somewhere in upstate NY; mechanic came along and lifted the rear end up, unbolted the engine onto a dolly a drove away with the engine. Five hours later he returned, having rebuilt the thing, ran another 5 years without a problem.

My more recent experiences have not been so good; I have had a 1993 Audi 100 (it was very good and relatively inexpensive to run), 1998 Audi A4, 1999 A4 and currently have a 1998 Passat. There are lots of things that go wrong on these cars that seem inexcusable to me, door locks that don't lock (first time that happened I was visiting friends in an urban area, leaving the door open was an invite to a "break in"), cruise controls that don't control, seat heaters that don't heat, and windshield washer motors that don't wash.

Then there are the big things, frequent front end problems, brakes that seem to need new rotors every 30K miles, and bushings and motor mounts that don't last. All my later 90's vehicles had generic problems with sludge build up in the 1.8 turbo engine (after years of stalling, VW finally acknowledge the need for synthetic oil and reimbursed owners for expensive repairs) and front end problems (again, after years of stalling and a class action suit, VW finally acknowledged the faulty design of the parts.) Oh, I almost forgot about sunroof drains that got clogged, flooding the floor in the rear section, where the brain that controls all the electrical functions is located, a $1200 repair.

I am now in the market for a new car and the Jetta Diesel Sportwagen was at the top of the list, but then I read about catastrophic failures of the fuel pump, resulting in repairs costing around $8000. VW's response is equivocal, again is stalling and pointing fingers at others and I think this is enough to keep me from entering into another relationship with these folks.

The old saying about German cars: "Why make it simple when you can make it complicated" rings true.

These were all "W" cars, that is made in the Fatherland and not "1" (US) or 3 (Mexico) cars. The reflex to blame the workers doesn't hold water, it is the higher ups who not only sign off on faulty designs and parts, but then compound their arrogance by denials and obfuscations. Anyone can make an error and it is how a company responds when their's surfaces, that is the mark of consumer friendly enterprise.
"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." H.G. Wells

guitarguy
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by guitarguy » Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:02 am

"German engineering"

:roll:

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jeffyscott
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by jeffyscott » Fri Dec 09, 2011 9:06 am

stuartf wrote:These were all "W" cars, that is made in the Fatherland and not "1" (US) or 3 (Mexico) cars. The reflex to blame the workers doesn't hold water...
I also don't buy the idea that where the parts are assembled has much to do with the reliability, even thought the assembled in Germany Golf has been rated as a notch higher in reliability than the former version of the essentially identical Jetta. My wife's car is one of the earliest of that generation of Jetta, bought May 2005. We had a number of issues while under warranty, but nothing that has cost us any money so far. The only things we have paid for besides the normal scheduled maintenance are wiper blades and tires, but we only have 50,000 miles on it.

My kid's first car was a used 1996 Jetta. He had endless problems. But he liked the VW-ness and he now has a new 2010 Golf that he bought a year ago. Hopefully that will live up to it's CR rating as one of the most reliable small cars.

It doesn't have to be a VW (I have a 2007 Mazda6), but within reason, I'd rather have a few extra repairs rather than drive something like a numb Toyota.
press on, regardless - John C. Bogle

pshonore
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by pshonore » Fri Dec 09, 2011 9:14 am

We have a 2004 Passat TDI (Diesel) purchased new. Really have had only minor problems over the years. Will hit 100K next month and still has the original brakes (Dealer checks them at every service and says they will probably need replacement in 2012). We do have the trunk latch problem but thats a minor annoyance. No engine problems (we use Synthetic Oil per VW). Did have to replace timing belt but thats not unexpected. Consistently get in the low 40's MPG with highway driving. Not the most comfortable car I've driven by a long shot, (seats are too low) but has provided good, reliable transportation and we expect the engine to go 300K.

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TheGreyingDuke
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by TheGreyingDuke » Fri Dec 09, 2011 9:30 am

Those earlier diesels were rock solid; it is the new models (2009 and forward) that have these problematic high pressure fuel pumps. The earlier models were not certified in California regulation states (includes my state of VT) but if I can find one used it will be all right to register it.
"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." H.G. Wells

bungalow10
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by bungalow10 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:29 am

I have two friends that had 2001ish Passats and both were nickel and dimed left and right, even when they were fairly new. Luckily, both have unloaded them.
An elephant for a dime is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a dime.

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rustymutt
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by rustymutt » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:31 am

This why I was told to avoid VWs.
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Kathleen Ryan
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by Kathleen Ryan » Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:30 am

I would have the car painted, "Lemon Yellow," and have the vanity plate, "Lemon." This way you can start your own negative ad campaign about the company. I'm sure many people can relate to what you are going through. If nothing else, it would be a good conversation starter, and very therapeutic talking with other " lemon" owners. 8-)
Best wishes, | Kathleen

Dagwood
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by Dagwood » Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:34 am

ilmartello wrote:I purchased a new 2006 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T NEW in October 2005. In the roughly 6 years that I have owned this car using proper maintenance, I have had countless troubles with engine lights turning on and stuff. Fortunately, it all occurred during the first five years when I had warranty coverage on the engine and powertrain. During this period, I also received countless notices ranging from warnings about the about steering locks , hydraulic brakes, to the transmission, and parts of the engine. These last 4 were notices of warranty extensions beyond the first five years to ten years in case they malfunction. I am sure the total scope of recall or warranty extension notices for this car are somewhere under the web.

Coincidence or not within days of the last notice in November, I received an unsolicited letter from a law firm known as ROMANO,STANCROFF, AND MIKHOV PC, a firm that is also in my state of California. They are offering a free review to see if I am entitled to having my car bought back of lemon laws based on the problems that my car has had. Although I have not received a recall notice, I recently had a problem with my car trunk not closing and I noticed the latch on my trunk was defective. Labor and parts on opening up and replacing that part came out to about $100.00. The mechanic commented that this doesn't usually happen on cars and that he wouldn't be surprised if I also receive a recall notice on this also.

Should I purse this claim with the firm or should I wait for something really bad to happen to the car and hope maybe Volkswagen covers the repair and then speak to these attorneys or other reputable ones.
The law firm will not be able to get VW to buy back a 6 year old car. Moreover, once a company knows you have "gone legal" on them, you are not going to have any luck with having them do any more than they are absolutely legally required to do. This is the case because from a business perspective they know they have lost you as a customer and now they are in a defensive / protective posture. The law firm is not going to be able to help you in short, it is just looking to recruit plaintiffs to pad the amount of the fee they will collect on the inevitable class action that will follow. The rule with these cases is that for the most part they do not materially assist the people who were damaged / injured. Rather, most times in a case such as this they result in you receiving a check for $50 and the firm receiving millions in legal fees. That's the game. My wife and I are, unfortunately as we only partially joke, both lawyers so take this as at least relatively well informed advice.

Assuming you will not get a lemon buyback on a five-six year old car, your best move is to dump it. Question is whether you want to get some sort of assistance on the new car. On the theory your could want another VW -- not all their cars are as bad as yours or they would be in bankruptcy -- you could contact VW NA and ask for a trade assist. State that while you would like to stay a customer of VW, you are concerned at the number of problems you have had with this car and ask if anything can be done, particularly with assistance getting into a new VW. See what they say, you might be surprised. And don't take their first offer. Be very polite but persistent. And if you do buy another VW, get an extended warranty from VW. Good luck and HTH.

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jeffyscott
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by jeffyscott » Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:21 am

ilmartello wrote:Should I purse this claim with the firm or should I wait for something really bad to happen to the car and hope maybe Volkswagen covers the repair and then speak to these attorneys or other reputable ones.
Another option would be to assume that the number of problems is at least partly related to having bought the first year of a completely redesigned model. This is what we are doing, having had the same sort of thing happen, as I mentioned, with 2005 New Jetta that we bought new in the first few months after it came out. The fact that our version of the Jetta (and the very similar Rabbit/Golf) has mostly been rated as average or above in reliability by CR (the Passat ratings are mostly not as good) gives me some hope that the problems will not continue for our car.

Reading your post none of this has cost you any money, other than the $100 trunk latch. It also does not sound like you have had the same recurring problem that they have been unable to fix, so I don't see what a lawyer would be able to do. That is also similar to us in that all of our issues have happened during the warranty period and we have had no repair bills.

VWs usually have pretty good resale value, so if you do bail on the car the monthly cost for the time you have owned it will probably be fairly reasonable. In our case, assuming the Edmunds or KBB trade in values are accurate, the depreciation comes to about $150 per month so far.
press on, regardless - John C. Bogle

zinnia
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by zinnia » Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:11 am

carmax....dump the problem, buy a Toyota or Honda. pursuing this only buys aggravation

sscritic
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Re: My Lemon Car

Post by sscritic » Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:30 am

Have you googled California Lemon Law to see what the law is where you live?

Investing advice from the Kansas Chapter of bogleheads can be very helpful, but I sometimes wonder how much they know about the law in California. Perhaps they used to live in California and know a lot about California law, but then again, maybe they don't. I remember one particular thread about paying property taxes in CA, and there was lots of "helpful" advice about the law in New Hampshire, Georgia, etc., but nothing about California.

P.S. Note that not a single post has mentioned either Song or Beverly.

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