Metal in DSG transmission fluid

Happy Tuesday everyone. It is a rainy and cold Tuesday here. I hope the weather is better for you. Today I want to share a little story about car repairs, and how sometimes they wrong. Well, not really “go wrong, but more unexpected. This would fit in well as a Shop Shot, but I think it needs more information.

A customer brought his 2009 VW Jetta in for repair. His concern was a delay when shifting into reverse, and a strange shift from first to second gear. I test drove the vehicle and finally got the DSG transmission to shift poor. I have driven enough cars with a DSG(think a manual transmission that shifts automatically), to know what it feels like when the mechatronic unit starts to fail. The mechatronic unit is the brain, and controller for the transmission. This one was not bad, but it did need to be replaced.

The symptom the customer had was very minor. The car was 100% safe to drive. I didn’t have any issue with letting him drive his car for a few days while I waited on parts. This is a very normal thing. If the car does not have a safety issue, or another major problem, we let the customers keep their car.

When the customer brought his car back, I started the repair. I removed the transmission oil pan to gain access to the mech unit. Once the pan was off I found the unexpected part, METAL!

Metal in DSG tranmission fluidNotice the shiny silver streaks in the pan. That is tiny metal chucks that have settled. There was also plenty of metal in the fluid. As soon as a mechanic finds a problem like this, it is time to stop and evaluate the situation.

From here I took some pictures and sent them to VW technician help line. They are key in advising whether to repair or replace a transmission. This one was a slam dunk REPLACE! There is very little chance you can get all the metal out of this transmission. Even if you could, it would cost just as much to repair, as it would to replace.

There is nothing that this customer could have done different. They did the service the transmission requires, at the proper interval. The transmission just failed. I don’t know exactly where the metal came from. I have to send the transmission back to VW for them to analyze. So odds are I will never know exactly what happened. The good thing for the customer, this was all covered under their warranty.

This is not something that happens all that often. When it does I like to share. What do you guys think, did this customer luck out or what? Don’t forget you can follow all the stuff the community is doing. It is as easy as clicking your favorite box to the right, it will take you right there. 😉

Dirty Engine Air filter
Dirty Engine Air filter

Top is a dirty air filter, the bottom is new

The engine air filter may be one of the most up sold items in the entire automotive world. But do you really need to have your air filter replaced? Today we will talk about some of the reasons why you may need a new engine air filter. We will also look at how you can be sure you actually need a new one.

What is the Engine Air Filter
It may come as a big surprise, but the engine air filter, filters AIR! Yes that is me being slightly sarcastic. There is really no need to over complicate what an air filter does. As air is pulled into the engine, the filter prevents debris from getting in the engine. It really is as simple as that.

Why is it important?
Well we answered this question above. The better question is, what happens when an air filter is bad. In this case bad means:

  • Dirty
    A dirty air filter will cause your engine to work harder. That can mean decreased MPG, and a reduction in power
  • Wrong, or improper fitment
    This can cause a number of issues. An air filter that does not fit properly can allow debris into the engine. It can also alter the flow of air into the engine. In some cases this can fool the sensor that monitors the flow of air into the engine. This can lead to a check engine light, and poor MPG.
  • Old and damaged
    An old air filter can actually come apart. On top of allowing debris in the engine, the engine can suck parts of the air filter in to the engine. This can cause damage to the engine.

How do I know if I need a new air filter
The great thing about air filters is it can be easy to tell if you need a new one.

  • Follow the owners book
    Most car manufacturers have a replacement interval. That interval is a great guideline to follow. Just remember that manufacturer inOtervals do not apply to everyone. For example if you live near the beach you need to replace your filter more often. Sand will clog a filter pretty fast.

    Dirty Engine Air filter

    Here, the top filter is new, and the bottom one is dirty

  • Visual inspection
    This is the only way to if you need a filter replacement. Here are a few things that you can look for:

    • Excessive dirt or sand
    • Oil saturation, this is can be the result of another problem. Do not just replace the filter if you find oil saturation.
    • Foreign objects, yep, it could be anything from a little critter to a Hot Wheel. None of those things belong on your air filter.

Do you REALLY need a new air filter?
This one depends on the condition of the air filter in your car. If the filter is dirty replace it. If it is clogged up, or falling apart replace it. Let’s say that a service place recommends you replace the filter because “it is dirty”. You should do what I always recommend and ask to see it. If the service department does not have the filter at the ready, they may not have inspected it. If they can show you the dirty filter from your car, ask to see a new one. This will let you see how bad the filter is. It will also let you check and make sure they are using the right filter.

If you have any further questions about replacing or inspecting an engine air filter, please post them in the comments below. Odds are if you have a question, tons of other folks have that same question. So please feel free to post them below.

I also want to take a second to thank you all for hanging in with me while I moved. It was a crazy busy, and stressful time. We are finally getting things back on track. I should be bringing the Cabby, aka Luv A Dub, home this week. I can’t wait to get back to working on her.

Humble Mechanic Logo
view from the back deck.

Here is a little tease, this is the view from our new back deck.

Hi everyone, I hope you are all doing really well. I wanted to let you all know that it is crunch time for us with the move. Because of that, we may be with out internet for a few days.

Due to lack of internet, and the pure madness that is involved with moving, I may not be as readily available as I normally am. If you need some help, have any questions or just want to say hi, PLEASE feel free to shoot me an email(charles at Humblemechanic com) or use this contact me form. I will read it asap, I just may not be able to respond right away.

I have also been getting a lot of emails asking when the blog posts will be coming back. Thank you to everyone who has done that. It really keeps me motivated. I will be resuming daily posts asap. We will be back and the blog will be the best it has ever been.