Shop Shots Volume 72 Insider Pictures of Automotive Service

Failed Vw starter

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Okay, don’t panic, it is actually Thursday. I am still trying to catch up from bring in Houston for a week. I have been putting together a lot of good info about oil and fuel for you guys. Plus some cool round table interviews. Alright, let’s get cracking on the Shop Shots!

Failed Vw starterThe story behind this picture could be a post all by itself. It is the typical “You messed up my car” story, that is just a matter of a problem showing itself at a bad time.

The customer brought his car in for a simple service and an alignment. We did the service and the alignment with no problems. When our alignment guy went to pull the car off the alignment rack, it would not start. The advisor tried to sell the customer a battery. The customer declined, so I offered to jump start the car and pull it around.

When I jumped the car, it still would not start. No crank, no click, nothing. I took a quick look and found that the starter had corrosion on it. I could only see a small section of the starter. We told the customer we needed a little time to find out exactly what was happening. The customer kept asking over and over “So this is just a fluke thing?” I can see from his point of view. The car started fine before the service. Heck it started 4 times of us.

Once I got a better view of the starter I could see just how corroded it was. I tried to wiggle the wire while someone tried to start the car. All that did was make the starter smoke. I finally could see what had happened. It looked like the last battery leaked down on the the starter. That is what caused the wire to be corroded. Hey, at least he broke down at the shop.

Failed VW ClutchNext up in the “this is a total bummer” series, a failed clutch. Well it was not really the clutch that failed, it was the release bearing. The bearing is the part that pushes on the pressure plate when you push the clutch pedal.

If you are not 100% sure what I mean, that is okay. Basically a part broke, and caused the clutch to be 1/2 engaged. This caused some severe hot spoting on the flywheel. If you look you can see a lot of blue spots on the surface of the flywheel. That is where the metal got really hot. A new clutch, flywheel, pressure plate and release bearing and she is all good.

VW oil SludgeI feel like this is a picture that I have to post way too much. The story is about the same. Car comes in with the oil light on. We check it out and find that the pickup tube is clogged. We spend a few hours cleaning the crud from the bottom of the oil pan.

The crud comes from the break down of engine oil. It is either lack of oil changes, running the engine with too little oil, or using the wrong oil. Obviously they did not use Pennzoil Platinum with Pure Plus Technology. 😉 That is what happens when you spend a week learning about engine oil and fuel.

The moral of this story is change your oil. Check the level regularly, and use the right stuff!!! My “sludge box” 1.8t has 128,000 miles on it, and no sign of carbon/sludge build up.

That brings another volume of Shop Shots to a close. I am currently uploading a driving video of the Cabby. I will be doing a post about where the Cabby sits on Friday.

One last thing
I am thinking about doing some more live type events on Google + or You Tube. Is that something you guys would be into? I need a few people to help me test drive 1 event. If you are interested please post it in the comments, and I will get up with you.

4 replies
  1. Brandon R
    Brandon R says:

    VW has went to the longer service intervals and I’m sure oil analysis backs it up but…. if it were your car how often would you change your oil? I really hate leaving my oil in for 10K miles. I cheat and extract it at 5k and put in fresh while i’m on the 3 years 36K carefree maintenance. I don’t change the filter though.

  2. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    I hear about things like this way too often. People really need to change their oil more often, and as you stated, make sure it’s the right type!

  3. Brandon R
    Brandon R says:

    This isn’t completely relevant here but since we are talking about maintenance here… I just had my 20K service on my 2013 Passat TDI and upon looking over the invoice and the car….. they didn’t change my fuel filter. Seems like a pretty import thing to overlook on a diesel. Hopefully I will be a little more calm when I call tomorrow.


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