Tag Archive for: dealership

Humble Mechanic Tool Box


Happy Monday everyone! As you know, today is my first day back in action. I had a great few days off, but it feels nice to be working on cars again. Anyway, I was thinking of something a little different today. I am doing a “Rapid Fire” question and answer post. These are mostly questions that have come in from Humble Mechanic Facebook page.And GO~

James~ Why do some car models stay in production forever (911, Beetle, Accord) while others only last for a few years before a similar but slightly different one replaces it?

Good question. I think it largely depends on sales. If a model sells really well, there is no need to update right away. There cold also be an issue with manufacturing parts to keep up demand for another year. Also changes in D.O.T. regulations and auto industry standards can force a design change. The switch from OBD I to OBD II is the reason there was no Jeep Wrangler in 1996, and the 1997 was totally redesigned

Craig ~ When is that Audi r8 tdi coming?

Soon I hope. The more TDIs we have on the road, the more R&D will go in to improving the technology. That will drive prices down so normal folks like us can afford it.

Benjamin ~what does a Chevy volt run in the quarter? 😉

Probably pretty quick. Electric motors have high torque and it is available instantly. You just might not make it much further than 1/4 mile. Especially if you have the heat on. Right Nissan??

Glenn ~1. In today’s car world, what can the “average” person actually maintain on their car? Years ago I was able to do a lot , now I’m lost under the hood.
2. Who do you trust to maintain your car, OTHER then yourself ?

1)The “average” can do a lot, but chooses not to. I usually recommend everyone know how to,
Change a tire
Change their wiper blades
Check all the fluid in the car(if that is applicable)
Check tire pressure
Beyond that, knowing how to change engine air and pollen filter is really good. Also knowing how to replace all the bulbs in your car is an awesome skill.
2) I am not a fan of letting anyone else work on my car. It really stresses me out. If I had to, i would interview the mechanic working on my car.

Brandon~ i was just wondering what your thoughts are on the upcoming Jetta Hybrid

I think the technology is really cool. VW tested the design with the Hybrid Touareg. I am a little concerned with reliability, but that comes with any design change. The one good point, there are some die hard hybrid fans, so that might open up a new and different customer base for VW.

Jeff~ What is your honest opinion about 2012 VW Passat made in U.S. and do you think VW will be reliable as a Honda? Thanks 🙂

So far the Passat has been great. The majority of the technology in the Passat has been in other VWs for a few years. The only system that is really new is the Urea injection for the TDI. We will have to see how that performs long term. As far as compared to the Honda,time will tell. All German cars are DRIVERS cars, that usually comes with more maintenance, and more service, but we shale see.

Jeremy~I’ve heard all VW dealer shops do is check the computer (previous blog posts noted that it’s NOT just that) and determine whether or not THEY will install a NEW tranny or send you elsewhere for a rebuild or used or whatever… what’s your take on it?

I would love to say that every mechanic goes through all the steps every time, but that is just not true. Transmission, especially automatic, can be really tough. You basically break it down into 3 categories, Electric, hydraulic, and mechanical. From there, you just plug away until you get close to an answer.
The fact is, most techs just check faults, and replace the trans. We don’t do much rebuild at the dealer level, its just as much to rebuild as it is to replace.

Steven ~ Just got a flat on my new 2012 Touareg…is a new tire covered?

Odds are that tire would not be covered under VW warranty. VW does not warranty tires. Any warranty on a tire would come from the tire manufacturer, like Michelin. The only way a flat would be covered is if the rim or the valve stem had a manufacturer defect. They will not cover outside influence, or damage. I have seen very few tires/flats covered under warranty. I have seen the dealer pay for repairs for brand new cars, or for really great customers, but it doesn’t happen that often.

Well, that pretty much round out the questions that I have. What do you guys think of this format? Is this something you would like me to do again? Feel free to post in the comment section and tell me what you think. If you have a question you want me to answer, you can Contact Me, or email me at Charles (at) hollerhomestead.com

Also, you might have noticed that the header is different. Does it blend with the back round too much, or is it good? One last thing, I added an archive section on the right side of the page. You can go back and check out some of my earlier posts. Some are really bad, so its funny to read.


As everyone knows, I work for Volkswagen. While VW has a die hard loyal following, no one can argue that they have earned some negative press over the last 10-12 years. From window regulator issues, ignition coil disasters, and the entire launch of the 2004 Touareg, I don’t blame people for having a negative opinion.

A question came to me from Brandon on the FB page. He asked me to give him my “ABSOLUTE HONEST OPINION” about VW and their car. Here is some of our conversation regarding the issue. You can see the whole conversation here.

Brandon Byron

i want to hear your ABSOLUTE HONEST OPINION, working as a vw mechanic for so many years i have to ask the big question. No matter where you go online almost EVERYONE says they are unreliable, they break after 100K, they are junk, etc. You cant escape the VW hate online. So i am wondering from your perspective as having to fix them, does vw really mass produce cars that are holding together by thread and duct tape or am i just seeing all of the people with a negative experience talking about the cars? I really want to know as im looking to buy a new vw for my first car and I want to make sure i made the right choice. Thanks! 🙂

Humble Mechanic‎Brandon, you have a great question and some pretty legit concerns. I want to give you a better answer than I can at at midnight. I will put something together for you tomorrow. Thanks for liking the page, and I will answer all you questions tomorrow.

Humble Mechanic

Ok Brandon~ Here is my reply
It’s true, VW has earned a bum rap. From the window regulator issues, and the ignition coil disasters to the launch of the 2004 Touareg, there is no shortage of things VW has dropped the ball on.Then you go and read things in forums like VWvortex, and TDIclub. The cars get slayed, the dealers get slayed, the mechanics get slayed. The info is out there, and I have read enough to make me sick.
The truth is,YES VWs break. I have had to fix cars with <10 miles on them. I have had customers get there cars bought back because of issue after issue after issue. Also remember that I see the worst of the worst.Then there is the flip side. The reason that VWvortex, and TDIclub exist is because people LOVE there VWs. If the product was that bad, it would have a hard time earning the following that it has.
Remember, the loudest voices are the people looking to complain. People now have a platform that allows them to tell their story, be it good or bad. Visiting the VW facebook page is a perfect example of that. Here is what they will not tell you. Did they maintain their car? Did they do all of the things that are required on EVERY vehicle to keep it running properly? What are they comparing it to? Is a VW even right for them?
You are looking to buy a DRIVERS car, not a toaster(Toyota). If you want to have a car that runs properly at 100,000 miles, you need to do your part. Proper maintenance is key. Plus everyone needs to understand that things will break. You will need to replace belts, batteries, tires, and brakes. The odds of the check engine light coming on is VERY high!
That is not just VW.If you owned a 1995 Honda Civic, and never had an issue, do not expect your 2012 VW to be the same. not only is it a totally different car, but emissions standards, and government regulations are vastly different. These cars are held to a much higher standard than they were 15-20 years ago.

I think I gave him the answer that he was looking for. I did want to expand a little about his concerns. Like I told Brandon, the loudest voices are the ones that are complaining. All of the social sites have given people a voice that they have not had since small town America.I think its amazing that we have this at our disposal. This does however allow people to complain about any and everything.

There is also the FACT that people are not looking to read about problem free Volkswagens. There were NO searches for any phrase I could think of that basically said VWs were great cars. I must have entered 20 phrases trying to find one. On the other hand ~74,000 people searched for “Volkswagen problems”. What does that mean? Well, before we buy something, we want to research the problems. Or, we have a problem and want to see what issues others are having. Misery loves company right 😉 It pretty much boils down to we want to read about problems, the numbers don’t lie!

Well, I hope that I have answered the question for Brandon and anyone else that might be concerned about cars and the negative thinks we read. What do you guys think? I think Brandon is dead on with his concerns, but just like anything else we need to take the information given and make our own choices.

Oh, don’t miss tomorrow’s post, we will be talking vehicle first aid kits!!! A good friend of mine is a nurse, and she is helping us(me included) build a first aid kit for our car! You can subscribe o the email list so you don’t miss anything!


Joel C Armstrong

How long have you been in the Industry?

Since 2005

What is your current job title?

Currently Unemployed

What were you doing for your first automotive job?

I worked at Manhattan Motorcars Inc. In New York City. It’s a luxury/high end dealership that specializes in Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley, Rolls Royce, and Lotus sales and service. I was a Porsche and Lamborghini Technician. We have a certified Pre-Owned/ used car department that sell other high end brands such as Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz/ Maybach etc.

Do you currently work at a Dealer, or in an aftermarket shop, do you prefer one over the other?

No, after Manhattan Motorcars I went to work at Mercedes-Benz. I honestly prefer to work at a dealership because of certain benefits but you have more of a family oriented feeling at an aftermarket shop because it’s smaller. There’s less politics to deal with.

When you are not working on or with cars, what do you like to do?

Everyday i get up at about 5:59 (because 6:00 is just clichéd), I take my mom to work, come home and take care of what I’m doing for school because I plan on going back to Law School.

What kind of car do you drive?

2004 Ford Expedition. I also have a 2006 Yamaha R6 Anniversary Edition.

What was your first car?

1990 Ford Taurus. It was a free gift from one of my teachers when I went to school.

What made you want to work on cars?

I always loved cars. I had several subscriptions to automotive magazines like Road & Track, Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Automobile, and Euro Tuner. Naturally, I was attracted to the higher end performance vehicles and wanted to work closely to them. I wanted to see what it felt like to be able to do 150+MPH, just because the car has the ability to do so. The mechanics and engineering that was put into creating such cars captivated my interest while reading about them in said magazine subscriptions.

What is the weirdest thing that you have found in a car, that should not have been there?

I was once removing a headliner on a Cayenne Turbo and while doing the R&R on the driver side visor, a bunch of Polaroids fell in my lap. Upon further investigation, they happened to be naked pictures of the customer’s girlfriend(s) lol they were at least 3 different girls. Weird.

Do you have much customer interaction?

Yes, for the most part I do. well, when I did work on their vehicles.

What is your favorite part of your job?

The Road test. Definitely.

If giving the chance, what would you never do again at work?

It’s sad to say but I would never trust people so easily. You’re of the mind that everyone is on the same team, but I realized it’s never like that.

The auto industry has a really bad rap, what do you say to someone who thinks you are trying to take advantage of them?

Depending on the situation, I would try to find out what the problem was and then explain to them what we would’ve done or what we usually do in our situation/shop. Most of the time a lot of women think they’re being given the “Shaft” because they’re usually ignorant of most automotive problems, but I explain to them how things work as far as let’s say: why your car takes so long to get an oil change. or why does it cost so much to change a tire or repair a transmission. etc I let them know about labor times, over head, flat rate, parts, tax, test and asses and making sure your problem is fixed when you walk out our door. Things like that take time. So i explain that to them.

Of all the maintenance that cars need, what is the ONE that will keep my car healthy the longest?

I would have to say get regular oil/filter services. That goes a long way. Trust me, I’ve seen what NOT changing your oil EVER would do to an engine. This one customer hadn’t changed her oil in her Boxster since she had gotten the car. She came in complaining about her engine pinging. We first off opened the drain plug and what looked like black jelly dropped out in globs. The whole engine was filled with the stuff.

How important is reading your vehicles owners manual?

It’s really important because it answers mostly all the questions you may have, from what kind of gas your car needs, tire pressure numbers, how often you should change fluids in your car etc.

Have you read the owners manual to your car?

Yes. I’m proud to say that i have!

What tool in your tool box do you use the most?

It’s either a toss up between my Makita Drill (set) and my Snap On 3/8″ flex head ratchet with the soft grip and smooth ratcheting action.

Is there a brand of tool that you prefer?

Snap-On. Not trying to sound like an advertisement, but it really does make a difference!

If you could only use 3 tools from now on, what would they be( and why)?

A light for dark places, my drill with bits/ sockets and flat head screwdriver for prying. I think those are the most universal tools of all. The bottom of the drill would also act like a hammer indifferent applications and the screw driver for leverage.

If you were building a “James Bond” car, what is the one thing you would add it?

A HUGE pair of hands to toss these Sunday drivers/ NYC yellow cabs out of the way when I’m going somewhere and running a little late. lol

You are sending your kid off to college, what car would you buy for them?

Maybe a Toyota Camry or a Honda Accord. Those are good reliable cars and pretty OK on gas.

What is the one thing that you want folks to know about your job that they might not know?

It’s actually EASIER to get a job there than you may think. Go in and apply, but be prepared to work, though. Any sign of slacking and you’re outta there faster than you can read this sentence!


GREAT interview Joel! I am totally cracking up about the pics of the customers girl friends!!! I am also pretty sure that if I was a Lamborghini tech, test drives would be my favorite part if the job! If you guys have any other questions for Joel, post them up in the comments.If we can get him to post in the comments, I would like to ask him how hard working on such high line cars~ How cool!


Your inside look into the world of car repair and Volkswagen Dealer service

This is a question that I get all the time. Whether a customer asks me, I see it posted, or I just over hear the conversation, it comes up all the time. Remember, I work for VW, I think overall German cars cost more to maintain than American, or Japanese cars.

Since there are so many factors that play into the cost of maintaining your car, lets just take one and really focus on that. The one that I am really thinking about today is the psychology of the statement, “It costs too much”. Just a heads up, I am not belittling the cost to properly maintain a car. I know that it cost a lot to keep your car running great!

When we buy a car, we put lots of time into researching the vehicle. Whether it is looking at which model we want, making sure we get the color we like, and finally making sure the price is fair. One thing most folks do not do, is take maintenance into account. We get caught up in the hype of buying a TDI (diesel), or getting the upgraded wheel and tire package. Not giving a thought that tires will cost more,or a TDI needs more maintenance. Once of my early posts talked about some things to consider when getting a TDI.

So I think that from day 1 of owning a car, most people have no idea what it will cost to own their car. Does that explain why we have a skewed view of proper maintenance costs? Well, not totally. Think about how many Jiffy Change commercials you have seen. They advertise a $29.99 oil change. Or that Pep Boys ad that shows you can buy 4 tires for $100. Whether we actually believe that we can get our cars serviced at that price, doesn’t really matter. It has been embedded into our brains. Think about how long places have been telling people they can “service” cars at that price. I remember being a very little kid and seeing those signs. Of course they probably said $19.99 way back then. 😉

Basically, we have been “marketed” into a false reality of maintenance costs. Sure, someone can pay

$29.95 for an oil change, but does that mean you can pay that much? You know that really tiny print

at the bottom of ads, here is what they are telling you

Is it REALLY possible to get a proper oil change for this price?

  • Not all cars qualify
  • Limit of 5qt of oil
  • Filter might cost extra
  • No trucks
  • Diesels not included
  • Non Synthetic oil
  • lots of other BS restrictions that will wind up costing you

Ok, those ads usually don’t come right out and say that last one, but we know its true!

Lets look at the other side too. How often do you hear that the dealership is a rip off? I hear all the time that “We charge too much”. The truth is, we are cheaper than Jiffy for an oil change. Try convincing customers of that. Even if we were a few dollars more, the valve is unquestionable!

Lets also consider the maintenance needs of our cars have changed. When I was a kid, oil changes were common at 3,000 miles. Now VWs are due for an oil change every 10,000 miles. Does it really matter if an oil change costs double what it did 20 years ago, if you can go 3x longer between oil changes? Sounds like even though the oil itself costs more, the per year service is cheaper.

Non of that really even touches on the actual COST of a service. Crude oil prices are up, that will make EVERYTHING cost more. It adds cost to each leg of the process. When oil prices go up, it costs more to ship and make things. Plus at an est. 73% inflation since 1990, that $19.99 oil change will cost you about $35, just based on inflation. (if you want to be sick, check out Inflation Calculator)

So how can we as customers see through the crap that we are fed? Try these ideas

  • Shop around, you might be able to save a few bucks
  • Be sure to COMPARE apples to apples. Synthetic and Non-synthetic oil are NOT the same
  • Find a mechanic you trust. Even if it cost a couple of bucks more, it will be worth it in the long run
  • Learn to do some of your own maintenance. (I hope I can help you with some of that)

Don’t fall into the $29.99 oil change trap. I unless you drive a 1995 Chevy Cavalier, it will cost you more. Even if you can get the $29.99 oil change, it will cost you more in the long run.

One more thought, be sure to consider how much your car cost when it was new(not USED). Our VW Touareg was a ~$50,000 vehicle when it was new. Now the 2004 are dirt cheap, I mean $12,000 cheap. That doesn’t mean that you are trying to maintain a $12,000 car. The car will still cost what other $50,000 vehicles cost to maintain.

What do you guys think? Have we been “marketed” into believing something SHOULD cost x, but really costs y?

Oh, 1 more thing,again. Be sure to check out the forum. There is still some room left in the “First 50“. Lets try and get there this week. I do need you guys to help me spread the word on that. Also, if you have signed up, and have not been approved, please Contact Me. Some people have weird email addresses that might look like spam. I want to be sure to keep the forum free of crap.

I am a little reluctant to even write this post. I try t be really positive about things that happen in the shop, and this is a story about something not so positive. I am also reluctant because I don’t want to talk junk about the people that I work with. When I make a mistake, I have no problem telling you guys about it, but what I am about to tell you is about someone else.

Yesterday, I worked on a customers car, this customer has been one of my best customers over the years. She is a little old lady, and is as sweet as can be. She reminds me a lot of my grandma, who is one of my favorite people in the world.

When she came to pick her car up, they service advisor called me to the front. She told me that the work I just finished did not fix her car. Based on the week I was having, I would not have been surprised. She smiled and told me she was just messing with me(a taste of my own medicine). About 15 minutes went by, and another advisor paged me. They told be that someone had rear ended the lady. The auto park I work in has an awful intersection at the top of a small hill.

I drove up to the intersection to see if she was okay. She was really shaken up, but physically fine. The guy that hit her was totally fine. As I looked at the damage of both cars, I knew that she didn’t get rear ended, she must have pulled out in front of the guy. Her Beetle took some damage on the right side. The Mazda the other guy was driving didn’t do so well. The whole front of the car was destroyed. I helped her call a friend to come get her. I was also able to nurse the car out of the intersection and into a parking spot at the Porsche dealer. The cops came and did what they had to, and when her friend showed up, I went back to work.

30 or so minutes later, I get another page to come up to the service drive. The customer was there to pickup some info about where to have her car towed. We chatted for a minute, I gave her the information she needed so she was just about set.

This is where the story gets bad. I am writing this  and I know my blood pressure is gonna be sky high! This poor lady was just in a car accident, she was visibly shaken up, and asked for some water. Now, we have 2 drinking fountain in the waiting room, we have a vending machine in the waiting room, and we have FREE drinks up stairs. My service advisor looks her dead in the face and says “There is free water just up the stairs if you want that’. Guys, my jaw hit the floor. How the hell are you gonna tell this poor lady to walk up the stairs and get her own drink????? Thankfully, my service manager was standing right there and went to get it for her.

Now, I don’t pretend to be a customer service expert or anything, but what type of person does that? How would you feel if that was your mother or your grandmother? I didn’t say anything to the advisor, because what would be the point. Someone that would do that will never get why that is so bad. Really, how can you call yourself a man if that is how you would treat someone in the situation! I hate to admit that someone at my dealer would do that, but I have told you guys before, I will always be 100% honest with you!

Today, I went up to take some pics of the car. It honestly might total her beetle. The car is a 2000, so it wont take a ton of money to total it. It will most likely be better to just scrap it and for her to get a new car.

I have worked really hard over my career to try and get rid of bad customer service stereotypes at the dealer. This like this really set everyone back! So, what do you guys think? Am I just blowing this WAY out of proportion? Should I have said something to him about it? I would love to know your thoughts!

{EAV:ab484783813500fc} <this is a tracking code for a thing called EmpireAVE. Its a way to track social media type stuff. If your on it, check me out.

As a dealership level mechanic, this is not really something that I run into very often. Most of the folks that modify their cars do not take it to the dealership for repairs. I do occasionally run in to a modified car. Whether it is for performance, or just for looks, it can create a few issues, especially when a car is covered under vehicle warranty.

From a personal standpoint, I think modifying cars is great. It allows folks to make something their own. It lets their personality and love for their car show. It can truly be a great reflection of a person. It shows a great passion for their car. It doesn’t matter what other think, its about the person modifying the car.

From a profession standpoint, I actually look at it a few different ways.

I couldn’t care less

Looking at it solely from a nuts and bolts machine, it really makes no difference to me if the car is modified or not. I do not have any type of relationship with the CAR. My relationship is more with the customers. This is really where my opinion doesn’t matter. I have seen some “less that tasteful” mods come through the dealer, but again, I couldn’t care less. (actually, I usually get a good laugh)

I love it

It makes for something different in the shop. I have seen thousands of VWs, over the years. When a tastefully modified car come in, I will admit, I get excited. Some nice wheels, a PROPERLY done suspension, some performance upgrades, all make a car stand out in a good way.  Now, poorly done mods are good too. The worse they are, the funnier they are. The more duct tape, the better 😉 I wish I had more pictures of awful mods.

I worry about it

Like I said, I have seen some poorly done mods. The thing that concerns me most is safety. Cars that ride WAY too low, is a prime example. Lowered suspension changes lighting angles, changes impact points in a collision, and reduces your visibility to other cars. The other one I see a lot is adding car stereo equipment. I have seen wires ran under the car unprotected, pinched in doors, ran through metal with out protection. This can be a fire hazard to say the least. If you choose to modify, PLEASE do it right/safe.

I hate it

This is where I usually fall in the dealership. This comes from a completely selfish place. Just about any time someone has their car modified, it makes more work for me. Lowered suspension mean extra work getting the car on the lift. Cold air intakes can make batteries harder to replace K&N air filters are good about tweaking Air Flow Sensors, making them do weird stuff Aftermarket stereos give another element to disconnecting batteries and dealing with wiring. On the newer VWs, people can change coding in modules. This can make things like, windows down with remote. The problem is, changing to the wrong coding can make the car do the craziest things ever!

There is also the question of vehicle warranty. Did the customer damage something when doing the mod? Is the problem directly related to the mods? As far as that goes, it really depends on who is working on the car. Personally, if I can’t PROVE 100% that the mods caused the issue, I take care of the problem. If the customer were to call VW, they would say fix it anyway. This way just makes me a hero!

Anther issue I have is mantenance. When you modify a car, the maintenance cost will be higher, and its often overlooked. The fancy wheels and boomin stereo, doesn’t look good when your car is broken down

Every once in a while a car comes around that is sent straight from hell. The crazy problems that keep me awake at night. Things that, if you were a professional writer, you could not even make up. When this happens, having a game plan to crucial!

There are times when we(mechanics) just can’t figure out whats wrong with a car. When this happens we have to take things to the next level. Thankfully this is not something that happens a lot, but when it does, it can make for a bad day!

STEP 1 ~ Ask another mechanic
This is usually the first think that a mechanic does when they can’t figure out a problem. The guys working next to me are a HUGE resource of knowledge. The odds of them running having ran into a similar issue is pretty good.

The other good thing about asking the guy in the next bay is a totally different perspective. They come in with a fresh set of eyes. There comes a point when frustration starts to set in. Getting a fresh pair of eyes, and a fresh mind is always a good choice.

Step 2 ~ Take a break
You would think that this would be step 1, but it usually falls to number 2. If you have asked someone working next to you for help, and could not come to a conclusion, you are starting down an unhappy path. Much like asking someone else, taking a break will gives a chance to clear your head.

Walking away for a couple of minutes is a perfect way to think about the issue while not buried under it. If I smoked, this would be the perfect opportunity to burn one, then come back and reevaluate the problem

Step 3 ~ Computer Research
If you have not fixed a car by now, its time to break out the old repair manual. Depending on what the problem is, VW has several different resources available.

  1. Standard repair manual. ~ This is the (online) book that has information to fix our cars. It contains some information, tests to run on components, wiring diagrams, and some VERY basic how to’s
  2. Scan tools ~ Our scan tools does more than just tell us the faults stored in all the vehicle computers. They have software built in that adds different tests based on the faults. The tests are not the end all of solutions, but it can give some ideas on where to go next.
  3. Technical Service Bulletins(TSB) ~ This is a repair update that is issued by a manufacturer. It can be anything from a tip to fix a rattle, to tips on diagnosing transmissions. They are NOT recalls. Customers will not be notified about them. This is something a mechanic can use to help fix/diagnose a problem. This information is available to anyone that wants it.
  4. Tech Tips ~ This is something that VW issues to us mechanics. It is either the precursor to a TSB, or just a quick tip. Usually a very short blurb about a issue with a car.
  5. Google ~ If 1-4 do not work, Google can be a life saver. There are lots of really sharp people that have put great info on the web. I am not too proud to do a Google search 😉
Step 4 ~ Call in reinforcements
Now that you know your getting your butt kicked, its time to call in the big guns. VW has a program set up to help mechanics when they are stuck on a problem. Its called VW tech line. What we do is, send an email to our VW tech help line folks. We attach diagnostic logs, photos, videos(I have never attached a video), and answer several questions about the issue with the car.
After sending the email, we have to call the guys at tech line and talk to them. They usually ask the very simple stuff like “did you check the battery, did you check this, check that, is the car on fire?”. After the basics are covered, its time to get to business. They have access to all of the cases from VW. They can tell how many times someone has called tech line about this issue, and what they did to fix the problem. It usually takes a few calls to get an issue resolved.
Step 5 ~ Dispatch the top dog 
When all of the above fail, the top dog comes to the dealer. We have a regional guy that travels to dealers to help fix the REALLY broken cars. There is warranty criteria that requires him being dispatched. I am pretty sure I can’t talk about what that is. This is the guy that has all the connections to the really important people in the company.
The guy we have now is pretty awesome. He worked as a VW tech line guy for years. I acutally worked with him years ago, when he was a tech line guy.  This is basically the last line of repair. I have not ran into a car that between the regional guy and myself, couldn’t be fixed.
Step 6 ~ T.M.I.
If it comes to this, its time to T.M.I. or Trade Me In! I heard that saying on CarTalk, btw. I think the more appropriate thing to say is buy back. There is lots of legal mumbo jumbo about buy backs that I really don’t care to talk about. I am mostly just joking around about trading cars in.
More often folks will trade because the repair is too costly, not because I can’t fix it.