Tag Archive for: modified

Before I start into my rant, I want you all to know this has nothing to do with you guys. If you don’t know my stance on modding cars, here it is. DO IT! Mod the heck out of your car. Even if you want to bring your car to the dealer to get it worked on. Just remember you will pay to play! But this rant is less about modding cars, and more about how people act.

Okay, on to the rant. I try and spend a fair amount of time in forums and Yahoo answers. I work hard to try and help folks out with there car questions. The folks that might not ever find the blog, or bring their car to me for service. It also helps me keep up with what folks are concerned about.

In spending so much time in those places I realized that people are really arrogant mean. I can’t tell you how many times I have read.

That car looks stupid, you need to do this and this and this, then it will be cool.

You can fill in whatever you want for the “this”. It could be slam the car’s suspension so you can’t even drive it, or tinting the windows so dark you cant see in or out. Then tell me how great the car drives, or they can totally see fine. Both of which I know are lies!

Here is the truth about modding cars. If you like it, do it! If you think that putting huge wheels on your car is cool, rock on. If you want to load your car up with stickers, go for it.

The only thing that I will say is do the install right, and be safe. Pinching the power wire of your amplifier in the car door is STUPID and dangerous. Do the job right!

So when it comes to “pimping your car” do what you like. Get over the fact that everyone has different tastes. Just because you like something, doesn’t mean that your was is the only way. There is no need too throttle someone else for doing something to their car, just because you don’t like it.

Sorry for the rant guys, but I need to say it.


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Hey everyone! I am back in action on this fine Monday morning. As you know, I was at training for VW last week. I will do a little follow up about the training and some of the things that I learned while I was there. You might have also noticed that I took a little “digital break” this weekend. I just needed some time to recharge and get some things done around the house. Thanks for hanging in there for me.

Alright, let’s get into today’s post. A comment came in on a post last week. Alex from iHeartEuro asked me this question.

I had a question for you… maybe you know the answer. 2 years ago I had a fully loaded 2010 GTI and when I plugged a VagCom I found quite a few options that were DISABLED for some reason (memory driver heated seat, cluster sweeping, remote windows, coming home lights…) it took a few minutes to enable all of those things:) I am just curious why the dealers sell a car with all of these options turned OFF?

Okay, before I dive into this, let me explain what VagCom is. VagCom is an aftermarket diagnostic software. It mimics the VW scan tool. I will save my full take on the software for another day. Let’s just say, from a mechanic point of view, I will use anything to help me fix cars I can. I will leave it at that for now 😉

That is a really great question that Alex asked. Let’s break it down into a few different categories.

Mass Appeal

VW, like all car companies, has to appeal to as many people as possible. It is not just about style and fuel mileage, but features. The more things that a car can do, the less most people use. There are a lot of folks driving VWs that don’t know you can open and close the windows with the key in the door. All of the features and in the owners manual, but let’s be honest most people don’t read that. 😀

A perfect example is a performance exhaust. Sure you might get a little more power, but most folks don’t want the extra noise. I am not sure that this is why Alex found things turned off. I will say that cars are tested and tested to fit the appeal of the most drivers possible

Big Brother

Yes that’s right, D.O.T.  D.M.V.  E.P.A. C.A.R.B and probably a million more government agencies that have their hands in the pot. In one way or another every part in your car has to be approved by the government. Seriously, everything!

Lets say VW puts an exhaust system on one of their cars. This system will allow the car to get 50 miles per gallon. E.P.A says that it puts .001 too much pollution into the air. VW will have to redesign the system. Now the car meets the guideline, but we have lost 20MPG. Thank goodness for for aftermarket parts. ~ I will say that I 100% made that scenario up. I doubt that this exact thing would happen, but everything is government regulated.


With the newer generation of cars, we have the ability to turn things off and on. Like Alex said, he turned on the remote window function. I don’t think that function has any specific compatibility issues, but I don’t know for sure. The cool thing about MOST of the stuff we change on a car, is we can change them back. There is the opportunity to change something with unintended consequences.

Let’s say we turn on a really cool feature that only the European cars have. Everything is cool, but now our radio doesn’t work. I remember a Touareg that would not tune to the proper radio station. Instead of 105.1, it would be 105.2. It turns out the previous owner of the car turned off the “accept” screen for the navigation. This switched it to a Euro station programming.


To some, this might be a stretch, but remember just because YOU understand your car, doesn’t mean that everyone will. Let’s use Alex’s window example again. When the 2006 Jettas and Passats came out, customers were asking us to turn the remote window feature on. This would allow you to raise and lower the windows with the remote. A super cool feature btw! We were advised that the dealer was NOT to disable ANY safety feature. EVER!

When you use the windows with the remote, it disables “pinch protection”. Pinch protection will stop window operation when it hits something. The concern is someone operating the windows and someone getting caught in the window.

The other big one is tire pressure on a Touareg. When the tire pressure monitors go out on a 2004-2007 it can cost up to $2000 to replace. Disabling the system is REALLY easy, but not something that we will do at the dealer. If you don’t think that proper tire pressure is important, ask someone from Ford or Firestone. I would almost bet those tragedies are why we are required to have tire pressure monitors.

I hope that has cleared up some of the questions that everyone has. I am glad that VW has the option to “customize” their cars. Oh, and thank you to the aftermarket for helping with the rest! I have said it before, mod your car all day long, just remember this “You gotta pay to play” 🙂

One last thing~ While I am at training, it really gives me time to reflect. As we are coming up on the sites 1st anniversary I wanted to ask for a little help from you guys. Ok, here it goes

What can I do to make this site better for YOU?

Pretty simple right? I want to make sure that the time you guys spend here is as awesome as possible. What type of content would you like to see? More videos? More DIY? More pictures? More “How does that thing work”? Post any thoughts you have in the comments. Remember, this community includes you too!!

{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