When Car Repairs Do Not Go As Expected

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. 😉

5 replies
  1. Heather
    Heather says:

    Fortunately the customer was still under warranty. These are mass produced parts. Nothing is guaranteed, even with the proper recommended services there will still be failures.

  2. Your Mobile Mechanic
    Your Mobile Mechanic says:

    Its about a 50/50 thing for us to have a repair go right, especially ones that we have to do on the side of an interstate or something. It seem like the bigger the job the more straightforward it is sometimes! We had an engine sway on a RAM 1500 that went without a hitch but a brake job that took 4 freaking HRS because of rust, broken bolts and terrible brake lines. More fun though, right?!


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