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Why Didn’t It Come From The Factory That Way?

Published on May 21, 2012 under Humble Mechanic

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 πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ˜€

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.Β  D.M.V.Β  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.

Compatibility

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.

Safety

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” πŸ™‚

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!!

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13 Comments

  1. Brandon

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

    I’m that kinda guy that I like to see that “behind the scene’s” kinda stuff, And I enjoy shopshots alot and think it would be cool if you did more stuff like that (Example: when you were testing different goo gone substances). Other than that I like the site and keep up the great work! P.S. looking forward to the post about what you learned at the seminar!

    1. Brandon

      Also, off topic but I figured your the best source to ask, on a TDI, is there a special fitting gas hole that fits the larger “truck” nozzles, or do you have to use the small pumps?

  2. Garrett Craven

    I agree with jeremy. More DIY is always good. I like to soak up an info or new processes i can! Pretty much whatever you got to offer were interested in lol. I like the “how stuff works” idea too. Shot shops is great too! Its all good! πŸ™‚

    by the way…you mentioned a lot about aftermarket and mods in this post πŸ™‚ isnt that like taboo for a “dealer guy” hahaha just kidding. Wouldnt mind seein or reading more about aftermarket too! Keep up the good work my friend!

    P.s. T-shirts? πŸ˜‰ lol

    1. Charles

      HAHA, I like aftermarket mods. I think that people should do whatever they want to their car, it’s their car right? πŸ˜‰

      The only time I have an issue is
      1) Don’t mod your car, then expect warranty to pay for issues.
      2) Don’t get mad when you have to pay more than you would have if the car was stock. If you slam your car to the ground, that is great! Just understand it will cost you more for me to put the car on the lift.

      T-shirts~ I am getting up with the guy that did the logo. There is something that needs to change with the file before I can proceed. The good stuff is coming.

  3. Alex@iHeartEuro

    Thanks for this article πŸ˜‰ I have always told myself we have those features disabled for the reason reasons we didn’t get the new Scirocco … or Polo for that matter…

    >>What can I do to make this site better for YOU?<<
    VAG related DIYs are is what I like. However, I enjoy reading about all your VW related experiences πŸ˜‰

  4. Kevin

    I changed the long coding on my 2008 Jetta to allow all the doors to unlock when I took the key out of the ignition. It worked great until the gas light came on and I realized the bit in the long coding I changed also caused my fuel lid to stop working and the trunk would pop itself every time I shut the car off!! A little online coding and the problem was fixed. If I did not work at a dealer that could have been a big issue. Funny story about turning features on or off.

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