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Automotive Engineer

Vw Car Service Rip Off

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>Mods, feel free to move to off-topic after 24 hours.

So I took my 11MY Polo to a Listers VW dealer. I wanted to get my MOT and a service done. I admit I neglected the servicing of my car last year, as usually do low millage but last year I got this contract in Warwickshire and I had to commute from Essex everyday until I moved.

One thing I also wanted to get at the dealer was an original OEM key, as I was using the spare. I broke the main one.

I like to keep my car as OEM original as possible, it's how I am. So when I sat down to talk with the parts department I was expecting to dish out quite a bit of money for a new key.

The girl in the service department told me the key would cost 50 quid, but on top of that, they would also have to reconfigure the ECU for the new key. (Something that would take, according to her, 1 1/2 hours) :o

I was a bit confused at first. My key is purely mechanical, it doesn't have a start button or remote locking or anything. It's an old fashion ignition system, turn the key and go.

I explained this to the part's girl, thinking she may have misunderstood me. But she still persisted on the ecu reconfiguration. This sounded like ********, so I pressed her on what type of ecu work would be needed. She excused herself saying she didn't know, but that I could speak to one of the mechanics. So I did. <_<

The girl came back saying the mechanics where too busy at the moment. :P

I thought fair enough, I'll go on piston heads, subscribe there and ask. I proceeded to request a new service book, as I had misplaced mine, and asked for a quote on a full service and what that service would include.

£350 or so for engine oil change, new spark plugs, air filter, oil filter, sump washer and some other bits. :mellow:

I then checked halfords auto center. £164 instead of the £350 buuuuuuuuuuuuut, add £22 because I need fully synthetic oil. They can also do a full engine flush (which mine would need for an extra £19) so in the end it's like: £205. ^_^

http://www.halfordsautocentres.com/mot/full-service-and-mot

Still, being an engineer, and having half the tools I needed I thought that would be a bit of a waste, so instead I opted for the diy option which I reckon will cost me £150 including £50 on getting a halfords jack and stands set. http://www.halfords.com/workshop-tools/garage-workshop/trolley-jacks/halfords-5-piece-lifting-kit

engine flush is about £5 http://www.halfords.com/motoring/engine-oils-fluids/fuel-oil-additives/wynns-engine-flush-petrol-and-diesel-425ml

oil (the castrol nice stuff) £47 http://www.halfords.com/motoring/engine-oils-fluids/engine-oil/castrol-edge-5w30-oil-4l

halfords oil filter £7 http://www.halfords.com/motoring/car-parts/filtration/oil-filters/halfords-oil-filter-hof308

tescos bucket £2

still have to find the spark plugs

and some other bits.

Now I don't expect everyone to know how to service their vehice, but you can save a lot of money doing it yourself. The own brand oem garages are way expensive imho. stay away from them.

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Find a good independent! They fix most things and don't lie. Obviously still more expensive than doing it yourself, as they have staff to pay. It's time or money.

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You don't need an engine flush... ignore that bit! Frequent oil changes are all that is required and flushes are often last ditch attempts to revive sledged up/neglected engines or just down right snake oil!

The key will still have an immobiliser chip in it and it needs to be paired so that it actually works, there is a pickup loop within the ignition barrel that reads the key much like an RFID reader/chip.

Get your self down to GSF or Euro Car Parts instead of Halfords. You can get better items (MANN filters rather than Halfords for example which are OEM for some manufacturers such as VAG, BOSCH plugs etc.) and it will be cheaper than Halfords with better advice and sales staff who actually know cars! Be sure to look for codes/sales as they are often available. Or check out www.vwspares.co.uk which is good for Quantum (the stuff that you'd buy at the dealers... but 40%+ cheaper) oil and other VAG parts.

Service your car annually (minimum!) regardless of mileage! Clean oil is good! Variable service intervals are bad for engines.

Gap your spark plugs or atleast check them if they are pre-gapped.

Follow torque settings or you'll strip threads and that can get expensive quickly! Especially the sump plug (common one to round off, especially if you have an alu sump).

Enjoy servicing your cars. Keep your receipts for your service history and document things for the next owner.

Edit: and a Full service imho should include brake fluid (generally 2 years), brake clean up and grease, belts (check your service requirements), coolant (again, check intervals) as well as an inspection of the bushes, suspension and tyres :)

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Find a good independent! They fix most things and don't lie. Obviously still more expensive than doing it yourself, as they have staff to pay. It's time or money.

obviously, you need to pay mechanics.

i cant expect a well trained mechanic to work for minimum wage, thank god there is still some working class jobs that are adequately remunerated

it would be however an embarrassment for me not to know how to fix my own car as i work in the industry

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You don't need an engine flush... ignore that bit! Frequent oil changes are all that is required and flushes are often last ditch attempts to revive sledged up/neglected engines or just down right snake oil!

The key will still have an immobiliser chip in it and it needs to be paired so that it actually works, there is a pickup loop within the ignition barrel that reads the key much like an RFID reader/chip.

Get your self down to GSF or Euro Car Parts instead of Halfords. You can get better items (MANN filters rather than Halfords for example which are OEM for some manufacturers such as VAG, BOSCH plugs etc.) and it will be cheaper than Halfords with better advice and sales staff who actually know cars! Be sure to look for codes/sales as they are often available. Or check out www.vwspares.co.uk which is good for Quantum (the stuff that you'd buy at the dealers... but 40%+ cheaper) oil and other VAG parts.

Service your car annually (minimum!) regardless of mileage! Clean oil is good! Variable service intervals are bad for engines.

Gap your spark plugs or atleast check them if they are pre-gapped.

Follow torque settings or you'll strip threads and that can get expensive quickly! Especially the sump plug (common one to round off, especially if you have an alu sump).

Enjoy servicing your cars. Keep your receipts for your service history and document things for the next owner.

ah, thank you.

They didn't explain that in the listers dealer. I'm sure the job would take less than 1 1/2 hours though.

I will tighten the sump by hand and finish off with a small ratchet.

euro car parts will work, i checked vwspares and they only do up to the 09 polo

edit: 5l quantum 5w30 for 30 quid :o:o:o

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Must admit VW dealers do seem to come up quite a lot when people complain about overcharging. Bit offputting as I would quite like a Taureg.

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That £350 dealer service would include a hell of alot and most probably a coolant & brake fluid change & gearbox oil if it's specified at the current millage / vehicle age.

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I'm not sure about brake fluid changes. I've never done one unless I've removed a caliper or changed hoses etc. The theory is that the fluid absorbs water and causes corrosion and/or boiling under extreme use.

I've never boiled the brakes even on track and any corrosion has been from the outside in. I reckon the fluid would last the life of the vehicle given the chance.

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If using Eurocarparts, buy online and collect in store - it is always cheaper (even if you don't use codes).

I used to do oil changes from under the car, but recently I've been using an oil pump to do the job from above. I know it isn't as good an option (as you miss some sludge which is drawn out through the sump plug) but it is so very much easier I end up changing the oil more often (ie, at 12 months, rather than at 12 months deciding it needs to be done, then procrastinating for 2 months because I can't be bothered). The pumps cost < £20 on ebay, and you won't need the jack & stands to do the job. They are a bit slow, but you just connect to the battery and leave draining into an old oil can (in this way it is way less messy than using oil change pans) while you do the filter (or have a cup of tea).

Using the right tools to take off the oil filter makes things much easier as well - work out if you need side access (strap type) or end access (claw type).

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I'm not sure about brake fluid changes. I've never done one unless I've removed a caliper or changed hoses etc. The theory is that the fluid absorbs water and causes corrosion and/or boiling under extreme use.

I've never boiled the brakes even on track and any corrosion has been from the outside in. I reckon the fluid would last the life of the vehicle given the chance.

Must try harder

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If using Eurocarparts, buy online and collect in store - it is always cheaper (even if you don't use codes).

I used to do oil changes from under the car, but recently I've been using an oil pump to do the job from above. I know it isn't as good an option (as you miss some sludge which is drawn out through the sump plug) but it is so very much easier I end up changing the oil more often (ie, at 12 months, rather than at 12 months deciding it needs to be done, then procrastinating for 2 months because I can't be bothered). The pumps cost < £20 on ebay, and you won't need the jack & stands to do the job. They are a bit slow, but you just connect to the battery and leave draining into an old oil can (in this way it is way less messy than using oil change pans) while you do the filter (or have a cup of tea).

Using the right tools to take off the oil filter makes things much easier as well - work out if you need side access (strap type) or end access (claw type).

Ramps for frequent oil changes. Mine gets oil changes ~6months as its turbo and gets driven hard/tracked. Doesn't take long at all with ramps.

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Oh, and don't use engine flush - can cause more problems than they solve.

Ramps for frequent oil changes. Mine gets oil changes ~6months as its turbo and gets driven hard/tracked. Doesn't take long at all with ramps.

Fair enough. It allows you to wipe the magnetic plug as well (if you've got one). It is just such a dirty job from below.

But most garaged use pumps to change oil from above these days.

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It is just such a dirty job from below.

If its not dirty its just not fun.

But then I did spend months transplanting an engine and full electrical system from another car in to mine only to blow it up after 100 miles and not get too pissed off as it was a good learning experience (replacing piston rings etc...), so I may be special/different :)

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Car DIY is one of those quantum things where it's neither as hard or as easy as people frequently make out. For every reasonably practical person it will be quite straightforward for there'll be another who would be better taking it to a garage. It's easy to be unaware of small things like filling the fuel filter with clean fuel, to minimise the air in the system, and it's not impossible to burn the starter out.

As already mentioned forget the engine flush. The right kit makes things easier. I would favour ramps for speed/ease. It can be surprising how much you need special tools wise even for a basic service and if you change car to another manufacturer there is often little crossover. I'm not a fan of sucking engine or transmission oil out through dipstick holes with a pump you really want to be draining from the sump plug when the oil is warm.

Disposing of waste engine oil is a hassle. I used to chuck it on night time bonfires with tyres when the thick black smoke can't be seen so easily. I've developed a quick way of cutting up tyres now and have disposed of hundreds with household waste but have still got an IBC tank with well over 1000 litres of waste engine oil threatening to cause it's own mini environmental disaster.

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Car DIY is one of those quantum things where it's neither as hard or as easy as people frequently make out. For every reasonably practical person it will be quite straightforward for there'll be another who would be better taking it to a garage. It's easy to be unaware of small things like filling the fuel filter with clean fuel, to minimise the air in the system, and it's not impossible to burn the starter out.

As already mentioned forget the engine flush. The right kit makes things easier. I would favour ramps for speed/ease. It can be surprising how much you need special tools wise even for a basic service and if you change car to another manufacturer there is often little crossover. I'm not a fan of sucking engine or transmission oil out through dipstick holes with a pump you really want to be draining from the sump plug when the oil is warm.

Disposing of waste engine oil is a hassle. I used to chuck it on night time bonfires with tyres when the thick black smoke can't be seen so easily. I've developed a quick way of cutting up tyres now and have disposed of hundreds with household waste but have still got an IBC tank with well over 1000 litres of waste engine oil threatening to cause it's own mini environmental disaster.

Out of interest how do you cut up your tyres? I've got dozens piled up in my back garden and the missus is not happy about it. I suggested turning them into planters and she became quite irate.

Used engine oil I take to the tip in a jerrycan. They take used oil for recycling.

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Out of interest how do you cut up your tyres? I've got dozens piled up in my back garden and the missus is not happy about it. I suggested turning them into planters and she became quite irate.

Used engine oil I take to the tip in a jerrycan. They take used oil for recycling.

Check your HWRC, some take tyres. Ours is 4 per visit, don't see anything about number of visits per year but I assume they'd cotton on if it were a tyre shop doing it :) I've cut a few off rims using a reciprocating saw but the blades didn't last long. Only really viable if weighing in old alloys.

Ending up with 1000 litres of used engine oil is not normal DIY mechanic behaviour :P

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I'm not sure about brake fluid changes. I've never done one unless I've removed a caliper or changed hoses etc. The theory is that the fluid absorbs water and causes corrosion and/or boiling under extreme use.

I've never boiled the brakes even on track and any corrosion has been from the outside in. I reckon the fluid would last the life of the vehicle given the chance.

Yes, I'd be inclined to agree provided you've got a good pedal and no signs of braking inefficiency. I've got a brake fluid tester that supposedly informs you when it needs doing but to be honest. much like battery testers, I think it's a primarily a tool to help commercial garages sell add ons to punters.

Must admit VW dealers do seem to come up quite a lot when people complain about overcharging. Bit offputting as I would quite like a Taureg.

VW let me have a demonstrator of the latest model, for a fortnight, to try and lure me into buying one so had a fairly good go. TBH it's not as good as a Range Rover Sport and obviously doesn't have the off road ability. If you don't really need the off road ability an X5 is probably better. Both those options do have an image downside due to the amount of tw@ts who've bought them unfortunately. Better than an XC90 I'd say, though, but haven't any experience of the latest model.

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Check your HWRC, some take tyres. Ours is 4 per visit, don't see anything about number of visits per year but I assume they'd cotton on if it were a tyre shop doing it :) I've cut a few off rims using a reciprocating saw but the blades didn't last long. Only really viable if weighing in old alloys.

Ending up with 1000 litres of used engine oil is not normal DIY mechanic behaviour :P

Will try my local tip and see why happens, thanks.

As for the oil, if I had 1000L I'd consider getting an oil fired boiler.

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Out of interest how do you cut up your tyres? I've got dozens piled up in my back garden and the missus is not happy about it. I suggested turning them into planters and she became quite irate.

Used engine oil I take to the tip in a jerrycan. They take used oil for recycling.

The problem is although it is genuine private use I generate waste oil in too much volume that it wouldn't raise eyebrows at the local council tip. Some of the bigger toys in the box have 60 litres in their sump. I have looked into a waste oil burning heater but were quite a big investment if you can't readily use the heat they generate. I've also got quite a bit of regular heating oil.

After lots of failed experimenting with angle grinders and reciprocating saws I was quite pleased with the tyre breakthrough as I was getting fed up with them kicking around until I had a lorry load and could get a tyre disposal co to come and collect them. You can get farmers wanting them to keep the polythene on silage but there were no takers local to me.

I have got some photos I'II upload if I can find them as a couple of fellow car hoarders expressed an interest.

To dispose of tyres with your household rubbish you will ideally need the following: A reciprocating saw, a large pair of tin snips, some bolt cutters and either a power driver and longish screw or a large cable tie.

First cut through the thick inner wire in four places, on both sides with the bolt cutters. Then in one part, on both sides, cut outwards, with the tin snips, through the side wall to the tread, on both sides. Then when you reach the tread (the hardest part but not too bad) cut across it with the reciprocating saw. You should then have cut right through the tyre in one place.

Next, (the easy bit) just below the tread cut through the soft sidewall material, with the tin snips, all the way round the circumference on both sides which will leave you with the tread and eight pieces of side wall. Then lay the tread (tread side up) out flat on the floor then roll it up as tightly as possible, back on itself, then either put a long screw through it, to secure it, or use a cable tie. It should now all easily go in a carrier bag well away from prying eyes when you chuck it in the wheelie bin.

Edit: forgot to mention lubricate the sides of the saw blade first with tyre paste or washing up liquid.

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Interesting technique regarding tyres. I'll give it a try. In the past I tried to cut up a tyre using an angle grinder which resulted in massive amounts of smoke and frustration, your method makes more sense.

I'm intrigued as to what contraption has 60L of oil in the sump, is it a bus?

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