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Discussion Starter #1
Note: this post is about my bad experiences from the service department of DARCARS VW. (If you are going to buy a car from DARCARS, my comments may not fit as I saw feedbacks on some dealer rating websites are mostly positive for the sales department.)

I'll give some background first to facilitate your understanding in the scenarios I describe below. I'm a University of Maryland-College Park grad student. I got my first car in early 2012, and I know nothing about the car when I got it, but eventually I learned how to DIY from many friends here. (Even I don't post often, I do come.) I live in College Park so when I went to a dealer, I chose the closest dealer, DARCARS VW. However, for several trips I've been there, experiences with their service manager, KF, turned out to be extremely uncomfortable.

My first unpleasant trip there was to change a drive side headlight bulb. I didn't want to change the bulb myself since it has been widely known here that the handle of plastic latches for the headlight is easy to break, especially for an old car as I got. I assumed a dealer would do a far better job than myself, but it turned out that they might have broken the latch handle and I wasn't informed (it was my fault that I didn't check the latch after they changed the bulb immediately). Three months later when I was checking engine oil level, I saw the broken latch and went back and asked them to fix that. During the three months time, I had my local mechanic to do timing belt, axle shaft, and oil change, and I suppose these jobs do not involve jobs on the driver side headlight and airbox. The interesting story now comes. The service manager, Mr. KF, after his technician replacing the latch, alleged that I, or the local mechanic was the one who broke the latch handle, because he was told by the technician that the airbox was not properly seated. He added that if he were the technician on duty, he wouldn't fix the latch for me. You see the way he "dealt" with this particular customer, and the tendency he has to prejudge his customers.

Now the second unpleasant trip. My car recently had CEL on, but I was busy with my projects having no time to go to dealers for checking so I used a VAGCOM to pull the codes, clear them, and see whether it will come up again. The coded never come up again. Later when I had time, I went to DARCARS, described the problems I had, and gave them the codes I retrieved for reference purpose. Mr. KF, as if I humiliated him, unpleasantly stated their policy that they won't look at ANY codes besides those codes retrieved by themselves. Umm, the policy is reasonable. But Mr. KF, why do I feel like as if you were a customer, and I were a manger to serve you?

I later asked my local mechanic about DARCARS VW on how good they are. He said they are good to him at least, but he agreed with my words that, their service department is rude to customers, since "they are the only VW dealer the areas around College Park," he added. I checked on VW website for the service coverage. Yes, DARCARS seems to serve a larger area. The other possible reason in my mind comes out: are gentle people in the area, so nice that they are easily satisfied inferior services?
 

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5/23/10 <3
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I would find an independent VW shop. My only experiences with the dealer were not pleasant ones (I went to Antwerpen in Glen Burnie/Pasadena). I only work on my cars myself or take to a local mechanic who knows VWs inside and out. Much cheaper and much easier to deal with. And they do a lot better troubleshooting.
 

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We have two VW shops in the Syracuse area. I deal with one shop for parts and have been less then impressed with a couple of the parts counter personal.

They have a couple that are fantastic to deal with. One younger gentleman, mid 20's. The other is a very personable black gentleman probably late 20's early 30's. These two guys are great to deal with. Very supportive and helpful.

The older set of lemmings? Full on Schmucks. They will 'hide' in the back helping out their tech's. Ring the customer buzzer? They look out at the counter and most of the time sneer and look like we just disturbed them while they are banging the wife. The one time the fat bast#rd finally decided to give me a hand with parts? Rude as he&&. I'll deal with the first two guys and walk away if I see the other set of dingbats start to walk up.

As for the service writers/manager? Very smug and full of themselves. I'll admit I like picking their brains a bit--But when they quoted me a huge amount for a thermostat change, and then when I asked "how much to also change out the housing"..they quoted me an additional $100.

Find a decent independent VW or a shop that specializes with cars made in Europe- (bmw, audi's, etc...) Find one of those and if they are fair? Treat 'em like gold! Because it's rare.

S-
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the suggestions and sharing. I found the nearest independent VW shop is 11 miles away, and there are 7 shops with 30 miles range.

Don't know whether they seems far to you guys, but they are far to me. Let me research them first :D
 

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5/23/10 <3
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11 miles is far? There are TDI owners that will travel several hours to a mechanic. 11 miles is close!

Definitely research the shops though. Some are certainly better than others.
 

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Peace Love & T.o.D.
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I drive 3.5hrs to my indy shop. granted I do most of my own stuff like bulbs, oils, brakes and what not. But major work like timing belt and WP, that stuff is left to the pros. I drive past 4 VW stealerships on the way, I just nod my head. That 3.5hr drive usually saves me at least 50%.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I drive 3.5hrs to my indy shop. granted I do most of my own stuff like bulbs, oils, brakes and what not. But major work like timing belt and WP, that stuff is left to the pros. I drive past 4 VW stealerships on the way, I just nod my head. That 3.5hr drive usually saves me at least 50%.
Agreed. I do most work myself nowadays by following Bentley manual and how-to's on the ORG. Most of them are not that complicated but need some time to figure out steps when picture guides are not provided. Major work like timing belt and water pump are beyond my estimate of reasonable efforts and are therefore left for mechanics, but I really want to have a try if guided by someone more professional :)
 

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Peace Love & T.o.D.
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One of my favorite resources is YouTube. From fixing your car to cooking in the kitchen, it can probably be found on YouTube.
It helps to watch the process, as opposed to being told how to do it.
 

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Peace Love & T.o.D.
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Please give some thought about joining us at the Tail of the Dragon in May. One of the best gatherings of Beetle people to be had anywhere. Check out the info in the link below.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
One of my favorite resources is YouTube. From fixing your car to cooking in the kitchen, it can probably be found on YouTube.
It helps to watch the process, as opposed to being told how to do it.
Agreed. I also like pictorial HOWTOs such as those by D2Beetle.

Please give some thought about joining us at the Tail of the Dragon in May. One of the best gatherings of Beetle people to be had anywhere. Check out the info in the link below.
Thanks for the invitation, and I've been reading the long post :eek: I don't know if I need to take/teach class(es) this spring until the end of this month. Let me update with you later :)
 
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