22
Mar
08

VW Hospital (of sorts)

I don’t know a whole lot about cars on the mechanical/repair side of things, but spent this afternoon with my dad and brother up at one of Dad’s coworker’s place looking over my car and other things. It seems that his hobby is fixing up VWs in many shapes and sizes, especially diesel. At least he’s not afraid of working with diesel and seems to know a bit about what he’s talking about.

My Jetta hasn’t been acting quite right for a while recently, particularly taking extraordinarily long to accelerate up to speed. This has been an occasional problem off and on since I’ve had the car. Plus its fuel mileage has been pretty low the last few fill-ups (28mpg). The best I’ve seen on my car is about 42mpg, but he gets in the 50’s on his equivalent Beetle so something must not be right. It is possible I don’t quite drive the best, most fuel efficient way, but it should be doing better than that.

He has the computer adapter and software for running diagnostics on the car, so we ran a few tests to try to determine where the problem might lie. Fortunately it doesn’t seem to be the turbo itself (which is good as I’ve recently put in a new one). We didn’t have time to really get into looking in-depth at the other possibilities* in the engine, but at least we opened up the hood and looked around for obvious things. And now I know my way around the engine a little bit better.

Since it’s a diesel, I understand that the engine is much simpler than the gasoline version is, so that’s nice. I just wish I were better equipped to care for the engine and fix little things on my own instead of spending so much taking my poor car to the shop. I think I’m slightly afraid of messing something up and making things worse. In many guys’ growing up experience, their dad was into working on cars, so it just came naturally to work on their own car. In my case, my dad is a computer programmer type, so working on computers just comes naturally to me. I have to work harder on the car maintenance thing.

*Could be related to the intercooler, wastegate, EGR valve, fuel injection pump, and a couple other parts I’m not remembering.

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