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Buying a used European car for $5k or less after a car-less decade: y/n?

Used car filter: after a decade without owning a car, I'd like to get back into the game. I'd prefer to spend $5k or less. I understand this means older cars/higher miles. I find myself drawn to early 2000s VW Golfs/GTIs, late-90s BMW 300 series, '90s Saabs, early '00s Volvos. Are any of these types going to be substantially more reliable or cheaper to maintain than others? [more inside]
posted by toomuchkatherine on Jul 12, 2014 - 38 answers

How can I replace a lost 1989 VW vanagon key?

Totally embarrassing, but I lost the sole remaining key to my family's 1989 VW Vanagon (on my way to make a copy, natch) ... I'll be calling locksmiths and my mechanic today, but if anyone has any experience and/or knowledge of fixes for such a SNAFU, I would appreciate tips. (No, I don't have a picture of it. Yes, very stupid. Trust me; I've heard it.)
posted by mrgrimm on Jun 3, 2014 - 11 answers

Is a 2001 VW Turbodiesel a Bad Idea?

I might have a chance to buy one from a friend. It only has 120k on it, one owner, who has put a lot of work into and has a good maintenance history (and a reliable local mechanic who has done a lot of the work that she recommends). I need a car mostly for commuting, don't want to spend a lot of money, and in a few years, could afford to sell it and get something new. (Also: I have always loved Beetles, but I'm trying not to let that sway me). [more inside]
posted by emjaybee on Mar 4, 2014 - 17 answers

Can I avoid having a salvage title (California)?

My Vanagon was hit, and the other person's insurance company wrote it off as a total loss. We settled, and I retained possession of the vehicle. It's fixed and good to go--except maybe the whole salvage title thing. [more inside]
posted by jsturgill on Feb 3, 2014 - 8 answers

How to get at something stuck between dashboard and dash in VW Jetta?

This morning, I tossed the RFID parking strip that automatically opens the gate for my building onto the dash and it slid under windshield. I can't see it, but when I slip a thin piece of cardboard in, I can feel it rattling around. Has anyone else ever experienced this and have any suggestions? Is it possible to remove the dash?
posted by perpetualstroll on Jul 20, 2013 - 10 answers

Buying an older diesel car (80's) for daily use

I am looking to buy an 81 VW Rabbit diesel (turbo diesel, non-intercooled) as a daily driver. I have experience with gasoline engines, and routine maintenance, but diesels are new to me. [more inside]
posted by Lugos on Jun 28, 2013 - 14 answers

VW - Y/N?

Is buying a used VW (or Audi) really that bad of an idea? [more inside]
posted by Venadium on May 24, 2013 - 31 answers

Bill Cosby - VW - San Francisco - Hilltop car lot

Can someone point me to the routine where Bill Cosby talks about driving a VW in San Francisco, stops on a hill and can't get going because of the clutch? "Go around" he yells to the person behind him, but that person, too, is driving a VW...?
posted by madmatx on Nov 20, 2012 - 8 answers

a woosh and a shift and the land that we...wait your car is making that noise...?

i hear cars coming up my road, and when they obviously shift to the next gear, i hear a "whoosh" of "air" or something else. what is that? [more inside]
posted by ps_im_awesome on Sep 8, 2012 - 7 answers

How can I learn how to work on my new 30-year-old VW Rabbit (Diesel)?

Best shop manuals and online forums for vintage VW Diesel Rabbit owners? [more inside]
posted by seasparrow on Aug 17, 2012 - 6 answers

No honk car lock

Is there a way to deactivate the horn honk when locking a car with the key remote? Or some other trick to lock a VW Jetta without having the horn honk? [more inside]
posted by yarrow on Aug 9, 2012 - 26 answers

Help me decide between a VW Golf Wagon and Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester or VW Golf Wagon? [more inside]
posted by any portmanteau in a storm on Jul 9, 2012 - 34 answers

Come hang out behind the dairy twist with me and look at cars...or at least help me find the ad...

Looking for a 1999/2000 VW Jetta commercial where some dudes come up to a Jetta driver and ask him to join them to "look at cars" "behind the dairy twist". [more inside]
posted by chiefthe on May 16, 2012 - 2 answers

I think I hate my Volkswagen.

Why is my check engine light coming on and off? And can I wait to get it fixed? [more inside]
posted by ablazingsaddle on Mar 19, 2012 - 20 answers

Engine braking with a cold engine - bad idea?

Engine braking with a cold engine - bad idea? [more inside]
posted by wutangclan on Mar 7, 2012 - 30 answers

Getting AACs in bulk to become MP3s to better be played with SDs.

What's the best - and ideally free - way to get a LOT of AAC's onto a memory card that will play in my car? [more inside]
posted by rileyray3000 on Feb 24, 2012 - 9 answers

The automatic transmission on my 2001 VR2 Volkswagen Jetta has failed twice.

The automatic transmission on my 2001 VR2 Volkswagen Jetta has failed twice. The first time was at 40,000 miles, it was covered under the 10 year/100k powertrain warranty (but barely) and now I am 6 months out of the time period but the car only has 64,000 miles on it and has been impeccably maintained and gently used. How can I get the dealer to cover this under warranty? [more inside]
posted by telomere on Feb 8, 2012 - 18 answers

What is the song in this Volkswagen commercial?

There is a Volkswagen Passat commercial I keep seeing lately with a song that sounds vaguely like a Budos Band song in the background, though I don't believe that's actually what it is.. but what is it? [more inside]
posted by zempf on Jan 10, 2012 - 1 answer

how do I make this popular retro car look more retro?

2012 Beetle-filter - I just got one and I'm looking for ways to make it MORE retro looking. [more inside]
posted by rileyray3000 on Dec 5, 2011 - 10 answers

Did I imagined a VW in Fast Five?

Yesterday I saw Fast Five. The car lists mentions none, but I clearly remember seeing the VW logo on the front of the cars on the final chase scene. Am I wrong?
posted by jgwong on Jun 2, 2011 - 4 answers

What is the best vehicle for a Dad and his young daughter to take on driving adventures?

What is the best cheap(ish) camper/rv/vehicle appropriate for a Dad and his young daughter to take on driving adventures? [more inside]
posted by EvilPRGuy on Apr 26, 2011 - 12 answers

VW Golf mk4 oil pan busted. Is there anything wrong with my car?

I was driving up a mountain road today in my 2000 VW Golf GLS, when I ran over a rock that was about the size of a football and broke open my oil pan. I drove a little further down the road before my "check oil" light lit up and my engine started getting louder. When I had a chance to pull over and have a look under the car, I saw that the oil pan was busted and the remaining amount of my cars oil spewing out. (read on) [more inside]
posted by mtomanelli on Mar 19, 2011 - 21 answers

I want to buy some German insect power!

What Volkswagen (old) Beetle model/year/feature set is right for us? [more inside]
posted by RolandOfEld on Feb 24, 2011 - 33 answers

2001 VW Golf caught in flooding - now difficult to change gears

My 2001 VW Golf (1.6l manual) was caught in flash flooding on Friday. The car stalled in water that came up to a couple of inches past the level of the bottom of the doors. The car was in the water for about 15 minutes before some local residents helped me push the car out of the water. Luckily, the car started and I drove home. The next day I found it was (intermittently) difficult to change gears. Is it possible that water could have got into the transmission or some other part of the car effecting the transmission? Or is this just a coincidence and the well know problem with the Mk4 transmission has happened? Any advice is appreciated.
posted by hithere on Feb 5, 2011 - 9 answers

Noisier Golf 1.9 TDI

My 2005 VW Golf 1.9 litre TDI has started making an odd noise. It doesn't start until maybe 5 seconds after having started the engine and appears to be loudest around the area near the alternator. [more inside]
posted by Transparent Yak on Dec 12, 2010 - 7 answers

Cars do not run on air.

I ran my 2000 diesel VW Beetle out of gas. Before taking it to the mechanic, I want to see if I can fix the problem. I'm pretty sure nothing I do will screw it up worse than it already is. [more inside]
posted by cereselle on Sep 19, 2010 - 9 answers

New lease... how can I avoid getting screwed?

With any luck, today I'll be leasing a new car. The price has been negotiated, the car's here, and I have an appointment at the dealership to handle all the paperwork. What do I need to know? What should I be on the lookout for? How are they going to try to screw me? [more inside]
posted by cgg on Sep 2, 2010 - 17 answers

Car Woes: They say Go to the Dealer

While my pretty well maintained 2000 Passat wagon would probably pass an emissions test it can't because the computer (ECU) is failing. My local euro car mechanic and two different smog techs have had the same results: car doesn't communicate with OBD. They all suggest I take it to the VW dealer. [more inside]
posted by snsranch on Jul 29, 2010 - 10 answers

Help me get rid of my car, without sacrificing too much!

How can I sell my car without having to deal with Craigslist, etc, but not get completely ripped off? [more inside]
posted by cgg on Jul 22, 2010 - 11 answers

Advice regarding extended road trip or living out of a vehicle...

Suppose I wanted drive around North America for 6 or 8 months and live out of the vehicle ... [more inside]
posted by dobbs on Jun 13, 2010 - 31 answers

Vehicular woes

Our 2005 VW Diesel Golf needs a timing belt replaced. It has 111k miles on it. They suggested that they replace the water pump at the same time, even though it is perfectly fine. Is it worth it? [more inside]
posted by sickinthehead on May 15, 2010 - 21 answers

VW Jetta: Dreck or no?

VolkswagenFilter: I'm going to be looking at a '99 VW Jetta (A4 body) in the next couple days and am wondering what, specifically, I should look for when I'm there. [more inside]
posted by dunkadunc on Oct 7, 2009 - 14 answers

Locking the side-door in a VW Transporter panel van?

Is the sliding side-door lockable on the Volkswagen Transporter? [more inside]
posted by knapah on Sep 8, 2009 - 10 answers

My Poor Car...

How badly am I getting ripped off? By poor, poor car, a '02 VW 1.8T with ~168,000 kms on it, needs a lot of work. $2600 worth. [more inside]
posted by cgg on Sep 3, 2009 - 13 answers

I can get a toe, what about the shirt?

I shall not rest until I find the shirt donned in the VW "Dudeism" commercial. Without even knowing of the existence of the religion, I have been religiously following everything this suggests and have a feeling this shirt will tie the room together. Anyone know where I can get the DaVinci shirt of the Dude?
posted by eytanb on Aug 13, 2009 - 7 answers

2002 Volkswagen Cabrio GLX Trouble Code P0261, P0264, P0267; Cylinder 1-3 Injector Circuit Low

VW Cabrio Filter: 2002 VW Cabrio GLX, in the Californian heat experiencing: Trouble Code P0261, P0264, P0267; Cylinder 1-3 Injector Circuit Low, upon start-up (requiring a second turn of ignition). Is this related to battery voltage (avg 13.50), or other. DIY solutions please. Thanks! :) [more inside]
posted by strangelove on Jul 16, 2009 - 6 answers

Purchasing a used VW Cabrio with a online vs. sticker price discrepancy

I am interested in purchasing a used VW Cabrio which is listed (recently) online at ~$7800, while checking out the car this morning on the lot, it has a sales price of ~$9400. I am hoping to communicate with the dealer today, but am unsure how to proceed with this price discrepancy noted, and in general. Please help, thank you.
posted by strangelove on Jul 5, 2009 - 9 answers

Changing a tire on a VW Jetta

My 2002 VW Jetta has a flat tire, the hubcap requires a special key to remove it, and I can't seem to find the key. Can someone tell or show me what I'm looking for? (It's our first flat in this car, and the manual doesn't show it clearly.) If I call roadside assistance to change the tire, and I can't find the key, will they likely have a key with them?
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jan 15, 2009 - 17 answers

How do I read a Passat odometer?

How do I read a 2002 VW Passat odometer? [more inside]
posted by KevinSkomsvold on Nov 29, 2008 - 18 answers

I could fix it myself, but I'd really rather not.

VW "Customer Care" isn't exactly screwing me, but they're not doing me any favors, either. What should I do next? The part was poorly designed and faulty, but I didn't get my car to the dealership until two weeks after the expiration of a warranty extension I never knew about. Full story follows: [more inside]
posted by booknerd on Nov 3, 2008 - 9 answers

are the older GTI's still awesome?

I'm looking for a used car that's fun to drive, nice power, great handling. I've been thinking about the VW GTI, which I hear fits all these criteria, but I've also heard that they don't get totally awesome until 2007. Is this true? Or can I go older and still get something super fun? [more inside]
posted by alohaliz on Jul 13, 2008 - 16 answers

VW Beetle wiring riddle

Apropos of nothing, why would the wiring going to the fog lights on a US 2002 VW New Beetle have an extra unattached plug on it? This is not the lowest model, but came with the fog lights standard. I wonder if one of the upscale versions had fog lamps with two bulbs in each light or something that would have required another plug. On second look, it occurs only on the drivers side wiring, the passenger side looks normal. Please stop me from agonizing over this superfluous detail!
posted by ackptui on Jun 22, 2008 - 11 answers

My Jetta fails me.

Where does one take a sick and ailing 98 Jetta in Chicago? [more inside]
posted by santojulieta on May 30, 2008 - 3 answers

How do I fix my VW golf stereo?

How to unlock my VW golf car stereo? [more inside]
posted by ethel on Apr 20, 2008 - 6 answers

kind of like Little Miss Sunshine - all the people + camera equipment - bus + ecological sensitivity

What's the modern, ecological equivalent of a Volkswagon Bus (oh yeah and make it cheap, please). [more inside]
posted by sully75 on Feb 17, 2008 - 28 answers

Rear bike rack for a VW New Beetle

Anybody know the make and model of a bike rack that can be used on the rear end of a VW New Beetle? I know Volkswagen makes a top-mounted rack accessory, but I don't want to be lifting my heavy bikes up that high. Bonus points if you have successfully mounted it on your own Beetle in this lifetime. Holding 2 bikes would be fine, 3 would be even better.
posted by ackptui on Jan 29, 2008 - 6 answers

Help us get our crappy cars fixed.

Where in Chicago can I get the brakes on a '99 VW Jetta and '98 Ford Escort replaced reliably and cheaply? [more inside]
posted by santojulieta on Jan 17, 2008 - 3 answers

Is my manual '02 GTI going to roll away?

Is my manual '02 VW GTI going to roll away? My emergency brake appears to still be working, but all of a sudden it now requires me to pull it up so it's almost vertical in order to feel it engage. Previously, I've never had to yank it up more than a couple inches. [more inside]
posted by cgg on Dec 3, 2007 - 14 answers

New VW camper van?

What is today's equivalent of a VW Westfalia camper? [more inside]
posted by toastchee on Sep 21, 2007 - 12 answers

VW Golf wants to stall after A/C repair. Fixable?

After having the A/C compressor replaced in our VW Golf, the engine idle speed drops way down to near-stalling whenever the clutch is released while driving. It pops right back up, but it's a bit unnerving. [more inside]
posted by odinsdream on Sep 8, 2007 - 9 answers

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