Recall of Volkswagen Jetta, Golf, SportWagens Affects Used Car Buying

Buying a Recalled Volkswagen Jetta Could Be Good in Spite of Fuel Leak Problem

2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI is among thousands of diesel vehicles being recalled by Volkswagen for fuel line problems. Photo (c) Volkswagen

Volkswagen is conducting a voluntary safety recall on approximately 159,884 Volkswagen Jetta and Jetta SportWagens manufactured from May 2008 through September 2011 and Golf models manufactured from May 2009 through September 2011. It could affect used car buying with potential deals for savvy consumers.

Audi model included

The recall also includes the Audi A3 diesel model that is powered by the same engine as the Volkswagen Jetta and Jetta SportWagen and VW Golf.

A total of about 164,000 vehicles are thus involved in the recall if the Audi models are included. That's up to 164,000 used cars that are going to be off the market until these cars can be fixed. That's a significant number of what would probably be profitable Volkswagen certified pre-owned vehicles.

On vehicles manufactured during these time periods and equipped with the 2.0L TDI Clean Diesel engine, certain vibrations can potentially result in a fuel line cracking, possibly causing a fuel leak. Volkswagen is not aware of any accidents or injuries caused by this issue.

Fuel Leaks Not Benign

A fuel leak sounds almost benign in the method Volkswagen describes it but it's not. As Patrick Rall reported at TorqueNews.com, "A crack in your fuel line - especially in the presence of harsh vibration - can lead to a fuel leak and although diesel fuel is less flammable than gasoline, there is still an increased risk of fire in the engine bay."

Just to demonstrate how serious the issue was Volkswagen told its dealers to stop selling new models until they can be fixed. As Rall reported in another story on the VW fuel leak problem, "Volkswagen estimates that around 8,161 vehicles are affected by this stop sale order, which prevents dealerships from selling, leasing or trading these models with other dealerships until the problem is fixed."

Having to park 8,000 vehicles could have a strong impact on Volkswagen's new car sales, especially because it sold roughly 27,000 vehicles in September 2011. Yanking cars off the lot will hurt its year-end numbers because people may not want to wait a month or more (and Volkswagen can be slow on getting parts in the pipeline).

Certified Pre-Owned Volkswagen Jettas

But this is a used car site and it's important to keep some things in mind when potentially purchasing a Volkswagen Jetta and Jetta SportWagens manufactured from May 2008 through September 2011 and Golf models manufactured from May 2009 through September 2011. Under no circumstances should you buy a certified pre-owned model from a dealership that has not had the work done.

That means the vehicle is not properly certified. The dealership needs to demonstrate that the work has been done. Don't take the dealership at its word. Make sure it has completed paperwork (which has to be submitted to Volkswagen) showing the work has been done. It has to be submitted largely so the dealership can be paid for the work.

Buy a Recalled Volkswagen

Also, it's OK to buy Volkswagen Jetta and Jetta SportWagens manufactured from May 2008 through September 2011 and Golf models manufactured from May 2009 through September 2011 from a private seller who has not had the work done but only if there is a financial incentive in it for you.

The seller needs to deduct at least $500 off the bottom line to compensate you for the time it's going to take to get the work done. Also, it demonstrates bad maintenance habits if recall work has not been done before selling a used car.

I have some thorough advice on buying a used car with a recall notice that can help you take advantage of the situation. Take a few moments to peruse it if you plan to purchase one of these used Volkswagens.

Now back to the recall, in order to prevent this incident from occurring, customers will be sent notification letters beginning in November, requesting them to contact an authorized Volkswagen dealership for inspection and repair. The fuel injection lines will be inspected and replaced, if necessary. On all vehicles with 2.0L TDIĀ® Clean Diesel engine vibration dampers will be installed.

This procedure will be performed free of charge. Customers with questions or concerns should contact Volkswagen Customer Care at 1-800-822-8987.