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Old 10-22-2018, 04:33 PM   #1
johnvwick
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Longevity, typical issues, preferred maint.

Hey all,

Perhaps my years of driving American beaters has made me paranoid (and then a few years with a high mileage Nissan Titan that I got at 200k and cruised to 300k, pulling a horse trailer, etc, with no issues before the radiator blew and everything else cascaded after that...), but my 2012 GTI is a bit above 120k now, and it seems like over the past year or so I've had to address more issues with more frequency.

Example: I replaced my coil pack 30k ago, and just had some misfire issues again recently--replaced the coil pack again (only one misfire was serious enough for the CEL to flash, but it didn't stay on, and I haven't checked for a code, just decided to pop some new coils in and see, since the dealer couldn't replicate the issue.......obviously I got the CEL flash the day after I got the car back).

Replaced the spark plugs after the coil pack, so probably similar mileage on them, but the misfire issue seems to be resolved...though I'm thinking I'll get a set of plugs just to have ready.

Is this typical? I didn't have to do any of this for the first 60k, basically. This is the first car (and my first VW) I've driven from low mileage (18k) to high, and I'm wondering how frequent these issues are going to become.

I don't think the transmission fluid was ever changed, and the dealer said if it hasn't been, changing it now could destroy the engine...which seems... kind of crazy to me.

I really like the car, but I'm not interested in sinking $2k into it every few months, nor is that kind of maintenance in my budget.

It's driven pretty gently. I haven't tuned anything. Filters and oils are changed regularly.

I do every 5k for oil changes due to running rich--and going longer than that has actually resulted in a near-seize around a hard turn...on a highway onramp. Terrifying.

Is this kind of maintenance (burning through coils, oil and plugs) pretty typical? Already did the water pump repair, which apparently I can expect to do again...

Mileage has gone down a bit in the past three years... I used to have to drive about 500 miles a week, now I'm down to about 200...300 on a busier week.

I don't know if this is a reasonable question to ask, since everyone's experience will vary (actual mileage may literally vary), but polling the crowd seems like a good way to get an average prediction.
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Old 10-22-2018, 05:24 PM   #2
smanierre
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnvwick View Post
Hey all,

Perhaps my years of driving American beaters has made me paranoid (and then a few years with a high mileage Nissan Titan that I got at 200k and cruised to 300k, pulling a horse trailer, etc, with no issues before the radiator blew and everything else cascaded after that...), but my 2012 GTI is a bit above 120k now, and it seems like over the past year or so I've had to address more issues with more frequency.

Example: I replaced my coil pack 30k ago, and just had some misfire issues again recently--replaced the coil pack again (only one misfire was serious enough for the CEL to flash, but it didn't stay on, and I haven't checked for a code, just decided to pop some new coils in and see, since the dealer couldn't replicate the issue.......obviously I got the CEL flash the day after I got the car back).

Replaced the spark plugs after the coil pack, so probably similar mileage on them, but the misfire issue seems to be resolved...though I'm thinking I'll get a set of plugs just to have ready.

Is this typical? I didn't have to do any of this for the first 60k, basically. This is the first car (and my first VW) I've driven from low mileage (18k) to high, and I'm wondering how frequent these issues are going to become.

I don't think the transmission fluid was ever changed, and the dealer said if it hasn't been, changing it now could destroy the engine...which seems... kind of crazy to me.

I really like the car, but I'm not interested in sinking $2k into it every few months, nor is that kind of maintenance in my budget.

It's driven pretty gently. I haven't tuned anything. Filters and oils are changed regularly.

I do every 5k for oil changes due to running rich--and going longer than that has actually resulted in a near-seize around a hard turn...on a highway onramp. Terrifying.

Is this kind of maintenance (burning through coils, oil and plugs) pretty typical? Already did the water pump repair, which apparently I can expect to do again...

Mileage has gone down a bit in the past three years... I used to have to drive about 500 miles a week, now I'm down to about 200...300 on a busier week.

I don't know if this is a reasonable question to ask, since everyone's experience will vary (actual mileage may literally vary), but polling the crowd seems like a good way to get an average prediction.
Did you replace it with the latest OEM revision coil packs or red tops? I don't think i've heard of anyone having issues with those. Also have you had a carbon cleaning done at all? That could account for the misfires and the lower MPGs. As for the oil burning, it's hit or miss for these cars I feel like. Some people have issues, I got 5k without burning a drop. It's also a known issue that long right hand turns can cause oil starvation, usually only happens if you are really getting on the car during the turn, or you're low on oil in the first place. If you know it burns oil, check it more often and keep a quart or two in the trunk. Also may want to look into doing timing chains as you're getting towards the mileage where they may be starting to stretch.
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Old 10-23-2018, 01:58 PM   #3
johnvwick
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Originally Posted by smanierre View Post
Did you replace it with the latest OEM revision coil packs or red tops? I don't think i've heard of anyone having issues with those. Also have you had a carbon cleaning done at all? That could account for the misfires and the lower MPGs. As for the oil burning, it's hit or miss for these cars I feel like. Some people have issues, I got 5k without burning a drop. It's also a known issue that long right hand turns can cause oil starvation, usually only happens if you are really getting on the car during the turn, or you're low on oil in the first place. If you know it burns oil, check it more often and keep a quart or two in the trunk. Also may want to look into doing timing chains as you're getting towards the mileage where they may be starting to stretch.
Thanks!

Before I knew how easy it was to replace the coils, I had the dealer do it, and it looked like they replaced them with the latest OEM. I saw the red tops but was hesitant to do anything non-OEM, and then ironically just had to go with whatever I could buy in a store because I needed to change them ASAP, so right now there's a Duralast pack in there and they seem okay so far. So, it would have been the OEM coils that burned out after 30k if the coil is in fact the problem. I haven't had a misfire since changing them, but the car is a little laggy after startup on a cold day (no actual drop or hesitation, just not a perfect feel until it's warmed up).

And, for some reason, I feel like it's always coil 3 that misfires. After the first small lag/misfire, I opened the hood and the third coil looked a little higher than the others, so I pushed it down and that seemed to do the trick, more or less...but I feel like that spark plug didn't seat down exactly as far, either. Something about that particular cylinder?

We did clean the intake valves spring of last year, I believe.

I only had that oil issue the one time, and that is when I started to do oil changes at 5k, I think. And it was around a right hand turn, one of those sharp, small, uphill, cloverleaf onramps. I don't think it actually burns through oil as long as I keep to that schedule, and the dealer has never mentioned anything about what they're finding at the changes, so I don't think it's abnormal. I'll ask about what the oil looks like at the change when I bring it in next week.

I just understand the cars to run rich as far as the black tail pipes and the need to change at 5k vs 10k.

I will look into the timing chains, though hopefully we can wait on that for a few thousand more miles.

I actually thought the timing belt was going over the summer, but the bigger fan had died so the small fan was pulling hard and rattling the assembly, I guess, as there was no more noise from the timing belt after that.
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Old 10-23-2018, 06:53 PM   #4
1ashchuckton
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All cars have sooty black tail pipes. It's not an indicator that your car is running rich. Does your oil smell like gasoline? Next oil change have a sample of the used oil pulled & send it in for an analysis. That will answer the running rich question for you.

These are great cars yours should go far as long as you take care of it. You might want to have a carbon cleaning done.
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Old 11-02-2018, 02:49 PM   #5
johnvwick
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Well, while the misfire issue *did* improve after replacing the coil pack, and I didn't get another CEL, about two days before I was due to bring it in to get an oil change (I only do dry maintenance and haven't gotten to the point where I'm comfortable dealing with fluids, just because I don't want to) and swap to winter tires, it started running super rough on startup (weather was colder, too) and for anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes after that. Dealer said I was experiencing cold start misfires ... which does match with the timing of the issues ... and recommended the carbon cleaning ($989...ouch) which I did..since it was going to be due soon anyway and I was already experiencing issues.

I had it done about 40k ago, so hopefully that's it for a while. Now of course I am wondering if I changed my coil pack for nothing, but since it seemed to help, I'm fine leaving it. It's a relatively inexpensive fix, in the scheme of things.

I was very tempted to try to do the carbon cleaning myself, but there's also a limit to how much of my car I'm willing to remove to get to parts, haha.

Changed after 4800 miles, the oil was a quart low.

Here's hoping we can go another 20-40k without major issues, but who am I kidding?

Does anyone here have one with over 200k on it? We are at 120k + right now, and I'm hoping it will go to 200k before I have to retire it. I also try to reduce the miles I put on it--long distance out of town trips are rental cars only. Unfortunately for this babe, most of the driving is city driving.

As far as all cars having sooty black tailpipes, not to the extent the GTIs tend to have--it was a known cosmetic issue back when I bought the car and even at the dealer I was buying from they mentioned it in reference to how the car processes oil + gas.
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Old 11-02-2018, 06:54 PM   #6
zrickety
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnvwick View Post
It's driven pretty gently.
I don't understand why you would drive it gently and use a rental car. These are built to be driven. I have 155k and recently took the car cross country. Regular maintenance is typically all these cars need, there are 'common' issues but even those are not necessarily that common. I am on the original water pump, assuming yours was installed correctly it could last many years. As for the transmission, changing the fluid will not harm anything. That's an urban legend that came from Chevy trucks. Definitely change the fluid!

Some of these cars do use oil, but I wonder if it's because most people run 0w-40 or Castrol...my car drank Castrol. I switched to Mobil 1 10w-40 (I'm in a warmer climate) and it barely uses half a quart between 5k changes. But I drive pretty hard. Next time you need coils, get the red Audi R8 coils if you're going to keep the car.
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Old 11-03-2018, 10:48 AM   #7
cchase__
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I'm not sure what you expect. The GTI is a tuner car, made for people who enjoy working on their own cars and know what they're doing. Its cheap to work on at that point. If you don't enjoy the car or have the interest in creating that experience to work on your car then the GTI isn't the car for you. A tuner car that was unintentionally intentionally made to have the headroom to make the power and to have fun with it. Going with aftermarket parts is by far the best decision anyone can make by the increased MPG, Power, and Efficiency. Most issues are solved with aftermarket parts or revised OEM parts. Do the job yourself and the cost will be significantly lower compared to what the dealer would charge. Upper timing chain and tensioner = $300 DIY using the vast information on this forum; dealer = $800+ with a week with being suck with a rental car. I know exactly what I would pick at that point. If you ultimately know what you're doing than the GTI is a great reliable car.
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Old 11-06-2018, 11:54 AM   #8
SyDiko
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I'd keep your oil topped off and get that carbon cleaning done.
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Old 11-09-2018, 12:55 PM   #9
SnailPower
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Yeah honestly, if you can replace most failed parts with revised, better engineered/durable aftermarket parts, why not? This is typically where most of my modding begins with a new car because eventually parts will fail and once you begin replacing with aftermarket, it kind of spirals out of control, lol.

I can understand wanting to keep a car as OEM as possible ultimately for resale value? Though that depends how much fun you want to get out of the car. The GTI is pretty dull stock IMO. It comes alive once you mod the hell out of it but again, prepare for the windfall of problems once you begin to do so.

I like to imagine, eventually once you replace enough with solid aftermarket parts, you will get to a comfort spot where you can relax for a bit before the next big issue. At that point though you should be able to prevent as much problems as possible by doing regular maintenance aftermarket or not.
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