So my siphon was dirty. Ok. Clean with water. Ok. But then since I wanted to use it right away, wouldn’t the residual drops in it introduce a “contaminant” in testing? Uh oh. So I blew out the drops with canned air.
One big problem – the engine was hot. This is supposed to be the right way, when the oil mixes itself when hot, as opposed to cold where given time, it’ll separate into components somewhat. Getting the siphon to work here was difficult, so I sucked the oil out of the bottom of the engine. Ugh. Yes, I tasted it.
This is VERY IMPORTANT if you are pulling oil from the top, as opposed to getting a sample during an oil change. The diameter of the dipstick tube is exactly the diameter of this siphon’s tube, plus a billionth of an inch. So, if you’re going to use a siphon, get one that is smaller diameter than 1/4 inch, or if that’s impossible, a 1/4 inch like mine will work in the VW 1.8 gasoline engine dipstick tube if you have patience.
1/4 inch is very difficult to feed into the top, where it narrows. It took minutes both times I went in for a pull. If the engine is hot, you’ll get some mild burns trying to feed it down.
In a word: yes. But only if the outside temperature is below 55°F.
It may sound strange, but this is a big thing for me. I want to maximize efficiency and as everybody knows, air conditioning is a hit to fuel economy.
So to avoid this I’d keep AC off but turn on the cool air — temperature dial on full cool and blower on 2 or 3. If it’s say 70°F outside and you need some cold air, this should work. Right?
Sadly, my Golf Alltrack’s climate control system simply doesn’t let cool, outside air into the cabin… there’s some degree (get it? heh) of heating that happens to ambient air.
So the outside temperature needs to be somewhat cold to get cool air from the vents. If it’s above what I’ve found to be mid-50’s, you need to turn the AC on.
No Climate Control Leaks
On the other side of the coin, I was happy to find that the climate control system doesn’t “leak” warm air into the cabin. When the temperature dial is set to max heat, and the blower is off, no heat comes from the vents. This is a good thing.
The opposite is also true: if the dial is set to max cool and the system is off, there is no cold air from the vents. The system seems to be buttoned up (heh, another one) very well.
If this sounds like I’m heaping praise on something that should just work, I am. Many cars I’ve been in leak and allow hot or cold air in when the system is off.
What’s that light on the dashboard mean? Here’s a list! Parking brake, low oil, low coolant, ABS, high beams, tire pressure, low fuel, and all the dozens of others. They’re shown here with color codes so you can see which mean DO NOT DRIVE ANOTHER INCH and which mean “If you get around to it before 2025, that’s cool.”
These are often called “idiot lights” because they don’t say anything about why the problem is happening.
VW’s Multifunction Display (or “Driver Information Display“) is where you can see everything your VW has to tell you about its condition.
We aim to help you get an understanding of what Multifunction Display shows and how to navigate it.
This information applies to newer VW models, 2012-2018, including the fine new Golf Alltrack. (Shameless plug there because we have one!)
Your VW Is Saying Something
Think of the Multifunction Display as a collection of messages about warnings (seldom) or information (always). It’s not where you adjust any settings, that’s for the Infotainment system, but rather where you can quickly see what’s going on in your VW.
You page through them using the controls on the steering wheel. See below:
Use the Left Page/Right Page button circled in blue above to cycle through the five Parent pages. Use the up/down button circled in orange above to move through the Child pages within any Parent page.
In some cases in Driving Data, the information available to display is more than the Parent/Child hierarchy can show, so Grandchild pages become available. Grandchild pages are cycled by pressing the OK button, circled in green in the illustration above.
Here are the five top-level Multifunction Display items (Parents), in order:
Driving Data is the most complex but the most useful of the Multifunction Display pages. It holds information like fuel economy (MPG), average speed, distance travelled, driving time, oil temperature, current speed, and more.
It has 9 child pages, and 4 of those have grandchildren. We’ll make a dedicated post on Driving Data’s children and grandchildren soon.
Information displays for the navigation system (if equipped). When route guidance is active, turn arrows and proximity bars similar to the symbols shown in the navigation system are displayed.
If navigation is not equipped, it shows a 3D compass with the car image pointed in whatever direction it’s currently facing.
You guessed it! Audio page shows… what’s playing. How did you know?! Station display or station list in radio mode.
Information about the connected telephone.
Current warning and information messages.
This menu item only appears when warning or information messages are available. We’ve never seen any messages in it in the 2017 Alltrack test-ship. Zero, none, nada.
And That’s How You Pick Up What Your VW’s Putting Down
That’s the Driving Information Display, from a “10,000 foot view”. Later this week we’ll post about the Driving Data parent and its children and grandchildren. The rest don’t need much explanation, but Driving Data has more information than all the others combined, so it deserves its own post.
Well, here’s the latest. It’s by far the worst change from month to month, as you can see.
Since August I’ve been going deeper into the revs… 6k RPM to 7k RPM, now that the 1.8 is broken in*. If that doesn’t explain the suddenly darker-than-expected engine oil color than I’m at a loss.
I’m going to look at the air filter. See if that offers any clues to the dark oil. Engine oil should not be this dark after 6 months and 5200 miles.
I don’t run the car in dirty conditions, off road, inside coal plants’ smokestacks, etc. I always run 91 octane, every time. Running premium fuel is one of the Three Things I Always Do for my Alltrack.
My 2017 Alltrack has been in once for service of any kind, this one being of the unscheduled variety to treat a mildew AC smell. The dealer fixed a slow leak (nail) in the right rear tire for free. Tires are a separate warranty, between the owner and the tire manufacturer.
Alltrack Ownership: Fuel Economy
On the way back from a New Mexico roadtrip, my Alltrack averaged 33.6 MPG, which is not that great for highway travel, but at 77 MPH, which is nice and quick.
Historically, my Alltrack has achieved anywhere from 28 to 41 MPG highway.
Alltrack Ownership: She’s at 5k Miles
My Alltrack’s 5000 mile mark came right about at the 6 month mark… which is where I thought she would be. After all, I did buy the factory extended warranty at 10 years/100k miles. See what I paid for the 10/100 VW Alltrack factory warranty here.
The oil color continues to worry me, and now it’s really dark. I don’t like this factory scheduled oil change stuff. If it was my old Volvo 850, I’d simply change the oil.
The tires have no curb-rash bead to protect the rims, and so I’ve curbed them twice, leaving small “curb rash” marks in the finish. This isn’t so much a gripe with the car, obviously, but I think VW cheaped out on the tire brand/model, which is Falken.
The track is a little wider than my old Volvo 850, so my curb proximity sense is a little off when I park.
The 2018 Golf models get a 6-year, 72k mile warranty, which is significantly better than the 2017s, which were covered by a 3-year, 36k mile warranty, which was too low for me so I forked out a few thousand dollars to get a 10/100k warranty.
The seat continues to bother me… lack of thigh support specifically.
When it comes to cars, you can’t get much more iconic than the Volkswagen Beetle. This oddly-shaped automobile that was originally designed for efficiency and economy stole the hearts of consumers everywhere became cemented in history as the automotive symbol of the counterculture movement of the 1960s, and is still going strong with a base of devoted fans across the globe. Call it quirky, call it adorable, call it a “slug bug” if you absolutely must- whatever attributes you attach to it, one thing is certain: the Volkswagen Beetle is a cherished and universally beloved entry into the automotive hall of fame, and it got there by being its own weird little self.
Wait…What’s This About Nazis?
Want to hear something ironic? The car that became synonymous with peace, love and hippies back in the 60s was originally dreamed up by an individual with a slightly…different set of principles. Sort of the opposite of peace and love, if you get my drift.
OK, OK, fine, it was Hitler. Yes, THAT Hitler.
In 1934, after coming to power in Germany, Adolf Hitler commissioned Ferdinand Porsche (yes, THAT Porsche) to design a “people’s car” (literal German translation: “Volkswagen”) that was cheap and simple enough to be mass-produced so average German Joes could afford to drive on the country’s newly-completed road network. From 1934 to 1938 Porsche worked on the Beetle, known officially as the Volkswagen Type 1, though production was put on hold until 1945 as a result of World War II. When the car finally began to be produced in significant numbers, it became an instant hit with citizens of Germany, followed shortly by the rest of the world.
Meet the Beetle
Volkswagen Beetle was produced as a rear-engine, two-door, four-cylinder compact car. Its original design objective was to maximize efficiency and economy for consumers around the world. One of the first rear-engine designed car since the Brass Era, Volkswagen stuck with roughly the same design from 1938 to 2003, when the last original Bug rolled off the production line.
Mark I of the VW Beetle had 25 horsepower and was designed for a top speed of 100 km/h, or 62 MPH.
The 40 hp configuration that lasted through 1966 became the model’s classic motor, though subsequent variants such as the Kharmann Ghia, Type 2 (the official “hippie bus”) and the Golf began rolling off the assembly line to compete with the original Beetle for dominance in the European small-car market. In over six decades, 21,529,464 VW Beetles were produced, making it the longest-running, most manufactured car ever made on a single platform.
In 1998, Volkswagen released the New Beetle, a VW that tugged at the nostalgia heartstrings of aging Baby Boomers with its lines that hearkened back to the original Volkswagen Type 1. Built on a Golf platform, the New Beetle became a huge hit instantly and remained in production until 2011, when it was replaced by the redesigned Beetle A5, which remains in production today.
A Bug by Any Other Name
This may seem like common sense, but Volkswagen markets Beetles under various names around the world. Much like the way McDonald’s calls a Quarter Pounder a “Royale with Cheese” in France, Volkswagen’s iconic car has many cute nicknames in various parts of the world. In its native Germany, the Beetle is called the Kafer (German for “beetle), and here in the United States, as well as other English-speaking parts of the globe, it is known affectionately as a Bug. Say you’re in Paris:
… you can drive your Coccinelle (“ladybug”) up to the window at McDonald’s and order a Royale with Cheese, tout de suite!
Let’s face it: VW Beetles are adorable! Their round little chassis and bug-eyed headlights give them an irresistible personality all their own. There is no car on the market that embodies friendliness and joy than a Beetle. That’s probably why they are one of pop culture’s favorite automobiles. Back in the 1960s, the family-friendly Disney movie The Love Bug introduced us to Herbie, the anthropomorphic little Bug that can drive and think for himself. Herbie went on to star in a series of films including a fairly recent reboot, Herbie: Fully Loaded, featuring Lindsey Lohan. That’s not all- the VW Beetle pops up constantly in the media: every time a movie or TV show wants to portray a character as quirky or unique, the Beetle is the go-to vehicle of choice.
The Volkswagen Beetle is a thriving piece of 20th century pop culture that continues to be revered and celebrated to this day. There is no car more instantly recognizable (and certainly no other car that gives you license to punch a friend on the arm during a road trip), than a loveable, huggable Bug. The feel-good car that sprung from unlikely beginnings has become the subject of countless festivals and conventions to celebrate its existence, and will continue to be a symbol of freedom, individuality and love for years to come.