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More on diesel

Posted by Steve_o (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 26, 05 at 10:05

I'm not a math whiz, but the higher price of diesel, is clearly counteracting the financial benefits of the increased fuel economy.

That is true. As cowboyind points out, this is a temporary thing. Diesel prices always go up when it gets colder because there is so much more demand for it: cars, trucks, and locomotives use more fuel when it's cold out; home heating oil is essentially diesel; and even airlines use more because people are traveling for the North American winter holidays (Canadian Thanksgiving is pushing "winter" a little bit, but U.S. Thanksgiving and Christmas certainly meet the test). But this price trend is not at all typical. And, though I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, it would not surprise me in the least if people in the White House called a few of their buddies in the business and asked them to refine more gasoline to drive down the price and keep us proles quiet.

Someone in another forum on another site did the math and figured that, at today's unleaded and diesel prices, a gasoline-fueled car getting 38 mpg highway would cost the same to run as a diesel getting around 50 mpg highway. But that is now. With the price of diesel the same as that of unleaded, the 50% better mileage I get on my diesel compared to a gasoline-engine VW provides a relatively quick payback.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: More on diesel

Thank you, Steve. I keep gravitating toward getting a VW, but my wife doesn't like them, plus she has in her mind that they cost more, have higher maitenance costs and a lesser warranty. Myself, I am concerned about VW because of their reputation for difficulty in providing service when one has mechanical problems. I wish there were more choices for diesel. (please don't blame it all on the environmentalists, we all want to breathe clean air) They say how much cleaner the diesels are these days, so hopefully they'll catch on with the prices of gas being so high. There's one thing there's no denying, diesel is stinky!


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RE: More on diesel

There is a misconception that refineries can, at the turn of a knob, crank out more gasoline to diesel. After a cracking plant has been built, it has a relatively narrow range of adjustability of the ratio of gasoline to diesel, typically plus/minus 5%. If the average demand pattern shifts, it catches the refinery off guard. If the demand for diesel increases beyond a certain ratio to gasoline, there will be excess gasoline to sell, and vice versa.

However, this does not explain large differences in gasoline prices within the same state (where taxes are nearly constant per gallon).


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RE: More on diesel

JemDandy, I've noticed that diesel prices usually seem to follow crude oil prices much more closely than gasoline prices do. My suspicion is that the reason gasoline is cheaper than diesel now is because the industry is being careful not to shock consumers with overly high gasoline prices, so as not to destroy demand. People panic when the price to fill up their gas tank soars, even though high diesel prices probably have more far-reaching effects on consumers, since diesel is used to move nearly all consumer goods.

Jeremy, the VW diesels are highly proven and last a long time with no more maintenance than a gasoline engine. Servicing and maintenance complaints are probably due to individuals' bad experiences with a particular dealer. The VW diesels are sold all around the world in huge numbers. If they were plagued with problems or overly costly to keep running, I don't think they'd be as popular as they are.


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RE: More on diesel

This is kind of confusing to me, in a way. I have a (as I think every poster who's so far posted knows), a 2003 VW Jetta TDI. I'm closing in on 100K miles, which means a new timing belt. So far, I've replaced the tires (really; I think the Yokohamas are a downright bargin), and done the oil changes. Er......what other maintenance?

Yes, I realize that a lot of these models had problems before; window regulators were a real problem. And for some reason, many people don't like their dealers. But what other problems?

One solid car. As for prices; heck; I did this math back in 2003 when the car was six months old; I saved the cost of the diesel over a regular car in 5 months. Two years later; I'm sitting pretty. Regular diesel here sits about a dime higher than the lowest type of gas. And at 52 MPG; my car STILL is a better deal, mile for mile, than most other cars.

Jeremy; guess I'm missing your SO's point; what higher maintenance? It's the most maintenace free car I've ever owned. Granted; I do my own 10K oil changes (Amsoil), and rotate my tires. But what else is there?


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RE: More on diesel

Jason, which Yokos do you have? I have to replace my summer tires next year, so I'm gathering experiences.

Thank you, Steve. I keep gravitating toward getting a VW, but my wife doesn't like them, plus she has in her mind that they cost more, have higher maitenance costs and a lesser warranty.

The TDI VWs do cost somewhat more than their gasoline-engined peers, but the payback (when diesel is at normal prices) is much shorter than that of, say, a Honda Civic Hybrid vs. a regular Civic. Obviously, payback will be sooner if you do Jason's kind of mileage. And, so far, resale value on VW diesels has been quite high, so total cost of ownership is lower, too.

Myself, I am concerned about VW because of their reputation for difficulty in providing service when one has mechanical problems.

IMHO, the dealer network is one of the worst features of any VW. Bad dealers exist for all brands, of course. But VW seems to suffer from dealers who don't know how to treat an educated consumer (VW, I think, tends to attract a customer who appreciates and understands the engineering more) or an affluent one (as VW tries to move upscale, they'll find that customers won't bother with unhelpful, arrogant, untrustworthy dealers). There are good VW dealers out there. If you choose VW, make sure you find one. It will make a big difference in your ownership experience.

I wish there were more choices for diesel. (please don't blame it all on the environmentalists, we all want to breathe clean air) They say how much cleaner the diesels are these days, so hopefully they'll catch on with the prices of gas being so high.

You'd think so, wouldn't ya? :-/ I think there will be more choices for diesel, starting in another year or two, when ultra-low-sulfur diesel is mandatory in the U.S. Right now the U.S. gets some of the worst diesel fuel in the world, and it causes problems with high-performance diesel engines. Diesel also has a perception problem in the U.S. When most folks think of diesels, they think of slow, smelly, smoky buses or semis. I evangelize with my VW. I don't tell people it's a diesel until they get out of the car. They're almost always pleasantly surprised.

There's one thing there's no denying, diesel is stinky!

Heh. Some of that depends on where you get it. I am a little spoiled because I've been running 20% biodiesel all summer. Better diesel (including biodiesel) doesn't smell so much. Or, for that matter, make so much engine noise.

One other point: safety. My Wagon has ten airbags (dashboard, front seats, side curtains). VW supplies disc brakes all around standard (many Japanese and Korean brands make extra airbags and 4-wheel discs options). If there is an accident, the (five) seat belts will lock down so you don't move so far forward and, when the car stops, the car will shut down the engine and fuel system and unlock the doors automatically. Not to mention that diesel is less flammable than gasoline. How many cars in the Jetta's class offer all that? :-)


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RE: More on diesel

I gripe about VW's because I've owned three in the past. A '71 super beetle, a '74 beetle, and an '81 (I think) rabbit diesel. ALL WERE PIECES OF JUNK THAT WOULD HAVE MADE YUGO'S LOOK GOOD. What went wrong with them? Oh, about everything except the sheet metal and the tires. The rabbit diesel got great mileage, but the car was constantly falling appart. Hard to drive them in freezing weather because the defrosters were so poorly designed. I remember reaching out the window while tooling down the highway trying to catch the wiper on it's way back to give it a smack to get the ice off so I could see. Yeah, that was a great feature. Got rid of it when the head gasket started to leak at around 60k miles. Not a great feeling when driving to work and consistantly seeing seeing dead rabbits abandoned along side the road. I will NEVER purchase another VW product again even if it MADE GAS. Maybe they're better now. I doubt it.


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RE: More on diesel

I will NEVER purchase another VW product again even if it MADE GAS. Maybe they're better now. I doubt it.

My Jetta Wagon is my fourth VW. I figure I've put almost 300,000 miles on VWs since 1984. IMHO, they have become steadily better.

The Wagon is the best-built VW I've ever owned. I like to drive, so I don't particularly want an "appliance." I'll trade some attention to the car for handling and ultimate longevity. I figure I'll be in this car for 15 years or so (unless some idiot in a Neon with bald tires takes it out). A little repair work doesn't bother me, especially since my experience is that while little bits may have problems, the big bits (engine, body) will go the distance (the body alone is mostly galvanized metal and has a 12-year rust warranty). 'Course, I might feel differently if I had had your experience.

While I have to admit that I like features like heated power mirrors and a built-in alarm system and such, I must say that I would rather VW went back to its roots. My VW dealer has one of the old DDB ads up on the wall: "Lemon" -- a Beetle which was pulled off the line because the chrome on the dashboard was marred. I don't think VW is quite that fanatical now, which is a shame. It worked for them for years -- and it still works for Porsche, which has been perfecting essentially the same design for years. I can live without rain-sensing wipers and digital climate control if they can make sure that problems they (or I) discover on the car are rectified promptly and forevermore. That is not currently a VW strong point. They will have to fix that if they want to succeed in moving the brand upscale.


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RE: More on diesel

Diesel fuel is 80 cents a gallon more than unleaded by me. Not sure why such a big difference, but that may drop in a while. I considered a diesel for the good mileage but the 80 cents disparity in price might change my mind.

While in Austria and Germany a few years back I rented a Passat Wagon for two weeks. Very nice car!


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RE: More on diesel

Yes, and one point to remember is that if it costs more to buy a diesel car than an equivalent gas engine car, even the diesel may not pay for itself. For example, in the other discussion you mentioned a Chevy Malibu, which gets well over 30 miles per gallon on the highway and sells for about $15,500 well equipped after deducting for all of the available discunts. I think you can get a Golf diesel for about $20,000, and I'm betting those are not being discounted at all now, since they're probably selling them about as fast as they can make them.

If the Malibu gets 32 mpg on the highway and the Golf gets 45 mpg on the highway, and if diesel and gasoline both stabilize at $2.75 a gallon, you have to drive the Golf about 180,000 miles before you've saved the first dollar over the Malibu. If diesel continues to be more expensive than gasoline, then you have to drive the Golf even farther before saving any money.


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RE: More on diesel

Ken; you're right, I think, sort of. But I don't think you're quite comparing apples to oranges, and yeah, this is really just my opinion. Most people I know (and read about), were buying VWs anyhow; so really, the upgrade to the diesel is about $1800; it doesn't make a lot of sense for someone to spend 5K more JUST to get diesel, any more than it costs 5K more to get a hybrid.

Those of us who have diesels bought them specifically because we KNEW they were going to be high-mileage vehicles, not to just save a little over the short term. It's two different kinds of cars for two different kinds of driving. I mean; look at Steve and I; 300K miles for Steve, and we drive ours over 50K miles PER YEAR. And up until, oh, the past six months, diesel WAS cheaper than gas. I 'paid' for my diesel in about three months, and saved ever since.

I kind of liken it to the difference between diesel pickup trucks and regular ones; in Fords, it's a 5K upgrade, but SO many businesses do it because they drive those trucks for very long periods, even if they're not using them for the torque and towing; they do it for longevity. It's a 'semi' investment in the future going with diesel if it makes sense in your situation. And on top of that; don't forget that there are tax implications for those driving diesel vehicles for business purposes that gas doesn't have.

It's part of a package, so again; if you're just a commuter who blows out 15 or 20 miles to work and are in the 'average' for yearly driving, no, it doesn't make sense, yet, in most areas. If you're in areas that have bio-diesel (which right now is cheaper than gas here), have a business, hold cars long term, or put a LOT of miles on cars, it might make sense, but there's no overall 'best' way to figure this out; it's too individual to a specific drivers needs.

Given what I've experienced with diesel, and the money I save, and the quality of the car I have; I'm not going back if I don't have to.


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RE: More on diesel

I do need to clarify something in Jason's post. I've put 300,000+ miles on VWs, but only about a third of those miles on diesels.

Even though I am not putting a lot of miles on my car now, I went with the TDI for two main reasons. One was that VW's other engines weren't particularly fuel-efficient. The other was that the TDI offers 90% of the torque of VW's VR6 and is much quieter at highway speeds than the standard 2.0-liter engine, but it gets twice the mileage with fuel that, for several years, at least, was less expensive. When I bought, the price differential was $1100. It was pretty much a no-brainer for me. I figure lots of other people get upgraded engines on their cars; so did I. Mine is different in that it actually gets better mileage than the standard engine. If the TDI never pays for itself in fuel savings, I still have a good strong economical engine that's fun to drive, and that was worth a little extra to me.

There's a saying around us diesel drivers: "Once you go diesel, you never go back." A gasoline engine would be a tough sell to me now. :-)


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RE: More on diesel

Yes, there are many different ways to consider the price of something. Another way you can approach it is in terms of the payment: At 7 percent interest the payment on a $15,500 Malibu is $308 for 60 months. The payment on a $20,000 Golf diesel with the same finance terms is $396. A person could say that the Golf is the better deal as long as he or she will save at least $88 a month on fuel with it. However, in order to do that it would be necessary to drive a little over 3,000 miles a month, assuming that gas and diesel prices eventually return to roughly the same level, which I think they will.

I like the VW diesels, and I also like diesel pickup trucks. It makes a lot more sense to pay extra for a diesel than for a hybrid, in my opinion, because at least with the diesel you are getting something that probably actually will run long enough to allow you to save money with it, even though it may take some time.

But for someone who wants the lowest transportation cost, the best overall deal is probably still going to be a gasoline engine car that costs about $15,000 and gets good fuel economy. If fuel goes up another couple dollars a gallon, that may no longer be the case, though.


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RE: More on diesel

Around here, diesel hovers invariably at $2.99/gal. The cheapest gasoline is $2.39/gal. Thus, in fuel cost alone, my aging 30mpg Ford ToysRUs costs approximately $0.08/mile, whereas the 50mpg Jetta diesel would cost approximately $0.06/mile. Since I drive 25,000 miles per year, I would save $500/year in annual fuel costs, maybe more if diesel prices become "normal" again.

Now, for the Hybrid vs. Diesel comparison on a new car, the new Honda Civic Hybrid is touted as getting 51mpg on the highway. For the sake of argument, let's say the fuel mileage is equal (I know several things factor into this, I'm just trying to simplify it a little). In CT, we pay no sales tax on Hybrid vehicles, so based on MSRP, the basic cost (less destination charges & registration) of the civic would be $21,850 vs $22,567.40 for the Jetta. So even if diesel fuel prices become level with regular gasoline, on paper, it's practically a wash. One deciding factor would be environmental impact, another would be the projection of long-term maintenance costs. Plus, I could probably find a used Jetta TDI for a bit less than a used Civic Hybrid, if one can be found at all.

So after all that analysis, unless I find an exceptional deal, it all comes down to which car I like better... :)

~UncleD


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RE: More on diesel

In CT, we pay no sales tax on Hybrid vehicles

That's something that chaps my hide. Despite the recycling challenges that hybrids likely will pose in the future, folks in several states who buy them get showered with tax breaks and credits and the like. Those of us who buy diesels, which tend to last for a very long time and achieve the same or better mileage than hybrids (the whole point of the tax breaks, right?) get ... nothing. Tells me we're more about chasing shiny objects than getting ourselves out of a hole.


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RE: More on diesel

I agree with you, Steve_o. That's one issue I failed to mention; suppposedly, we get the tax break not solely because of the hybrid's fuel economy, but because it's considered more "environmentally friendly" than diesel due to lower emissions. IMHO it's nearsighted to consider emissions alone, and not take recycling into consideration, when speaking about "environmentally friendly."

The sales tax break saves $1,311, not exactly a huge amount in the grand scheme of things, certainly not from a monthly payment perspective. Like I said, it's a wash financially. Personally, give me biodiesel, and I think I'd choose the Jetta.


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RE: More on diesel

The Diesel maintenance costs can be higher - price the fuel filter and glow plugs...And right now the fuel cost is more per gallon, but it should not be.
I believe our government is responsible for this higher cost - in an attempt to protect the American auto industry, which as we know, manufactures NO automotive Diesel..
At least, thank goodness ,we do have some good "medium and heavy duty" truck Diesels....

VW should know by this point in time if it is true that the maintenance costs are higher, and then, in order to stay competitive they should lower them..

Remember, the Honda Accord Diesel is right around the corner..
We must build more refineries and nuclear power plants - unless we want to be the hostages of the oil-wealthy Arabs..
Evidently we do !!!

Diesel fuels stinks ?? True, but then so does gasoline..
I do not find the smell to be offensive, but it can be better controlled. But first the price must be better controlled, the smell issue is most minor....

Diesel fuel cannot be held to blame for the LA smog , nor, IMO, can gasoline..LA simply is poorly located - maybe it should be a automobile free area... lol ...lol
Yes, I know this is impossible - so maybe the battery powered cars would help.....
or , the best of all worlds - the Diesel hybrid running on vegetable oil.
And all the nay-sayers are rising up with "this cannot be done, we do not have the available land area"..
Can this be proven ??
And I do not think it is right for our government to give these tax breaks to the hybrid people...

Uncle Dave - indeed that was a funny one - "Ford ToysRUs"...


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RE: More on diesel

Ken; good point as usual. Of course, if someone is purely concerned about the most mileage bang for their buck, they oughta rush out and get a Chevy Aveo (I think that's the correct spelling), or a Kia or maybe a new Scion breadbox. All are under what....13K? And all get high 30's mileage (high, high 30's).

But many want just a 'little' more.


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RE: More on diesel

or , the best of all worlds - the Diesel hybrid running on vegetable oil.
And all the nay-sayers are rising up with "this cannot be done, we do not have the available land area"..
Can this be proven ??

I suspect that, if we really were serious about making biodiesel a viable fuel source, there would be all kinds of agricultural and manufacturing research done to learn which crops would provide (or could be bred to provide) higher levels (or qualities) of oil, as well as how to wring every last drop out of a given load of biomass. Maybe there isn't enough landmass to fuel everyone's car the way they're fueled now. But, right now, I think the answer is "d. Not enough information at this time"


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RE: More on diesel

Thanks, but I'll take Earthie's statements and opinions. I might not agree; but at least they make sense.


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RE: More on diesel

"Thanks, but I'll take Earthie's statements and opinions. I might not agree; but at least they make sense."

Ditto. IMO he's correct about L.A. The geography wasn't made to support anywhere near the number of people that live there.

He thinks old VW diesels were good. I don't. He seems to think that diesel cars are the answer to our energy needs. I don't, but I do think it could help in the short term.

Keep posting earthworm. I don't always agree with your opinions, but I always respect them.


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RE: More on diesel

Thanks , Gary and Jason,
And it is a pleasure to discuss things with gentlemen.

Cowboyind makes an excellent argument for the Chevrolet Malibu.. I'd guess that the Golf and Malibu are competitors - more or less..
Love to see a good Diesel under the hood of a Malibu...


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RE: More on diesel

There could be a diesel under the hood of the Malibu as soon as the government saw fit to allow it. The Malibu shares the GM Epsilon global chassis with the Saab 9-3 and the Opel Vectra, and the non-U.S. versions of both of those are available with good diesels. (The Saab isn't available with the diesel here; the Vectra isn't sold here.)

If the government truly wants to help consumers in this era of high fuel prices, I can't think of a better way to do it than modify the emissions regulations to permit a flood of 45 - 50 mpg cars to be brought to market. Even those who don't want a new car, don't want a diesel, or can't afford a new car at all would benefit, because the demand for fuel would be reduced by the people who did by them, and many would.


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RE: More on diesel

The maintenance costs I was referring to about VW are things like the oil change. I haven't done my homework on this, but I understand that they take sythetic oil and that the oil changes cost quite a bit more. Insurance cost is another factor I have not researched. Another factor to consider is comparisons in warranty. Also I was reading up on diesels and there is much talk and controversy about "properly" breaking in the engine for thousands of miles. All this plus what's mentioned above means it's quite a complicated decision if you want it to be. Much easier to just say "I like that one, it's a pretty color, don't you think?"


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RE: More on diesel

A lot of the things you read about "properly" breaking in the engine are put out by enthusiasts who take things like that somewhat to the extreme. A diesel engine isn't that much different from a gasoline engine. It has a higher compression ratio, different fuel injection system, and no spark plugs. Most of today's engines are going to be fully broken in by a couple hundred miles, because they're already built to close tolerances to begin with.

I would be surprised if the VW diesels call for synthetic oil, but the VW owners who post here can answer that for certain. Most of the diesels I know of are pickups, and the owners usually use non-synthetic 15W-40 Shell Rotella. Diesels get their oil pretty black due to the impurities in the fuel, but most manufacturers no longer recommend drastically different maintenance intervals than they do for gas engines.

Of course, the issue of whether or not the diesel makes economic sense is a lot more complicated because it depends on how much you drive, how long you keep a vehicle, and other things like that. If you're just looking for the cheapest possible transportation, a Chevy Aveo would probably be hard to beat, as Jason pointed out above. But most people are probably looking for a compromise between comfort, performance, and operating cost. Diesels do pretty well when looked at in that way, and the Chevy Malibu does too.


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Well....if you take it to the dealer for an oil change, it's gonna cost you. I think mine charges like $57 or something, but that also includes lubes and other add ons. But, my 2003 speciically calls for a 10K oil change interval; so, even at $20 a pop at the quick lube; it's about the same.

We've had this whole discussion before about synthetic versus non, long interval oil changes, etc. I am not as mechnically inclined as most of the posters here, which I freely admit. I've been trying to rebuild the front-end of a Yanmar 4x4 tractor for about five months now, and I'm getting the hang of it, but it's slow going (particularly since I don't have a press). But anyhow, from the couple (three), OTR drivers I know, and the Army mechanic I'm friends with, they all say that diesels have much longer oil-change intervals than gasoline engines (of course, they say something like 'gimme a break; it's a diesel....you ain't gotta change it that much'), sort of thing, which isn't real helpful when you're trying to make decisions about such things. But, they're talking about 20-30K oil change intervals.

I run on the 10K interval, and have my oil evaluated every three checks; so far, each check has shown the oil to be very clean with few particulates and no breakdown. Other TDI owners report longer oil-interval changes on very high mileage vehicles with no problems (particularly those who post from Europe, where a lot more cars are diesels).

I can check tommorrow if you'd like, but I don't recall a specific break in period as being onerous or strange (you'd hope I'd remember it if there were one).


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If you can get the oil changed for $20 at a quick lube place, that's not going to buy you synthetic, so VW must not specify that you use that. There aren't too many cars that specifically mandate synthetic oil. Obviously you can use it if you want, and as you said, there are arguments both ways. But that's the owner's choice, so the cost of synthetic oil does not add to the VW diesel's operating expenses.


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No, I must have misspoke; I meant that you (as in you in your regular car), can get an oil change for $20. My VW manual (and others I know with similar years), specifically state you must use an oil that meets VW505 or VW505.01 requirements; and only two or three oils out there do that; VW oil (from Europe), Mobil1 Delvac, and Amsoil.

Synthetic is a requirement (or was; don't know now), in these cars. I thought it was a requirement in ALL VWs. I know my buddies 2002 VR6 also required it.


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Synthetic oil is a requirement for the VW turbodiesels. The '04-05 models have a different engine than the others, so they require oil that meets more stringent requirements than the older engine requires. But the change interval is 10,000 miles, which helps some. And you can lower the cost by not going with the dealer's "liquid gold" and supplying your own oil (I buy Chevron Delo by the case for my '03 and just bring it to the oil change; they give me a break on the price of the oil). Or by not going to the dealer, at all, since independent mechanics and other places that do oil changes don't charge your dealer's hourly labor rate.

Insurance cost is another factor I have not researched. Another factor to consider is comparisons in warranty. Also I was reading up on diesels and there is much talk and controversy about "properly" breaking in the engine for thousands of miles. All this plus what's mentioned above means it's quite a complicated decision if you want it to be.

Insurance is, I'd say, typical. The big challenge is to make sure the agent hears the word "diesel" after the word "turbo." While (watercooled) VWs have never been the cheapest cars of all to insure, the previous generation finally resolved some long-standing issues that kept the price of insurance high.

Break-in is one of those great topics to discuss because everyone has an opinion and hardly anyone can tie actual experience to the theories presented. Since most folks don't have two diesels so they can try their pet theory with one and use the other as a control, it's easy to get outlandish about how to break in the car. I figure you can't really go wrong with the manufacturer's recommendation, and what I remember reading in the VW manual sounded about like what I've read for other cars. And, seriously, if following the best (non-manufacturer) recommendations to the letter bought you even another 50,000 miles, you're talking the difference between 250,000 miles and 300,000 miles. These cars will be a distant memory for many owners by then.


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RE: More on diesel

Socalinspector:

Would you mind using a little courtesy to other people reading these forums when you are posting in these forums, by not sticking your custom dividers in your posts anymore.

Your two lines of continuous Xs have blown up this post so it has become difficult to read without having to shift the page from side to side.

Using quotation marks to highlight material you want to comment about, is a standard and proper way to handle this procedure when posting in the forums. Thanks.


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RE: More on diesel

The amount of FUD on diesels is just amazing!

VW's DO need synthetic oil. To make the TDI engine more eco friendly they put an egr valve on it. Yep, soot is being dumped into the intake. It takes a specific oil to handle that sort of abuse, but it's not rocket science either. There's at least 6 major oil co.s that make a diesel synth that's VW approved.

To break in a diesel: drive it until the first oil change and replace the oil with the recommended brand. Boy! That was hard. Now, the oil IS special "break in" oil and if you try to get clever and shorten the interval before the recommended time (about 7500 kms) you'll be doing yourself a serious disfavour. A gasser will take about 1500 mi to "break in". A diesel maybe 10 or even 15k mi. But once it's broken in (the rings and valves have properly seated) that thing is good for a long, long time.

And on that note, the reason diesels have that price premium is that the engine is that much more expensive. The equivalent gasser is lighter and less tight, not made to handle the stresses that diesels go through. That's why those 80's "diesels" by GM were such crap. Any reasonably designed diesel is just about bulletproof. Yes it's more money but it'll outlast damn near anything else out there.

As for the fuel issue: the pricing is an anomaly right now. Diesel isn't as volatile as gas. As Katrina hit the shores gas's ridiculous rise wasn't reflected in the price of diesel. It's the same price now as it was then. You win some, you lose some. At 50 mpg, the pain ain't that hard to take.


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RE: More on diesel

There is more to breaking in any engine than just driving it until the first oil change. During the break-in, it's important to vary the RPM and engine load so that the engine does not run at one RPM for a very long time. Deceleration, in particular, is said to help the parts break-in well.

Most people's normal driving would probably not be a bad way to break in any engine, but one thing you'd want to avoid is taking delivery of the car and then immediately taking off on a 1,000 mile trip where you set the cruise control at some constant speed and just leave it there.

Many engines last a long time these days. Diesels are built somewhat heavier than gasoline engines to withstand the greater compression ratio, but gas engines routinely go to 250,000 miles or more with good maintenance. Much of the long lifespan of diesels is probably due to how they're used and how they're maintained. Diesel owners are probably as a group more involved with their cars and more likely to take good care of them.

Thanks for the info on the VW synthetic oil requirement. That is not a requirement of most diesels, however.


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RE: More on diesel

Steve_o, sorry to blow you off.

I'm running Yokohama Avid T4s all around. OEM tires were Michelin, which gave a good, 'grippy' ride and were real low on noise, but they were very, very pricey for a tire that only got 70,000 miles. I think they were close to $200/ea.

Yoko's were about $80/each. They're not as soft, so not as grippy, and the ride is just a 'little' more noticeable than before. I mean, when I drove it the first time, you could tell they were diffferent tires, but I'm so far very happy with the performance/ride/noise level, particularly since they were less than half of what the Michelins cost. I've got just about 30K on them, and at this point, I'd buy them again rather than shopping around more.


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