Alright so this all happened yesterday at a dealer in NJ. They will remain nameless as I haven’t yet heard what they are proposing going forward. The vehicle is a 2013 VW GTI 6MT with 111,000 miles on it. I have always performed the scheduled maintenance on time or a bit early, oil/filter changes <5000 miles. Stock engine, no tune.
I brought the vehicle to a dealer yesterday to have the manual trans fluid changed. VW specifies ‘lifetime’ fluid, but I don’t buy it. A buddy of mine drove his GTI past 170,000 miles with no trans issues after doing a change at 100k, so I figured why not do it. The car has given me no major issues and was running strong when I delivered it.
When I got to the dealer I had them quote spark plugs because I’ll be due in ~9000 miles. They came back with ~$350 so I just said I’ll do it on my own. The plugs are something like $12 a piece. This is relevant because they had included both jobs on the invoice and crossed out the spark plugs because I elected not to do them.
They brought the car out about an hour later, I paid, then off I go. Before I get out of their parking lot I notice a weird ticking noise that’s timed with engine speed. I look down and the check engine light is flashing. I turn around and bring it right back in.
The service advisor comes back half an hour later and says there are misfires on cylinders 3 and 4 and zero compression in both cylinders. Fuck. They say it likely needs a new engine. Double fuck. I call bullshit and tell them the car was working fine when I delivered it to them, they’ve returned a broken car. They need to fix it. I go out and review my dashcam footage and don’t see any abuse of the car – in fact they never even road tested it.
I sat down with the service advisor and he says nothing they did could have caused this issue, it’s likely the timing chain tensioner, he’ll see what VWoA can do for me. I get a loaner from them and tell him to figure out exactly what is wrong with the car. He calls later on and says cylinder 4 has a broken valve spring and he will see if VWoA will help replacing the head.
I’m at a bit of a loss here – it seems super unlikely that THE ONE TIME I bring the car in for service, there is a major engine failure. This just doesn’t smell right. I’ve never heard of a valve spring failing on these cars. I’m not ready to part ways with it – I’ve spent a lot of time and money customizing it to make it the perfect car for me.
I wanted to get any outside thoughts on what could have caused this, or what I should do now. I’m expecting cost of repair to be >3k. I can’t think of any reason why the failure could be something caused by the dealer, except maybe the spark plugs? If they’d started the job and failed to re-install correctly, it could perhaps be related?