Dear Volkswagen

Dear Volkswagen

I am the proud owner of one of your Touaregs.   I confess that I didn’t buy it new, I bought it two years ago when I had to trade in my beloved PT Cruiser because I had driven it into the ground.

I do a lot of driving.  A quiet day sees me doing 60 miles of driving just on school runs.   A busy day, such as today will be, I will be doing closer to 200.

So I am in my car alot.  And I love it.  It is quite possibly the best car I have ever had.

And because I am in my car alot I know the basics of car maintenance.   I can top up the fluids.  I can check the oil.  I can change a tyre.  I can change blown bulbs.

Except on this car.

Why don’t you make it possible for anybody to change the bulbs?

Last year the brake light blew.   “Simple” I said, consulted the manual and it looked straightforward.   Except it wasn’t.   The entire light unit has to be removed by releasing a  hip joint type connection inside the boot.   As it had never been removed before (it’s a 54 plate so quite old now) the rubber had perished and wouldn’t “give”.

Mr B thought I was being feeble so he had a go.

He couldn’t either.

So I took it to Halfords.   Paid £3 to have a bulb fitted and watched for 40 minutes as they tried.  They actually cracked the light covering in trying to get it off and still couldn’t get it to budge.   Finally the chap got one of his colleagues to come over and he managed to do it as he had worked for Volkswagen so he had the confidence to do it and really gave the light fitting a hard yank.  Not the easiest thing to do because there is nothing to get hold of but still, he did manage in the end.

Total time to replace one bulb:  an hour and a half.

Does that not strike you as crazy?

Roll forward a month and the headlamp bulb blew so I went back to Halfords and thought “I might as well get both done”.  This time it involved removal of half the engine.   Literally.   Most of the cooling system came out and was in the car park.   It took close to two hours and that was with the chap who had worked at Volkswagen so he knew what he was doing.

When a headlamp bulb blew again a couple of months ago I bought two, again because I knew it would be a pain and thought that if one had gone the next one wouldn’t be far behind.  Halfords replaced the nearside bulb but said “sorry our manual says we are not to attempt the driver’s side you need to go to a main dealer” and promptly reimbursed the cost of fitting.


I have to go to a main dealer to replace a bulb?

Yep.  Appears I do.   Nearest dealer is miles away and will mean I have to take time off work to get it done.   And it will cost me around £50 probably.

I asked you this on twitter:

Why @ukvolkswagen is the driver’s headlamp replacement ONLY possible at main dealer according to Halfords. 35 miles away and ££££ ? Stupid

This was your reply:

We recommend that our qualified technicians carry out the work as they will ensure it is carried out safely and correctly We also do check and replace bulbs free of charge as part of our ‘service promise’ at all participating retailers.

Why?  Why is that?  Why have you designed a car so we cannot do basic maintenance like this?  I don’t understand why we have to ensure that the bulb is replaced “safely and correctly”.   Are you suggesting I am incompetent?  Do I need to get an electrician in every time a bulb blows in my house?  Am I not allowed to climb a step ladder?  I have been left in charge of a) millions of Dollars in cash; b) multi million Pound properties; c) small children.   I think I can be trusted to change a bulb.

And so you check bulbs during a service.  Great.  I had my car serviced three weeks ago by my local garage (I like to support independent shops).  Are you telling me that if I came to you three weeks ago you would have been able to tell me that the bulb was going to blow today?   Or do you replace all bulbs at every service as a precaution?

And what do I do today when my school run tonight is in dusk?  I have no headlamp.  How dangerous is that?  And how illegal?  I am self employed so do you expect me to spend two hours out of my day driving to the next county just to get a headlamp replaced?

I have heard some ridiculous things in my time but this just takes the biscuit.

I would love to hear from you as to why you make it IMPOSSIBLE as your explanation above just doesn’t cut it with me.


Frustrated of Fleet


Image of a Touareg courtesy of Shutterstock

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  • Ruth (my good lady wife), has exactly the same issue with her Golf. Almost new but one of the fog light bulbs has gone. Seems to be almost impossible to get to. Took it to Halfords and they couldn’t work it out either but someone there said that on some models you have to remove the bumper to get to the bulbs. Ridiulous isn’t it?

  • Used to think VW was such a cool brand, then all the GreenPeace stuff started, raising awareness of their terrible record on all things green and now this, which though maybe tiny in comparison, seems like they just don’t give two hoots (or should that be honks?)

  • Did you count how many men [oops! PERSONS] it took to change the light bulb? I think we should be told.