Inside a VW dealer..... Why they "can't" or won't cover your warranty repair

Inside a VW dealer..... Why they "can't" or won't cover your warranty repair

Ever go to your local dealer for a repair and they deny your claim because your vehicle has modifications?  Here is an insight as to why it happens.


I often browse the forums looking for a place where I might be able to offer some helpful advice.  My years in the dealership has given me many insights into the inner workings of a VW dealerships.

While browsing the forums this week I ran across a post where a member of the VW Vortex community was upset about the denial of coverage of an intake manifold on his 2.0T TSI engine. Being that this is a known issue with this particular part failing, he felt he should have been able to get coverage of this part regardless of how he may have modified his vehicle.


It seems pretty reasonable right?

The details of the situation are, the vehicle is a VW GTI with a 2.0 Liter Turbo TSI engine. The gentleman has installed a boost gauge in the vehicle and drilled a hole in the intake manifold to make a port for the boost gauge vacuum line to attach.  This is a fairly normal practice (but you can purchase a boost tap so you don't have to) and does not affect the performance or operation of any part of the vehicle.

The gentleman had his check engine light come on for fault code P2015. Being that the gentleman is aware that this is a common issue and that VW covers this under warranty (up to 120k miles) he brings it to his local dealer.  The dealer takes a look at the vehicle and lets the gentleman know yes your vehicle does indeed need a new intake manifold.  They also explain they can't replace it under warranty because the gentleman drilled a hole in it.

So we know that the intake manifold failing is a known issue. We also know that VW covers this under warranty up to 120k for most 2.0t engines. Furthermore the drilling into the intake manifold did not cause the failure or affect the operation of the part.


Ok so here's the big question. Why won't they cover it?

The simple answer is accountability.  When the dealer covers an item under warranty they submit a claim to VW for approval. VW has 90 days to call a part back from a warranty claim. If they call a part back that has been modified the claim will be denied. Once VW approves the claim the dealer gets paid.  Keep in mind they have already performed the repair, and for this reason it is very important to do everything by the book. If a dealer covers a repair under warranty and the claim is denied, they are on the hook for the cost of the part and the repair.  This is a tough situation that dealers face on a daily basis.

The next question becomes why can't Volkswagen of America cover it?  This one is a little tough for me to answer as I never worked for VWOA and I don't have a factual answer. I can speculate based on my experience that VWOA also has someone to answer to on this one. It is my belief that VWOA may not be alone in the cost of a warranty repair, or at least when there is common failure of a particular part. I believe  that the company who manufactured this part has some responsibility in the cost of these repairs. For this reason VW likely has to send back some or all of the failed parts to the company who made them.  This means if they send back a modified part they might be on the hook for the repair.


This situation is the perfect example of everyone loses.

The customer reasonably so feels like what he did didn't cause the problem so he shouldn't have to pay for it.

The dealer loses because they have a customer who is upset with them as they feel like they are bring treated unfairly.  If they replace the part under warranty they roll the dice as to if they will be paid for the repair they just performed.  Dealers have a stigma that they are all jerks looking to rip you off, but this isn't always the case (but it sometimes is).

The unfortunate reality is that whenever you modify your vehicle in anyway you are exposing yourself to potential cost.

I know this article won't help you avoid paying for a repair you feel like you shouldn't have to, but maybe it will help shed some light on the situation.


Paul Barrett