German Cars for College Students

german cars and college studentsSchool’s back in session. This is the time when parents buy their college-age children their first vehicle. We’ll admit that VW and Audi models aren’t exactly the first brands that come to mind. People often think along the lines of a Toyota Corolla or Ford Focus as a beginner-friendly car. However, we also believe German cars and college students are suitable to one another.

German Cars for Students: Our Top Pick

We believe safety and ease of handling are two primary factors when choosing a car for a young driver. But we don’t believe that a first car necessarily has to be a compact model. So here’s why German cars and college students go together so well. Continue Reading →

A Late Summer Trip to Some Washington RV Destinations

Washington RV destinationsSummer is winding down. For your kids, this is often a moment of anxiety as they brace for the horrors of returning to the classroom. To ease the anxiety, make the most of the final summer weeks with a trip to some Washington RV destinations. Don’t have an RV? Rent one at Buttera Motors. Washington has no shortage of family-friendly outdoor recreation locations.

3 Washington RV Destinations

Adams Fork Campground

This site is nestled right along the edges of the Cispus River. The area is an excellent base for exploring Mount St. Helens or the area’s many multi-use trails. If you prefer to stick close to the campsite, you can also pack a fishing pole and some tackle & bait to fish along the river. Continue Reading →

Buying a Pre-Owned Audi? Our Recommendation List

Pre-Owned Audi A SeriesConsidering a pre-owned car? Audi and VW cars are known for retaining their value. The Audi A7, for example, came in 2nd place for Kelley Blue Book’s 2017 Best Resale Value Awards under the luxury car segment. We’ll look at the pre-owned Audi A series and examine the pros and cons of this model.

The Top Pre-owned Audi A series

Audi A6

The A6 has the highest demand and also retains the highest value, according to What Car Magazine. The A6 has a sporty feel and is very stylish. It has also been praised for its easy handling, making it ideal for inner city commuting. This is a huge plus considering that Kirkland traffic can be quite hectic more often than we like. Continue Reading →

Should You Supply Personal Car Parts for VW and Audi Repairs?

personal car partsEvery now and then, customers will bring in personal car parts and tell us to use them for their vehicle’s repair. We understand why they do this; they want to save money. However, we don’t recommend that customers supply their own parts for auto repairs. This applies to vehicle maintenance in general, but especially for Audi and VW repairs.

Why You Shouldn’t Bring Your Personal Car Parts

Quality control is the reason we prefer not to use customer-supplied parts. Customers often find the cheapest aftermarket part they can find online. Aftermarket parts are almost always subpar. This is why they’re so cheap. Subpar parts wear out quicker, thus requiring more trips (and more money) to the auto shop.

Other reasons not to supply your own part:

Aftermarket Parts Are Inferior

We only use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts or parts from a trusted third-party supplier. In addition, the customer-supplied part may be designed for American-made vehicles and not compatible for VW and Audi repairs. Continue Reading →

Do You Have a Worn FSI Cam Follower?

FSI Cam FollowerFuel stratified injection (FSI) engines are found in VW and Audi cars that use fuel injection technology. From time to time, we diagnose a FSI car with cam follower failure. We thought now would be a good time to discuss this vital component, how it fails, and the symptoms to watch for.

What the Cam Follower Does

The cam follower acts as a barrier between the camshaft lobe and the high-pressure fuel pump. Like any component, the cam follower will eventually wear. Causes of failure can range from using low-quality motor oil to making improper modifications to the fuel pump.

If the cam follower wears all the way, damage to the cam shaft and fuel pump will probably follow. Some mechanics say that the cam follower is more prone to failure if it has undergone certain modifications. These include the installation of an aftermarket high-pressure fuel pump or larger turbos. However, we have observed cam follower failure in cars with both stock and aftermarket parts. Continue Reading →

Be Sure to Check Your Timing Chain Tensioner

timing chain tensionerCertain German cars utilize a specific type of timing chain tensioner. Failure of this component can create a serious safety issue. This part has a design flaw, causing it to fail prematurely in some instances. We’ll explain what this part does and what precautions you should take.

What Is a Timing Chain Tensioner?

As suggested in its name, a timing chain tensioner keeps the timing chain under tension. The timing chain itself connects the upper half of the engine with the lower half, keeping the two sections synchronized.

A defective timing chain tensioner can cause the exhaust valves to come into contact with the pistons while the engine is running. This can seriously damage the valves, cylinder head, and cylinder walls.

Most timing chain and belt systems need replacement every 70,000 to 100,000 miles. Some motorists, however, are reporting failure much sooner. A class-action lawsuit, in fact, has been filed in New Jersey against VW. At the time of this posting, no official recall has been announced. Continue Reading →

What Is the Best Gasoline for a Volkswagen?

gasoline for a VWOur customers have often asked us what is the best gasoline for a Volkswagen. They want to know if they should use regular or premium gasoline at the pump. Traditionally, the vehicle’s user manual has recommended premium fuel. However, the manual for some 2016 VWs now recommend regular gasoline. We’ll explain the difference between regular and premium gasoline and the reason for the switch.

Why Gasoline Type for a Volkswagen Matters

VW previously recommended premium gasoline for one simple reason: it helped the vehicle achieved its advertised MPG. Using regular fuel reduced fuel efficiency by about 5%. This pretty much negated the money saved by using regular over premium gas.

In addition, regular fuel could lead to engine knock and detonation. This is especially the case in turbocharged engines found in most German cars. This is a problem our Audi and VW repair crew have noticed when performing maintenance work under the hood.

VW has never released any official explanation for the switch to regular gasoline for its 2016 lineup. We believe that improvement in engine technology has made premium fuel obsolete. Extensive testing has likely yielded negligible difference between regular and premium gasoline use. Regardless, we are happy to hear that some VW owners can now save at the pump. Continue Reading →

Can You Get a Cheap Oil Change for a German Car?

cheap oil changeIt’s not unusual to see ads for your local auto repair shop offering $19.99 oil changes. Can a VW and Audi service really include an oil change for just 20 bucks? Learn the truth about those advertised cheap oil changes so you understand what you’re really getting for $20

The Truth About Cheap Oil Changes

Oil changes for most German cars require synthetic oil. Carefully read the fine print in the ad to determine the type of oil used. In most cases, it may be a synthetic oil BLEND. Technically, you can put a drop of synthetic oil in a lower-grade oil and call it a synthetic blend. There is just no way of really knowing the quality of the oil.

Pure synthetic oil also isn’t cheap and almost always costs more than the $19.99 fee. There is also the cost of labor and other fees on top of that. The auto shop will be losing money if charges a flat $20 and uses 100% synthetic oil. Continue Reading →

Common Audi A4 Problems

Audi A4 ProblemsWhen you deal specifically in Audi and VW repairs, you begin to notice a few patterns. Certain models may be prone to a particular problem or two. The Audi A4 is one of the more common vehicles that end up in our garage for maintenance. From our experience, we have noticed the following commonly occurring Audi A4 problems.

Typical Audi A4 Problems

Power Window Motor Burnout

Motor burnout for the power window is fairly common. The driver’s window is usually the first to give out, since it’s used the most often. Luckily, repairs are quite easy. Repairing or replacing the motor in the door’s panel is a simple task.

Faulty Display Screen

The infotainment’s LCD display screen may develop a fault. One section or corner will burn out, making it hard to make out information from that portion of the screen. If you experience this problem, you will need to replace the entire screen. Continue Reading →

Coil Pack Repair for VW and Audi Vehicles

Coil PackMost modern German vehicle models are equipped with a coil pack in the engine. This component plays a vital function, and damage to it may prevent the engine from starting. Owners should arrange for a qualified Audi and VW repair center to check this mechanism regularly.

What Is a Coil Pack?

The coil pack is made up of multiple spark and ignition coils. The coils create an electric spark that transfers the voltage from the battery to the fuel that powers the engine. In modern German vehicles with a TDI engine, the coil pack performs the function of a distributor. The coil pack, though, is often considered superior because it doesn’t need to be fired as frequently. Neither does it have any moving parts. Coil packs also produce a stronger spark, leading to more reliable engine starts.

Signs of Coil Pack Troubles

Any of the following symptoms may be an indication of a worn coil pack:

  • Engine stalls or vibrates when idling
  • Engine has difficulty starting
  • Drastic drop in RPMs when idling
  • Reduced fuel economy

The first telltale sign is a misfire or an engine struggling to start in the morning. Of course, this could simply be due to a dying battery. If the car is also vibrating and sputtering while in idle, then more than likely it’s the coil pack. A vibrating and sputtering engine, however, may also be caused by a worn fuel injector or fuel pump. It may also be simply due to a dirty filter.

You won’t know for sure the cause until you have the car looked at by a VW and Audi service center.

Let Our Mechanics Have a Look

Read our story to learn why we are Kirkland’s go-to team for German automobile repairs. Make an appointment with Buttera Motors to have your car looked at if it’s having trouble starting lately. A faulty coil pack will only continue to get worse and lead to diminished engine performance.

Edited by Justin Vorhees

Specialty Repair Crew for German-Made Cars

VW and Audi service in Bothell, Bellevue, Kirkland, Kenmore, Redmond & Woodinville