Since the dieselgate saga was brought to light, Volkswagen AG carried out a massive rectification programme to ‘undo’ the rigged software and has done so to over 600,000 cars (all diesels, of course) in the UK alone. But there is a major setback.
According to Auto Express UK, the repairs caused owners’ cars to break down and suffer from drops in fuel economy. An online poll involving 542 VW owners revealed that over 87 percent experienced mechanical problems, 66.9 percent of which are related to EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) and 14 percent are DPF (diesel particulate filter) failures. The former is most common in cars with over 60,000km on the clock, and the cost of repairing is close to RM4,500!
The situation even prompted several netizens to pass on the dieselgate fix altogether, with some claiming to be advised by their dealers. Volkswagen UK however, defended the allegations by saying that less than 1 percent of the 600,000 rectified vehicles have reported issues. A VW spokesperson even said, “That means over 99 percent of customers are satisfied with the technical measures, which of course are carried out free of charge.”
As a recap: In 2015, Volkswagen was accused of installing a ‘defeat device’ to over 11 million diesel cars (including the Audi A3!) to the US and Europe (3 million and 8 million cars respectively). Vehicles fitted with this device would emit significantly less carbon dioxide when put through emissions tests, but details of exactly how the software worked remains a corporate secret.
We do know that the software takes into account speed, engine operation, air pressure and steering position. When convinced the car is being lab tested, the software automatically sends the car into ‘safety mode’, making the engine run below normal power and performance. Real world road tests revealed that the actual emissions level are at least 40 times higher than what’s allowed in the US.