Poxy Electronics

Whenever I start bitching about electronics, or “the Internet of Things”, or the disappearance of the manual transmission in cars, or anything to do with the fact that we are gradually losing the ability to manage our existence or daily business without mains power or batteries, I’m laughed at and told to get with the program (or, to use the disgusting modern expression, “learn to code” grrr grrrr grrrr ).  Yea even on this website have my Readers chuckled and called me names for being so “stuck in the past” (like the present is so great and the future even more so).

When I turn off the Tiguan’s engine, the lights don’t go off immediately:  they burn softly for a minute or so, then fade to black (so to speak).  This is fine, except that if you’ve left the headlights on, the beams don’t switch off, they simply switch to “daytime driving mode” — which means that if you turn off the car and leave the garage right away, you may not be aware that you left the lights on — until the next morning, when your Tiguan has now (electrically speaking) turned into a brick.

No problem, you might think.  This is why God invented jumper cables.  Except that God didn’t account for the fact that the engineers at VW made sure that if their car has no electricity, you can’t move the gear lever out of “Park” and into neutral so you can push the poxy 2,700-lb deadweight out of the garage and into the driveway where New Wife’s Fiat 500 is purring gently, waiting to electronically suckle her big brother back to life.

All of which happened to me after Thanksgiving Dinner #3 at Doc Russia’s fortress  house last Saturday night, where drinks were taken, and of course your Genial Host omitted to turn off the headlights when leaving the Tiguan in the garage for the night.

And the following morning was to be spent with the Son&Heir at the range, testing the new Savage 94F rifle.

Aaaargh.

Anyway, I borrowed the Fiat from New Wife for the trip to the range — did you know that the trunk of a 500 is too small to accommodate even a short rifle bag?  I do, now — and afterwards, S&H came back to the apartment with me to help me push the Tiguan out of the garage for Operation Jumpstart.  Which is when we discovered the VW Electronic Schema Of Death as explained above.

Fortunately, my jumper cables were (just) long enough to reach from the Fiat’s battery along the length of the VW and into the latter’s engine compartment.  But I should also point out that said jumper cables were (where else?) underneath the trunk lid of the Tiguan, which… because the trunk’s lock is electronic, couldn’t be opened — and which meant pulling the back seats down and wrestling the spare tire compartment open (it opens from the back, and can’t really be opened easily from the front because you have to kneel on the poxy thing to be able to reach the latch).

Loyal Readers will no doubt already have guessed that Uncle Kimmy said a few Bad Words during this entire process (“cocksucking German bastards — no wonder they lost two fucking world wars”  was one such tirade), but eventually we got the bloody car to start up and the rest of the day passed uneventfully.

I know:  somebody’s going to say I should have one of those inverter thingies which plugs into a wall socket and can be used to start a dead battery.  I do have one, only I’d lent it to Daughter — such is the Murphy Legal System, as any fule kno.

The Son&Heir, of course, being of the Modern Generation, looked up “How can you get a VW Tiguan’s gear shifter out of Park when the battery is dead” on the Intertubes and found a forum where just that question was addressed (short answer:  you can’t).  The very first entry after the question, however, was “This forum to be flooded with gleeful people who own stick shifts in 3…2…1…”

I have spoken many times before on these pages of my intention to replace the Tiguan with a car which has manual transmission (most especially here), and this past weekend’s fun & games has only cemented that intention.

You see, when I borrowed New Wife’s Fiat 500 to go to the range, I had the time of my life driving it because, of course, it has a stick shift and despite the cramped quarters (my bulky ass plus sundry range bags, ammo cases and rifles all sharing the eight cubic feet of the front compartment), I reminded myself just how much I love driving and controlling the car’s progress by up- and downshifting the gears by hand.

I enjoyed it so much that when I used the revitalized Tiguan to run some errands yesterday, I found myself on more than one occasion reaching for the gear lever to downshift, and moving my left foot to engage the (non-existent) clutch pedal — and on every single occasion, I felt disappointment when I couldn’t.  (As I’ve said so many times before:  driving a car with an automatic transmission isn’t driving;  it’s steering.)

Nope:  I’m going back to real driving as soon as I have the opportunity to do so.  And for the umpteenth time:  a pox on electronica moderna.  And on VW engineers, while I’m there.

50 comments

  1. Ah, but what choices do you have to get a manual transmission in a suitable vehicle? Not sure if I can think of any.

    1. Toyota Tacoma still has models available with standard transmission.

      Their Camry with a standard transmission may have been discontinued several years ago.

      Generally if you want a car with a standard transmission you have to go with a smaller than midsize car, certain pickup trucks and maybe some model sports cars

      JQ

    2. Last I heard both Subaru and Mazda were still committed to the manual trans.

      The new Ford Bronco is being offered with an optional 7 speed manual, although my guess is that it will only be available the first year (to garner media attention) and then will be quietly dropped.

      Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator (Wrangler based pickup) are available with MTs as well.

      Toyota Tacoma as previously mentioned. I believe the Nissan Frontier can be had with a manual although I’m not sure if they dropped that option or not.

      I’m not a “car guy” but I assume there are sporty cars out there with MTs as well.

    3. The FR-S/BRZ rear wheel drive coupe is very fun to drive. Add a turbo and the power’s even good.

      I also love my Subaru Crosstrek.

      All of the above are still sold in manual. The BRZ/GT86 is a fun 6-speed that is one of the most driver-responsive cars you can get without being in a porsche. Its sole flaw is the amazingly bad power curve between 3k-4500rpms on the default engine.

      Crosstrek has done an amazing job for being a compact SUV on a car chassis. I really like it – and subaru’s AWD is really nice too.

      Finally, their price tags are quite affordable, and Subarus tend to hold their value.

  2. My 1991 S10 was purchased brand new in 1990 and it sits now in the driveway with it’s 5 speed stick. After 30 years I don’t get in it, I put it on. Like a comfy old hunting coat. It just feels right. When I drive my 2001 Blazer 2dr/4wd with auto on the column upon slowing down, or going around a short corner I frequently grab for the non existent stick to downshift. My wifes 2006 Equinox with auto on the floor offers a little bit of relief for the grabby right hand ailment but not much.

  3. Way back when I was a kid, my brother (12 years older than me) had a VW Beetle in which he got t-boned at an intersection. Needing a car, he rented another VW, but being below some magic age he couldn’t actually DRIVE the VW, so it fell to my Dad to drive him to school. The rental had the VW semi-automatic transmission in which you shift but there’s no clutch. Well, Dad had driven things with numbers of wheels ranging from two to eighteen plus tracks, so he was well acquainted with manual transmissions. He reached down to shift, his left foot went for the clutch, didn’t find it, tried again and stomped on the brake, cracking my brothers head against the windshield (seatbelts? what are those?).

    I have to say, the inability to move the shifter or open the trunk with a dead battery is one of the dumbest things I’ve heard, automotively speaking. So stupid that only an engineer from a nation where engineering topped out with the cuckoo clock, and who’d never have to actually WORK on the stupid thing in the real world, could’ve designed it so.

  4. I won’t say a thing about buying a Krautwagen, but I’ve been victimized too much by their engineering elsewhere to consider anything more complicated from them than an HK USP (some of the discussion,and additional research, from yesterday’s MG42 post was interesting). The Germans really, really, really love their slide rules and calculators, very often to the point of obsession and ignoring what the gizmo they’re designing is actually supposed to do. “Cool, slick and neat” belongs in advertising, not in stuff we actually use; I don’t think there’s a translation for “simple” in Deutsch.

    I’m often asked – criticized, really – why I’m driving a near-antique. “It doesn’t have any of the fancy electronic bullshit on it” is the stock answer.

    A suggestion – the tow truck industry has 25 and 30 ft all copper 2 gauge jumper cables, which are not at all cheap but damn worthwhile. I’ll dig out where I got mine from and send you the link. The alternative is – Very Mucho Spendy – 2 each of 35 ft #1 gauge copper welding cable with 800 amp clamps (had a set once, someone who shall go unnamed loaned them out one day when I wasn’t home and they never came back). Measure the OAL of your vehicle, add 10 feet, and that’s what you need.

  5. The one great thing about stick is that you can’t possibly fall asleep driving it (maybe on long highway trips, but not if you like to slalom). You’re constantly interacting with the traffic and you can’t talk on your cell (which I’ve noticed usually takes two hands: one to hold the phone while the other is gesticulating wildly like a demented bat).
    And I feel you do your children a great disservice if you don’t teach them stick: like toilet training – how can you possibly let them out in public!
    I can keep going on this topic for quite a while, but this is your blog.

    1. I converted my wife to driving stick for some of the same reasons. It helps her to stay awake, and is a LOT more fun to drive. I will only buy stick, myself, which is why my last four purchases were a stickshift Saturn Ion (don’t laugh), a FR-S, a WRX, and a Crosstrek. I’ve come to really appreciate Subaru.

  6. This is great German engineering at its best. Imagine that you have some sort of electrical failure and your car dies in the middle of an intersection. You can’t push it to the side of the road and the tow truck is going to have to pull it onto the bed when it’s not in neutral, which I’m sure is wonderful for transmission.

    My BMW X-5 is even worse. My starter died and I couldn’t get it started. “No problem,” I thought – it’s in the driveway, so I’ll just push it into the garage and apply wrenches. That’s when I discovered that if you can’t start the car, you can’t get it into neutral using the gear selector. Instead, after much internet searching, I found out that you have to crawl underneath the car, remove a protective panel, and screw in a pawl with an allen wrench that puts the transmission in neutral.

    1. I bought a used BMW. It seemed like a stylish car and was fun to drive, automatic transmission but with a “sport” package that allows the driver to toggle gears up and down manually. Great for twisty roads; you can ease it along without ever using the brakes.

      BMWs are stupidly expensive to own. Blow a U-Joint? That’ll be $800, because you have to replace the entire drive train as a unit. A pair of headlamp replacements costs $90, shit like that. And the damn thing has some kind of nervous breakdown every other day on average. The trunk latch is electric; if the battery’s dead you’ll need the key, whether or not the trunk is locked.

      But the foulest thing is the traction control. If the rear wheels start turning faster than the fronts, the damn thing throttles off the motor. I’m damned if I can see how that helps anyone. There is no way to disable this “feature” or turn it off.

      In my neighborhood there are hills and it snows. I was driving that damn Beemer up a gentle grade in about four inches of fresh heavy pow. It simply would not go uphill, at all. Here’s a powerful engine with siped snow tires, and you can literally high-center it on six inches of soft snow, because HAL won’t let the machine kick rocks. It’s infuriating to stomp on the gas and hear the engine go whuff.

      I drive a Celica now with a six-speed manual. Cheap to own, fun to drive, plenty fast for a guy like me.

  7. I’ve recently begun a search for someone who will rebuild the engine in my beloved 96 Suzuki Sidekick. Badass can-do little ride, equipped with only what it needs and nothing that it doesn’t. 5 speed stick definitely in the ‘need’ column.

    Re: jump starts. I’ve found this sufficiently handy (due to the “helpful” [read: bullshit] electronic tech on my Nissan Rogue) it’s what I’m giving for xmas this year.
    https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01D42TYFC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  8. Years ago I drove a Seat (Spanish Fiat) 600. I hope they have improved because that was the worst car I ever drove. Part of the problem was bad maintenance by the artist owner but part of it seemed to be a built-in problem with the car. Like no heater or an electrical system that was not capable of running the lights and the windshield wipers at the same time. On the plus side, I learned that brakes were not necessary in Spain as long as the horn works. When I really needed to stop, I double clutched my way down to 1st gear and then stuck my foot out.

    1. The Fiat/SEATs have improved beyond recognition, to the point where I’m seriously considering a Fiat 126 Spider (the “Fiata”).
      Only then I’d have to arm-wrestle New Wife for it.

      1. Do a BRZ. Manual, RWD, and even has battery in trunk with access under the front hood if you drain it. 😛 It’s a driver’s car, I swear. Give it a shot before you go for that tiny thing.

        (2700 weight = not a Miata but not bloated either, and you actually have rear seats that will fit either some gun cases or a couple double-amputees.)

  9. Pardon the second comment, but I had to share this:

    My description of how various nationalities engineer cars. Imagine two parts moving against one another, I demonstrate by moving my right closed-fist against my left cupped-hand.

    American: Make one part out of good steel (which will never wear out), the other out of cheaper steel (which will) but make that part easy to replace. Every 50K miles you have a $1,000 repair.

    Japanese: Make both parts out of good steel, they’ll last 150K miles but then you have a $6,000 repair.

    German: Do the same thing with 17 parts, 12 of which are made from a special alloy of Unobtainium, and none of which are available separately.

    Italian: Screw it, paint the car red and put a beautiful woman in the passenger seat. People will buy it.

    British: Doesn’t matter, the parts will never wear out because you can’t drive in the rain.

    Yugoslavian: Just make sure the front bumper has a place to attach a horse’s harness.

  10. I have a Hybrid Lexus SUV. Similar issue with the lights and engine. Learned the Hard way that I need to pay attention to make sure the dam thing is actually off. Left the office one night only to find the thing dead. OK get out the wiz bang portable Jump start box only to learn that
    1. The battery that controls the start sequence is a separate battery from the hybrid system and lives somewhere beneath the electric adjustable Drivers seat and you need special tools to access.

    2. Handy secondary jump start buttons are available but the small jump start box I have does not have enough power to ” Initiate the Hybrid start sequence.

    3 Neither does Jumper cables form another vehicle.

    4 . But I do have 24 hour ” Help” form Lexus. 3 hours later the flatbed arrives to take the Hybrid wonder car to the dealer for a three day service visit. ” happens all the time ” say the Service advisor.

    1. ” Learned the Hard way that I need to pay attention to make sure the dam thing is actually off.”

      Yep. Same fucking problem with my Nissan. Fortunately only one traditional battery, so the jump box is actually useful.

  11. I’ve had my 2017 Cadillac ATS V Series Coupe for four years now and I’m very happy with it as my daily driver. At 71, I expect it to be my last new car.

    This thing has a 3.6 L V6, 24 valve, DOHC, twin-turbo engine with direct injection, variable valve timing and titanium rods connected to a six-speed manual tranny with a dual disk clutch and it goes like greased lightning.

    Sadly, Cadillac no longer offers the manual transmission or a two door coupe model.

  12. I was surprised by “if you left the headlights on.”

    I don’t think I’ve owned a 4 wheeled vehicle in the last 5 years that I even had to touch the headlight switch. Do VWs not have automatic headlights? Weird. I owned a 2002 Nissan Pathfinder and a 2004 Suburban, both of them had automatic headlights as do our current 2016 Honda CR-V and 2018 F-150.

    The only time I’ve had to touch the headlight switch on my truck was when I wanted to use the fog lights (which only come on with the headlights) and it wasn’t quite dark enough.

    Even my cheap old “Mazda” pickup (actually a rebadged Ford Ranger) had a “dumbass alarm” that would go off if I left my headlights on with the ignition off.

    German engineering can be brilliant but it can also be “different for the sake of being different.” I owned a BMW motorcycle for almost 7 years and while it was a great, fast and comfortable bike, it had strange, quirky controls that were completely different from every other motorcycle made (turn signals, for instance.) The battery was buried deep under the tank which meant that when I got a dead battery, jump starting wasn’t a possibility, instead I had to partially disassemble the bike and remove the tank in order to get the battery out, a 45 minute process. Contrast that to my Triumph where accessing the battery takes a 5mm allen wrench and <1 minute. The Beemer also had a servo-controlled power ABS braking system that was only used for 2 years before being discontinued, and while it was great when it worked, if it failed it was a minimum of a $2500 repair (on an 18 year old bike that is worth maybe $2000 on a good day.) So the BMW was sold and the Triumph still remains in the garage and likely will until I'm too old to ride. The nice thing about the Triumph is that there's really nothing "fail prone" on it. It's carbureted and air cooled so unless the CDI or one of the coils goes out, it will likely run forever.

  13. Most of the “improvements and advancements” of the last 20 odd years are solving problems that don’t exist.

    1. Bullseye!!!!

      I’d prefer to have my 2002 Tacoma back. Six cylinder engine, 4wd with manual transmission and lever to put the truck into 4wd. If it sticks, yank stick harder. I had 235k miles on it when a deer did some body work to it at 0130. It was about 12-14 years old at the time. Bastards at the insurance company scrapped it.

      I replaced it with a 2009 double cab automatic tacoma. 4wd had a knob to solenoid connection. It worked but I’d prefer the 02.

      Sold that earlier this year for a 2019 Manual transmission 4wd double cab. Seems a little under powered but it works well

      JQ

  14. It looks like the Tiguan’s shift lock override button is under the shift lever trim plate. First result was a video for a 2017 model, not sure what year yours is, Kim. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mn320YNJBVg

    My 2014 Outback 3.6 Limited has a lot of electronics as well, including an electronic parking brake and electronic tailgate release, but there are instructions in the manual for manual release of both, and a small hatch near the gear selector for the shift lock override. The e-brake release requires a long tool stored next to the spare tire, and a small cover removed from the rear bumper to reveal the release mechanism. The blessed thing has disc brakes all around, but the e-brake system adds a drum mechanism to the rear spindles, inside the rear disc rotors. I guess it’s mechanically simpler to operate a drum brake system electrically.

    Generally, I do like the electronic features, but they do add a level of diagnostic hell when it comes to a flat battery or accident damage, or even normal usage. For instance, my first attempt to replace the car’s incandescant brake light bulbs with LED bulbs failed, because Subaru’s EyeSight safety system (version 1) absolutely freaked out and disabled forward obstacle detection, lane departure alerts, and both adaptive and standard cruise control systems. I guess it thought it had a burned out bulb, but when I had an actual burned out bulb, EyeSight worked perfectly fine. And there was nothing in the manual describing this behavior, nor did the dashboard display indicate a brake bulb fault; it just disabled all the safety and cruise control systems.

  15. The best part about driving a manual transmission? Most car thieves don’t have a clue how to drive it. I was stuck in Lost Angeles for over three years, and I never bothered to lock my doors. (it was a ragtop, so locking the doors wouldn’t do a damn thing anyways). Plenty of times people tried to steal my car. I could see where they’d gotten in, adjusted the seat, pawed through the glove box, etc. But they never could figure out how to drive a stick, so they never got my little car.

    As an aside, I want the entire county of Lost Angeles to just fall off into the ocean for the good of humanity.

  16. Kim,

    I agree 100% with respect to modern electronics on cars and much else. I personally drive vintage vehicles, and plan to do so forever.

    My vintage road vehicles do have automatic transmissions, I have been shifting them manually for many years, and never had a transmission problem.

    From my perspective, automatic transmissions and their hydraulic torque converters are better than manual transmissions and clutches in every possible way.

    As a retired heavy equipment mechanic, I replaced hundreds of clutches, and repaired clutch control mechanisms on a wide range of trucks and off-road equipment.

    For me, it is so much more satisfying to shift an automatic transmission than to operate a clutch.

  17. I have been guffawing about these comments – but not at you, Kim.

    You see, until I retired last year, I worked for 34 years for a very large German company who manufactured electrical and electronic systems. (You’ve heard of them. The name is similar to “seamen”.) I worked in their medical division specializing in installing and maintaining MRI machines.

    Mark D’s second comment is spot on. But I’ll also add this: If the Germans have an assembly that must be disassembled, it will be held on by at least 17 fasteners and most of them will be different. Seven will be #10 allen bolts, one will be an odd sized #11 allen bolt, there will be six torx screws, at least one phillips screw and one flat slotted screw – in an odd place so you need a special “stubby” to get to it – and one hidden #10 hex nut way back in the back where you can’t even see it, much less get your wrench on it.

    And that’s just the cover.

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been in the middle of some maintenance disaster and growled: “…kraut bastards hung this damn thing from the factory ceiling and built the effing machine around it.”

    But American made automobiles are not immune to this sort of thing. My brother in law bought a brand new Ford Escape a few years ago. He found out to his chagrin that the battery was located behind a panel in the upper left wheel well. In order to get to it, you had to be a contortionist – or – you could jack the car up and remove the left front wheel.

    1. I taught repair and maintenance of sorting equipment that was built by that same accursed company. I used to tell my students that the Germans would never use one part when they could figure a way to use six – and the component that failed most often would require the removal of the other five.

      In another life (back when I could see) I used to build armor models. The panzer fanboys would rave about the superiority of the WW2 Panther and Tiger tanks. Those guys called Shermans deathtraps and Ronson Lighters (lights every time). I would show them a picture of a Panther and a Sherman and ask them how to change a road wheel, which was a fairly common maintenance task. The job on the Sherman could be done in about 15 minutes. The same task on a Panther took several hours and was done more often because of the poor German design. Look at the layout of the wheels. By the way, German tanks were not diesel powered and they burned pretty well. American tanks did have problems with ammunition fires early in the war, but this was solved in the later versions of the Shermans. Recent research says that a Sherman tank the safest place to be in the war. Beltran Cooper ‘s book “Death Traps” is full of outright lies and he didn’t have a clue as to how US vehicles actually performed in WW2.

      1. Armor force had something like a 6 times lower casualty rate than the rest of the army. Something tells me this isn’t by chance.

  18. Automatic cars usually have a shift lock release. You may notice a little hole or notch near the shift lever to access it. Some cars it’s in a weird location.. some cars hide it. But it’s there somewhere.

    +1 on manual cars and fewer electronics though. My next car will be easier to maintain and less likely to go into limp mode and leave me stranded because the thermostat blows and it thinks it might be overheating when it’s clearly not.

    (He said bitterly)

  19. The more I hear about modern cars, the more I miss the 1964 Pontiac LeMans I used to own.

    326 V8, three on the tree, manual everything else. Simple and reliable but maintenance intensive. As in chassis needed to be greased, points and sparkplugs needed adjustment, four wheel drum brakes needed adjustment on a regular basis etc.

    Which I would gladly put up with because if the battery died all I needed to do was get it rolling 2-3 mph jump in pop the clutch in first and drive off.

  20. Of all the electronic features cars have now the one that puzzles me the most is the electronic parking brake. In 40+ years of driving I have never desired an electric or electronic parking brake and I don’t know of anybody who has.

    And yet some car companies even advertise their EPB’s as if it’s some wonder feature, like customers are going to say “Oooh! Another servo motor on the car! Thank you! And here I’ve been activating the parking brake with my physical strength for all these years like some kind of peasant!”

    Speaking of which, I have decided that automobile drivers cleave neatly into two camps: Those who refer to it as the “Parking brake” and use it every time they park (that would be me) and those who, like my wife, refer to it as the “emergency brake” and never, ever, ever EVER use it.

    This latter group also includes anybody who works at any automotive shop, tire shop, repair facility, body shop or any other place where people who work there drive customer cars.

    Apparently, setting the parking brake when parking a customer’s car is a firing offense in these businesses or at least that’s what I assume since they never, under any circumstances, set the parking brake no matter what kind of steep hill they park the vehicles on.

    1. Yes – goes back to the days when if the service tech set the parking brake ( on cars where the Parking brake handle was on the Left side of the driers seat ) you could then release the handle and fold the handle away so you could exit the car. As a result there was no visible indication the brake was set. the customer who never used the parking brake , would get into the car and drive off with out realizing the mostly ineffective parking brake was still on until the smoke started to appear and the shop was stuck with another repair bill by the now irate customer.

      Just wait until fully electric cars are more prevalent – They have no gearbox to put into neutral. Plus the juice from a “Jump Box ” will provide enough energy to go another couple of hundred feet. if that . and the nearest recharging point is 25 miles away. >> and you can’t walk to somewhere local to get a box of “electric charge” to take back to your car. You will just thave to wait for the AAA “Recharge Truck” .

  21. WRT to your original complaint, following is true story.
    Wife had a 2005 Dodge Neon. She had to go into the hospital and her younger sis came down. So sis drives the Neon down to the hospital and parks it the parking garage, somehow leaving the headlights on. Eight hours later she goes down to leave, comes back up and says she can’t find the car. Of course I go down, drive around the garage clicking the key lounge waiting to see the lights flash and the horn blow. No mas. Because no battery juice. Finally find the car and go over to unlock it, pop the hood, and connect my jumpers. Electric solenoid door locks don’t work with key if no power &^$#326$^*&%&**&88… Call AAA and the guy has to pry the door so I can pop the manual(THANK G-D) door lock with a long, thin, metal jimmie. He mentioned that a lot of newer cars had that problem.

    1. Don’t think I haven’t considered that. Unfortunately, she has learned to love the Fiat, despite its color (sputum-green), and thinks the Tiguan is “too big”.

  22. I was very happily going through life with manual transmission cars when the gout that runs in my late Father’s family began to express itself. Loudly. Since it focuses on the lower extremities, and driving a manual transmission during a gout attack (to, for example, get to the GP) is excruciatingly painful and seriously unsafe, I now drive an automatic.

    Subaru, if anyone cares.

  23. All automatics have a shift lock override. Usually involves a key or button near the lever. Often used for towing. Yours is here. Should be in the owners manual too.

    https://youtu.be/Mn320YNJBVg

    I owned a Scirocco back in the day. Loved and hated that car the whole time I owned it.

    As for a stick hurry… and get a late model Accord. If you’re looking for another sedan like car.

    Great story!!

  24. I was going to make a comment like “Well, it’s a VW, at least they circled the problem in their logo” (the joke works for Fords as well), but I remembered we had bought brand new a 1981 Rabbit diesel 4 door with a 5 speed manual that lasted for 16 years before my car-illiterate brother FINALLY killed the thing (and one engine replacement due to a blown head gasket early on, ‘natch).

    Anyway, I always ALWAYS manually operate the lights…at least THAT gives me a little feeling of controlling my 2019 Kia Soul. You should consider one of those, or, the next up Seltos, which has the option of AWD. No manual option but the S Turbo has a 7 speed DCT, and you CAN upshift or downshift with it as if it was a manual.

  25. It’s not like the Good Old Days when you could fix anything wearing a Volkswagen medallion with a few screwdrivers and a set of metric sockets and wrenches.

    1. Or fix anything else sold in ‘Murica for that matter, because everything was accessible. My 1st ride was a 1972 Dodge pickup with a 318 V8. I could pack my entire slant eyed polack ass into that engine compartment & fix whatever. In my 2005 F150, it takes 3 fucking hours to change the goddamned plugs.

      1. I bought a 2020 F150 back in June and I think that it would take three or four Hours even to FIND the plugs

    2. My Dad’s last car (before he had to stop driving due to a disability from a work accident) was a 1968 AMC Rebel station wagon. I recall him doing something at the back of the engine (straight-six) and he couldn’t reach it, so he climbed over the fender and stood, on the ground, between the wheel-well and engine straddling the axle so he could get at whatever it was he needed to get at. Now if you drop a bolt under the hood it won’t reach the ground.

      His only gripe was the car was assembled in Canada with metric bolts, and all he has was SAE sockets and wrenches so he had to borrow metric tools.

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