Volkswagen Emissions Scandal
Rather alarming news recently hit the Volkswagen community when it was announced in late September that VW had reportedly installed deceptive software in thousands of their vehicles.
According to reports, many of the most popular Volkswagen vehicles were fitted with this software as early as 2010. The software itself was designed to manipulate emissions levels during vehicle smog tests to make it appear that it met legal standards when in fact they did not.
Essentially, the VW computer software would detect when a test was being performed on the vehicle, lowering the level of emissions for that vehicle to an acceptable legal volume. Once the test was over, the emissions from the vehicle would again rise back up to illegal levels.
Diesel, though generally regarded as being much more fuel-efficient than its counterparts, often burns “dirty” and is therefore much more susceptible to higher levels of emissions. Because of this, many vehicle manufacturers have constantly sought to develop ways to clean up the way in which diesel burns, with VW being among them.
Unfortunately, VW took a shortcut in this process, which will ultimately cost them a large sum of money due to the recalls that will inevitably be issued.
According to BBC, at least 1.2 million Volkswagen vehicles are fitted with this illegal computer software, which makes certain that a recall is in the immediate future.
By keeping the emissions levels at an illegal level, the vehicle’s performance is enhanced with horsepower and torque, all receiving a boost.
But at what cost?
In some instances, these VW vehicles equipped with the manipulative software were found to be emitting 10 to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide emissions. For a company that was often considered at the forefront of environmental and technological advances for vehicles, these findings are leaving many in the industry puzzled while consumers at the heart of this scandal are left feeling a sense of betrayal.
After all, one of the primary draws of many of the vehicles on the VW line is rooted in both the vehicle’s performance and their overall efficiency.
However, VW owners are in unanimous agreement that they would prefer a vehicle that wasn’t polluting the environment over one that marks slighter higher in the performance categories.
One silver lining of this Volkswagen scandal is that it isn’t a safety issue for those driving the vehicle and owners can continue to use their vehicles as they normally would. And, assuming that a recall is on the horizon, owners of these VWs would likely not have to pay anything to get their vehicles fixed and returned within legal levels of emissions.
Where VW will go from here and how they will attempt to save face has yet to be determined. However, one thing has certainly been made clear through these revelations. Manipulating government regulations, misinforming the consumers and polluting the environment isn’t justified by enhanced vehicle performance.
The history of Volkswagen and its vehicles are rich with the influential minds of men and women who created the VW brand that we are all familiar with today. Undoubtedly, as more and more talented individuals continue to add to the VW legacy, the list of people who have positively impacted Volkswagen will continue to grow. Below we have compiled a list, in no particular order, of the 20 most influential people in the history of VW.
- Ferdinand Porsche: The creator of the Volkswagen Beetle, Ferdinand Porsche finalized the design for an air-cooled, rear engine, and rear-wheel-drive vehicle in 1938. His “car for the people” was designed to be affordable, reliable and sustain high speeds on Germany’s newly-constructed autobahn. The Volkswagen Beetle has since become one of the most widely produced, recognizable and influential cars of all time.
- Gene Berg: Widely considered as one of the founding fathers of high-performance VWs, Berg’s passion for the VW bug began in 1956 when he began working to make his own vehicle run faster. People took notice quickly to both the fast performance and longevity of his vehicles. Berg’s commitment to excellence in his craft resulted in not only exceptionally fast, quality VW vehicles and parts, but also a successful business dedicated to improving the performance of VWs through research and development.
- Joe Vittone: What started as a company that made replaceable valve guides for a 36 hp head, quickly grew into the widely successful VW parts company known as Empi. Joe Vittone’s vision for high-quality, high-performance VW parts skyrocketed Empi into a household name and the industry giant it is today.
- Tom Lieb: An avid VW hot rodder and founder of Scat Enterprises, Lieb has continued to push the envelope of VW performance over his 40-year career. From an early age, he saw the potential of VWs to be fast and performance oriented. He quickly took advantage of this foresight and began supplying and distributing VW parts across the U.S.
- Ron Flemming: Flemming is credited as being one of the originators of the “California Look” VW, popularizing the vehicle for not only gear heads across the U.S. but also everyday American consumers. Flemming and his partner Greg Aronson specialized in air-cooled and water-cooled VW engines for off-road applications.
- Claude Tomlinson: Tomlinson began working on VWs out of his barn in the mid-1950’s. What followed soon after was C.B Performance, an industry leader in VW restoration and high-performance VW vehicles.
- Bob Gilmore: An early adopter of VW restoration, Gilmore is a praised VW journalist and an original founder of the Vintage Volkswagen Club of America. This club for vintage Volkswagen owners was founded in 1976 and is still highly active to this day.
- Ben Pon: Pon is credited as the man who first brought the VW beetle to the American market in 1949. His insight and input into the Volkswagen Beetle Type II project, more commonly referred to as the VW Bus, has left many to consider him as the “father of the Type II.”
- Dean Lowry: Lowry was a high-performance VW pioneer who helped pave the way for high-performance air-cooled engines. He constantly tested and pushed the boundaries of the Volkswagen on the racetracks of Southern California while taking his research and testing into his own hands.
- Charles Radclyffe: Radclyffe was given the responsibility of maintaining operations at the Volkswagen factory shortly after WWII. He realized the potential of Pon’s Type II design and was instrumental in the success of the VW Bus. Radclyffe helped to advanced Volkswagen by making arguably the most important hire in the company history of Heinrich Nordhoff.
- Heinrich Nordhoff: Nordhoff is responsible into catapulting Volkswagen into the industry giant that it has become today. After taking the reigns of the factory from the British in 1948, he took the production and exportation of Volkswagen vehicles to levels that had never been seen before.
- Ivan Hirst: Hirst is considered to be a savior of sorts for the Volkswagen Beetle. He continued to believe in the principles that the Beetle was created upon, and post-WWII, cleaned the Wolfsburg factory and began to produce Volkswagens under British Control.
- Adolf Hitler: Though the concept for the Volkswagen Beetle was born out of pure manipulation and to create an image of unity in pre-war Germany, Hitler is solely responsible for using his influence and power to quickly push the VW Beetle from a mere concept and into mass production.
- Al Martinez: As an event promoter in the early days of VW, Martinez sponsored various VW car shows including the California Bug-Ins and VW Jamboree events. In addition to this, his Al Martinez body shop was one of the earlier sources for customized Volkswagen vehicles.
- Richard Kimball: Kimball followed in the footsteps of the likes of Martinez by promoting and sponsoring VW events across the U.S. His excellent organization skills during the early days of Bug-Ins eventually led to the creation of the largest Volkswagen event in the world, the VW Classic.
- Ferdinand Piëch: When Ferdinand Piëch took over Volkswagen in 1993, the company was on the verge of going under. By implementing cost-cutting practices into the production line and injecting fresh energy into the Volkswagen brand, he was able to right the ship and turn in profits that reached billions of dollars.
- Bill Collins: At a time when customized VW collectors prized their vehicles so much they would transport them via trailer, Collins inspired the industry to return to its roots and drive again. He started the Der Kafer Fahren, a VW owner’s club for classic VW vehicles manufactured in 1957 and earlier.
- Bruce Meyers: An off-road Volkswagen pioneer, Meyers paved the way for the off-road industry as we know it today. He changed the face of off-road competition forever when he entered and won the Baja 500 in his high-performance VW nicknamed the “Meyers Manx”.
- Bob Scott: Bob Scott was an avant-garde for vintage Volkswagen restoration. He was attracted to the simplicity and reliability that Volkswagen vehicles and their parts possessed. His passion ultimately resulted in his founding of Vintage Parts, the first all-vintage Volkswagen parts supply company in the United States.
- Franz Reimspeiss: Most notably known as the man behind the timeless VW logo that is still in use today. Reimspeiss, however, was much more than an artist. After designing and testing more than 20 experimental engines, Reimspeiss created an air-cooled, four-stroke engine that was cheaper and more reliable than the original. Many of his ideas are still in use today.
All of us rely on our vehicles to get us to work, transport our families, run errands, travel long distances, and get us home again safely, regardless of weather or road conditions. Despite our need for our vehicles, many owners neglect or delay routine vehicle maintenance hoping to save money. While this approach may save money in the short run, following the recommended maintenance schedule can actually save money in the long run by improving gas mileage and preventing costly repairs.
Routine maintenance helps to ensure your vehicle is working properly and efficiently. Worn and damaged equipment are replaced or repaired, preventing unwanted breakdowns and vehicle malfunctions. Engine fluids and filters are checked and replaced or replenished during these inspections as well. Tires are inflated to the proper pressure level, improving your car’s fuel-efficiency and improving handling.
Performing the manufacturers recommended services will help prevent major service and repairs in the future. Taking proper care of your car can increase its life, optimize gas mileage, protect your vehicle warranty, and improve resale value.
Increase The Life Of Your Vehicle:
Proper care and regular car care maintenance will help your vehicle run properly, reducing the stress and strain on the engine, transmission, and other components. Regular check- ups are necessary to diagnose and fix problems that could compromise the owner’s safety. A large percentage of vehicle accidents are the result of poor vehicle maintenance.
Optimize Gas Mileage:
With gas prices constantly rising, drivers are looking for ways to improve gas mileage. A well-maintained vehicle will burn fuel more efficiently, saving you money at the gas pump. Proper tire pressure diminishes road friction, allowing your car’s engine to run more efficiently. Keeping your car well- tuned and fixing damaged parts can increase the fuel efficiency of your vehicle as well.
Protect Vehicle Warranty:
In most cases, completing minimum maintenance guidelines are necessary to keep a vehicle’s warranty valid. The manufacture may deny warranty claims if minimum maintenance has not been done. Denied claims can result in costly, out-of-pocket repairs for vehicle owners.
Improve Resale Value:
One of the most important reasons to follow routine maintenance schedules is to maintain the resale value of your vehicle. While all vehicles depreciate over time completing routine car care maintenance at suggested intervals and having evidence of proper maintenance has a positive effect on the resale value.
There are some things that drivers can do between scheduled maintenance checks to ensure that their vehicle is performing efficiently:
- Check engine oil level using the dipstick
- Check air pressure in tires to ensure that pressure is at proper level
- Inspect wiper blades for damage and check windshield washer fluid level
- Check tires for damage and wear
Keeping your vehicle properly maintained and repaired can improve vehicle performance, safety, and save you money over time.
Make sure your car has enough coolant. Your vehicle’s cooling system uses a chemical coolant, typically called antifreeze, to keep the engine from overheating. This liquid coolant circulates through the engine, absorbing heat created by the tiny explosions the engine produces. It then carries this heat away from the engine, out to the radiator where the heat is released from the vehicle and the coolant is cooled to circulate again. Without enough coolant this circular system does not operate properly.
Get a radiator flush every two years. It’s a good idea to get your car’s radiator flushed every two years or so. Peninsula automotive can handle this for you and we will clean out the debris and build-up that accumulates within the radiator. If this build-up becomes too bad, it could inhibit your cooling system from working properly.
Run your car’s air conditioning periodically. Circulating air through your car’s air conditioning system helps keep buildup, mildew, and other staleness from forming inside it. These things can lead to a foul smell and are not healthy. If you have not used the system in awhile, run your vehicle’s air conditioning on high for about 10 minutes to make sure everything checks out. If you ever have any questions about your car’s air conditioning or heating system, please do not hesitate to give the friendly, expert mechanics at Peninsula Automotive a call where you will find a group dedicated to keeping you and your car safe and cool this summer!
Why do we only think about our battery in the winter? The fact is, summer heat can be more damaging than winter’s cold temperatures when it comes to our car batteries. The cold hard truth is that when the mercury rises, a car battery’s strength goes down; Extreme heat, like 95 degrees Fahrenheit outside combined with high temperatures under the hood, accelerates corrosion of car batteries; Heat causes the water to evaporate out of battery fluid, breaking down the battery grids.
Weak batteries can struggle on for month, turning over the engine while it’s easy to start and generate a charge. The real test comes when temperatures drop. A weakened battery has to overcome cold temperatures and a harder-to-crank engine because the cold thickened the engines oil. The heats attack lowered the battery’s starting power which may call for a jump –start and possibly a replacement battery.
The following tips help you keep your battery in shape throughout the hot summer months:
- Preventive maintenance clearly prolongs the life of your battery. Refer to your owner’s manual to become familiar with what kind of battery it is and where it is located, how to safely clean it and what the indicator lights inside your car might be trying to tell you.
- When working with your battery, always wear protective eyewear. Remove all jewelry and wear long sleeves to protect your arms from an explosion of battery acid.
- Do a visual inspection looking for bulging, cracking or leaking. It it is, it’s time to replace it.
- The summer heat can speed up internal corrosion. Clean the battery connections by removing any corrosion, lead oxidation, paint or rust from the top of the battery with a scouring pad or brass brush. Be sure to brush the corrosion away from you.
- If your battery has removable filler caps, open the caps and check the water level in each cell.
- Make sure the plates are covered by the fluid inside. This prevents sulfation and reduces the possibility of an internal battery explosion.
- If the water level is low, add distilled water until the plates are covered. Do not use tap water.
Avoid overfilling, especially in hot weather, because the heat can cause the solution inside to expand and overflow.
- Have your battery and electrical system professionally tested every 5,000 miles or six months.
Peninsula Automotive has sold and installed Interstate Batteries for many years. With more than 15 million car batteries sold each year, Interstate Batteries is America’s No. 1 replacement-brand battery. Carried at locations worldwide, interstate Batteries are guaranteed “factory fresh” at the time of purchase and the receipt-free warranties are backed coast to coast.