The VW diesel engine crisis rumbles on. So we’ve got the answers to the most frequently asked questions for the 1.2 million UK owners of affected cars. In September 2015, news broke that German car maker Volkswagen had fitted a ‘defeat device’ to the engine software of some of its diesel cars. This was designed to cheat emissions tests, primarily in the US, by knowing when the car was being tested and cutting dangerous nitrogen oxide outputs down to a legal level. These were then put back up to be illegal to improve economy when the car was on the road.
VW diesel engine crisis: Which engines are affected?
The engine at the centre of this is the EA 189 engine. This is an engine architecture so it’s not as simple as saying it’s just an engine with a certain capacity. It affects the 1.2, 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesels that comply with EU 5 emissions laws. These have been fitted to models as diverse as the SEAT Ibiza, Skoda Octavia, Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3 Cabriolet. Petrol engines are unaffected.
VW diesel engine crisis: Are other engines involved?
The US environment regulators have now found that the ‘defeat device’ has also been used on the larger 3.0-litre diesel engines. These engines are in models that were built between 2014 and 16. They include cars such as the Volkswagen Touareg, Audi A4 and A6 and Porsche Cayenne. It is currently unclear if UK cars are involved.
VW diesel engine crisis: What should have happened?
If you own one of the affected cars, you should have had a letter from your manufacturer by now. This simply says that you own one of the cars with the ‘defeat device’ in the engine’s software. It then explains that you will be contacted again in the near future to arrange for a free ‘technical solution’.
VW diesel engine crisis: What if you haven’t heard anything?
There is unlikely to be a full vehicle recall so although it’s VW’s problem, owners should make sure their car has the work done if it’s an affected vehicle. If you haven’t had a letter, go to the VW website. Input your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which you’ll find in a little window on the bottom edge of the windscreen, and it will tell you if your vehicle is affected.
VW diesel engine crisis: Is the car still roadworthy?
Volkswagen has been at pains to point out that even cars fitted with the regulation-breaching software are roadworthy and not dangerous in any way.
VW diesel engine crisis: Will the car pass its MOT test?
There have been some scare stories that the cars fitted with the defeat device will fail MOT tests. This shouldn’t be the case. The defeat device has been designed to lower emissions of nitrogen oxides. The emissions part of the UK MOT test currently revolves around carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydro carbons, not nitrogen oxide.
VW diesel engine crisis: What will the fix be?
This depends on the engine. Volkswagen Group UK managing director Paul Willis said the 1.2 and 2.0-litre engines will need to have a software update. The 1.6-litre will need the software update and new injectors. Neither fix will cost owners anything other than any associated inconvenience.
VW diesel engine crisis: Will your car be worth less?
Visit the internet forums and some posters sound like they’re rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of a glut of cheap Volkswagens, Audis, SEATs and Skodas flooding the market. This won’t happen. Philip Nothard from CAP Automotive said: “We don’t see any long-term impact currently. From all the analysis we are doing daily – auction percentage of CAP prices, trade volumes, retail advert volumes/prices and provenance checks year on year – we are not seeing any impact at the moment. Dealers I speak to are doing ‘business as usual’ and where prices and values are falling, it’s more relevant to the time of year (final quarter) and increase in available stock along with an easing in retail consumer demand.”