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Rob

Glencoe, MO

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Question Asked: 

My 2001 Passat has 126,000 miles on it. I currently only drive it about 5,000 miles per year, 90% of that on the highway. It sits all week in a garage and then I drive it on the weekends. I use Mobil 1 European 0W-40 and a Mobil 1 filter. How long can I safely go between oil changes?


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In February 2010 at 114,000 miles, I had my valve cover gaskets and tensioners replaced because the valves were seeping oil causing a burning smell. Just 17 months and 8,000 miles later, a burning smell has returned. It's not as bad as it was, and I can't smell it (yet) while I am driving. Are my valve cover gaskets bad AGAIN? If I ignore it, what is the downside? Will I eventually damage the engine? How long (time and miles) do I have? I only drive it 100-200 miles per month and one 2,200 mile trip per year.


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My transmission fluid level was within the normal range on the dipstick. I drained the transmission fluid pan. My 7-quart empty filled up so I assumed I drained 7 quarts. I added 7 fresh quarts and checked the fluid level. The dipstick seemed to indicate the level is far above the maximum line. I've driven my Sienna for several months with no problems. The dipstick still seems to show the level is far above the maximum line. How is that possible since I added exactly what I took out and the level was normal before the exchange. If it really is too high, would I notice a problem by now with the transmission? Do I need to drain some fluid out?


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My 4 1/2 year old battery recently died after the car sat for two weeks. I had the battery tested (ok) and charged. My Passat started immediately over the next few days. It then sat for 4-5 days and the battery was dead again. I replaced the battery with a new one and the Passat started immediately as I drove it over three days. It then sat for four days. I started it and here's what happened: Normal dash lights come on, engine turns a bit, then nothing, then it barely started (all on one key turn). I drove it a few miles then parked for 30 minutes. Passat didn't start. I waited a few minutes and then the above repeated (on one key turn, engine turned barely, then silence, then barely started). This all points me to the battery but what are the odds that the new battery dies so quickly? Is it the battery or is there something wrong in the car?


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Question Asked: 

Is replacing only the brake fluid in the fluid reservoir good enough or must I have a mechanic do a whole system fluid flush? I don't have any braking issues and the fluid looks fine, but it has been about 5 years and 50,000 miles since it was last replaced.


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A mechanic advised me he only uses Mobil-1 Synthetic oil because it best for engines. He said Pennzoil creates a film and Valvoline gets foamy, but of which are bad. My Passat has 121,000 miles but I am currently only driving a few thousand miles per year, some months only 150 miles. He said at that rate, I can change the oil only once per year as long as I change the filter every six months. Is all this true? If so, is it worth it to spend $80-100 for this once per year oil change?


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I have a 2002 Passat GLS 4Motion with 121,000 miles on it. I bought it at 77,000 miles and have not done anything with the transmission. I don't know if anything has ever been done on it (including changing the ATF). Occasionally when I let off the accelerator and then accelerate again, the transmission seems to thump/kick. I figure I need a transmission drain (not a flush?). The dealership told me to do a flush for $325. If that didn't fix it, they may need to change the motor mount for $225. I independent guy who works on VW's and other foreign cars said not to do a flush but just a drain. He said it will take two hours at $75 per hour plus the filter and ATF. Repairpal estimates the ATF change to cost about $150. Who to believe? How much should a drain cost? Is a drain safer than a flush?


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