Sorted by Category: Volkswagen

  • Are your VW Strut Mounts Worn?

    Posted on 06, February, 2018

     The streets of Brooklyn are notoriously rough. Not the people, the actual road surfaces. When you drive over speed bumps in parking lots, potholes in backlanes, and the breaks in the road everywhere else, any problems with your suspension are accentuated. If your strut mounts are worn, this is where they are going to tell you.

    It's a common problem in several Volkswagen models. Jettas, Passats, New Beetles, and Golfs all have similar designs, though the others aren’t exempt. Here’s what you’ll find:

    • As you drive over any surface that creates travel in your struts, you’ll probably hear a rattling noise from the front. It can happen on just slight suspension travel, over only bigger bumps, or it could happen all the time.
    • Over larger bumps or potholes, you’ll get a loud clunk. It’s not exactly a metallic noise – it sounds dampened. This noise happens when the strut is fully extended.
    • When you turn, you might get some noise and you might not. If your strut mounts are badly worn, you’ll probably get a clunk noise when you turn as well.
    • Your steering wheel may not sit straight when you’re driving straight, or the steering wheel position may shift unexpectedly.
    • In extreme conditions, the strut can punch through the top of the strut mount, maybe even causing an accident or crash.


    The issue is the material used for the upper strut mounts. Over time, the rubber used to make the strut mounts compresses under the weight of your car. That’s all fine and well, except now there’s a gap at the top of the strut where it mounts to the body at the top of the wheelhouse. This gap is the cause of all that racket you hear as you go over bumps. 


    Not only is the noise annoying but it can cause other trouble as well. When the strut mounts are compressed or squashed, there is vertical travel in the tire that shouldn't be there. This travel means your wheel alignment is never accurate as your wheel is free to move around. The evidence is in your tire wear – when your strut mounts are worn, you’ll quickly notice premature wear on the shoulders of your tire.

    There are aftermarket manufacturers that have corrected the flaw in VW’s strut mount design. Instead of using rubber, they use an alternate material such as polyethylene that holds up much better under the weight of your car.

    Replacing the strut mounts is an important job. If the problem is detected and corrected early enough, you can prevent dangerous driving conditions, excess tire wear, and undue stress on other suspension components.

    To correct squashed strut mounts takes less than a day in the shop. The struts are removed, the upper strut mount is replaced, and the struts are reinstalled. Afterwards, a wheel alignment is necessary to get your vehicle driving straight once again.

    Do you have the symptoms of worn-out strut mounts in your VW? L and M Foreign Cars can help. We know your VW inside and out and are equipped to deal with all of your concerns, including your strut mounts. Call us or drop in today!

  • Volkswagen:What High Mileage VW Problems to watch for

    Posted on 30, March, 2017

    Volkswagen: What High Mileage VW Problems to watch for

    You’ve long heard about the long-term reliability of Volkswagen models of all kinds, particularly the Golf and Jetta. It’s true – VWs of all shapes and sizes are some of the longest-lasting, most reliable vehicles you’ll ever find on the roads today, which is why you see them used well beyond 200,000 miles on a regular basis.

    Unfortunately, no matter whose car you drive, it’s going to experience an issue or two when you’re looking at a high-mileage situation. What problems should you be on the lookout for? What is common to experience when the odometer reading climbs up there?

    Volkswagen High Mileage Transmission Concerns

    Transmission maintenance tends to be pushed aside for many car owners. It’s not regarded with as much importance as engine maintenance, though with intervals of 60,000 to 100,000 miles, timing is critical. Transmission fluid needs to be kept clean to prevent internal wear on transmission parts and to avoid debris from blocking passages and causing solenoids to stick.

    If you’re the original owner of the car, you know your maintenance history but if you’re a second or third owner, you likely don’t have those service records. Poor maintenance can cause shift flares, burnt clutches inside, and eventual transmission failure. That goes doubly for DSG transmissions.

    2.0L Timing Belt Failure

    The timing belt is a toothed, reinforced rubber belt that joins the top end of the engine with the bottom end. Over time, the belt wears, stretches, and cracks. The normal replacement interval is 60,000 miles for most models, and it’s crucial to adhere to that schedule.



    A broken timing belt can cause thousands of dollars of engine damage, from bent valves to damaged pistons and potentially long repair times. Replace the timing belt when it’s due. If you don’t know when it was done last, don’t take the chance of failure – get it changed sooner rather than later.

    While replacing your timing belt, have the water pump replaced also. You’ll save hundreds on labor down the road if the water pump springs a leak as it’s driven by the timing belt. It only takes a few extra minutes to change.

    VW TDI Oil Pump Failure

    The oil pump on 2.0L TDI engines have been a point of contention for years. The engine starts getting very noisy due to lack of oil pressure, then the engine seizes up. The oil pump is to blame, causing thousands of dollars of engine damage, particularly on engines with higher mileage.

    If you’re getting knocking or rattling noise from your 2.0L TDI, stop driving it until you get the problem addressed. A replacement oil pump isn’t cheap but it’s significantly less expensive than a replacement motor.

    VW New Beetle Battery Junction Block Fires

    It probably won’t torch your whole car, but the wiring connections on top of the battery on early model New Beetles can short. You’ll smell smoke at first, then you’ll find your car won’t start or it may stall. You may notice other little electrical issues too, but it almost always originates at the battery.

    It’s not a major repair but it can be an annoying problem. At the first sign of electrical issues, have the junction block on the battery checked out.

    VW TDI Turbochargers

    While not exclusively a VW problem, high mileage turbocharged engines can experience poor performance. Turbos can fail for several reasons including shaft failure, but most commonly it’s from oil contamination.  Regular oil changes using high-grade oil will help prevent early turbo failure and can ensure a long turbo life well into the high mileage category.


    If your high-mileage VW is experiencing symptoms, don’t wait until it breaks down. Early detection can keep repair costs at a minimum. Trust your VW high mileage repairs to the shop that knows VW best in Brooklyn, L&M Foreign Cars. We’ll get you fixed up right and at a competitive price.



  • Why cleaning your Drains is important for your VW, BMW, Audi

    Posted on 21, September, 2016

    Why servicing your Drains is important for your VW/BMW/Audi


    First off lets get the terminology straight.  Passages, Ducts, or Drains are interchangeable terms to describe a series of tubes and passages within the frame of your car specifically designed to channel water that lands on your roof and windshield down to the street below.


    Cleaning out these passages to keep them free from obstructions and clogs is absolutely essential for keeping your VW in good working order.  Falling leaves, flowers, dust, dirty and other objects accumulate in and around these passages over time.

    Should any of these passages on your Volkswagen become clogged, water that normally flows down to the street can be redirected to the interior of your car, causing not only a musty wet smell that is unhealthy, but also electrical issues.

    The wiring harness on many VW’s is susceptible to corrosion if water is allowed to accumulate within the vehicle.

    So as a quick tip from a professional, a few dollars in preventative maintenance can save you thousands of dollars in electrical wiring and computer repairs.


    Passage locations vary on different vehicles, but here are some of the most common areas to find your passages.

    1. The sun roof.  There are two small holes that run from the channel your sunroof moves across down along the pillars of your car to the street below
    2. Base of the windshield.  There is also a major channel at the base of your windshield which redirects all the water from your windshield down away from your engine compartment to the street below. 
    3. By The trunk. Under the seam of your trunk.
    4. In your engine compartment Under the battery


    These passages most often become clogged with leaves and other debris.  So if your parking on the street under trees, be vigalent in keeping your passages clean.

    It’s important to be delicate while have your passages cleaned.  Using too much air pressure can cause the tubes to separate turning a small leak into a large leak.  Consider using L&M Foreign Cars.  We’ve been providing basic maintenance on Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Land Rover, Mini Cooper, Mercedes, Volvo and Porsche for over 45 years.  So Call us today! Or schedule and appointment online!

  • The Problem with Direct Injection – Coked Up Valves

    Posted on 24, August, 2016

    The Problem with Direct Injection – Coked Up Valves

    What is Direct Injection?

    Direct injection technology has changed the way fuel efficiency is achieved, and it’s a method Volkswagen has wholeheartedly embraced in a bunch of their vehicles. They were introduced into the VW lineup beginning in the early 2000’s with the Jetta, Golf, and Audi A4. Now, direct injection is commonplace. You can tell which vehicle has direction with the acronym after the name – GDI, TFSI, FSI, and TSI are all varieties of direct injection.


    Direct injection means exactly that: the fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber. It’s unlike other fuel injection styles that spray fuel in the intake to mix with air BEFORE entering the cylinders. That achieves better power production and improved fuel efficiency, all because more air can flow into the engine’s cylinders.

    Drawbacks of DI

    There’s a drawback to direct injection, though. In a typical fuel injection model, the air/fuel mixture passes over the intake valves, keeping them clean and operating smoothly. In a direct injection engine, the detergent-laden fuel doesn’t pass over the valves at all, only air.

    Over time, carbon buildup and oily sludge can form on the intake valves, which can make the valves stick, not seal completely, or not lift as high. It’s known as being coked up. That will end up being troublesome if it’s not attended to.


    Symptoms of Coked-Up Valves

    If your VW engine has direct injection, chances are good that over time your valves will experience carbon buildup. You’ll first notice that there could be a light misfire or rough run, and your Check Engine light will come on occasionally. When it gets really bad, you’ll have a dead miss in your engine and you’ll notice you have poor acceleration.

    In really bad cases, pieces of the carbon can break off and find their way through the engine and into the exhaust where they embed in the catalytic converter. A tiny piece of carbon can cause your cat to burn out, and it will need to be replaced alongside your engine repair.

    How to Deal with Coked-Up Valves

    The best course of action is to prevent it from becoming a problem. Regular maintenance for direct injection engines should include a course of intake cleaning at least every 50,000 miles. A reputable shop (like L & M Foreign Cars) will have a product to professionally treat the issue so it doesn’t affect your performance.


    If you have the symptoms already, running the engine treatment may not be enough. The intake manifold has to be removed and the valves have to be manually cleaned. It’s a pretty big job and it’s specialized, so you’re going to need a knowledgeable technician to do it for you, and definitely someone who’s familiar with Volkswagen engines.

     Serving Brooklyn and the surrounding area, L & M Foreign Cars is the place to trust for your VW direct injection valve cleaning and repairs. We know your Volkswagen and have the tools and equipment to take care of whatever you might need, just like the VW dealer but without the excessive costs. 

  • Common Valve Cover Gasket Leaks

    Posted on 05, August, 2016

    Common Valve Cover Gasket Leaks

    If you drive a VW Passat, Golf, Jetta, or GTi, you’ve probably asked one question at some time or another: “Why is my valve cover gasket leaking AGAIN?!?” It’s little consolation, but you’re not the only one, my friend.

    Your VW may have the 1.8-liter turbo engine or the 2.0-liter motor. You might even have the 3.0-liter V6. Engine size doesn’t really seem to matter much here. You might start seeing an oil drip from the backside of your engine when you’re underneath changing the oil. You might notice a burnt oil smell or wisps of smoke from the engine compartment. And, on closer inspection, you’ll trace it to the back of your cylinder head right at the top.


    Whether it’s never been replaced, it was replaced a few years back, or just a few months ago doesn’t factor in much either. It’s frustrating why it occurs so regularly.

     Valve cover gaskets are contructed of rubber or cork.  They leak because  all rubber gaskets eventually deteriorate, become hard and lose their elasticity over time. Valve cover gaskets are particularly prone to failing due to the constant heating and cooling cycles of your engine that occur between when your VW is running and when it is not.


    The valve cover gasket surface may not have been cleaned properly.

    When the valve cover gasket on your Volkswagen is replaced, the surface on both the cylinder head and the valve cover need to be immaculate. Totally spotless. Any dirt or oil at all and you could be looking at a completely wasted job that needs to be redone soon after. A professional repair facility that knows Volkswagens (like us at L & M Foreign Cars) is also aware of how particular this step is to preventing a recurring leak.

    Replacing the valve cover gasket correctly takes an experienced VW mechanic.
    Replacing valve covers can be quite challenging.  It appears to be simple, but in reality this particular repair takes quite a bit of finesse.  Knowing exactly where to put a little extra silicone, or which adhesive to use at which point in the repair takes an experienced Volkswagen technician.  Even once you’ve got it back in place, the bolts need to be tightened in the correct order and pattern using the correct amount of torque, and if the bolts are aluminum they’ll need to be replaced at the same time.

    There may be an outside cause of the valve cover gasket leak.

    On Volkswagen models, there’s a component called a suction jet pump on the intake manifold. It operates like a PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) valve, relieving pressure in the crankcase so oil seals don’t blow out.

    Unfortunately, if this suction jet pump stops working, it accelerates the potential for blowing out seals like the valve cover gasket. The passages in the suction jet pump get blocked by oil sludge and the pressure builds up with nowhere else to go.

    A reputable shop (such as ours) knows about this and won’t replace the valve cover gasket without checking the suction jet pump as well.

    It might not be the valve cover gasket.

    Another possibility, aside from the valve cover gasket, is the cam adjuster seal. It’s on the back of the engine right by the valve cover and looks almost exactly like a valve cover gasket leak.

    The cam adjuster seal is a bigger job than the valve cover gasket alone. It requires special tools and some VW-specific knowledge to get it right, and from your history, you don’t want to be tackling this problem again anytime soon.

    If your valve cover gasket is leaking, or if it appears your VW valve cover gasket is leaking, why not have VW experts check it out for you? At L & M Foreign Cars, we know your Volkswagen better than anyone. We know what it takes to get it fixed right and at a price you can afford.

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