Would You Let Volkswagen Buy Back Your Diesel Or Get It Fixed?

Photo credit Patrick George for Jalopnik
Photo credit Patrick George for Jalopnik
CountersteerYour true stories of good and bad things that happen in cars.

Let’s say you own one of the 482,000 diesel Volkswagens and Audis that the automaker has been ordered to buy back or fix. Maybe you even do own one. Either way, you’re getting compensated. But do you fix the car or get rid of it?

That’s a photo of the 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI that I drove last year and really liked—before Dieselgate became news and regulators and lawyers put the whole company on blast, of course. Minus the not-so-small issue of the emissions cheating, it was a great wagon. It looked really nice inside and out. It was powerful and returned impressive fuel economy.


And right now, there are scores of diesel VWs and Audis just like it sitting on dealer lots since September, unable to be sold, and far more in the garages of owners figuring out what to do next.

Volkswagen is compensating owners in addition to the buyback and repair offers, so either way those owners will get something in the end (and the option to terminate their lease, if they have one.) But it’s definitely a tough choice to make.

On one hand, these cars are among VW’s best offerings in the U.S., and a fix lets owners enjoy them more—though at the likely cost of fuel economy and power. On the other hand, I don’t blame anyone who just wanted to dump theirs and be done with it before the resale value gets worse.

Then there’s the option of not getting it fixed at all, I suppose, but then you don’t get paid. And you have your diesel running around emitting more NOx than it should, if that kind of thing bothers you.


So if you were an owner, or are an owner, what do you do here? I’d probably get rid of mine and move on—it’s not like it’s some wonderful old vintage machine worth keeping, like a diesel Mercedes from the 1980s—but I can see the pros and cons to all options.

Editor-in-Chief at Jalopnik. 2002 Toyota 4Runner.

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Ash78, voting early and often
  1. Take the money and get it fixed.
  2. Get it chipped and un-fixed.
  3. Drive it for 10-15 more years, at which point it’s worth $2k-$3k whether Dieselgate happened or not.

Difficulty: Works best in states without inspections, and preferably when you’re not going to visit the dealer again any time soon (I suspect they’ll be compelled to reflash you at every service. This also assumes you’re not OUTRAGED at the environmental impacts, but you should probably also take a look at the other pollutants generated by your life before being too harsh on your car.)