What Am I Driving and Why: The Volkswagen Jetturd

So I own 5 cars.  But my childhood neighbor is gonna sell one of them for scrap metal so he can pay his way to Phoenix into an auto mechanic school.  So, 4 cars.  Two of them are Subarus: 1993 Legacy Turbo & 1998 Forester.  One Subbie transmission is in my garage.  One sits engine-less like a statue of a woman with no arms, the other perched atop jack stands ready to be sacrificed to the car gods.  The other is my highschool car I’ve owned for a decade: a 2002 Ford Focus.  It’s got a differential problem, probably because I used to race it.

So recently I’ve been driving my brother’s 2002 Jetta TDI.  It gets great mileage (55/gallon) and even with $4.15 diesel prices, it’s still better than its gas-powered counterpart.  It starts using glow plugs that heat up the combustion chamber prior to startup, then the high compression motor runs itself without the need for spark.

It makes sense for a truck: lots of torque to tow a boat, but is it such a good idea in an auto?  The Europeans think so based on the plethora of available diesel cars in the EU.  They actually emit less harmful ozone-killing gases than gasoline-fueled cars.  But they do emit soot that coat buildings and lungs, plus they’re loud and slow.  I’m actually pretty sick of it.  It’s got 90 horsepower at the crank according to VW, thus the good mileage.   F this car, I’m getting a new one…


…stay tuned!


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