My Volkswagen Diesel and its propensity for cheating

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By Lee Scott

Yes, I have one of those cars. You might have read all about it. The manufacturer had been manipulating the emission control software which allowed the car to cheat when it detected the emission control test. There will be a major recall. I bought the car in Maryland where emission control testing is required every two years. My 2013 vehicle had to go through the test once and it passed. Of course it passed! My car cheated on the test! Then I moved to South Carolina where the car is not tested for its emissions. Now, do I suddenly stop loving my car? It is only two years old. It is a comfortable ride and it gets good fuel mileage. (Maybe.) I do know that I can drive up to Maryland on one tank of fuel which is great.

I don’t mean to be nonchalant about this issue, but this is not my first recall. Many of us have had cars recalled, but the scariest recall was back in the 1970s when I owned a Ford Pinto sedan. When I bought my cute little car it was one of the few new cars you could actually purchase for under $2,000. They advertised it for $1,999. Then in 1978 Ford recalled 2.1 million cars built between 1971 and 1976. The reason: exploding gas tanks. The newspapers were screaming that engineering negligence and corporate greed caused the problem. For me, as a young mother driving around with my young son, it terrified me. According to the reports, if you were in a rear end collision, there was a good chance your fuel tank would get nicked and then explode. I had the car fixed and then promptly traded it in for a Ford Pinto Station wagon. My thought at the time was that I really liked my Pinto despite the fuel tank issue and I reasoned that Ford would be under more scrutiny.

Today, riding around with my Volkswagen TDI Passat, I can say I still like the car. I am sorry that it cheats on tests, but after the Ford Pinto recall, I am not as unnerved. The newspapers again scream that engineering negligence and corporate greed got in the way. But for now, I will get it fixed, keep driving it for awhile, and then probably trade it in for another Volkswagen.