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Case study: Low –mileage 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan

This 7 year old VW Tiguan came to us with just under 50,000 miles, a relatively low-mileage vehicle that had been well-maintained by its owner. The owner, seeking a second opinion, presented us with the local VW dealer’s service department inspection and write-up of recommended work. The dealership had called out more than $6000 of work to be performed, ranging from tire replacement (which was needed) to replacing the rear main engine seal, which was NOT needed. Also included in their recommendations were a leaking vacuum pump, leaking axle seal, a fuel injector cleaning, and a coolant flush.

Upon inspection we found that most of the recommended work was not presently needed. While the Volkswagen dealership had a very nicely printed inspection report, it merely featured stock photos of the called out conditions rather than actual photos of the customer’s vehicle. It also called out work based on time & mileage rather than the actual condition of the vehicle.

When we inspect for fluid leaks, we rank the condition in one of three categories: Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 leak. A Level 1 leak is the slightest evidence of fluid, usually just a small, darkened area on the metal, which we would make note of and look for on the next service visit. A Level 2 leak is slight seepage, still not enough to leave any fluid on your garage floor. Level 2 leaks can stay unchanged for an extended period, or can worsen quickly, it is kind of a tossup, and we explain this and leave it up to the customer to either repair or keep an eye on for the future. A Level 3 is a leak that is weeping/dripping. This is something that you would see on the garage floor, and we would recommend an immediate repair.

When we perform our standard courtesy check, we take actual photos of the conditions we find and they are included in the vehicle report given to our customer. By doing this, our customers feel more secure in the knowledge of what their vehicle actually needs, and not that they are just being sold additional work.

This Tiguan had minor, Level 1 leaks at a turbocharger solenoid and a valve cover. These did not require repair, but were only areas to watch for at the next oil service. While the rear main seal had a Level 2 leak, it still did not merit immediate repair, and only exhibited slight wetness at the transmission/engine mating area. Again, we advised re-inspection at the next oil change. Coolant was tested and found to be in good condition, and brake fluid flush was recommended, with fluid containing more than 4% moisture.

New Continental tires were mounted and balanced at a significant savings over the dealer-quoted replacements.

The end result of our inspection and recommendations was required maintenance and repair totaling 1/3 the cost of what the dealer had recommended, a significant savings on a very serviceable car with a long life ahead of it.


Midwest Performance Cars has been contacted by Volkswagen with details on the proposed settlements regarding emission systems of vehicles equipped with the 2.0-liter TDI engine. Owners of eligible 2.0-liter TDI vehicles are entitled to a significant cash payments under the settlements. In addition to that cash payment, owners may also choose between an emissions modification and a buyback:

Emissions Modification – Volkswagen is working to develop a modification of the emissions system of each type of 2.0-liter TDI, and, if that modification is approved by the EPA and CARB. A Volkwagen dealer of your choice will perform the modification on your vehicle free of charge.

Buyback – Volkswagen will buy back your 2.0-liter TDI vehicle for an amount based in part on the NADA Clean Trade value as of September 2015, before the emissions issue became public.

You can find further details of this settlement at

And as a reminder, Midwest Performance Cars can take care of ALL of your maintenance and repair needs on your Volkswagen vehicle even while your warranty coverage is still in effect. Servicing your vehicle at an independent repair and maintenance facility WILL NOT affect your vehicle’s warranty coverage, and we will save you money over what the dealership will charge. In fact, we guarantee that we will beat dealer pricing by at least 20% on regular retail-priced maintenance and repair.

Call us at 312-432-9492 or book your appointment online today!

Spring Car Care Tips


You and your car have survived the Chicago Winter and we should be all finished with any real snow and ice. Now is the right time to bring your vehicle in for a Spring Service. Winter is very hard on many components of your car and some wear or damage to important components may have occurred. If your car has been safely stored away for the winter, it is a good idea to have it gone through before the fun driving season begins.

It goes without saying that spring and summer are very different environments in which your car must operate in than winter is. While generally easier on the equipment, each season does present its own set of challenges. Spring brings a lot of rain and wet driving conditions. This stresses electrical components, tires and drains among other systems. Contact Midwest Performance Cars today to schedule an appointment for your Spring Maintenance. Below are a few of the things we will check for spring as well as a few recommendations:

LiquiMoly - made_in_germany

Spring Service Package – There are a few high quality additives that we recommend periodically adding to your oil and fuel systems in order to remove contaminants and to reduce wear. We have bundled three of the best into a Spring Service Package. All three products come from the highly respected German company Liqui Molly. “Engine Flush” is added to the engine and run for a few minutes just prior to an oil change – this removes contaminants from the oil circuit. After the oil change, we recommend “Cera Tec” which adds a ceramic coating to the metal and reduces both wear and friction. This service should be completed every 30,000 miles. Finally we recommend “Jectron” to keep the fuel injection systems clean. With our Spring Service Special we combine these three great services into a package at a considerably reduced price.



Battery – Winter is hard on your starting system components – battery, alternator and starter. The cold puts a high load on this system in order to turn over your motor filled with cold, thick oil. MPC will check this system to make sure it is still on good order. Signs that your battery is failing include hard starting, warning lights, dimming headlights and interior lights, and slow power windows.



brake rotor

Brakes – Salt, slush and ice get packed into your wheels and brakes during the winter. This can corrode your brake components – pads, rotors, brake lines, and ABS systems. Signs that your brakes need attention include pulling to one side, warning lights, a soft brake pedal, and squealing or grinding noise upon application.



tire with bulge in it

Tires – Those of you that have one set of tires for all year should have them checked out in the Spring. Spinning your wheels on ice trying to get out of your parking spot, alley, or garage can do a lot of damage to your tires. See this terrific article from Car Talk: Car Talk on Winter Tire Damage. Further, hitting potholes (hard not to do in Chicago Winters) can cause sidewall bulges or cracked/broken wheels. Either of these is unsafe and should be replaced immediately. We will check your tires for dry-rot – rubber cracks as it ages and old (5 years or more) tires will start to dry out and crack from the inside out. Finally, MPC will set your tire pressures. Tire pressures will change as the temperature outside changes so you should always have your pressures checked in the spring.

worn belt

Belts and Hoses – The cold and salt will also age rubber parts in your engine such as belts and hoses. As the rubber ages, belts will start to peel and crack and hoses will get soft. Blowing a hose in your cooling system will cause your car to overheat and you will need a tow. Similarly, a broken belt can cause many issues from a loss of power steering to overheating. Midwest Performance Cars will check your belts and hoses to make sure you are ready to enjoy spring driving.





Spark Plug Wires & Coils – Both rubber spark plug wires and plastic coils will crack with age and heat. Often in the rainy spring weather, the humidity in the air will cause these cracks to develop into shorts which will result in misfires, hard starts or no starts.






pointing to drain hole under the hood

Drains – This is an important maintenance item that is overlooked by many shops and dealerships. Most vehicles have drains in the front cowling, doors, and sunroofs. These can get blocked up with leaves and other debris. When the drains are plugged up, water will often back up into the cabin on the floors and/or into the dash. These areas usually are full of electronic control modules that get damaged with water intrusion. We too often see vehicles with damaged, expensive control modules and moldy wet carpeting caused by something as simple as plugged drains.



oxygen sensor

Oxygen Sensors – These are one of the most common causes for a Check Engine Light to come on. There are often multiple oxygen sensors in today’s European cars, but they all work the same way. The oxygen sensor measures the unburnt oxygen in the exhaust stream and allows the vehicle’s fuel management to add or reduce fuel flow in order to maintain the perfect mixture. If your oxygen sensor(s) malfunction, the fuel management will often provide too much gas (rich mixture) and can reduce your mileage by up to 40% according to the auto repair website, CarMD. Running too rich can also damage your catalytic converter which is an expensive component of your vehicle. Oxygen sensors typically need replacing every 30,000 to 50,000 miles.


brake reservoir

Fluids – It is always important to check all your fluids to make sure they are topped up and fresh.






interior ac vents

A/C System – It is a good idea to check out your A/C system before you really need it. The cold of the winter can shrink seals and cause your Freon to leak out. Turn your A/C on to max and see if it is working. If it is not, give Midwest Performance Cars a call to schedule an appointment.






Suspension & Alignment – If you drive in Chicago in the winter, you are going to hit potholes – we all have to pretty much accept that. However, potholes are very hard on your car’s shocks, struts, bushings and alignment. At MPC we will thoroughly check your suspension and make sure no damage occurred during “pothole season”.






clean cabin filter versus dirty cabin filter

Cabin Filter – The cabin filter removes contaminants from the air inside the passenger cabin. If the filter is blocked or dirty, irritants such as dust and pollen can circulate in your cabin. This is particularly troublesome if you or anyone in your family suffers from allergies. Midwest Performance Cars will check your cabin filter every time your car is in for service.



worn wiper blades leaving streaks on windshield

Wiper Blades – Winter often destroys wiper blades, we will check them out for you.




simon's shine shop for detailing needs

Car/Undercarriage Wash – Removing all the salt and road debris that accumulated on your vehicle over the winter is an important maintenance task. Underneath your car, the salt and muck causes the components to rust. On the top, washing the car thoroughly and even treating your car to a good wax job will prolong the life of your paint. Midwest Performance Cars will wash your car with each service, however we recommend going to your favorite detail shop for a wax and undercarriage wash. We recommend Simon’s Shine Shop in Lincoln Park at 1439 W. Shakespeare, (773) 348-2000.

Why Do I Need To Flush My Brake Fluid?

There are a lot of different opinions and misconceptions regarding the need for periodic brake fluid flushes. Do you need this service? How often? Why?

Most European car manufacturers recommend having your brake fluid flushed every two years. Brake fluid is hygroscopic which means it attracts and holds water molecules. Water will be absorbed right out of the air, and as brake fluid ages it will promote corrosion in many of the hydraulic components found in the braking system. In addition, the seals and hoses used in the braking system slowly deteriorate causing small rubber particles to be suspended in the brake fluid.

Old, contaminated brake fluid on the left vs. fresh fluid on the right.


Antilock brake systems (ABS) have small passages in their pumps and control valves which are easily plugged from the suspended corrosion and rubber particles. That contaminated fluid will lead to compromised braking performance. Replacing your brake fluid at the proper time intervals will help maintain your braking system and prevent more costly repairs down the road.

Midwest Performance Cars recommends following your vehicle manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance intervals. If your vehicle is due for a flush, or you do not know when it was last done, call us to schedule your brake flush today.