How I hate auto-rheumatism!


All of a sudden the weather changes and the temperature drops to 18C (daytime) and 6C (nighttime). I just close the apartment windows, put on a jacket, and I’m ok.

The passat, however, is more susceptible to the cold weather. In an instant, I encountered several of the car problems that I had last winter (e.g., stalling, electrical shut-off, car alarm problems), plus one new BIG problem….the audio player is now in SAFE mode and will not play! I guess the funky electrical problem that I had last night really messed up the player. Now I drive around in complete silence. Having music in the car is the highlight of driving, now driving has become rather intolerable. It’s funny, I can deal with a chronic leaky power steering rack and no air-conditioning, but a non-functioning audio-player pushes me off the edge.

After spending a whole night of problem-solving googling and finding forums like this (plus I called my dad), here are some things that I’ll need to do to hopefully clear off the first round of auto-rheumatism:

1. I need to locate the specific radio code to unlock the audio player anti-theft mechanism. I’ve looked through all the documents and manuals that the previous owner left me and no radio code. So tomorrow, I’ll have to check the trunk and look at the area around the spare tire for the 4-digit radio code. Why spare tire? Because in some of the online forums, some people found the codes there, supposedly left by the dealer.

2. If I don’t find the code anywhere, I will have to try to remove the player (following instructions that I found online), get the VW code on it somewhere, call a VW dealer and get the radio code from them. I’ve learned that some dealers will charge money just to provide the code, so I may have to call several dealership to find one that will do it for free.

3. If I’m not able to remove the player on my own, I may have to bring it to a dealer and have them remove the player, get the VW number and then the radio code. They will probably charge me $90 for the labor, OR I could go to circuitcity and buy a new in-dash player for $99 and have them install it for free.

4. I’ll have to check the fuse box and look for blown fuses, go to a store, buy the specific fuses and replace them. I suspect that the radio and cruise-control fuses could be broken.

5. I’ll have to check the terminals on the battery for signs of corrosion. And possibly take it to Kleins to check if the battery needs to be replaced.

6. I’ll have to get the car washed. There’s like tree sap (or amber in Jurassic Park’s terminology) and other stuff on the car that’s corroding the paint. After fifteen months, a car wash is waaaayyyy overdue (and very much needed).

Sometimes I wonder if all this effort, headache and money put into the car is worth it. Would I rather go back to my days of limited mobility: walking to the nearest not-so-fresh market and buying only what I can carry with both hands, waiting at bus-stops, taking the bus, and following the bus-schedule, relying on rides from friends, and weekends stuck in Duh? Unfortunately, it’s not a choice – I’m expected to have a car, and that includes all the problems that come with maintaining a car.

4 thoughts to “How I hate auto-rheumatism!”

  1. sorry .. in chinese there is all have a word say like this.. buy car is easy but the maintaining is hard..
    too bad now only you learn when you are far away from home.. so next time come back try to learn more bout the car .. ok…

    mind to tell me what brand is ur audio player and the model too… if can i will try to help you find out the code for you… … good luck for you……

  2. Thanks for the offer but from what I gathered so far, the radio code is specific to the player and the car so there’s no universal code to unlock it. No point running around looking for it.

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