[Vwdiesel] Oil dip dtick degrade.

William J Toensing toensing at wildblue.net
Sun May 13 00:28:06 EDT 2007

Thank you for calling this to our attention. While I can't speak to VW plastic life in particular, I have noted many plastic items degrade with age & become more brittle. This can happen to metal as well. In general, manufacturers don't design their cars to last more than 10 or 15 years. Back in the early '50s I recall Tom McCahl writing that axel shafts can grow brittle with age & 20 year axels can snap & advised taking it more easy on old cars. Axel shafts on early Ford V-8 flatheads & Model As are more brittle & have been known to break. I'm sure the same thing is true for VWs since most of our cars are 20 to 30 years old. In Europe, a 10 year old car is an old car & in general, does not have much value. In the USA & particularly in the Sun Belt states where road salt is not an issue, cars with reasonable maintenance tend to last much longer.  I collect old radios & have collected some Soviet era Russian radios. There radio knobs tend to be brittle & break easily. I think when these plastics were new, they often had no way of knowing how long they would last as I don't think the Soviet economy believed in planned obsolesce. I have a low 30,000 mile '41 Ford. Fifteen or 20 years ago, the window regulator cranks started falling off. They were made of pot metal. Replacement window regulator shafts are now made of steel. However, they did last for 30 years. One area where many manufacturers skimp is using steel  rather than bronze for freeze hole covers. They can rust out in 10 years. One did on my wife's Ford Taurus, behind the bell housing which will require removal of the engine from the car to replace it, unless someone knows a better solution. I don't know if VW diesels have frost plugs, but if they do I would think it would be wise to replace them with bronze plugs, if possible.
With the forgoing in mind, what other plastic parts in our VWs do we have to watch out for?

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