First 10,000 Miles – Broken-In

It’s hard to believe I’ve already accumulated 10,000 miles, all in just four months! My commute is 53 miles each way, so I’m quickly racking up the miles. That’s okay; I buy my cars to be DRIVEN! If you’ve read my “First 1000 Miles” entries (Part 1 and Part 2), then you already know that I’m very pleased with the car. Here are my thoughts after a few more months of driving:

rse16I can’t honestly say whether the suspension has softened during the break-in. I may have gotten used to the firm ride. I’m sure some enthusiasts would love to add stiffer springs. Me? I think the springs are fine, although I’d like to go one inch lower. But a wheel change may take some of the edge from bumps and expansion joints. I’m not in a huge rush to replace my wheels, especially with the great comments I’m getting about the Nogaros. But I’ll be considering a smaller wheel when it’s time for new tires. Remember when 17-inch wheels were what all the “cool guys” wanted? This old guy does!  😉  I have my eyes on Neuspeed’s new RSe16. I think the change will make the ride a hair more comfortable without sacrificing any of what makes the GTI a great-handling car.

fuellyI don’t have a lot of performance stats to give since I drive primarily for commuting. Yes, I stomp on the accelerator from time to time, and it’s fun, but I mostly drive in a relatively sedate manner. Even when I’m blasting forward to get ahead of approaching traffic, I usually shift around 5500-rpm, just when the car feels like it’s about to unleash more. Most often, though, I shift around 3000-rpm (maybe 4000) and take it easy. My car’s lifetime fuel average of 32.4 mpg is proof of that. My best tank so far is 34.7 mpg, with my longest tank being 400 miles. I’m confident that I’ll get better economy during the car’s first road trip later this month. I’ll be sure to share the details, especially since the destination, Tail of the Dragon, will need a write-up.  🙂

stereo-wphoneThe infotainment system is one of my favorite features of the car. Sure, there are better systems out there. Still, the MIB2 is a very good factory stereo with plenty of cool features that work well with the car. The controls are easy to find and use; the menus for navigating through my MP3 library are a huge improvement over older factory systems. I even decided that I like the Bluetooth interface, even though I still don’t like that phone calls interrupt the music. I favor listening to music from the SD card, but it’s convenient to press the MEDIA button to switch to smartphone navigation sounds while also playing music from the phone. I don’t like the CarPlay interface. I think its features are limited, clunky, and don’t work as well as just using the phone. This is especially true for me since my phone is mounted for easy viewing. It didn’t take long for me to make improvements to the sound system, including the addition of Volkswagen’s Helix sound system accessory (get one if it’s still available) as well as my own subwoofer upgrade. The combination makes driving the car even more of a pleasure!

Other cool features I like include:

Seat Heat – It’s great! I turn it on high at first, back off to low after just a minute or so, then it’s warm enough to shut off completely after 10 minutes.

Plenty of Gauges – I love having gauges on the cluster. It’s so much better than the decontented cluster on my Mk6. I can also pull up more displays in the “Performance Monitor.”

270° Fuel Gauge – The fuel gauges in earlier cars only moved about 75 degrees between full and empty. They gave the appearance that fuel stayed around forever. With a slightly smaller fuel tank and 270 degrees of gauge movement, it’s almost alarming to be able to watch the fuel gauge drop during a single commute. Still, I like having the extra precision.

Needles at Rest – This is one of those “nice touch” kind of features. When the car is off, all the gauge needles point in the same direction. Those with OCD would be pleased.  😉

Odometer Rolling Numbers – The odometer and trip distance counter are both digital. Still, an engineer thought it would be an interesting touch to make the numbers “roll” like an analog counter. It’s unnecessary, but a cool touch.

GPS Time Sync“A man with a watch always knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.” (Segal’s law). The GTI’s clock is synced automatically to the GPS receiver. Yes, even cars without factory navigation have a GPS receiver built into the sharkfin antenna. As a result, my clock and my smartphone always match!  🙂

High-Resolution Backup Camera – Of course, I can reverse without one; but using it to center the car effortlessly in a parking spot is sweet! The GTI’s camera is protected from rain and road spray, plus it has resolution that shows every detail. It’s impressive!

No Sunroof – How can I like a feature that the car doesn’t even have? I’ve read about problems people are having with their roofs leaking, creaking, or malfunctioning. The posts make me REALLY glad that I don’t have one.

My dislikes (other than CarPlay) are few:

Some of the Steering Wheel Controls – I liked a previous car that controlled the music volume and track selection with the same button (up and down for volume; left and right for previous/next tracks). The GTI has these features separated. The volume is controlled by a left/right button near the cruise control while the previous/next selection is made with a left/right button near the cluster control buttons. I’ll eventually get used to it.

(Un)Limited Door Stops – When opening the doors, there are indentations in the slide that allow the door to hold in set positions. In earlier cars, there was a position that wasn’t enough, another position that was just right, and then all the way. The GTI lacks the “just right” position. “All the way” is too far, especially if there is another car parked alongside. Many enthusiasts have cut their own indentations in the door slide. I will do the same. I just wish VW had done this right at the factory. No one likes door dings!

Ice Warning – I’m already aware of when it’s cold outside. So the feature seems unnecessary unless I’m on a long trip that takes me from warm weather to really cold weather in the span of a couple of hours. As if that’s not bad enough, the warning sounds as the temperature REACHES 39 degrees from either direction. That means that I can go outside, scrap ice from a clearly frozen car, start driving with NO ICE WARNING, and then be startled an hour later when the temperature RISES to 39 degrees and the car sounds an annoying chime. That’s DUMB. I wish I could disable it, but I haven’t found a code that’ll let me make changes to that module with VCDS.

Early (and Annoying) Windshield Washer Warning – I like that the car lets me know when the washer fluid is running low. I hate running out unexpectedly, especially on a commute with salty road spray flying everywhere. But the announcement is made WAY too early; plus it chimes far too often and displays a cluster symbol that seems to signal the impending destruction of the car (that’s in addition to the wiper fluid lamp). One chime at start-up and the wiper fluid lamp really is sufficient, Volkswagen!

Telephone/Cluster Auto-Select – As mentioned above, I’ve come to like the Bluetooth interface on my car. Taking phone calls is convenient. However, I don’t like that the display on the cluster automatically switches to the phone screen just because I pressed the phone button on the steering wheel to answer or hang up a call. I wish I could disable that feature in the cluster because I can use the MIB2 to view telephone options.

That’s all I can think of for now. Hover over the “My GTI” link above to see if the menu has grown since your last visit. I add new content as I complete various projects. I’ll be sure to post a write-up soon after my upcoming road trip.

10k and Counting,


About Scott

I grew up near Houston, TX and served in the U. S. Coast Guard for over 30 years. I have an electronics background and continue to work in the electronics engineering field. I taught myself the basics about automotive systems as well as how to perform some of my own maintenance (cars and bicycles). I became involved with Amateur Radio and computers in 1995. The explosion of technology has made my job and several of my hobbies quite interesting. My hobbies include Volkswagens, bicycling, photography, electronics, amateur radio, web management, and reptiles. Visit my websites to learn more.
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