20,000 Miles!

Seven months of GTI ownership has passed; I’m now at 20,000 miles. If you’ve read my other blog entries, then you know that I’ve been fairly busy with some modifications. Unlike many VW enthusiasts, I haven’t gone wild with performance mods such as intake, exhaust, a turbo swap, coilovers, or other popular improvements. Instead, my mods have leaned more along utilitarian lines. My efforts include a 3M clear bra, stereo upgrades, a ham radio, a trailer hitch, and (best of all) APR Stage 1.

I’ve only been APR tuned for about a month. I did a bit of spirited driving throughout the first tank and a little less during the second tank. The driving was fun and not too bad on the fuel economy, still returning around 29 mpg. Since then, I’ve been driving normally and averaging 32 mpg. It’s satisfying to unleash the extra power from time to time. I don’t drag race, but I think we’ve all been in a situation when more power is a great option. Recently, a Ford Raptor was riding my bumper on a long, sweeping freeway entrance ramp. I’ve seen it a hundred times: The tailgater rushes over from behind to take a lane and block the leading driver’s entrance to the freeway. I saw it coming, the Raptor crossed the painted area to take the lane, and then discovered that he didn’t have what it took to get by (not even close). He sulked for a minute, then he used the HOV lane to blast around traffic and show everyone who’s “faster.” HAHA!

I also towed my GTI’s heaviest load over a weekend while supporting a large bicycling event. I loaded my trailer and lowered my rear seats to transport 95 gallons of filtered water and 400 lbs of ice. I had ~750 lbs on the trailer and the rest was inside the car. I drove the load about 40 miles to the venue, spent the rest of the day hauling various loads from point to point, and then returned home with empty coolers and ice chests. The load was almost purely aerodynamic by the end of the day. I averaged 26 mpg for the two days that I hauled the trailer, which isn’t bad when considering that I also did a bit of excessive idling on those hot days.

I wrapped up my first 20,000 miles with the car’s second oil change. I didn’t talk about the oil change at 10,000 miles. I’ll share some details here. I subscribe to VW’s 10,000-mile drain interval. I don’t drive it hard enough to compel me to use a shorter drain interval. I use Liqui Moly Leichtlauf High Tech 5W-40 engine oil and OEM oil filters. This combination has proven more than enough to last 10,000 miles between drains. I use an oil extractor to drain the oil. It makes the job much faster and cleaner. I’m usually done in 10 minutes. If all goes well, I won’t ever have to worry about mishandling the plastic oil pan plug. I also rotated the tires and gave the inside of the wheels a thorough cleaning.

I don’t have much to note about the car over the past 10,000 miles. The GTI has been great, not a single problem, and I continue to enjoy driving it. The only hiccup has been the need to replace the windshield, but that was because of a rock and not because of the car. I’ve shared details in this entry. Do I miss my TDI yet? No… not even a little. Sure, my GTI averages *only* 32 mpg and travels half as far between fill-ups as my TDI. But my TDI never gave me the same satisfaction that the GTI has. This is especially true now that the car is tuned. All it takes is a little press of the accelerator to reinforce that there’s no going back to TDIs for me. I’m used to the acceleration, but I occasionally get a passenger who doesn’t expect a “Golf” to move the way this thing does, especially since I usually drive sedately. Their reaction to a quick pass is always a pleasure!  🙂

That’s all I can think of for now. I’ll sure to keep you posted on new developments.

Accumulating the Miles,


About Scott

I grew up near Houston, TX and joined the U. S. Coast Guard in 1986. I am trained on electronics and taught myself the basics about automotive systems and 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. I retired from the Coast Guard in 2016 and continue to work in the the electronics systems engineering field. My hobbies include Volkswagens, bicycling, electronics, amateur radio, web management, and reptiles. Visit my websites to learn more.
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