Karen’s 2016 VW Golf GTI SE

Vehicle Details

  • Make – VW
  • Model – Golf GTI
  • Model Year – 2016
  • Trim – SE 4-door
  • Options – Performance Pack and Lighting Pack
  • Engine – 2.0 TSI Turbo (227 bhp)
  • Engine Type – CXC B
  • Engine Number – CXC053651
  • Transmission – 6 Speed Manual
  • VIN – 3VW547AU4GM063210 (VIN Decoder here)
  • Purchase Date – October 8, 2016
  • License Plate – 434 HUT (California) (SMOG Lookup here)
  • Color – Tornado Red
  • Color Code – LY3D TW 4639

Additional Specs online here and an extensive recap of the Mk 7 over at Wikipedia here

MyCarFax Records here (logged in as Stefano)

Brand New

Review about the GTI w/Performance Pack

Service History

Date: October 15, 2016
Performed by: Stefano

Services Performed: Purchased and installed Paint Protection Film for front bumper, hood, quarters, side mirrors, front door edge guards, headlights, and rear hatch opening. 3M Scotchguard Pro +10

Date: November 19, 2016
Mileage: 835
Performed by: Roseville Volkswagen

Services Performed: Replaced Passenger side mirror assembly.

Date: January 25, 2017
Mileage: 1,990
Performed by: Roseville Volkswagen

Services Performed: A few warranty claim items. Squeak from clutch pedal. Rear wiper blade not sitting against glass. They ignored the squeak, and replaced the rear wiper blade. Here is a video of the squeak.

Date: May 23, 2017
Mileage: 3,988
Performed by: Neillo Volkswagen

Services Performed: 1 year/10K service performed. Seems like they jumped the gun on this, but that was 1 year from the date the car was manufacturered, not delivered. Oil/Filter and drain plug was changed. Warranty issue of clutch pedal squeak raised again. They are ordering new pedal assembly.

Date: May 27, 2017
Mileage: 4,081
Performed by: Neillo Volkswagen

Services Performed: Clutch pedal assembly changed under warranty to address complaint of squeak.

Date: May 18, 2018
Mileage: 10,563
Performed by: Neillo Volkswagen

Services Performed: 10K service performed. Warranty issue raised about dash front side vents still blow air when vents set for floor. They state this is normal compared to other model in show room. Also a recall issue where they installed a sunroof water channel repair kit.

Date: May 21, 2019
Mileage: 17,707
Performed by: Neillo Volkswagen

Services Performed: 2 year/20K Service performed. This was likely our last major service while under warranty and we combed over car. Oil and Filter Change (5W40). Warranty issues addressed. Oil seep was seen near front top of engine and valve cover. Camshaft housing reinstalled, Chain housing reinstalled. We’ve been slowly losing coolant level, and a slight coolant smell was evident as the car was parked. They inspected, and then removed and reinstalled the water pump and thermostat housing along with a new thermostat. Gear shift knob had a crack in it – they replaced it. The ‘GTI’ painted on the front red brake calipers is fading out, and they inspected, confirmed and then waived off saying it was an exterior cosmetic issue not covered. Bullshit. If the paint failed in the first three years, they’d have to fix it.

Date: August 19, 2019
Performed by: Stefano

Services Performed: The OEM VW Battery died. While still under the 3 yr bumper to bumper warranty, we’d found that the original batteries are notoriously crappy, so we opted to get a new Duracell Type 47 AGM battery from Batteries + Bulbs. This is under warranty until Aug 18, 2023. Hopefully this one lasts a solid 5+ years.

Date: October 21, 2019
Performed by: Natomas Autobody and Paint

Services Performed: Rear bumper was hit and marred in parking lot at the Monterey Jazz festival. Insurance claim covered bumper replacement, as well as replacing the PPF on it.

Date: November 8, 2019
Mileage: 21,019
Performed by: Natomas Autobody and Paint

Services Performed: Yes, just two weeks after the rear bumper was replaced, someone reversed into the car at a stop light, damaging the front bumper and grill. Insurance covered replacement of the bumper and the PPF.

Date: March 11, 2020
Mileage: 24,094
Performed by: Rocky Mountain Auto Works

Services Performed: Had the entire car ceramic coated with Opticoat Pro +. They did the body, the PPF and the Glass. This includes a 7 year warranty on the finish (warranty ID# 2 2019 0689).

Date: April 21, 2020
Performed by: Stefano

Services Performed: 3 year service performed. Oil and Filter change (Factory VW/Audi OEM Synthetic 5W40 and Factory OEM filter). Replaced the stock oil drain plug with ECS Tuning magnetic drain plug (that came in their Service kit we used). [Updated Note – the ECS drain plug is a POS and weeps – Don’t use this, stick with OEM] Checked and topped up fluids. Inspected tires (only 25% left) and topped tire pressures.

Date: August 16, 2020
Mileage: 27,325
Performed by: Stefano

Services Performed: Installed a Thinkware U1000 dual dash camera system. 4K front facing, HD rear facing. Hardwired and hid all the cables (8 hours of work to tackle that going carefully removing trims, etc.) Next time her little car gets hit we’ll have a record of who dunnit.

Date: October 24, 2020
Mileage: 28,930
Performed by: Stefano

Services Performed: The car, she had a wee hissy fit this week. We made a trip to lake Tahoe for the day, an elevation change of 7,000 feet. On the way, she threw the check oil level light. We turned back and did a fluid service. We headed back, and at the destination she didn’t idle properly, basically dropping to 1,000 rpm and then fluctuating/surging to 1,200 rpm cyclically. Turned her off, restarted, idled fine at the moment, but the Check Engine light came on. Drives fine, and after a short trip (still at 7,000 ft elevation) the idle fluctuation was back. Finished the day trip and pulled her into the shop for a mini service and inspection (back in 20 ft elevation).

Fluid Service – Topped up fluids. Coolant was near minimum level (hot), topped to max with OEM G13. Topped washer fluid. Engine oil was at minimum marker, added 1 liter of OEM 5W-40 to top up to full marker.

Put on lift and inspected for oil leaks. Dry as a bone with the exception of some minor overspill at back of oil fill port. Nothing to explain where one liter went since service in April (6 months). Noted that oil fill cap was 90 degrees out of perfect position. Seemed sealed fine, but rotated so that it is perfect. Can’t imagine it wept out a liter. Sigh. Need to monitor.

Inspected tires. Nail found in right rear (sigh), but doesn’t appear to be leaking. Rears at 5% life left, fronts at 25%. With winter coming time to replace tires. Current tires are OEM Hankook Ventus S1 Noble 2 in 225/40 R18 92H. Ordered a new set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S in same size, will install on arrival. Set existing tire pressures to 37 psi and reset TPMS calibration.

Wiper blades worn out. Replaced with new set of Bosch Icon blades, 26OE drivers side and 18OE passenger side as linked on the parts page.

Connected OBDeleven OBDII tool to read codes. Two engine codes setting the Check Engine light. P006800 MAP/MAF Throttle Position Correlation Intermittent, and P227900 Intake Air System Leak Intermittent. Inspected engine compartment for sources of vacuum leaks or loose wiring connectors. None found. Cleared codes. CEL cleared. Issue did not return on short drive for full tank of fuel and trip home. Idle normal, CEL normal. Sigh. Need to monitor as well.


Date: November 6, 2020
Mileage: 29,119
Performed by: Les Schwab Tires

Services Performed: Installed a set of four Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires Stefano purchased from TireRack.com. Size 225/40-R18. Mounted and balanced. Performed 4 wheel alignment. Toe was slightly out on Front Left and Rears. See invoice page 3 for alignment data before and after.

New Shoes!

Date: November 8, 2020
Mileage: 29,142
Performed by: Stefano

Services Performed: Stefano Clean. Snow foam hand wash and then a trip to Stefano’s for a serious interior clean of the glass, vacuum carpets, wipe down the interior. Good as new!

Also did a fluid check. The engine oil level was still fully topped up from the Oct 24 check. Coolant was down to midway on min/max. Topped to max while warm. I suspect it has the typical VW MQB Engine Thermostat housing coolant leak.

Date: April 18, 2021
Mileage: 31,737
Performed by: Stefano

Services Performed: Queen Piddles issue with leaking coolant from the Water pump to Thermostat housing issue was getting serious. Having to top up coolant each week, and leaving drips every time she parked up. Irritating that this was already done once under warranty in May 2019 (see above). I don’t think they did it properly, or just lied about it since we still continued to smell a wiff of coolant after it parks in the garage even after repair.

Ordered a new OEM Thermostat Housing (rev M), OEM water pump, OEM union pipe, and OEM intake manifold gasket from ShopDAP.com (one of their kits). Followed the best of steps in the two how to YouTube video’s linked over on the VW Knowledge page. Took the time to really cleanup all the drips and stains of the old fluid on the side of the engine block and hoses, etc. During disassembly discovered on of the lower wiring harness mounting bracket bolts was just finger installed, massively loose. Also discovered that the water pump drive belt cover that is held on with 2 bolts that also act as water pump mounting bolts, the hardest to reach/invisible one was barely tightened. I suspect the dealer monkey didn’t tighten this properly when it was warranty replaced at 2.5 year mark, and this may have been the long term source of the leak.

While the intake manifold was off, took the time to cleanup several things.

  • Cleaned the intake port flow director blades. Minor oil/carbon buildup. Brake clean to the rescue.
  • Cleaned the chunky crud/carbon buildup on the back of the plastic intake manifold flaps/blades. Brake clean worked great.
  • Cleaned the Throttle Body. Throttle Body cleaner.
  • Intake valves had the dreaded carbon buildup everyone talks about with direct injection engines. Loads of caked on carbon/oil cake on the backs of the valves and valve stems.
    • With a cylinder closed, I went after it dry with a series of picks. Flakes off pretty easy, was gooey and balled up. Shop vac to suck out bits and blobs. Patience. About 5 mins of work per cylinder. Used 24mm on crank bolt to rotate engine to manipulate the valves.
    • Followed the FCP Euro video process for Walnut blasting intake valves (link on VW knowledge page). Purchased a 20 lb small sand blaster tank, 5 pound bag of 18/40 walnut shell grit, vacuum attachment blaster fitting, and special blasting wand. [note, wand did NOT connect properly to the blaster hose, had to go to Ace hardware and but a couple of NPT brass adapters to step down from 3/8 to 1/4]. Set Blaster to 60 PSI. Hardly used 1/4 of the walnut grit total.
    • Blasted each chamber with walnut shells for about 30 seconds. Then went back in with picks to scrape around the valve seat seam to pick loose the bits of goop and residual walnut shells. Then vacuumed while using compressed air nozzle in the port. Then another 30 seconds of walnut blasting. Then picked again (hardly any residual now). Then compressed air and vacuum again to suck out last dregs. Sprayed with brake clean, and used lint free rag to wipe out chamber of walnut dust and last bits of carbon.
    • Worked really well comparing before and after.
Cylinder 2 Before and After Walnut Blasting to Remove Carbon Buildup

Replaced the MAP sensor on the top of the intake manifold. Purchased OEM from ShopDAP.com. This was my guess as to what went wrong on the Oct 2020 trip noted above.

Took the time to really cleanup the mess from the leak (blow back). Cleaned hoses, oil pan, skid plate.

Refilled the cooling system with new OEM VW G13 coolant (just under 1 gallon consumed). Used my new Airlift II Cooling System filler kit purchased from FCP Euro so that it wouldn’t be hard to burp the system afterwards since all the air was sucked out prior to starting (worked great!).

She started up after a few cranks needed to get fuel back into fuel rail and pump. No drips, no drama. Back in service again as good as new.

Due for annual service and brake flush. That will be up next.

Date: April 25, 2021
Mileage: 31,832
Performed by: Stefano

Services Performed: 4.5 year/30K Service performed. Since she’s not piling on the mileage, doing a hybrid service each time the annual ‘Service Due’ light comes on. Since we just did the big water pump/thermostat housing and carbon cleaning a week ago, this is the more routine stuff. Included:

  • Changed the Engine Oil (OEM 5W-40 Full Synthetic)
  • Changed the Oil Filter (OEM)
  • Changed the O-ring on the ECS Tuning magnetic drain plug
  • Changed the DSG/VAQ Front Differential Fluid (followed ShopDAP video procedure from Knowledge Page).
    • Drained old fluid. Honestly looked almost as good as the new fluid.
    • Took about 450 ml of new OEM fluid (from ShopDAP.com)
      • The bottle from VW had 850ml, so wasted about half after.
    • Replaced the fill plug and O-ring with OEM (from ShopDAP.com).
    • Replaced the drain plug and O-ring with OEM (from ShopDap.com).
    • In the future, just change the O-rings, not the whole plug. Both plugs identical. Also, I just refilled from below using the pressurize the OEM bottle and hose trick.
  • Customer reported that the ‘Check Oil Level’ light came on once in the last week. She inspected, but missed that it was at the bottom of the scale. Odd, since I had added the oil a week earlier. But, I only added 5 quarts. Inspected drain plug and it was wet. Hmm. Stefano maybe no tighten properly? Snugged it up, but worried the plastic plug in a plastic oil pan is the issue. Cleaned area off thoroughly so I can tell if its weeping. Did not look wet enough to explain a missing liter. Will monitor.
  • Topped windscreen washer fluid with plain water.
  • Inspected Front and Rear Suspension (all good)
  • Inspected CV boots
  • Inspected Steering (sway bar, drop links, tie rod ends, steering rack gators)
  • Inspected Brakes
    • Fronts VERY worn – DUE NOW. Rotors deeply worn.
    • Rears perhaps 25% life remaining
    • Recommending four wheel brake job. Rotor and Pads. Brake Fluid Flush at same time.
  • Probably due for a Cabin Filter and Air Filter soon.
  • Reset Oil Service Due warning using the press button under display technique.
  • Reset Inspection Due warning using the long press button under display technique. Set for 365 days from now.

Date: May 14, 2021
Mileage: 32,160
Performed by: Stefano

Services Performed: Finished up the annual Service and Brake work. Included:

  • Replaced Front Brake Rotors and Pads with OEM parts sourced from ShopDAP.com.
    • Replaced the caliper bolts and rotor retention screw with new as well.
  • Replaced Rear Brake Rotors and Pads with OEM parts sourced from ShopDAP.com.
    • Replaced the caliper bolts and rotor retention screw with new as well.
  • Brake Fluid Flush. Used Motul RBF600.
  • Bled the Clutch line.
  • Replaced rear wiper blade with Bosch.
  • Replace Cabin Filter with ATP Activated Carbon filter
  • Replaced Engine Air Filter with OEM sourced from ShopDAP.com
  • Inspected Coolant level. Stone cold it was midway between Min and Max. Topped to max with VW OEM G13.
  • Inspected Oil Drain Plug. Slightly misted but no signs of leaks/drips. Suspicious still if needs replaced. Hope it can just last until next service and we’ll replace (and go for a steel oil pan replacement at the same time).
  • Inspected for Coolant leaks. Areas where work was done bone dry and clean. Some brown crust on the rear edge where oil pan seals to the block. Might have been old, or something else. Wipes off in some areas. Keeping an eye on it.
  • Connected OBDEleven and scanned for codes. Several present, reviewed, but we accumulated and unimportant. Cleared. Two codes return, one about Sunroof missing basic program (?), and another about multimedia center having XM service disabled.
  • Found a small screw in the right rear tire. Pulled out. Fortunately was a very short one and was in the tread block only.
  • Rotated the tires (front to rear on same sides).
  • Changed from OEM lug nuts and plastic decorative covers, to new black lug nuts (that don’t need fake covers). Purchased from MotorsportGP. This will reduce the time wasted with the plastic covers each service and stop me scratching the rims with a pick tool each time they need pulled out. Dabbed the new lug nuts with anti seize before installing. Torqued wheel nuts.
  • Set tire pressures.
  • Recommended Service: She needs a bath inside and out.
In the shop for all new brakes – Rotors and Pads

Date: July 26, 2021
Mileage: 33,551
Performed by: Stefano

Services Performed: Getting ready for a big Canada journey realized we hadn’t checked the spare tire pressure in eons. Dug the space saver spare out (PITA), and it was at barely 9 psi after these 5 years since new. Refilled to specified 60 psi. Will add to the annual service routine to catch it annually now.

Also have learned that the fading GTI text graphic on the front brake rotors is replaceable (see photo above). Its a snap in trim cover on the caliper face, and you can swap just the trim with new one without doing anything else to the caliper. Might be worth considering snagging a pair while they are still in the parts pipeline.

Checked and topped off engine oil, was down 1/8th of a liter. Not sure where this is going other than the weepy drain plug. Not seeing any drips though.

Date: Aug 20, 2021
Performed by: Safelite Autoglass

Services Performed: Got a rock chip on the middle of the front windshield on the passenger side a few weeks back. Contacted Safelite autoglass and they came and did a chip repair onsite today to make the worst of it disappear. The result isn’t perfect, you can still see it to a degree. Was covered entirely under our AAA insurance policy.

Date: Oct 16, 2021
Mileage: 37,724
Performed by: Stefano

Services Performed: Customer states that the car is barely starting, sounding like a weak battery.  The Duracell AGM battery replaced in Aug 2019 already has started to fail.  When bench charged, it was only 12.1 volts to start, and wouldn’t charge past 12.3 volts, and the voltage would drain off.   Took back to Batteries Plus Bulbs and showed them the original receipt.  They kept it an hour to bench charge and then load test.  Failed the charge test, and they did a complete no charge battery replacement. Just took a new one off the shelf and gave to me.  Nice!   Reinstalled in car and it starts like normal now

Date: Feb 15, 2022
Mileage: 40,385
Performed by: Stefano

Services Performed: Right rear tire damaged beyond repair by curb scuff avoiding stalled car in lane. On advice of the local Les Schwab tire center they advised that we could replace only the single damaged tire since the rest of the set were so new. Couldn’t source locally, so ordered on new matching Michelin Pilot Sport 4S from TireRack.com. Les Schwab mounted and balanced.

Stefano mounted to car, torqueing to spec.. Set all four tires to spec 37 psi.  Used the center console and ‘Reset’ the tire pressure warning message (and thus the calibration is renewed).  This cleared the dash warning.  While we had the spare tire out, we set the spare tire pressure to spec at 60 psi.

Used a small Dremel cut off disk and nipped off the sharp edge on the top of the rim impact damage that was pointed towards the tire bead.  Just trimmed it off flush so no sharp edges. Photo below is before the trim.

New tire mounted to rim showing the impact point of curb

Date: March 14, 2022
Performed by: Stefano

Services Performed: Customer states that the car had a low oil level warning. When inspected at home found it was mid range on dipstick, which shouldn’t have been enough to trigger a low oil warning. Topped off with 1/2 liter of VW OEM Oil. Due for annual service in about 6 weeks.

Date: March 19, 2022
Mileage: 40,845
Performed by: Stefano

Services Performed: Customer reported engine problems. Coming off a freeway and slowing to a stop, car started to judder. Dash warning came on about reduced power. Said she had very rough idle and had to keep the RPMs up over 2000 rpm to limp it home the last mile. Connected OBDEleven and read codes. Four engine codes present, including a Misfire on Cylinder 3. When I restarted it, ran perfect. Noted the codes and cleared them.

Since it was due for new spark plugs to replace the VW OEM NGK 06K905601D. Purchased a set of NGK Platinum PLFER7A8EG at the local O’Reilly’s auto parts store. Fitted the new plugs, verified the gap was 0.032″, torqued to 30 Nm. Issue has not yet returned, will continue to monitor.

Date: April 12, 2022
Mileage: 41,338
Performed by: Stefano

Services Performed: Stefano was worried that replacing only the damaged right rear tire (8 weeks ago) might be a longer term issue for the front differential once both the old and new rear tires were rotated to the front (slightly different diameters).

Ordered one new matching Michelin Pilot Sport 4S from TireRack.com. Les Schwab mounted and balanced. Installed on Left Rear. Checked tire pressure was 37 psi and Torqued to 120Nm. Now both rear tires are new (within a few weeks of each other). Reset the TPMS system via the car center console.

Kept removed tire, only partially worn. Could be a spare if one of the current four gets damaged and needs replaced.

2022 Annual Service Underway!

Date: May 5, 2022
Mileage: 41,691
Performed by: Stefano

Services Performed: 5.5 year/40K hybrid service performed. Since she’s not piling on the mileage, doing a hybrid service each time the annual ‘Service Due’ light comes on. This service included:

  • Changed the Engine Oil (Took 5.5 liters of OEM 5W-40 Full Synthetic)
  • Changed the Oil Filter (OEM VW/Audi)
  • Changed the O-ring on the ECS Tuning magnetic drain plug
  • Topped windscreen washer fluid with plain water.
  • Topped brake fluid an ounce or two using Motul RBF 600
  • Inspected Coolant Level – was at Max with engine warm from drive over
  • Visually inspected engine and trans for any leaks – all good. Dry and a bit dusty.
  • Visually inspected battery terminals – all good.
  • Visually inspected Serpentine Belt – all good.
  • Inspected all exterior lights – all good
  • Inspected Front and Rear Suspension (all good)
  • Inspected CV boots – All good
  • Inspected Steering (sway bar, drop links, tie rod ends, steering rack gators)
  • Inspected exhaust system, mounts, piping, etc. (all good)
  • Inspected Brakes (all good since just done last year)
  • Rotated Tires and torqued to 88 ft-lbs.
  • Inspected Tires
    • Front – 10/32″ remaining (nearly new due to recent puncture and replacement of pair)
    • Rear – 7/32″
  • Set Tire Pressures
    • Front/Rear – 37 psi
    • Spare – 60 psi
  • Reset the TPMS system via dash interface.
  • Connected OBDEleven tool and reviewed codes. Noted 4 codes, all inconsequential. Usual stuff about SirusXM not enabled, etc. Reset codes.
  • Reset Oil Service Due warning using the press button under display technique.
  • Noted a weird wheel scuffing in the LF fender liner. Perhaps at full lock under cornering load? Loosened one of the liner screws and tried to put a but more curve into the area to add clearance. Will monitor.
  • Car needs an interior clean.
Tire scuffing the inner wheel arch liner

Date: December 21, 2022
Mileage: 45,388
Performed by: Stefano

Services Performed: Stefano gave the car a little attention today:

  • Replaced the Serpentine Belt with new VW OEM belt from ShopDAP. It was due at 6 year.
  • Topped off engine oil with 1/2 liter of VW OEM Oil. No visible leaks.
  • Topped off engine coolant with about 4 oz of VW OEM G13. Still not sure where its going, still has a whiff of coolant when parking. But, still no visible leaks, and Stefano looked closely at the water pump/thermostat housing area. All I can think is that its eating it. Turbo cooling system? Similar thing going on with LJ’s GTI too.
  • Topped off washer fluid with about half a gallon of summer grade blue washer fluid.
  • Set tire pressures to 37 psi. They were about 29 psi due to seasonal change.

Date: December 24, 2022
Mileage: 45,345
Performed by: Stefano

Services Performed: Stefano gave the car a long overdue interior deep clean and detail today:

  • Cleaned the Glass
  • Wiped down all the interior panels
  • Vacuumed carpets
  • Cleaned front seats with Chemical Guys leather cleaner and scrubby brush
  • Conditioned front seats with Chemical Guys leather conditioner

Looking fabulous again!