VW's car DRM let it get away with cheating on its diesel emissions testing

One thing that strong DRM does not earn VW is deniability. The fact that these engine modifications pass some sort of code signing test suggests a conspiracy at the highest levels, to subvert environmental laws.


Wasn’t that part of the attraction of the classic VWs, that they were easy to open up the hood, er, trunk, I guess and work on? I’ve never been mechanically inclined, but back when I had my old bug, I’d do little things, like change belts, etc. I think that’s common in newer cars, though, which brings it back to the DRM stuff - more often cars have onboard computing systems which are DRMed and all sorts of weirdnesses like you’re talking about with the Jetta brakes that forces you to take it to the dealership for maintenance/repairs.


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The fraud was hidden and thereby made possible by DRM. Perhaps understanding the words and context of the article are also a prerequisite for credibility.


There is something about old Rabbits that makes them tremendous fun to drive. Jetta trunks are legends in usefulness. All the steel bits are solid. All the plastic and fabric bits were crappy and shortlived. The wiring… well, lets just use the word Cthonic.


I am more an ‘enthusiast’ than a ‘gearhead’, but yes the current generation I read is very reliable. I had a 2010 golf diesel that treated me great (no issues for 64k miles) until a teen driver made a rather poor driving decision in front of me at speed. I am happy to report that the safety features performed exceptionally. I have an identical 2013 now, which is still the MK 6 generation, and it as well has been rock solid.

Parts are not cheap, regardless of what VW you have. As mentioned, they go to some length to protect that gravy train, and all the parts are sort of specialized. Even the oil is expensive, about 30 bucks a quart i think? (But it also lasts 10k miles) Just now, the dealership replaced a tire for $210. I paid a little more than that for 4 tires on a Ford once.

On another note of cost, I replaced the stereo with a chinese made full quad core android system, multiple cameras, bluetooth ODB reader, bluetooth radar detector, all told with installation it was less than half the cost of upgrading to the Nav unit. Make no mistake, VW is a premium brand in the US. :smile:


From the automaker’s perspective, or the tractormaker’s perspective, much of the genius that makes a John Deere a John Deere , or a Volkswagon a Volkswagon, and worth selling as such is not the physical parts that compose the machine, but the software that controls it. Without the software, it’s just something that can be sourced from Alibaba, Now, suppose that this software could be profitably reverse engineered–there’s little reason to buy the tractor from John Deere. So there’s that.

And this is called global market pressure.

If they’re getting beaten at their traditional line of business, they need to change their business or die.

It isn’t the market’s job to protect John Deere.


which would probably mean less sophisticated tractors in the future.

No, I doubt the market will reward less sophistication.


The rewards won’t pay the software engineers.

Anyway, that’s the argument that’s being used to support DRM, and it’s a politically powerful one. Until you resolve those issues, with appropriate carve outs, you won’t get what you want,

That looks like somebody who is injecting oil into those stacks to deliberately make black smoke. I think that exhaust that terminates before the back wheels has been illegal for quite a few years – I assumed that the few stacks that I have seen like that on late-model pickups were just for show.

Edit: Here we go – it is a “conservative” thing (do they know what that word means)
Conservatives Purposely Making Cars Spew Black Smoke - Business Insider

Edit 2: I see that is what you meant by coal rollers.


The EPA say:

The “switch” senses whether the vehicle is being tested or not based on various inputs including the position of the steering wheel, vehicle speed, the duration of the engine’s operation, and barometric pressure. These inputs precisely track the parameters of the federal test procedure used for emission testing


I used to live in California and there were some “special” emissions testing locations where you could pay a “special” price and “pass”. No fiddling required!

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That’s not political protesting. That’s just looking for an excuse for being an asshole.

It’s an amazing time to be a car enthusiast. You can get vehicles that have amazing performance that have a minimal emissions impact. We wouldn’t have this today if not for mandatory emissions controls. The early days of emissions controls were dark indeed but we’re well past this. Now you can daily drive a street and emissions legal 700 hp Dodge Charger. How great is that?

I don’t see how spewing black smoke as some sort of quasi protest helps anything. How does saying “fuck the environment” in the most overt way possible aside from having a blue whale carcass in your truck bed make you look like anything less than an asshole.


You want a cheap indestructible car with a decent stereo? Buy an old Lexus.


Interestingly, I am satisfied with how destructible modern cars are. All those crumple zones take the damage you might be taking otherwise, and it is far cheaper to wreck a car than your body.

Case in point: I T-boned one such an old Lexus at 45mph (driven by the aforementioned teenager), and walked away with only a burn from the airbag deploying. The Lexus, as you said, probably lived to drive another day. I have a picture of my wrecked car around here somewhere if you are curious…

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Yeah, I’ve been hit in mine. It’s fine, bar a few scratches :slight_smile: I was more talking about from a reliability and comfort point of view. Cash For Clunkers ruined the US second hand market, and it only just seems to be recovering, but certainly in the UK, they have the same depreciation curve as other luxury brands, just they Won’t. Stop. Working. And they cost fuck-all money for a nice car built like a tank.

I enjoy working on my cars and am generally not afraid to tackle most common repairs - brakes, shocks/struts, O2 sensors, etc…basically any of the typical ‘wear’ items that dealers charge big $$$ with their scheduled service intervals. I have saved thousands of dollars over the years this way and my cars usually last 250,000 miles or more (my current car has over 300k miles and still going strong).

I guess this is one reason why I’m drawn towards Japanese models - not just because of their build quality and reliability but also because parts are cheap, easy to find and easy to work on.

American cars are similar but they still have too many quality issues in my opinion (although they are getting better - but so are the Japanese). German cars are simply too complicated (by design) for a backyard do-it-yourselfer.

And yes, cars are far more computerized today then before but even then, the basic mechanical components have stayed more or less the same. A $20 OBD code reader will allow you figure out most issues yourself and avoid an expensive dealer visit.

[quote=“caryroys, post:25, topic:65920”]
Parts are not cheap, regardless of what VW you have. As mentioned, they go to some length to protect that gravy train, and all the parts are sort of specialized. [/quote]

That is a one of the major turn-offs for me buying any German car. Maybe I’m unusual but I tend to factor in the total cost of ownership and cannot stomach paying 10x the price for a common replacement part.

[quote=“caryroys, post:25, topic:65920”]
Even the oil is expensive, about 30 bucks a quart i think? (But it also lasts 10k miles) [/quote]
Fully synthetic Mobil One also lasts 10k miles and only costs $9/quart. Again, something like this just offends me at a visceral level.

I just cannot equate a VW with a Mercedes, Lexus or BMW.


SO that’s why the Phaeton failed.


But there is basically no difference between a VW and an Audi.

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