You’ve probably of the VW emissions scandal that erupted on 18 September 2015 when EPA issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to German automaker, in which was found that Volkswagen had intentionally programmed (TDI) diesel engines to activate certain emissions controls only during laboratory testing. The scandal was known as the Dieselgate.
Part of the automaker’s $14.7 billion Dieselgate settlement requires the VW to give buybacks to the owners whose cars cheated at that emission tests. But what has not been stated in that settlement is that those cars have to be in good shape. Well, some owners took that for granted and stripped their vehicles down before they turning them in.
The only requirement according to the buyback terms stated in the EPA’s Consent Decree is that the car has to be “operable”. But, operable can have several meanings.
By court, a car is “operable” when it can be driven by its own 2.0-liter TDI engine. On the other hand, a car is not Operable if it had a branded title of “Dismantled,” “Rebuilt,” “Assembled,” “Junk,” “Flood,” or “Reconstructed,” and had been acquired by someone, from a junkyard or salvaged after September 18, 2015. According to VW’s settlement hotline, this is all true. In other words, it means that you can strip every part off your VW TDI and still get a buyback money if, of course, the car can drive under its own power.
There were quite a few owners, belonging to the “dissatisfied” category, who saw this as an opportunity to go at Volkswagen and turn in their car totally damaged. Also, there are those who just saw an opportunity to make some extra cash. On internet forums, this topic was quite popular. People asked if someone is planning to strip salvaging parts before returning the vehicle, or if someone has already done it.
“Stripping the Turn Ins,” and “Cannibalizing TDI,” became nothing else but discussions on ethics or sharing common interests. VW would compensate owners fully, and basically, stripping the vehicle will put the company to difficulties to sell or fix the vehicle afterward.
From removing mirrors, headlights, jacks floor mats, visors, seats, radios, to all sorts of other easily-pulled parts. You name it, the owners would do it. There were people who got a bit more imaginative than others and suggested to drain the oil and replace it with used oil or to drain the coolant and replace it with the storm drain water.
The Reddit-user Tacoboutnachos is one of them and he literally stripped his Golf’s front fascia off. And believe it or not, this guy got paid with no issues whatsoever, even though the cars was in such a bad shape. What is certain, is that if many VW owners did what this guy did, Jetta and Golf parts are to flood Ebay and Craigslist soon enough.