If you own or are thinking about buying a Volkswagen, you’ll most likely be familiar with the “emissions scandal” of September 2015. A close friend of mine worked for the company as a service advisor for the company at the time, and the shambolic way in which the company handled the fiasco (and the ire from customers- some of it perfectly reasonable, some of it less so) caused him to quit earlier this year, by which time they were still nowhere near finishing the implementation of the fix. I can’t say I blame them. Being a service advisor is a difficult job at the best of times, requiring not only excellent people skills but a degree of technical knowledge that few non-technicians can boast. Here, we’re going to take a look at just what the emissions scandal was, how it’s damaged the brand, how the fix may affect your car and why more and more people are choosing not to have it implemented. Just what was the “emissions scandal”?The NOx emissions scandal affected all 2.0, 1.6 and (most recently) 1.2 diesel engines. The majority of passenger models affected were Touregs, Jettas, Tiguans, Golfs, Passats, Beetles and 1.2 TDI Polos. Owners of these vehicles were contacted directly by post throughout the past two years, although the contact was staggered by engine size. If you have yet to be contacted by the manufacturer yet fear your vehicle may be affected you can find out conclusively by typing your VIN number in here. The scandal itself was first discovered in the US where Nitrogen Oxide emissions tests were found to be “cheated”. This was because the software that regulated the emissions had a “defeat system” that sensed the particular parameters required to comply with EPA testing, resulting in a ‘test mode’ that essentially tricked the emissions test. The emissions output during this “test mode” was incongruous with the emissions output during regular use on the road. Damage to the brandOther brands have fallen afoul of environmental bodies on similar grounds, but the discovery was particularly scandalous for Volkswagen. After all, here was a brand whose entire marketing strategy was predicated on their reliability. Remember that advertising campaign from a few years back? “If only everything in life were as reliable as a Volkswagen”. A Volkswagen was supposed to be a safe pair of hands, now over two years later loyal customers still feel betrayed. Of course, it doesn’t help that US customers were promised a hefty compensation while their less litigious European cousins had to settle for a gift pack containing a branded keyring and flask. Consumers have voiced concerns that their vehicles may depreciate disproportionately in value or that the scandal might impede your ability to save money on your car insurance. Even when the fix was promised to be forthcoming, it took a long time to be implemented and even then in some cases it caused more problems than it solved.The fixThe fix was, in most cases a software update for the engine control unit, and in others, the update was paired with the unobtrusive installation of a small filter. The brand didn’t help themselves by encouraging customers to come in for the fix on an ‘as you wait’ basis without knowing how long the software update would take. In some cases it was over in a few minutes, in others it would take over two hours. While the update was successful in most cases, there were somewhere it, manifestly, was not… Why some people don’t want itSome customers have adopted a “better the devil you know” attitude to the fix, while others are still adopting a “wait and see” approach. After all, the fix is not compulsory and there have been numerous instances where the fix has actually created problems rather than solving them. Remember my friend the former service advisor? This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. A small but significant proportion of customers found their engine warning lights coming on shortly after the update. This was because that the Diesel Particulate Filter had not been purging as it should have, resulting in catastrophic damage to the Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valves. Drivers were understandably mortified and my friend didn’t exactly approve of the way the dealership or the brand handled the matter.On a larger, but less worrying scale, drivers have expressed concern that they are not getting the same mileage to the gallon than they did before the fix, despite the brand’s assurances to the contrary. Furthermore, if your engine has been remapped then you absolutely should not get the fix, nor should a Volkswagen dealer carry it out if there is any evidence that the engine control unit has been modified in any way. Because the update has been untested on modified engines it could have calamitous effects on your engine and the mapping will most likely have invalidated any claim you may have to get it repaired under warranty.