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Old 5th June 2015, 15:09   #1
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Default VW's fragile AC vents: Looking for DIY solutions? EDIT: VW sources from local OEM, prices slashed!

Just like many others in this group, my car's a/c vents are also broken in less than couple years. Dont want to crib about the fragile design, as it already talked about much in this forum.

VW service is clear that its not covered in warranty and charges are high to change the whole set.

I would like to know, if any of you have got the vents changed on your own?, if so from where and how (if DIY)

I plan to do some DIY, but before that thought to check, if someone has already done it.


Last edited by GTO : 6th June 2015 at 15:48. Reason: Adding pic :)
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Old 5th June 2015, 15:20   #2
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Default re: VW's fragile AC vents: Looking for DIY solutions? EDIT: VW sources from local OEM, prices slashed!

Very relevant topic so spun it off into its own thread.

My first set of AC vents broke before my 2 year servicing. Since the car was under warranty I bullied the ASS into replacing them FOC. Since then another set has broken (replaced at my own cost, approx 4000/- for all 4) and as the car approaches its 5th service, the third set is breaking off as well.

I checked with a reputable independent garage in Pune for alternatives. Surprisingly I was told that VW parts are very difficult to source in the open market and are often priced higher (upto 50%) than what you can get them for at the ASS. He advised me to get it fixed at VW service itself.

A friend recently suggested I buy the part online and get the labour done at a FNG. Since I have no clue how to go about this, will add my query to this discussion as well. Awaiting some good responses!
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Old 5th June 2015, 16:20   #3
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Default re: VW's fragile AC vents: Looking for DIY solutions? EDIT: VW sources from local OEM, prices slashed!

I've seen these vents retailing on Aliexpress for 70-80 USD - might be worth a shot IMO. That said, these are made in China so they are cheaper compared to dealership quotes/Euro pricing and there may be differences in the quality of the components. So caveat emptor!

Here are 2 useful links from VW workshop manuals on how to remove/install them:

Centre vents - link

Outer vents - link

This clip could be useful as well:

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Old 5th June 2015, 16:42   #4
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Default re: VW's fragile AC vents: Looking for DIY solutions? EDIT: VW sources from local OEM, prices slashed!

I have repaired all my vents on the vento and they are working as good as new. Removing the side vents is easy-just pop out. The centre vent is a bit tricky involving the removal of the radio before it can be popped out.
If by broken you mean that the vertical slat/slats have come off from their bottom hinges then it can be repaired quite easily.
If you can remove the outer vent by popping it out you can examine it properly. The vertical slats have a fine pin hinge at the bottom on which it rotates. More often than not this pin breaks when someone uses too much pressure while turning the vent. The repair involves using the remaining unbroken portion of the slat pin as a hinge. I did this by using a hard plastic strip like the one you get inside a new shirt collar. Cut this into a 2mm. strip. Now carefully put the slat pins in position. You have to hold the vent sides by hand for doing this because if you do it on table the slats will be pushed out again. Stick this 2 mm. strip with small dabs of superglue to the non moving parts. After drying you will see that the piece of plastic holds the slat pin in place and you can now press the front lever for rotation without the slats falling in.
I would have showed some pics but unfortunately I do not have any broken vents.
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Old 5th June 2015, 16:49   #5
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Default re: VW's fragile AC vents: Looking for DIY solutions? EDIT: VW sources from local OEM, prices slashed!

It is surprising that the vents break periodically.
Following solutions come to my mind:
  1. See if it is possible to fix the crack using cynoacrylate adhesive like Feviquik.
  2. Analyse if the breakage can be avoided by changing the way you handle the vent or the way you apply force to move it.
  3. Get the part 3D printed. Don't know the cost part of it.
  4. Inspect the broken vent carefully and find out the weak cross section where it is breaking. While getting the new vent 3D printed, strengthen the weaker cross section.
  5. If 3D printing is out of reach, we need to buy the whole set from VW. So replace only the broken vents and preserve the rest for future use.
  6. Vento is admired for being built to last. It is indeed very disappointing that the ac vents are breaking. If the vents have poor design / build quality, make it widely known in the reviews and ownership experience threads on Team-BHP. This will surely put some pressure on VW to improve these in future.
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Old 5th June 2015, 17:34   #6
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Default re: VW's fragile AC vents: Looking for DIY solutions? EDIT: VW sources from local OEM, prices slashed!

That being said, isn't it really sad of Volkswagen to provide such low quality vents, which do not even last two years?
I'm sure the same applies to the badged twin, Rapid as well. I am extra careful while moving the vents, which I didn't need to do when I had the Honda City or even the Indica. Their quality was far better.

So much for substandard German quality thrusted down the willing Indian buyer's throat. I am glad it is reflecting on their sales numbers.

Last edited by hrman : 5th June 2015 at 17:36.
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Old 5th June 2015, 20:21   #7
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Default re: VW's fragile AC vents: Looking for DIY solutions? EDIT: VW sources from local OEM, prices slashed!

For my previous Hyundai i10, MGF Service in Cochin quoted a whopping 3,000/- to replace it and I said at face 'NO'. That wasn't a quality problem though, thanks to my daughter for breaking it apart. That plastic stick was what was broken which holds the louvre together in motion.

I think the cost they quote is based on the fact that you may have to disassemble the dashboard to take it out and replace. But the service centre takes this opportunity to rip off. These kind of things don't have a known price list from the vendor, and that makes the matter worse. Is this Vento's kind of A/C louvre replaceable without disassembling dashboard ?
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Old 5th June 2015, 21:42   #8
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by hrman View Post
That being said, isn't it really sad of Volkswagen to provide such low quality vents, which do not even last two years?
I'm sure the same applies to the badged twin, Rapid as well. I am extra careful while moving the vents, which I didn't need to do when I had the Honda City or even the Indica. Their quality was far better.
My Swift is almost 10 years old and the air vents are in pristine condition. This is really unacceptable from VW.
Quote:
So much for substandard German quality thrusted down the willing Indian buyer's throat. I am glad it is reflecting on their sales numbers.
The AC is VW's Achilles heel for sure but I would stop short of dismissing the quality of the car as a whole. My own Vento is 4.5yr/65000 km down and has aged well. The AC vents are an aberration and that's what makes it so annoying.
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Old 6th June 2015, 00:56   #9
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Default re: VW's fragile AC vents: Looking for DIY solutions? EDIT: VW sources from local OEM, prices slashed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by roby.thomas View Post
Is this Vento's kind of A/C louvre replaceable without disassembling dashboard ?
Don't know about Vento inparticular. But in General, the louvers can be replaced without having to take out the entire dashboard. In some cars, you need to remove some smaller panel on the dash.
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VW's fragile AC vents: Looking for DIY solutions? EDIT: VW sources from local OEM, prices slashed!-louver.jpg  

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Old 6th June 2015, 03:55   #10
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Default re: VW's fragile AC vents: Looking for DIY solutions? EDIT: VW sources from local OEM, prices slashed!

I have a Rapid and faced a similar problem.
I purchased 3 of them(centre + 2 sides) by paying 3000Rs in a shop that deals with used Volkwagen/Skoda products.
The shop is in Jogeshwari called Sk motors.

By the way for the centre one you do have remove the dashboard as they include slots for the Parking hazard and the aft screen heater.

Please check my post in the "Skoda Rapid" thread.
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Old 6th June 2015, 08:51   #11
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Default re: VW's fragile AC vents: Looking for DIY solutions? EDIT: VW sources from local OEM, prices slashed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by roby.thomas View Post
Is this Vento's kind of A/C louvre replaceable without disassembling dashboard ?
Yes, the side vents just pop out if you pry with a flat blade. The centre twin vent requires just the removal of radio and then the vent assembly has to be pried out along with the switches below. While prying out you have to disconnect the switches below by pulling out the connectors. Can't call this dashboard removal though.

Last edited by techiecal : 6th June 2015 at 09:00.
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Old 6th June 2015, 09:02   #12
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Default re: VW's fragile AC vents: Looking for DIY solutions? EDIT: VW sources from local OEM, prices slashed!

This is a long standing issue and I just don't understand why Volkswagen isn't trying to fix it.
One of my friend's Polo's vents got broken by a kid within a week of its purchase!
Even the Vents of the Vento at an AutoExpo were broken by someone.
Does Volkswagen not take buyer feedback seriously?

Sorry for going but couldn't resist it

It's funny how the vents in Ventos are so frequently broken leading the buyers to vent out their frustration! For a change! what an aptly named car!
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Old 6th June 2015, 16:35   #13
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Default re: VW's fragile AC vents: Looking for DIY solutions? EDIT: VW sources from local OEM, prices slashed!

At around 25,000 kms i noticed that 3 of the front A/C vents were broken on my Vento TDI!
(No kids in the family, rare front passenger, vents rarely touched)

One conspiracy theory is that some SA's break the vents when inspecting the car -- though I don't have any evidence to support that.


Pricing:

After some back and forth about the vents not being covered under warranty, Downtown VW offered a 30% discount as VW's "Goodwill warranty". I said that wasn't good enough, since the front vents just break on their own.

Finally, IIRC they extended a 70% discount. I paid Rs. 384 + VAT for the dual center vents.

Was supposed to replace the left vent too, but apparently they broke the last remaining replacement whilst trying to put it in

Sent my car back a week later when the part came in stock. A different SA was trying to charge me Rs. 1000+ for just the left vent. I refused. It's still broken till this day.


In short:

If you're getting other work done, have them give you a much better rate on replacement vents. It is after all a POORLY designed/manufactured part. This will probably save you a lot of time DIY-ing etc.

Name:  VW VENTO AC VENT PRICE IMG_20140527_094248.jpg
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Earlier discussion about the vent issue : here (VW Polo - Maintenance and Service cost and dos/don'ts)

Last edited by Rehaan : 6th June 2015 at 16:45.
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Old 6th June 2015, 16:52   #14
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Default re: VW's fragile AC vents: Looking for DIY solutions? EDIT: VW sources from local OEM, prices slashed!

Vento vents are so fragile that even if slight pressure is applied with a cleaning cloth, the slats break and fall in. My first vent was broken this way by the cleaner. Since then I forbade the cleaner to clean the dash.
The second vent was broken by the cleaners at ASS when I had gone for service. This time I caught them red handed and demanded that they replace the vent that they had just broken. They did not have one in stock so they gave me an old one which I cannibalised and repaired the one they had broken.
Since then, whenever I give my car to service I make the SA note down that all vents are ok otherwise later on they will accidentally break it and say it was broken in the first place.

Last edited by techiecal : 6th June 2015 at 16:55.
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Old 6th June 2015, 19:32   #15
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Default re: VW's fragile AC vents: Looking for DIY solutions? EDIT: VW sources from local OEM, prices slashed!

It's unacceptable that the aircon vents are so fragile, its an often operated part of the car and VW shouldn't have taken shortcuts on this. If the vent breaks with a simple push it means its made of low-grade thin plastic. Why would a company that constantly talks of great engineering make such a massive mistake?

I hope their recent models have done away with those type of air vents and introduced stronger PVC ones, if they haven't its a big mistake. Everyone operates the a.c vents daily, whether its for cleaning, adjusting direction or to fix the deodorizer etc hence this is one part that cannot be fragile.
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