10 November 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Our cars: 2001 Polo GTI – report twelve

With a slew of more modern machinery driven recently, Rich Gooding’s 2001 Polo GTI has taken some time off in the past few months. That doesn’t mean it’s been a quiet 11 months since the last update, though…

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

I was quite surprised that the last update to Y464 GHJ’s story was eighteen months prior to the most recent report. However, with time a precious commodity, this latest update is 11 months after the last one which was published back in January. The car, a 2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI hasn’t been without incident this year, though, even if it is now taking a small break with a recent roulette of test cars. More of which later.

10,000-mile service
First job on 2015’s maintenance list was the 10,000-mile service back in February. A little behind schedule, 12,000 miles after the last one, Sani’s Motors in Chelmsford (01245 460040) also repositioned the steering wheel (it had annoyed me that it wasn’t straight since I bought the car), and looked into the intermittently-functioning boot light.

It turned out that the boot lock, connector and microswitch all needed replacing. A common issue with 1999-2001 ‘6N2’ Polos, the microswitch can get wet from water ingress in the boot, causing it to stop working. The car was booked into Sani’s in March and had the offending parts replaced and an MoT was also carried out. I’d looked on VW’s ‘ETKA’ parts system online via the excellent vagcat.com beforehand and identified the parts required.

Rear tyres replaced
While Y464 was in Sani’s workshop, I also had the front off-side headlamp washer jet and pump replaced, at the jet itself wasn’t its usual graceful-appearing self, rising from the bumper when the washing action was requested. A pair of rear tyres were also fitted, which were flagged up when the car was in for the service.

A month after the service, the car met its great-grandson when I took it to a Volkswagen UK press office driving day and parked it alongside a new 2015 Polo GTI for some photos. The newer car offers a great deal more when it comes to driving assistance systems and a more premium interior – when the 6N2 GTI was launched, xenon headlights, ESP and Electronic Differential Lock were big things!

In June, a ‘new’ (ie very good used) filler cap was bought from eBay to replace the one there car with which had lost its attaching ‘string’, so was always put on the petrol pump when refuelling. I’m quite surprised I hadn’t lost it in the meantime… I also removed the nearside side repeater to empty it of water. It often gets condensation inside it, but once cleaned and reinstalled, it didn’t take long for it to get damp again. I suspect a new seal could be needed.

The following month, all four wheels were re-balanced by Loughton Tyres (020 8502 0208), a short distance from my office. A consistent wheel ‘wobble’ had been evident at speed since the pair of tyres had been replaced earlier in the year and I had been told that one tyre was ‘out of shape’ on a bent rim.

Upon investigation, all wheels were found to be out of balance. With new weights fitted over two trips, normal service was resumed soon after. I was informed that there was no bent rim (not that the garage could see anyway), and whether or not weights fell off when the tyres were fitted – or weren’t correctly fitted in the first place – is still open to debate.

Upped test car count
That more or less brings us up-to-date. A part-time motoring writer, I’ve recently taken over the editorship of GreenFleet magazine for a few months. The test car count has risen recently (and included some exotica such as a Tesla Model S), and so the Polo has been left on the drive to ponder its rest and chat to ‘Elsie’, our T25 Volkswagen campervan.

I have driven it once in recent weeks, back in September, and am due to take it out in a couple of weeks when there’s day in-between press cars departing and arriving (coincidentally the day before a new 2015 Polo BlueMotion 1.0 TSI lands on the driveway).

But, even in that previous brief window, the 13 year-old GTI still impresses with its performance, economy and overall abilities. I’ve always maintained it’s not the sharpest word in hot hatch fun, but its appealing blend of energetic, economic and well-built skills are all still to be admired.

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

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