Imagine that you have endured an entire Midwestern winter, especially the often brutally windy and cold kind that we have in Chicago, and have done so with a smile on your face. You’re basically a thankful person who tries not to grumble, especially about things outside your control. “The winters here are what keep the city population in check!” is what you have told yourself, claiming bragging rights of regular and repeated survival of the frigid temps to friends and family who live in other parts of the country or the world. You’ve been responsible with your finances and maintenance of your home, yourself, and your cute, little Volkswagen convertible.
A few, miscellaneous warm days in April have made you giddy with anticipation of what the summer will bring. In fact, one day reaches 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius), and you have turned the climate control dial in your 2000 Cabrio* from the red section all the way to the end of the blue within the course of one day. With Memorial Day weekend on the horizon, you have spent months dreaming about lowering the convertible top in your Aqua Blue Pearl Cabrio and taking your first open-air joyride of the year. First, though, let’s let in some fresh air through open windows. Aaaaah.
Man, oh man, does that cool air off Lake Michigan feel great. Invigorating! There are few things I like better than a breezy drive wrapped in my favorite cable-knit sweater, with a tumbler full of hot coffee from freshly ground beans and an eclectic soundtrack that encompasses all my favorite music. Maybe having the windows all the way down is a bit much for today. I mean, it is only seventy (twenty-one) degrees, and while it feels balmy in April, by the time September rolls around, this temperature might feel like it’s bordering on sweatshirt weather. Let’s put the windows most of the way back up. That’s better.
What a fun little run! Those two liters of 115-horsepower fun have never let me down before. Time to parallel park this baby so I can get home and back to the rest of my day. And plus, with all that delicious coffee I just drank while driving around, nature is calling, so let’s keep all fingers and toes crossed that one of the college students from nearby Loyola University is leaving in their car to go somewhere this Sunday afternoon. We don’t need any emergencies of the bladder. Okay, wait… here we go! This thing is as easy to park as it is fun to drive. At barely over 160 inches long, it fits where many cars half as fun could squeeze in.
Time to put the windows all the way up, and power down. Uh-oh. What’s going on? Maybe I didn’t press the window buttons hard enough. Let me try this again. Is there some window lock in this car that I don’t know about? I did buy this Cabrio used, and am still making discoveries about it. Why else would both windows be stuck in exactly the same position? Let me try turning off the engine and switching it back on. Still nothing?! You have got to be kidding. Memorial Day weekend is coming up in a few short weeks and the power window actuator decides to stop working now? Thank you, Volkswagen. Thank you very much. Instead of getting ready for my evening plans, I’ve now got to track down some clear plastic and blue duct tape, as rain is in the forecast for this evening. And then, how am I supposed to get in and out of this thing? Re-tape the windows shut each time? I’ll start getting estimates next week.
Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois.
Sunday, May 24, 2015.
Memorial Day Weekend.
*I thought I should add that this is fiction. I do not own this car.
I bet it is the switch. Being a VW, that ought to cost a small fortune to replace.
Nah. An ignition switch is $12 from NAPA. Rock Auto has the window switches for $12 to $40 depending on what you need. These cars are world cars. There is alot of inventory out there to support them.
No idea what your car’s problem is. Break out the Bentley manual…
its the switch that drops the windows when you turn the roof handle to lower the top. No doubt fun to get to.
Nice original take on a situation that’s humorous, as long as it isn’t happening to oneself! Why o why couldn’t it have failed when the window was all the way up?
Gotta love those VW electrical gremlins. The top and paint look to be in excellent condition for a 20 year old car.
My thoughts exactly, Jon – if this car was mine, I’m sure I would have been upset. To Jim Klein’s point below, since this car was regularly parked on the street (and not in covered parking) in this area, my assumption would be that there were probably limited funds to fix whatever had broken.
These pictures were from 2015, but even so, I do think I remember thinking at the time that the car looked in great shape, otherwise.
You have an absolutely fascinating imagination for taking the most mundane things and making wonderful stories about them .
I am a fan!
VW gonna VW.
Meanwhile the old Camrys everyone hates on continue to operate competently.
It doesn’t really matter but since we are a site of OCD pedants 🙂 I think that’s several years newer than a 1995 as it at least sports the front bumper that was introduced in 1999.5. The older ones have parking lights in the front bumper, they later one have them integrated into the headlights to align with the MkIV Golf while the Cabrio soldiered on with the MkIII body. Also the back is different, prior to 1999.5 the license plate was in the trunk lid area, not the bumper.
It’s probably not a good idea to own a convertible in general without a dedicated covered parking spot for it…Leave the top down on any convertible and then encounter a freak rainstorm and the potential for later electrical gremlins seems imminent.
If I had a convertible, I would be more worried about bird crap than any electrical issue. I can fix those. I cannot fix the birds who seem to enjoy it. At least the ones around here do.
VW, factory added electrical problems since forever.
British cars (from when British cars were British):
Hold my Bier.
Even my folks 1st gen ’80 Rabbit had them. The only one I’d trust not to have them are the old aircooleds. It seems that as soon as VW added water to the engine, things went south. I still wouldn’t mind a Scirocco (haven’t seen one of them on the road in decades) or the round headlight 2 doors before 1979 without much electrical stuff to go finicky.
Ouch, not only is there no window frame to tape onto but also what IS available is a fabric covering – althoug the first thought in my mind was…
(Also, I thought it interesting that three of the six cars that are in the photos are two-doors, both Ford products are the final generations of their respective model nameplates, and the other two are Buicks but there is a statement in there about the CUV supplanting the sedan)
“SVX” – golden!
Great observation, also, about the vehicles in the background, which I hadn’t paid that much attention to besides the Ford Escort ZX2.
Maybe six months ago while driving my front passenger window went down and up yet I was by myself. I reach to the master and feel that the toggle switch is loose as though something broke. There was no control there and no control with the individual switch on that side. It eventually went down and stayed down. Just my luck. Usually the chain (plastic) drive breaks on a window letting it roll down. I’ve replaced several of them and have them in stock.
No, I have to open the passenger door, disconnect the electrical connection, use a battery to hot wire the connection and move the window back up. Ok, no more window here not as though I use it. If I do I need to find a new four window master door switch for a 1991! Check! A Mazda 626. Check!, In blue. Check! Ha, I found one!
Now you know why I like manual windows in older cars or cars that will be around a long time. My Park Lane has power windows and those motors…Ugh!!!
Eliminate the impossible and whatever remains, however improbable, is the truth.
Mazda Is Always The Answer.
This post jogged a memory from my youth, when an occasional babysitter for my best friend had a Cabrio in this exact shade of blue (come to think of it, most of the ones I’ve seen have been in this exact shade of blue as well). I don’t remember much about it other than the back seat was rather small — smaller even than the Mini Cooper that my friend’s parents drove.
But this was in Southern California, where the windows stuck half-down would hardly have been an issue, weather-wise.
I’ve owned 5 Volkswagens over the years, parting company with the last one in 1996. I loved each and every one of them, and each of them broke my heart in one way or another. I last shopped the marque in 1999 when I was dazzled by the styling of the then-new Jetta. Luckily I wasn’t dazzled by the pricing, and I couldn’t help feeling a little uneasy about things like sunroofs, windows and seats in a VW being power operated.
20+ years of hindsight and the misfortunes of others proved my gut feeling in ’99 to be accurate. That “fahrvergnugen” feeling kept me coming back in my reckless youth, but there are a few things I’d never purchase in a VW: Any power operated accessories, or an automatic transmission.
I suppose in the age of electrification that attitude is quickly becoming archaic, but I still bare a few scars.
A little over a month ago the battery failed on my 06 Mustang convertible. I jumped in the Crown Victoria, ran down to the parts store, and got a new battery. After putting the new battery in I realized that the automatic window drop function wasn’t working correctly. (For those not acquainted with this feature: to save wear and tear on your convertible top and to get a good window seal, the windows automatically drop about an inch when you open the door and then raise the window when the door is closed. Though Ford also has this feature as standard on Mustang hardtops.) After replacing the battery, the window would automatically lower, but would not raise when the door was closed. I tried raising and lowering the window several times to try and get it to go all the way up…couldn’t get it to work. I finally consulted the internet and found out that my windows needed to be ” retrained ” to open and close correctly whenever the car loses power/battery is removed.
I was a district service manager and warranty auditor for Volkswagen of America for 10 years. Window regulator failures were extremely common. The same vehicles also experienced seat heater fires. The inside joke was that was a safety feature. The Windows would fall down to help put the fire out.
Absolutely. I have a ’98, and Mom an ’01. Her regulator went to hell, the wire looked like spaghetti in there!
We have a ’97. Been a good car. Nearing 200K miles. Put a top on it. Off the road now. Need to rebuild the fuel evaporative system to make a CEL go off. No windows issues (yet). Fun little car to drive. Not a race car.
I had a power window motor go (At least I think it was the motor) in my 03 Mustang Coupe. Thankfully the window was all the way up. I bought a new switch button and of course, the switch was not the problem.
And wouldn’t you know it I have to sell the car and the driver window is stuck. So, its either the motor or perhaps worse than that, the wiring from under the dash to door. What to do? Sell the car to the new owner with the problem unresolved. Saved a few dollars. Miss the car…
That must have been really frustrating if you had really liked your ’03 Mustang. I wonder if this Cabrio had the same fate.