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What VW Phaeton Owners Complain About

Jim Yu January 21, 2013 All Things Hoon 75 Comments


A lovely bunch, us.

Under the Phaeton’s audio controls are two identical ashtrays/cointrays.  Owners were complaining that they did not pop out at the same speed.  Enough people complained to the poor VW dealerships that the manufacturer actually came up with a solution.

Technical Solution 2013463, “Slow Opening Ashtrays”, instructs the tech to remove the ashtray assemblies, unscrew the J523 display unit above the ashtrays, place his hands inside the spaces where the ashtrays used to be, gently lift the J523 display, and reset the display down so that its weight is evenly distributed on top of the two ashtray assemblies.

Again, a lovely bunch, us Phaeton owners.

Image source: VW Vortex Phaeton forum


Currently there are 75 comments on this article:

  1. Jay_Ramey says:

    Why are there buttons and letters on that Empire dresser?

    Oh… that's not a dresser.

  2. TurboBrick says:

    Typical VW sloppy build quality. This is why they aren't a top tier manufacturer, they just push the cars out of the factory without bothering to synchronize the ash trays. "Let the dealer fix it", like malaise era Detroit.

    Dear VW jihad, please don't burn me, that was obviously tongue-in-cheek.

  3. The idea of an ashtray being just below the stereo just seems wrong to me. It reminds me of my old '97 Sentra that had pull out cup holders right below the stereo. They resulted in quite a few wet laps (and I don't mean a wet race track). This seems like you'd end up with ashes on your stereo or possibly a burnt button or two. Not really great for longevity of an electronics-heavy car.

  4. dukeisduke says:

    How about a YouTube video of ashtray races? And WTH is "BOARD PC"?

  5. Tanshanomi says:

    This is precisely the kind of thing that the First World Problem meme was created for.

    <img src="http://i.qkme.me/3snipk.jpg&quot; width="512">

  6. engineerd says:

    True luxury is having one ashtray for cigarette ashes and one ashtray for cigar ashes.

  7. danleym says:

    Of all of the complaining Phaeton owners, how many actually smoke inside their car?

  8. wolfie says:

    That this would be an issue people would complain about,leaves me baffled. Seriously,I thought this was a satire post.

  9. OA5599 says:

    <img src="http://www.trophies2go.com/images/productimages/Participant-Peaked-Ribbon-(qty-25).jpg">

    Someone was recently telling me that the parent of another kid on her kid's basketball team thought that, instead of awarding an MVP trophy to the player who contributed the most for a win, that the team should give ALL the players an award. Guess whose kid spent the most time riding the bench.

    This Phaeton fiasco strikes me as more of the same. The person in the other seat has an ashtray that opens at a superior rate to yours, so instead of personal improvement, the "fix" is to dumb the other one down to an identical level?

    Besides, people who don't smoke (at least not in their cars) keep the ashtrays shut. People who use them keep them open all the time for convenience. How often do both sides open simultaneously, anyway?

    • Devin says:

      When a 10 year old finds his way into your car, everything will be opened simultaneously to see which thing opens fastest.

      I distinctly remember doing this, don't remember what car I was in annoyingly enough.

    • Tanshanomi says:

      This post offends me. Why must you make the combative assumption that "faster" equals "superior"? This sort of typically Western Male Capitalist thinking is what's wrong with humanity. Stop trying to pigeonhole every human interaction into your testosterone-soaked categories of "winning" and "losing." When will you realize that it doesn't matter how fast we open the ashtrays of our hearts to the tobacco residue of universal love; what's important is that we do it with the selfless synchronization of social harmony.

      • OA5599 says:

        Where did you see me say that the faster ashtray was the superior one? The slower one endures longer. Phaeton owners seek as much endurance as they can cram into an $80K Volkswagen.

  10. JayP2112 says:

    Really isn't anything new- the ancient JET's A4 page had complaints the new A4 had too many lights on the dash and console. This guy counted them, and huffed about it for a week. I'll admit I had a tech chasing a squeaking turbo for 6 months.

    The real issue was the POS tensioner. One guy tried to get a class action going but failed to get interest. Class action on the console lights not dimming at the same rate might have had some traction.

  11. P161911 says:

    But do the rear seat passengers get more than one cigarette lighter?
    My 1967 Imperial convertible had cigarette lighters in the door for the rear passengers.

  12. DogsOfWar says:

    Imagine the horror of one of the ashtrays becoming inoperable. It's a good thing they decided to make that a redundant system.

  13. Van_Sarockin says:

    I have to say I'm upset and a bit disappointed over the fix to this problem. Removing attatchment screws so more weight bears on the ashtray frame? Really? I was hoping that there was a new bracket to better support the weight of the entertainment cluster. Or a procedure to check and calibrate the gas pressure within the ashtray damping piston assembly. I weep for the future of teutonic automotive engineering.

  14. Joe_Btfsplk says:

    My personal preference is a Pepsi can with about a tablespoon of liquid left in the bottom to give you that wonderful "hisss" sound when you flick the ash in.

  15. Rust-MyEnemy says:

    Have you checked that your Phaeton can still cruise at 300km/h while maintaining a constant cabin temperature?

    I'd check that if I were you, stat.

  16. mdharrell says:

    <img src="http://hooniverse.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Smoking_Package.jpg&quot; width="425">

    I'd be far more upset that the wood grain doesn't match.

  17. wolfie says:

    My other assumption would be that my expectations for people of the means to own and maintain an VW Phaeton,would also have the intelligence to understand the damage they are doing when they smoke.
    Also this is most likely responsible for the high suicide rate among VW Service technicians.
    And I would love to hear what they call people who complain about ashtray acceleration rates.

    • Maxichamp says:

      There's an old guy I see driving around. He alternates between an AMG CL and an Aston convertible. He is always smoking his cigar, with the windows rolled UP. I can't imagine anyway wanting to buy them used.

    • Devin says:

      Ashtrays can be used for other things! I used mine for holding parking stubs and spare change. Also gum wrappers.

    • rmac54 says:

      Many current Phaeton owners are 2nd or 3rd generation owners and not the people of means to have bought new. And many are knowledgeable about mechanical issues and can keep them going at much lower cost than those who would rush to the dealer because the ashtray speeds don't match. Love mine, can't imagine ever having been able to drive such a car. Sorry to hear about the service techs …

  18. pwned88 says:

    If I was the tech fixing that problem I'd fill the trays to the brim and spring load the bastards. Or epoxy them shut.

  19. Maxichamp says:

    I have never needed to push the defroster buttons in the Phaeton.

  20. k1llallh1pp1es says:

    Can i just say, so late in the comment thread that it will never be read anyway, that this is why i love car people? A story about Phaeton ashtrays (which Tamerlane, ahem, i mean Maxichamp, put out ages ago) has comments that make me laugh AND laugh out loud on a cold January night, that normal people around me think i'm nuts, is why i care about this website (and Tamerlanes Blog) and all the community so much. More!

  21. It's an unavoidable fact for every car to have its quirks. I just can't understand how this tiny detail can be an issue. Why let a slow opening ashtray of all things ruin the overall vehicle?

  22. Sir Brian Middleton says:

    Does the world simply not understand that each Phaeton has it's own soul? The cars heal their faults if left alone to do it. I imagine if you tested the ashtray speed disparity after a few days the Phaeton would have swapped them round just to amuse you. I note my V10 TDi LWB Phaeton is now worth 50% at least more than I paid for it, I doubt anyone anywhere will ever build such an eccentric and superb car again.

  23. Peter Gould says:

    This is just too hilarious. Of all the things that could possibly be cause of complaint in this car, it had to be the ashtray?

  24. Isaac Anzio says:

    There's only one question in my head right now – what's with all the complaints? The ash tray is a minor feature. There shouldn't be a need to make such a fuss over it.

  25. Tim says:

    The ash trays in my phaeton are just fine. I guess I don't have time to use a stop watch on them. I don't smoke so I use them for coins. I also just installed sommer (German Engineered) garage door openers. These are number one. Very quiet.. People complain that these are slow too. I think they are fine.

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