Monday, August 29, 2011


Volkswagen shouldn't have nerfed their vehicle settings for the US market. I understand why. It's why I had to sign a waiver when I bought the car stating that I wouldn't put truck chains on the car. Some moron did it, sued Volkswagen, and won. But you didn't tell me not to put truck chains on my compact car. Still, as with BMW, I think they should provide a one time courtesy change of the various convenience settings.

They won't, so I bought a Ross-Tech VAG-COM cable, a $350 USB to Volkswagen (HEX USB+CAN) cable. It changes various settings on the car, it's BIOS, if you will, using software on a laptop. The software is free, the cable, not so much.

Once the settings are changed, I'll be Ebaying it, although it would be useful in the future for use in diagnosing fault codes. Still, I don't have $350 for this boondoggle, so off to Ebay it will go. VWVortex has a VAG COM guide for beginners that I used to make my changes. Sometimes it required fiddling with the software to find the proper settings, especially with Staging.

So what did I change today?
  1. Annoying horn. When you lock the car, the horn honks loudly. Lame. Not anymore.
  2. Annoying locks. The car locks itself when in motion (5 MPH I believe, AKA 7KPH), but doesn't unlock itself when stopped, which is highly annoying if you have kids that need to be extracted. Now it unlocks when the key is removed from the ignition (the other option being not locking to begin with, also a sensible choice).
  3. Remote Windows Up/Down. I had this on my 97 Jetta and apparently Americans were decapitating their loved ones with this option. I'm glad to have it again. It will make airing out the car on 100 degree Concord days more pleasant.
  4. Rolling Up Windows After Car Shut Off.  I no longer have to put the key back in to roll the windows up, if someone forgot.
  5. Drivers seat heat memory. It normally resets when you turn off the car, but there are months where I left it on constantly in the Mazda.
  6. Panic stop lighting.  The turn signals and brake lights flash during a panic stop. Cool safety feature.
  7. Staging. In the "it's just cool" department, I turned on Staging, which does a needle sweep on the instrument cluster like the higher end Audi's. Tell me it's not cool. I dare you.

     There are a bunch of other possible changes, but I'm of the mind that if it's not annoying me now, changing it will likely annoy me in the future. I'll keep it for a couple weeks, scour the forums for more tricks, and then Ebay it, hopefully getting most of my money back.



    1. Yes, but you didn't say it wasn't cool. ;)

    2. You could have got by with a micro-can for $249. Keep the cable and make some new friends by posting your location over at vwvortex.

      I've had a blast meeting lots of folks just to tweak our cars.

    3. I'm trying to resist the lure of becoming a car "hobbyist," as much as I would like to.

    4. Can you help me out with tweaking my new GTI? I just bought a GTI last week and need help from someone with a VAG-com cable. I'd be willing to buy you a case of beer, I live in SF.