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How to Make $10k on Your Dirty VW Diesel

In the wake of its diesel crisis, Volkswagen has set aside some big bucks to repair its relationship with TDI owners and make good on its legal obligations to the EPA. If you are a current or previous VW “clean diesel” owner or lessee, an upcoming legal judgment could ensure that much of this cold, hard cash can be yours! 

Let’s take a look at what and who this environmentally disastrous bonanza has effected and how VW is seeking to make it all better.

VW recently received preliminary approval for its first TDI diesel settlement program. In the buy back deal, VW has agreed to pay the cash equivalent to the car’s value prior to when the scandal broke in September 2015, plus a 20% “restitution” payment, plus $2,987. While it must go through final approval on October 18th, 2016, most experts agree that it will pass without controversy.

What models are affected by the VW Diesel scandal

VW Diesel Scandal

The settlement covers 2.0L TDI models for both VW and Audi. There are 482,000 models affected in the US including the:

  • 2013-2015 Beetle
  • 2010-2015 Golf
  • 2009 -2015 Jetta
  • 2012-2015 Passat
  • 2010-2013; 2015 Audi A3

Previous owners and lessees may also be eligible, check VW's diesel site for further info and updates. As for the 85,000 models with 3.0L engines, they will have to wait a bit longer, that case is still being developed.

Options for VW Diesel owners

VW TDI Engine Diesel Scandal

The terms of the recent 2.0L TDI settlement gives owners two options. 

  • They can sell their vehicle back to VW (or terminate their lease early) + receive a cash bonus


  • They can keep their car and wait for the manufacturer’s emissions modification + receive a cash bonus.

The extra buy back restitution payment makes the offer pretty sweet, with drivers receiving at least $5,100 each. In many cases, the buy back amount will equal double what the car was worth prior to the scandal! Model specific details can be found here on

Worried that your car has been trashed during track days or is filled with dog hair and baby puke? Have no fear, VW has assured customers that all vehicles will be considered in “clean condition” regardless of their current state or scent. 

Junked up VW Diesel

As for the modification option, VW has yet to outline the exact mechanical means that will make these dirty cars clean again. But sadly, most experts agree that the solution is likely to result in performance that is slower and less fuel efficient. These modifications must be approved by both the EPA and CARB (California Air Resources Board) and that could take a while.  However, the automaker has been given the deadline of June 30, 2019 to get 85% of the cars recalled.

Goodwill Package

Up until now, current owners of these vehicles have only been offered a “Goodwill Package.” This includes a $500 VW prepaid Visa Card, a $500 VW Dealership credit and 24 Roadside Assistance for three years.  Many owners considered this offer to be little consolation for driving a dirty diesel.

The good news is that the upcoming remediation is much more attractive. And VW owners don’t waive rights to sue the company or accept any of the upcoming remediation dough by accepting the “Goodwill Package.”

VW Golf Concept

All told, the scandal is said to cost VW over $10 billion in the US alone. This is significantly larger than the $2 billion General Motors faulty ignition settlement or the $1.4 billion that Toyota paid as a result of its acceleration issues. Though the Takata airbag scandal is still being settled, that recall is only estimated to top $5 billion, making the VW diesel recall the largest in automotive history.

Of course, VW buying back your vehicle at double its current value doesn’t compensate for the environmental damages caused by these lying, cheating, dirty diesels. However, VW has also agreed to pay $4.7 billion in environmental remediation and has committed to investing in zero emissions vehicle technology in the future. So the happiest VW owners may be the ones driving electric/hydrogen/hybrid vehicles a few years from now. For the sake of the company that manufactures iconic Volkswagen vehicles and is the parent company of Audi and Porsche, let’s hope this is true.

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