Sunday, 12 June 2011

(1) Taking out the broken VW dashboard vents

The centre console vents are held in the dashboard by 8 metal tabs - 4 below the vents, and 4 above. All you need to take them out is a flat head screw driver. By prising the metal tabs, the vents can be pulled out of the dashboard. Prise the screwdriver into the areas circled in green below, to a depth of about 5 centimetres.


Centre vents partially extracted - notice the missing metal tabs on the top right. The garage that dealt with the shunt must have snapped them off.


With the vents partially extracted, the hazard light switch can be freed from the vent housing by pressing the tabs circled in green. The hazard switch can be optionally removed from the dashboard wiring by pressing the tabs circled in red, as shown below.


Notice in the next photo how short the wiring loom is for the hazard light switch, there is not much leeway in removing and fitting it to the vent housing.


Next post - fitting the new vents.

Fixing broken VW Group dashboard air vents

It's the little things that are often the most annoying; the dripping tap that gets louder the more you try to ignore it, the tiny scratch in your glasses right in the line of vision, so on and so on.

If you have a Volkswagen Group car dating any time from before the recession to today, odds are you have flimsy Venetian blind style air vents, and even more likely, they are stuck blowing air at some crazy and useless angle. This post is a long delayed write up of how to fix the flimsiest air vents ever to disgace a car.

The photo below shows an example of the problem in a Skoda Fabia. In this case, the dashboard had been previously removed by a garage, following a shunt (no its not my car). The driver's vent in the centre console has given up the ghost. The fins don't respond to the controls, most of them are stuck in the shut position, and a couple at the top peak open ineffectually.


On the other side of the steering wheel, the clumsy attentions of the garage have been even worse, with every fin jammed at a different angle.


Both of these are beyond hope. The design is very poor, with many tiny pieces of plastic put under a lot of mechanical strain. The best 'fix' is to take out the defective vents, and put in good ones. Your best bet for inexpensive replacements is eBay, quite honestly these vents are not worth the money main dealers will ask - if you look in the ETKA database, be prepared to spit out your tea.

Next post - removing the broken vent units.