I damaged my car

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Nov 18, 2021
I've damaged the bottom "pan" of my 2017 eGolf a few hours ago and I'm wondering if anyone here can help.

Parking in the grass at an event, there was a hidden piece of concrete that I pulled straight on top of. There was a loud crunch underneath. It was muddy and I couldn't get traction to back up, so I drove forward away from it. While driving off of it, there was no more crunching or other noise.

Examining it now by laying on the ground with a flashlight, I can see that the damage is as much as two feet long down the center of the bottom of the car. There is some hard plastic broken towards the front, but most of the length of material that's torn away is a soft fibrous material. From what I heard and what I see I believe the initial impact was on the plastic at the front, which broke it. When I pulled off of it with no noise, it must have torn away the fibrous material.

There is something harder now exposed in at least one spot where the material is gone, but I can't tell what it is. My general knowledge of the car is that the batteries are in this general area. I'm pretty sure that only the plastic pan and the fibrous material were damaged; whatever sits above them was high enough to have been untouched. That's about all I can tell without getting the car on a lift.

Has anyone had damage in this area? Is anyone familiar with exactly what's located there? Is this something I can just leave as is, or is it critical to repair it?

There's another significant complication to this, which is that there is no dealer support for the eGolf in Michigan. I called the VW dealer here and was told "VW wouldn't even allow us to touch that car."
Those pieces probably serve several functions: aerodynamics, protection of battery and other drivetrain parts, sound deadening, etc. You should get them replaced.

Find another dealer, either in Michigan or elsewhere. The first one you contacted is clearly incompetent or at least the person who talked to you is a complete idiot. Call VW USA if you have to, but I am sure you can find a VW dealer or other mechanic willing to repair your car.
I'm on my way to having this resolved. I got the car up on a lift at a Tuffy repair shop near my home and we looked at the damage. It was not as bad as I had feared.

There are four panels covering most of the bottom of the car. The two toward the front are a hard plastic, while the two toward the back are a type of fiberboard. You can see them all here:

After the service department at my local dealer said they were not allowed (by VW) to work on an e-Golf, I decided to try the parts department anyway. They were quite happy to look up the parts and order them for me. In my case, the damaged parts are the two fiberboard covers numbered 20 and 29 in the diagram above. They should be here in a couple of weeks. They simply attach with screws, so I could do them myself, but I can't get at them, so Tuffy will be installing them for me. If there are any complications, I'll report back.

The first person I talked to a few days ago at the VW dealer's service department was whoever answered the phone. When I challenged his statement that they could not work on an e-Golf, he went to the service manager who confirmed that. I'm pretty sure neither of them is incompetent or an idiot. Because the e-Golf was never sold by dealers in Michigan, I had fully expected that they would not be able to work on the power train, but hoped that they could do other work. No such luck.

Interestingly, when I recounted this part of the story to the guy at Tuffy, he had run into this same issue when he previously worked in the service department at a Chrysler (FCA) dealer here in Michigan. A customer came in wanting service on an electric Fiat 500e, which had been sold only in California and Oregon from 2013 to 2019, much like the situation for the e-Golf. The dealer did perform service on gasoline-powered Fiat 500's, but had to tell the customer that they were not authorized to work on the electric one.
Thanks for the update. Glad you found someone willing to work on your car. I stand by my assessment of incompetence. I can understand the dealer doesn’t have people qualified to work on e-Golf specific drivetrain issues, but “won’t touch the car” even to rotate tires, work on the suspension, fix interior or exterior trim , change the cabin air filter, etc. smacks of incompetence. Many parts of the e-Golf are identical to any other Golf.
Well, as I said, the story from the guy at Tuffy about the Chrysler dealer leads me to believe it's a common, possibly industry-standard, practice that constrains what factory-certified shops can do. He even used the same phrase as the VW dealer, that the Chrysler dealer was "not allowed to touch the car."
Maybe. But, dealers choose to not make a profit on items that require no special training? Seems nonsensical, which is why I suggest incompetence. Maybe the VW dealer and Chrysler dealer are owned by same independently wealthy person.
As I said already, it's the manufacturer's rule, not the dealer's choice. The implication from the service department in both of these cases was that the manufacturer does not allow them to work on these models. In both cases, the model involved was never offered for sale in Michigan by the manufacturer.

My guess as to the more specific reason the manufacturer does not allow these dealers to work on an e-Golf is that no one at the dealership is certified to service the e-Golf. Since it wasn't sold here, it probably wasn't worth it for anyone at the dealership to pursue certification.

I was hoping there might be a response from someone else living in one of the 40 other states where the e-Golf was not sold. It would be interesting to hear of anyone in that situation who either received service from a dealer or was denied service. If they received service, was it allowed because the tech who did the work was certified for the e-Golf? However, this forum seems to be dying, so no such replies appear to be coming.
I live in Minnesota, which is not yet a CARB state, and had to purchase my new e-Golf out of state. Nevertheless, several VW dealerships in the Minneapolis-St. Paul do service the e-Golf and have trained technicians. I don't know if this was because the dealerships were proactive or not, but for the last several years they have been selling used e-Golfs.
Aha - there are some smart dealers in MN. Yes, I live near San Francisco so probably most dealers here sold the e-Golf as a new car. I see a ton of Teslas where I live but also a surprisingly large number of e-Golfs. It is a rare day that I do not see at least a few e-Golfs running errands or even commuting to South San Francisco.
The situation for the e-Golf is very different here in mid-Michigan than it is in Minneapolis or San Francisco. The e-Golf was not sold here by dealers, and mine is the only one I have ever seen on the road. In searching online for one to buy used, I never found one for sale within 100 miles of me, from a VW dealer or anyone else. Even now when I search cars.com etc. I find no e-Golfs for sale within the state. By way of comparison, I find over 100 BMW i3's for sale. The e-Golf is quite "exotic" here!
E-Golf was not sold as new in Georgia but I have not had any issue with service at two Atlanta area VW dealerships.

Now the main dealer I go to did tell me they only had 1 tech trained to work on E-Golf so if that person was not working they could not schedule service even if they had availability that day. Now I will say this was relayed to me well before the ID.4 started arriving so they may have many more techs trained for EV service now.

Thinking your dealer did not want to pony up the $$$ to send any of the techs for E-Golf training so it is entirely plausible they could not work on them. Who knows.
I did get my car repaired last month, with Tuffy installing the two splash shield panels. The pair of panels cost me $483 from my local dealer.

I had damaged the center one when I drove over the hidden piece of concrete. When I was examining the car to figure out what was damaged, I discovered that the rear panel was also partially torn away. It was clear that this damage was old, done by a previous owner. It was not really bad, but I decided to replace both.

I wonder how many e-Golfs are on the road with damage to these panels. I guess it was hard to keep much ground clearance when they positioned the batteries down there.