Long Term Test: Volkswagen Amarok

Date: Tuesday, March 4, 2014   |   Author: James Dallas

A jammed lock on the hatch door of our pick-up’s hardtop cover called for some ingenuity in order to access the load bay over the Christmas period. James Dallas reports

Since taking the VW Amarok onto our fleet back in the summer of 2013, the big pick-up has repeatedly proved its worth as a load-lugger.

In the building trade and on the farm, open-backed pick-ups are perfectly fit for purpose, but the addition of a hard-top cover for the load area can be important to increase security, particularly when the vehicle is a dual-use leisure and working tool. The EGR lightweight cover on our Amarok has been invaluable in protecting everything, from camping equipment to holiday luggage to furniture from the elements, and has also provided a safe and sheltered environment for the family dog when in transit.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, however, every journey began to be accompanied by an irritating squeak emanating from the rear, making me imagine I was taking a flock of gobbling Turkeys to market.

VW claims this was caused by a fitting problem that has now been rectified, but a more serious problem soon followed. Having used the truck over a weekend to carry several loads of old furniture to a recycling centre, a colleague complained that the lock to the cover’s hatch door had become increasingly stiff and difficult to use. The problem rapidly deteriorated until it was impossible to turn the key in the lock at all – rendering the load area inaccessible via the tailgate. An immediate consequence of this was that the aforementioned dog, often wet and muddy following winter walks, had to be carried inside the cabin. Luckily, the Highline specification Amarok comes with leather seats that are easy to wipe clean.

A trip to VW dealership Beadles of Dartford confirmed there was no quick fix to the problem: the Truckman required a replacement lock. The dealership ordered it in but, it being close to Christmas, I was warned of a long wait.

In the meantime, the only access to the load bay was through the nearside window. An agile service technician was able to clamber through this narrow opening to remove the lock’s cover, revealing a pair of metal pins, which, when pushed together, release the lock from the inside, enabling the hatch and tailgate to be opened.

Being far less acrobatic myself I resorted to lifting one of my 10-year-old twins through the window to open the hatch in order to load the truck up with the luggage for the holiday getaway. The process had to be repeated on arrival and again on return a week later. Far from ideal and an issue that would have caused severe problems for a tradesperson requiring frequent access to the load space.



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