The end of an era has arrived for TDI owners and mechanics alike. For decades, paper repair manuals like the Bentley manuals have been the go-to source of information for fixing VWs. However, since 2009, VW has decided to switch to an online platform for repair information. This platform is called erWin and can be found at erwin.vw.com. In this article we’ll review what it is and how to use it…
erWin is an online portal that provides comprehensive and up-to-date repair and maintenance information for all Volkswagen models. The system includes wiring diagrams, service schedules, technical service bulletins, repair manuals, and more. erWin provides a wide range of information that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time.
A major benefit of erWin is the constant updates. With paper manuals, information can quickly become outdated and finding the most updated version was often a challenge. erWin documentation is updated regularly to reflect the latest changes and things like recalls and TSBs. This ensures that users have access to the most accurate and up-to-date information at all times.
Another benefit is the format of the repair information. Unlike other software repair manuals, like the Bentley software for example, all the repair information downloads in easy-to-open PDF format. This means that any computer with internet access can download and view repair information without any sort of special software. Those who deal with repair software regularly know how buggy and unrelaible most of these platforms are, so the simplicity of erWin is very refreshing.
How to Access erWin
Getting access to erWin is straightforward. Head to erwin.vw.com, then hover over the ‘My Account’ link at the top right and click on ‘Registration’. Here you’ll make an account for yourself. Once that is done, hover over the ‘My Account’ link again and select ‘Subscription.’
As of the time of writing, erWin offered different subscription times ranging from one day to one year.
For our own use we typically will use one-day passes to get the information we need for the job ahead. Once that information is downloaded we can access it in the future as well, without needing to buy a new subscription.
The chart above shows that a one-day pass runs $35, while a year runs $1,500. Certainly not inexpensive. However, ten years ago a good repair manual would retail at around $120 or more and would only cover one model. If you have a few TDIs in your driveway, you might be buying 2-3 manuals, and the price added up quickly. In some ways, the one-day subscription model may be less expensive for the weekend warrior DIY’er who only needs to find technical information beyond what is available online once or twice. However, for the shadetree mechanics and smaller shops who might be referencing the repair book multiple times per week this is a signficant cost increase.
erWin Convenience vs. Paper Manuals
As mentioned above, erWin documentation downloads in easy-to-access PDF files, but unless you print it out it is still locked behind a computer screen. Nothing replaces having a real repair manual at your fingertips under the hood of the vehicle you’re working on, true, but having a print out of just the pages you need, and not worrying about spilling oil/brake fluid/brake clean on the paper is a nice perk.