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VW GTI (All styles)

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  • nkeennkeen Posts: 316
    Follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • PLEASE READ THIS before buying any new Volkswagen!

    I bought my '00 VW GTI 1.8T brand new a couple of years ago from Flow Motors here in Winston-Salem, NC. Despite meticulous care and conscientious maintenance, the vehicle was nothing but trouble from the start.

    Here's a brief rundown:

    I had the car in the shop SIX times to have window problems fixed. (The passenger door glass was replaced twice due to deep scratches caused by the power window mechanism, and the easily broken "retainer clip" which connects the window glass to the door motor had to be replaced several times as well). Try driving 40 miles down the interstate back to the dealership with the driver's window stuck in the "down" position, and you you may appreciate my mood at the time. I had to use vacation time to take the car in for service immediately, as any precipitation would have ruined the interior, and my belongings inside the vehicle were unprotected from the elements, not to mention theft.

    Virtually every exterior bulb -- headlamps, turn signals, and brake lamps -- burned out on this supposedly well-built "German" vehicle within two years of purchase. One headlamp burned out TWICE, despite having been replaced with a genuine VW bulb from the dealer.

    The cheap plastic hinge on the glove compartment door broke twice. The whole door has to be replaced when this happens. (Hey VW, why not use a METAL hinge if you're going to spring-load the glove box for that pleasant "dampened" feel?)

    The clutch went out after only 40,000 miles (a very costly repair). Bear in mind that I did not abuse this vehicle -- most of the miles were accumulated in fifth gear on the interstate.

    The air conditioner started malfunctioning last summer, leaving me drenched in sweat more than once, but luckily started working again. Don't ask why. I hate to think what a new condenser would have cost.

    The turbo blew an intake valve, causing a loud "fluttering" noise during acceleration. The "check engine" light came on as well. The turbo valve cost around $200 to replace, and the part was not covered by VW's touted 100,000 mile powertrain warranty (even though the VW salesman specifically told me that the turbo WAS fully covered by the extended warranty when I purchased the vehicle).

    The six-disc, trunk-mounted CD player was problematic, constantly jamming and generating a bogus "disc error" message. (I had the same problem with numerous newly-purchased CDs, so it wasn't the software.) I had to pull over, pop the hatch, remove the cartridge and "spin" all the discs to listen to any of the CDs. A nuisance to say the least, particularly while commuting or driving in bad weather.

    Disgusted with the constant breakdowns, I threw up my hands and traded in my GTI on an '03 Subaru WRX after the last repair epdisode, during which I was bluntly advised by VW maintenance personnel that my inoperative driver's side window could not be repaired because no replacement parts were available anywhere in the country. (No replacement parts nationally for a '00 model! GET REAL!) It took calls to the general manager and regional service director to finally get the parts by special order, and I drove a rental for a couple of days while they replaced the assembly.

    Now, after absorbing a loss on my trade to avoid more unforseen repairs, I get a letter from VW stating that they're generously extending the manufacturer's warranty to cover certain window problems. (The dealer advised me that VW has known about the problem for years, but refused to issue a timely recall, and will now have to spend a cool $100 million to replace thousands of defective power window assemblies in ALL models.)

    Please, learn from my mistake and CONSIDER ALL YOUR OPTIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE CHOOSING ANY VOLKSWAGEN PRODUCT. There are just too many other choices, folks, to be stuck with a sub-standard product that makes for a great test drive but provides poor reliability and dealer service down the road. If you find yourself sipping cold coffee and sitting for hours in the waiting area of your local VW repair shop while the same old defective part in your "German-engineered" vehicle is replaced yet again, you have only yourself to blame. This is a true story, and I have the service records to prove it. (I'm not alone: a friend of mine had a '00 New Beetle that needed a full brake job after only 15,000 miles and started belching black smoke soon thereafter -- another hurried trade-in.)

    Look, I'm not a mechanic or race fanatic who spends a lot of time arguing about which brand is better than another. I'm just an ordinary consumer who expects a $21,000 brand new vehicle to have things like a reliable engine, working windows, a functional CD player and a useable glove box.

    Don't let VW do the same thing to you -- do yourself (and your wallet) a favor and stay away from this "German-engineered" (and Argentinian built) brand until they make quality control and customer service a priority.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    I've noticed you've also posted your same message in a number of other discussions here. Please be aware that spam and off topic messages are not allowed at Town Hall. Therefore, I've deleted your same message in several other discussions on the Hatchbacks and Wagons board. I will go ahead leave this one here.

    Now that you've traded in your GTI, hopefully can put this all behind you... and enjoy your new vehicle. Good luck.

    Revka

    Hatchbacks & Wagons Host
  • adg44adg44 Posts: 385
    The 2000 GTIs were mostly built in Germany, although some were built in Brazil (not Argentina), until mid 2001 when all GTI production was moved to Brazil.

    Glove box hinges were a common thing to break, taht's why they replaced them out of warranty (did for me).

    As for the brakes, the rear brakes are a soft compound and usually wear out by 20,000 miles.

    As with the window regulators, yes a 7 year warranty and a new metal clip design has been made. It happens to a lot of people, not just you.

    As for a clutch to go out at 40k miles, some 1.8T clutchs have gone out sooner than that - they aren't extremely strong.

    And it seems that VW powertrain should have picked up a blown intake valve.....

    Are you modified or chipped in any way?
  • No, my '00 GTI was not modified or chipped in any way. A friend of mine told me that chipping (do you call it that?) was common, but I didn't want to void the warranty with any modifications.

    My GTI was built in Germany -- I confirmed this prior to purchase. It made little difference in quality, as my previous post relays. Sorry about the Brazil/Argentina mix-up. Either way, you're getting a South American car.

    I'm glad you confirmed my suspicion about the weak clutch in some of the GTIs -- I know this is a wear item, but most clutches last longer under average driving conditions.

    I was advised that the VW powertrain warranty did not cover the turbo intake valve because it was not an "internally lubricated" part. So much for what the salesman told me...

    While the brakes in my GTI held up well, my friend, who drove a New Beetle, had to have them all replaced at 15,000 miles. The dealer told her that the cold weather (road salt?) in Ohio caused the brakes to wear out quicker. This seems a little ridiculous for a car designed in Germany. I didn't know about the "soft" brake compound. Why would VW design brakes to last only 20,000 miles?

    I think the problem with the glove box hinge is a combination of brittle plastic and the spring loaded "dampening" design that exerts added stress on the door each time it's closed (and maybe while it IS closed).

    I know the window regulators (or the "retainer clips" as they call them) have been a major problem. I had to have the same clip replaced three times in my GTI -- twice the window got stuck in the "down" position, necessitating an immediate trip to the dealer.

    All this explains why Consumer Reports has awarded the Golf and Jetta a "well below average" overall reliability rating in their 2003 New Car Buyer's Guide. The New Beetle did only slightly better, and none of the cars is recommended. My experience is consistent with this assessment.
  • adg44adg44 Posts: 385
    If I were you, I would call VWoA and lodge a complaint about not covering the turbo intake valve (is that exactly what it's called??) and maybe they will give you some compensation. When did it go out? How many miles?


    As for the rear brakes, they were getting complaints about brake noise, thus why they made them a softer compound - but they were prone to premature wear. They issued a TSB on this to replace the pads if this happened....

  • My GTI'been great - no problems what-so-ever.

    Judging by how few negative posts there are here on the GTI - it appears I'm the norm, not someone complaining about burned out light bulbs.
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 366
    I have been reading everything I can find about the GTI( and the 2002 Civic Si). Edmunds has been extremely helpful. I am seriously considering purchasing a 02 GTI with 10,600 miles.

    The impression I get is that the vast majority of GTI problems involve the window regulators and the ignition coils. It also appears the VW has acknowledged these are problem areas, but will replace only after failure and not preventively. Is that correct?

    Regarding brake wear -- I assume you are refering to brake pads and not the rotors or other more expensive mechanical parts.

    As I consider this used GTI, is there anything specific I should look for? The service records indicate 3 oil changes since purchased, but nothing else. I have not been able to get the previous owners name. I have driven the car twice and everything seem to work great except the auto up/down feature seems to work only on the driver side. I had the impression that feature was on the passenger side also. Should it work on both?
  • Meca, I think VW upgraded to metal retainer clips for the 2002 models, so the power window problem may not be an issue for the model you're considering -- still, I'd make sure before purchasing.

    The brakes on my '00 GTI held up OK, but others have had problems (see prior posts). Brake pads are considered a wear item (warrantied to 12,000 miles, I think), so the bumper-to-bumper warranty won't cover the costs of labor/parts.

    I don't remember if the passenger window has auto up/down. I recommend consulting the owner's manual. I had no ignition coil problems.

    So far as window regulator replacement goes, I seem to remember being told by the VW service department that the upgraded regulators will be installed free of charge upon customer request even if there's been no failure, but I can't say for sure. Too bad they didn't just build them to last in the first place...

    Meca, I urge you to consider all your options carefully before purchasing a late model GTI. My '00 GTI was prone to constant problems (see prior posts), and I don't recommend this car to anyone. Bear in mind that Consumer Reports (2003 New Car Buyer's Guide) gives the the Golf/GTI a "well below average" predicted reliability rating, and does not recommend the Golf, Jetta or New Beetle.

    Good luck with your purchase.
  • adg44adg44 Posts: 385
    It was 2003 when they all came with the new regulators.

    They are covered for 7 years against breaking on all 02 and previous model cars.
  • dle01dle01 Posts: 37
    About a month ago I purchased a used 2002 GTI VR6 with 10,200 miles. I read all I could on the internet, and even corresponded on this site with a few of you all before I bought. I expected to have trouble with the windows, and indeed the passenger window stopped working about 3 weeks after I bought the car. The dealer quickly repaired it with the 2003 metal clip, and was willing to retrofit the drivers window with the new clip until they checked their records and found that that repair had already been made.

    Otherwise, the car has been an absolute joy to drive and to own. We'll see how reliable it is in the long run, but in my mind the package can't be compared to anything else on the market for my needs. It is more than quick enough to be fun, the styling is understated compared to the competition (SVT Focus, Vibe,etc.), and the cargo area is extremely useful (a critical need for my use). The suspension tuning gave me a bit of concern, but after driving it for a month I think the balance between ride and handling is perfect. I initially considered suspension upgrades for less roll, sharper turn-in. However, I do have to drive regularly on some unpaved farm roads and the stock setup makes this bearable so I won't change it.

    So, 204meca -- if you are still considering your used 02 GTI feel free to respond with any questions. I made the leap and have no regrets. For what its worth, we also have a 2000 Passat (German built) that has been trouble free.
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 366
    What did you pay for your GTI?

    I am still in the hunt. Have fully optioned Silver 02 GTI (1.8T) picked out with 10,400 miles, but hope to land it for a grand less than the dealers asking price of $17,300. Actually he was asking $21,000 a month ago, so he may not budge much more. But I am going to hold out till the end of the month. I found an 01 VR6 for the same price, but prefer the smaller engine for balance and economy.

    The 02 civic Si still beckons also, but in the balance I prefer the GTI even though I may have to pay another $1-2K more. Currently I am trying to sell my 97 Del Sol Si, since the dealer offer has been low. The Honda dealer offer $2k more to just purchase the DS than the Chrysler dealer (where the GTI is) offered in trade!
  • dle01dle01 Posts: 37
    I paid $20,900 for the 2002 VR6. There was little data available for the 2002 models since so few have been traded in or resold, but that price seemed consistent with what the 2001s were going for. I waited the dealer out for almost a month, and the deal only worked for me when the dealer offered me a decent trade for my Ranger pick-up (which I had purchased used from the same dealer 2 years ago). The used car market is very soft right now, and it seems that you can get great deals on used cars, but it is hard to get a decent trade on your current car.

    In any event, $17,300 sounds like an excellent price for the 1.8t, especially if it is loaded and in good shape. I bought the VR6 precisely for those reasons, even though the VR6 would probably not have been my first engine choice if I was to buy a new car. I like the engine, but probably would like the 200hp 4 valve model even more. Fuel economy is really the only downside to the "old" 2 valve VR6s like mine -- I've been getting about 21mpg in mixed driving, no more than 26 on the highway.

    So, good luck with your choice. Sounds like a good price to me and had I found the same car (1.8t loaded)at the same price I would have bought it! My brother-in-law is a Honda guy, and is considering the Civic Si and I think thats a great car too. It is cheaper, but from my understanding is not available with the luxury options that make the GTI even that much more classy. For that matter, I'm not sure the "technology package" was available in the 1.8t GTIs in 2002. I initially thought that the electronic climate control, rain sensing wipers, and auto dimming rear view mirror were mere gimmicks. . . but, believe it or not they all work great and add a very upscale feel to what is still a small and relatively inexpensive car.
  • I WAS TOLD BY VW TO USE FULLY SYNTHETIC OIL FOR BEST LONG TERM RESULTS IN MY '02 GTI VR6. I HAVE 8500 MILES ON THE ENGINE NOW, AND HAVE CHANGED OIL TWICE USING MOBIL 1 FULLY SYNTHETIC 5W-30. I KNOW ONCE YOU START USING SYNTHETIC OIL, IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU STAY WITH IT, BUT IS IT NECESSARY TO KEEP USING THE SAME BRAND? THE MOBIL 1 IS A BIT PRICEY @ $30.00 FOR A CASE OF 6 QUARTS. JUST CURIOUS, I WOULD RATHER HAVE QUALITY THAN SACRIFICE HARDWARE ANYWAY...THANKS..
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    psst....turn off the caps lock when you post.
  • adg44adg44 Posts: 385
    You can switch between synthetic and dino oil, and you can switch between synthetic brands too. Just make sure if you switch you do once you change the oil.

    Mobil1 is the best, and it is resonably priced.
  • we just bought a 2003 GTI 1.8 salesman said premium only. has anyone put in regular or mid grade with out problems. by the way the car handles and rides
    great.
    thanks- stan
  • adg44adg44 Posts: 385
    It's what the manual says to use, and there is no point in running the risk of hurting your engine, and not to mention poor performance by using a lower grade gas.
  • you want(down to 87), but the mid and lower grades will cause the engine to retard the timing thus affecting acceleration a little.
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