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Volkswagen Jetta Maintenance and Repair

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  • I bought my car a year ago. I am the second owner. I purchased an extended warranty -just in case. I have experienced absolutely no problems with it until a month ago.

    The driver tail light switch was recalled because it was faulty causing the auto gear shifter to not function properly. I discovered this only after taking it to the dealership to determine this was the issue, the problem was fixed.

    Four days later the battery needed to be replaced, as it had not been replaced since the original purchase prior. Or so I thought. Prior to replacing the battery, the car just clicked and wouldn't start. Once the battery was replaced, it worked great. I drove it 1200 miles for a family trip over Memorial Day weekend. During which, no issues surfaced.

    Upon driving it home, I turned the car off to unload it. Twenty minutes later I attempted to start the car only to find it clicking and not starting again. After 2 more failed attempts at starting it, and a failed jump, I called triple A.

    The triple A tow truck service arrives and inquires about the issues, tells me the car is hot, and needed to cool, and starts the car promptly. Meanwhile the check engine light turns on and won't turn off.

    I drive the car 10 minutes away. Turn off car, go to start again, won't start. Again, check engine light comes on. For two days the car has had issues starting and the check engine light turns off and on.

    I took my car to Shucks - where I bought the battery - to run some tests. Battery is 7 days old at this point. It is supposed to run at 600 amps and is down to 427 amps. Alternator looks fine, tested fine.

    Here is what's been suggested to me the source of the issue might be; the alternator, the starter, or could be a short caused by the driver taillight issue.

    The dealership tells me they can't get me in until end of next week. When I explained to them the situation, they were admanent that I wasn't a mechanic and it wasn't their error for the taillight replacement.

    My question to you is this: what is your best guess at what this issue might be?

    Might you have any suggestions on what to say to the dealership for better service or intelligent sounding information to provide them? I feel it is important to learn all I can about my car and how to diagnose the issue.

    Thank you in advance for your help!
  • It is my understanding that the motors in the electric window and even moon/sun roof do eventually burn out and need replacement. So, that is an area to start. Otherwise, it might be an electrical issue.

    I had a driver tail light replaced due to a short causing the auto transmission not to shift. Apparently, the tail light switch was a recall from vw jettas 1997-2001.

    I hope this helps.
  • rsenger1rsenger1 Posts: 4
    Recently I have encountered a number of annoying problems. For one my doors will lock occasionally on there own. I have removed the batteries from my remote but that didn't solve the problem. When this happens I can not exit the car without setting off the alarm. Anyone have any suggestions.
  • betovenbetoven Posts: 3
    Follow up. I had my transsion changed after out of nowhere an internal object ejected-out making a hole in the engine. I was wishing the jerking on my Jetta 2k vr6 would stop but no it didn't.

    So, here i am in the elimination process trying to figure out what the problem is. I am surely not taking it to the same vw dealership after all the money spent and for nothing, so I could really appreciate your imput on this issue to resolve my problem.

    So far these items have been replaced: Coil-Pack, spark plug wires, Mass Flow Air sensor (2 times), Spark Plugs, Oil Filter, Synthetic Oil, Gas Filter, Transmission, Batery, Brake Light switch.

    By the way, the cruise control and the clutch feature(car starts without pushing the clutch in) stopped working after a visit to the dealership. I really hope you could help.

    For anyone with the same jerking problem you might want to hold before changing the parts I changed unless your maintenance tells you so.

    Again, your imput will be SO very much appreciated!

    Thanks.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    going the VAGCOM route sounds like a good idea.

    what about a clogged catalytic convertor? would that show up on VAGCOM diagnostics?
  • babyjet1babyjet1 Posts: 2
    Thanks! Unfortunately I am not able to identify anything "staying on".... and it doesn't do it every time... **sigh**.... am still trying to figure this one out. Any other ideas?
  • mikelsumikelsu Posts: 1
    I am the not-so-pleased owner of a 2002 Jetta 1.5. Been a pain, and expesnive since the warranty expired. Had the a sunroof drain problem fixed by getting dealership instructions to trim the rubber hose by the doors with scissors. High tech, eh? Now I have water in my trunk. Is something plugged up that I can readily find and repair?
  • justadrmrjustadrmr Posts: 2
    The cat has been checked and is clear. I have been informed that maybe it could be the break switch. Has anyone had any experience with this. It appears to be a free part from the dealer and I have told my mech to check it out. Of course I want to get any info from you guys since my experience with mechs and dealers is that they want to charge as much as possible. I dont want them telling me it's not the switch just so they can charge more for an injection pump. :sick:
  • rwatsonrwatson Posts: 85
    Please, take the car to Autozone, or Advanced, or wherever and have them test the alternator. That was the culprit for me once. After your car acts up, you jump it and it seems to work for a while. Then it acts up again. Mine did the same with me, and it was the alternator slowly dying. Then one day: :sick: No ammount of jumping would get it going.

    Have fun ;)
  • kingiscmnkingiscmn Posts: 1
    I have an 01 TDI with 155,000 miles. Recently the brake lights stopped working and it wouldn't shift into gear. After hearing they had a recall, I called VW here and mine is not in the recall. They told me that the Brake Light Switch was bad. I bought a new one (it is a 4 pole brake light switch) and it doesn't seem to work either. I can bypass the switch and the lights and the shifting into gear works so it doesn't seem to be in the wiring. NOW my glow plug light is flashing...and I still can't get the brake light switch to work...what is going on?
  • 99jet99jet Posts: 1
    Hello there ,

    I just bought a 99 Volkswagen Jetta (Wolfsburg edition) , and next hour I bought it my friend rolled down the windows and now it is not rolling up at all , this is the front passenger side. Motor seems to be working but the glass won't roll back up

    can someone reply what would be the problem and if you had already faced this situation , what would be the cost to fix it

    thanks
    satish
  • dancermandancerman Posts: 220
    Search this discussion for "window clips". These clips break.... a common problem with Jettas.
  • dancermandancerman Posts: 220
    Did you check that the window lock button is not pushed down?
  • ndodgendodge Posts: 1
    I'm hoping someone can help me. I got a 1986 Jetta GL from a friend, and went through the usual repairs after a car sits for a year -- new filters, oil change, some sections of hose, etc. I put it in the shop for a bad wheel bearing and a few other things, and I mentioned the following problem, which the shop said they could do nothing about because it's not consistent.

    When I start the car, it idles fine, and runs fine, until it warms up. Then it has no "get up and go" -- it hesitates.

    It's at another shop right now since it failed inspection for brakes (not emissions). The mechanic had it running for 30 minutes this morning with the heater on, since I had left the windows open and the inside was wet after a rain. He said that when he went back to the car, he could barely get it to move, or restart. (At least he believes that there is a problem!)

    He claims he can't do anything, and that I should scrap the car. I have so much money in it now (and not much left) that I hate to give up without trying everything.

    I really like that car. It's an antique as of June 8th -- any help would be most welcome.

    Thank you,

    Nan
  • doc247doc247 Posts: 1
    My wife's 97 Jetta has a strange problem. A couple of weeks ago, the front driver's side window and the rear passenger side window quit going down. Later, they worked just fine. Now, they don't work again. It doesn't matter if you use the console or the door switch for the rear either. The other 2 windows work just fine. I'm thinking wiring issue somewhere....but not sure where. Any ideas!?
  • jlanderjlander Posts: 1
    I have a 1998 Jetta that makes a load clunking noise when in reverse and it sometimes jumps out of gear when in reverse. I had the car in the shop for another problem and the mechanic said he thought the noise was from a bearing in the transmission. I have replaced automatic transmissions on older American cards but have no experience with a Volkswagen. Is replacing the transmission something I can do myself? If all that is needed is a bearing can I rebuild the transmission myself ? Also where can I find good information to help me do this work.
    Thanks.
  • I have a 2003 jetta that I lost the original key to. I have since brought the car to the dealer and had a new key made. Here is my problem, we have found the original key and lost the second one and the original key will no longer start the car, is there any way to self program the computer or must I take it to the dealership again??
  • chrisnhchrisnh Posts: 22
    My daughter's Jetta '96 had several problems right from the 2nd day she had it. I am happy to report that with the help of this forum, we seem to have worked through the issues and in the process found a mechanic that our Jetta (us too) likes. Here is the two year saga and the solutions.

    The first time she plugged her cell phone into Jetta, she blew fuses. She drove it up a 7 mile hill on the way back to College and the engine overheated (no engine fan).

    The "VW" expert who sold us the car, said she should have never plugged in her cell phone without telling him first and we sort of went downhill from there. The Expert had to replace the fan(s) and the big fuse which sits under the clear plastic top. The car never seemed to be quite right.

    We had this stall in wet weather problem (new coil, distributor cap, wires) installed by another Foreign Car expert. Somebody pinched the new #1 sparkplug wire in the process because we could see it sparking when we misted the engine. Many coats of liquid electric tape fixed that.

    We noticed the new fan was not working the next summer and that big flat metal fuse had blown again. We replaced the fuse (AutoZone) with a generic that we sort bent to fit. But the car was drivable. Decided to use the heater to cool the engine because we thought the fan would blow up because of underlining electrical problems with the wiring harness or something. Yep it is not hot around us and usually traffic is not bad.

    Then we had the big oil leak under the car, sometimes. A garage 40 miles away told me it was a bad rear seal. They would have to pull the engine and since the clutch was obviously going, might as well replace that for big money. Had the car taken to a more local mechanic (who is now our guy). Nothing wrong with the clutch and it was not a rear seal. He recommened I degunk the engine and pay attention. Turned out to be a leaking oil sensor. That was easy and cheap fix.

    We had the front end jerk. Probably was ice on the front wheel. But our conviently located American mechanic (oil change, tires etc) noticed the back wheelbearings needed to be replaced. OK, proactive works.

    Then the muffler sort of fell apart. The American mechanic replaced the back half with a cheap replacement. OK, that is one of the reasons we like him. But he doesn't really like foreign cars.

    Once in a while the car would miss and check engine light would come on. The old #1 miss fire (that $35 ODB reader is a great idea) that had all the mechanics stumpted. Then we noticed that the car's gas mileage was getting worse and it did not seem its usual peppy self. I got a call from my daughter on a cold and rainy night that the car had no power. So we decided not to take the car to our American mechanic but to "our guy".

    We ran down this list of problems. Turned out the cat converter had deconstructed (no power), he found generic one and remounted the sensor. He decided one of the grounds looked suspect, so he found a good spot and put in another one. He shared our concern and did some more electrical testing. Once he was happy, then he installed a fan laying around for 5 years that he gave a great deal on.

    Lets see that was 4 months ago and no major problems. We are feeling pretty good about the Jetta at the moment. My daughter thought I should share this with the forum, which really helped me trouble shoot and led me to "our Jetta guy".
  • kristin9kristin9 Posts: 1
    Hello,
    I just had my 98 tdi jetta towed in to the shop due to the oil sensor flashing and beeping at me and a tremendous amount of oil leaking. The mechanic told me that the turbo is blown, there is oil in the turbo and that the repair would be around $1600. I am fairly new to the tdi scene so I do not know if there is there an o-ring that could have gone or if there is such thing as a rebuilt turbo to try to reduce my costs. I have a problem trusting mechanics (especially at this price) so does anyone have advice for me?
    Thanks!
    kristin9
  • ral2167ral2167 Posts: 642
    just called VW service and they say this can't be done...but got differing opinion from jetta owner in another forum...

    just bought new jetta 2.5L.. the doors lock automatically, which is fine, but when i get out of the car and try to open another door, it's locked.... is there anyway that when the car is shut off, all the doors unlock automatically.... as i say, i was told by another owner this was done, but when i just called my dealer service area, the guy said it can;t be done... anyone else have this situation?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Why can you not push the "unlock all doors" button as you get out? Alternately, just unlock all the doors with the remote.

    Either way, your complaint seems to have several work-arounds that would accomplish the same task that you want to do.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Check your owners manual. I believe this is covered in there. It gives instructions for those with the computer menu interface. As I said eleswhere, our VE doesn't have the computer interface, but dealer made the change. I am also assuming that this feature did not change...ours is a 2005.5, I assume you have a 2006.

    I can give you two dealers for you or your dealership to contact, if they continue to not be able to figure this out. The one we bought the car from (Zimbrick VW in Middleton, WI) told us at the time of delivery that the locks could be set up this way.

    The dealership that actually made the change for us is Ernie Von Schledorn VW in Menomonee Falls, WI.
  • Hi,

    I need help with my Jetta. It's a 1994 VW Jetta III, 2.0 ltr, 4 cyldinder, manual and recently it's been stalling on me. It seems to be a problem that I've had with the car for quite a while. It started with the car hiccuping a bit when accelerating between gears - I'd give it gas and it would hesitate before the car responded. It's since gotten worse. The MIL light started coming on when the car would do this and it became increasingly more difficult to balance the clutch and gas and has even stalled out on me.

    I took it to a mechanic, someone that I've trusted and that has saved me money in the past, but they took a look at it and put it through the computer and told me that it was the 4th cylinder mis-firing and that it would require me to get a tune up (something that the previous owners had NEVER done). So they replaced the wires, plugs and cap (or something). I got the car back and it ran fine for a day and then it started acting up AGAIN and worse. It seemed to be worse in traffic, when the car was hot and idling. I took it back to the mechanic and they told me that they could not reproduce the issue, so I took it back. A few days later the car got really bad. On the way home from work it would constantly stall. The RPMs would drop and the car would stall at every single light.

    I took it to another mechanic that I also know and he cleaned out the manifold and then was going to return it to me, however on his way back to me the car started acting up on him and he realized that there was a much larger problem. He then suggested that it was the throttle sensor which he was 99% sure that it would need to be replaced. So $170 for a sensor later and the car is STILL acting up.

    I don't know what to do from here. Does anybody know what this could be? From reading this forum it seems like it would be the wires - maybe they're not on tight? Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

    -Erin
  • cosmocosmo Posts: 203
    Based on the age of your Jetta, the symptoms you've described, and the fact that the previous owner had never tuned it, I would check to see if the catalytic converter might be clogged.
  • teoincateoinca Posts: 1
    I bought a Jetta GLI, very nice car I got it with Nav System and Package #2 with Sirius. The only "big" problem is the sales person was not knowledgeable enough. They sold me the iPod Connector without letting me know that if I get the iPod installed then either my Satellite Radio or my Six CD changer would not work.

    Also the MP3 capability is gone if you get Nav System. However the salesperson told me that it was possible to use MP3 that was BS. So beware of those problems.

    I am still doing some research to find out if there is any iPod connector that I could use my CD changer, or Satellite radio. If someone knows anything please let me know.

    Other than that I love the car. I highly recommend the 2.0 turbo engine it works very nice. You can race with any sports car.
  • chrisnhchrisnh Posts: 22
    How about not being able to lock your car for months and then the alarm decides to go off? This happened tonight. The key has not been able to the door lock, which I thought was the SOP to reset the alarm. Now what?

    I don't think it is your remote. Sympathies. Anybody got ideas.

    Think I am going to have to pull the door apart because I don't think I can pull the car's brains out. This could get ugly, I don't want to pay the big bucks for a new lock but....
  • chrisnhchrisnh Posts: 22
    Phil,
    Wonder if I am translating your post correctly (over a year old). If I carefully pull the door apart to get to the door handle, I could discover a broken link which prevents the key from turning?

    My current problem is the alarm have decided to go off and there is no way to reset it and start the car (that I know about). Chris
  • jdb47jdb47 Posts: 4
    '00 Jetta driverside daytime/regular light goes out, but both brights work perfectly...I know this is an easy one, but I'm still clueless...is it the same bulb for dim/brights and just a fuse issue, or are there two separate bulbs and I just need to replace the one? Thanks for the help.
  • chrisnhchrisnh Posts: 22
    Ah, it is a good idea to be able to turn the key in the old Jetta. If the alarm ever goes off, say a loose battery terminal or something, how to you disarm it? We could get into the honking car which was located 10 miles from home. Here is a brief step by step, allow an hour, should take 15 minutes.

    Have your radio safe codes handy. Carefully disconnect the battery. Open the driver's door (or passanger's). Roll up the window. Put the key in the lock. On the post side of the door are some star (hex) headed screws. Undo the one that is on the same line as the door handle (top one). Push the part of the door handle that has the lock towards the front of the car, about an inch. Then pivot that end out.

    The tricky part is that there is a verticle metal door release that is still attached to the lock. If your key works, you can turn it in the lock and it will free the release. But with a frozen lock, I had to do some gentle stuff. On one of my doors it slipped out and I removed the handle/lock.

    There is sort of a flat piece of metal with a spring around it that sticks out from opposite of where the key goes in. That piece of metal fits into a slot which you can see inside the door.

    The slot is what your key turns. Connect the battery, now turn the screwdriver just like it was a key to disarm the car. I believe the door handle has to be in the car for the car to start. I did not worry about messing with the door release, I carefully reinstalled the handle and drove the car home.

    Then I pulled the handle again. I used a degreaser and some light oil, outside and inside the lock. With the key in the lock, carefully used some pliers on a bit of the lock cylindar I could see opposite from where the key sticks in, to assist the key in turning. I got lucky on both door handles after giving each 5 minutes of attention. I can lock and unlock both doors.

    I don't think anything was broken, just rusted, gunked or yucked up after 11 years of road sand and salt.

    If the key will not turn, getting the door release back into the right position in the lock/door handle is difficult (second door was a lot more difficult and that is when I discovered the pliers helped). TIP: Now that I know what is going on, I might have been able to slip a screwdriver in the slot without taking the handle out of the car. Got to be careful of the window, which will be sliding up and down as the car unarms itself.

    I am a happy person. Didn't spend a dime. Didn't have to remove the internal door panel. Didn't lose any of the springs on the door handle. I could have done it at 10 PM but glad I went back and became the hero in daylight.
  • minny2minny2 Posts: 1
    for past two months car has failed to start at times, after waiting 5 min or less it starts. last week car stalled at light, failed to start- was towed in and when mechanic looked at it it started again. We have a new battery and the car turns over, no other lights on. Help- the mechanic can't get it to duplicate my problem and I'm very frustrated. Although I love to drive the car (1.8 turbo-2000) it has been a money pit from the start.
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