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VW Jetta TDI

patpat Posts: 10,421
There is a lot of interest these days in vehicles with diesel engines. We've been talking about the TDI's in the general Jetta discussion, but there are different issues and experiences between them. Let's try a separate discussion to centralize the TDI conversations.

So tell us about your TDI. What made you choose a diesel in the first place? What do you like, what do you not like? How's your mileage compared to the gas-powered version? Are you having any problems? Any regrets?

Let us hear from you! :)


  • cwo4cwo4 Posts: 90
    I bought a 2002 Jetta TDI new in June 2002. Traded it in December 2003. In the 18 months I owned it, I had: an air conditioner relay fail, the passenger window fall into the door housing while on an extended trip in January, the clock fail, the steering wheel covering separate from the metal portion, the arm rests on the driver and passenger doors peel, a MAF sensor fail and a transmission interlock fail. All were replaced under warranty, but we lost faith in the car. I loved driving it, and never had an engine problem. I traded it for a 2004 Camry. No problems whatsoever in 17,000 miles. I guess I'm not adventurous anymore. But I sometimes miss driving the TDI.
  • djasonwdjasonw Posts: 624
    Sorry to hear about your problems. I would probably do the same thing with my Prius if it gave me those types of problems. I still think it was a fluke as I have owned a few Audis (same thing really!) and loved them except that they require TLC. They held up pretty well.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,870
    Unfortunate you experienced problems with your TDI. A 2002 Honda Civic Si I owned was a lemon so I got rid of it before it was out of warranty.

    Are you the person who had the check engine light and oxygen sensor failure in the first 1500 miles on your new Camry XLE?

    I've owned two Jetta TDI Wagons. I also had a couple of minor problems. On the first one (2002) the rear washer nozzle had to be adjusted. That's it, nothing else. On my 2004 the radio was replaced in first week due to poor AM sound reproduction. TDI has been very good to me.
  • mpgmanmpgman Posts: 723
    Been away from VWs for a few years. What happened to the 42 city/49 highway EPA mpg ratings for the manual diesel?
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,870
    VW claimed the new 2004 PD TDI's would obtain better mpg than the previous TDI's prior to the completion of the EPA testing. After EPA testing VW stopped making the claim.
    I achieve nearly the same mpg on my 2004 as I did on my 2002. Mixed results with other owners of 2004's. Some are obtaining better mpg with the PD and some worse. High 50's is about the best that has been reported with the PD. Not too bad with diesel at $1.52 and unleaded at $1.93.
  • jclarkejclarke Posts: 3
    OK comrades:

    I'm like the rest of you. I research the snot of out things until I'm satisfied that I've got all the knowledge that's available, then I pull the trigger. I waited a couple of months for a Prius, but my creaky old '93 Sentra started giving me warning signs, so I went to plan B and bought a Jetta TDI. I'm all about keeping money out of the Saudis' hands, frankly. Something about 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11, I suppose. I consider it a key life skill to A: Know who your enemies are, and B: Try not to give them all your money. Call me crazy.

    I've got about 100 miles on the odometer at this point. So far, so good. But now I need something else to research. So let's talk about motor oil for the TDI.

    My owner's manual seems pretty clear on this question. It's got to conform to VW standard 505.01. Near as I can tell, the only two oils that do that are a Castrol synthetic brand that's only available through the VDub dealer, and a Eurporean brand called Motul Specific that's gettable on the Internet for something $85 for 12 liters.

    What's the real skinny here, diesel heads?
  • jclarkejclarke Posts: 3
    Any advice about where it's available?
  • PatHOST, you start a great topic here, especially to the potertial owner like me. I tested drive two times of 04 modle, and pretty much sure I will get a 05, cause it will out in Sep or Oct, and the trade in value of my vehicle will remain almost the same till then. And Myabe 05 model will fix some bugs I hope.
  • I am looking to buy a new jetta TDI this september. I have heard that diesel can have some problems starting in cold weather. Where i live i get all 4 seasons so it can get pretty cold during the winter. Any suggestions for me?? And is this even true?

  • cwo4cwo4 Posts: 90
    And I totally forgot about the oxygen sensor when I posted #2. I guess it shows no car is perfect. I did enjoy the mileage I got in my TDI. 38-40 MPG with an automatic. Like I said, never an engine problem.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,825
    Well, for sure the whole issue falls into the category of conundrum! :( :)

    But let me be clear. Since VW AM is the warrantor, one should use the specified oil i.e., meets the VW specification of 505.01, specifically: Castrol and Motul. VW 505.01 is VERY common in Europe, but obviously not yet as common in the USA- 2004.

    Having said that, my guess is that the new oil is more for the longevity of emissions parts than anything else. Direct oil analysis of bottled VW 505.01 vs say Delvac One shows that the VW 505.01 brew has less of the normally considered attibutes.

    I have a 2003 TDI (CI-4 specification or VW 505.00) and have been using and will continue to use Delvac One or AKA, Mobil One Truck and SUV -5w40.
  • mpgmanmpgman Posts: 723
    Thanks for the post. Dealer near me has the exact car I want...Jetta TDI wagon with leather. 2 issues. One, at $24k and change list, this is only about $2k less than a Passat TDI with leatherette. Second, isn't there a redesign for 05? Although I heard that the wagon may not be here until 06. Do you know better?
  • 1. It totally up to you, I don't like passat at all because I'm not that old. But I truly hope jetta have that 2.0 engin.

    2. 05 will remain the same, maybe some bugs fixed, that all. The redisign jetta line will be 06.

    I will get the 05 wagon ASAP.
  • tom21769tom21769 Posts: 63
    mpgman, I bought the Jetta TDI wagon (manual transmission, GL trim) on Saturday.
    Love it! Beyond the fuel economy, the car really rolls. But please drive safely and watch your speed, buddy. I'm 50 years old, generally a very cautious guy, and my teenage son is practically holding my foot off the gas.

    The GLS Jetta with leather would be a beautiful little car. A few tips: first, you shouldn't have to pay $24k to get it . We paid $19,577 (including freight), plus taxes, tags, and the stupid $99 "documentation" fee. I did not consider that a screaming deal, but it also included $280 (MSRP) for the Electronic Stabilization Program ( a very desirable option). Moving up to GLS and leather should add about $3k max, I believe (check it out). Now, automatic would add about another $1k -- but would you really want that? This is a sporty little car and in my opinion, if you can drive a stick, that is the way to equip it.

    As for the Passat, I don't know how old you are or what your family situation is, but I've driven both cars and believe me, a manual transmission Jetta TDI is a more fun than the Passat TDI w/automatic. Not exactly a Porsche, but If you're as old as I am, the Jetta's like a blood transfusion. With Viagra slipped in.

    If you do go for the Passat (a very nice, roomier car), pass on the "leatherette" unless you've got a pack of barfy little kids. That stuff is HOT (and I don't mean sexy.)
  • mpgmanmpgman Posts: 723
    This is the tough thing with The Jetta GLS TDI they have has exactly the epuipment I perhaps for the auto. At 54, we are in the same league. What kind of mileage are you getting with the manual? If I add up the GLS, leather and auto from what you paid I am right back to $24k. Perhaps leasing for 2-3 years would be a better deal given the expected high residual? For a list of $24,460 and with the dealer having only one, I wouldn't seem to be in the best position to get a great deal if I really want the car. I wonder if just getting the Passat Wagon with the 1.8 and the hot leatherette isn't really the best buy period? Even the GL is well equipped if you can live without the roof. I drove a Passat TDI wagon but at EPA 27 city, am not sure the diesel option provides a real mpg advantage if the 1.8 can deliver in the low 20s. Can it? I may go for the Jetta anyway, but paying in the low to mid 20s for a Jetta seems a bit high given the price range of the full Passat line.
  • tom21769tom21769 Posts: 63
    I have burned only a half tank so far, but it looks like I'm getting just under 50 mpg from the Jetta TDI/manual. This is with a mix of highway and rural driving (very little stop-and-go).

    $24K seems a lot to pay for a Jetta. As I said, I paid $19577 (including freight, before taxes/tags/doc). GLS, leather and auto add up to what -- a little under $4K, I guess
    (which of course you'll pay if you want them on other vehicles, too). So yeah, maybe it would be close to $24K if the dealer is unwilling to budge. In that case the only way to cut your cost is to wait for a car without some of those options, or for a GL. That is basically what I did. I called and called, all around, and finally connected with a sales guy who monitored all the incoming shipments for an area dealer. Then I made a deposit on a car that was still on its way.

    Another dealer here had a Passat GLS, TDI, at 26-something. That seems like a better value to me than a Jetta for only $2k less. It depends on what you need and want. For us, the Jetta is a second car. If it is your only vehicle, you would welcome the extra room in the Passat any time you have more than one passenger who isn't an elf. But you'll loose some fuel economy, and pay more to buy it.

    The price spread between a Passat diesel and gas model, all else being equal, is only a couple hundred dollars. There surely is enough mpg advantage from the diesel Passat (7-8 mpg?) to make that back quickly (IF you can find one). As for the leatherette seats, they have the advantage of low maintenance. If you agree they feel hot, you can always get some seat covers. Then you can expect to have an easily cleaned interior at trade-in time.
  • dpldpl Posts: 4
    I recently bought a 2004 TDI jetta and been looking for the right oil that meets the VW 505.01 standards. Let me get this right. Your using Mobil One Truck & Suv - 5w40 oil for you jetta? Question #2 How difficult is it to change your own oil? Does the plastic shroud need to be removed from the bottom? And what about the plastic piece on top for the oil filter? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • oldboyoldboy Posts: 59
    Please note that Ruking1 has a 2003 TDI Jetta, not a 2004. He can use the Mobil One oil because it meets the 505.00 spec. VW makes it very clear that only 505.01 oil is acceptible in the new TDI, and using anything else could void your warranty! Motul and Elf both have 505.01 oil available on the internet; or you can buy the Castrol 505.01 oil from your VW dealer, but at a higher price. Check out for more information, including how-to videos for DIY maintenance, etc.
  • pusterracingpusterracing Posts: 186
    "What kind of mileage are you getting with the manual? "

    I have an 04 GLS TDI 5SPD Sedan and I average 44mpg in mixed driving. My lowest has been 41MPG in 100% city driving and my highest has been 52MPG in 100% hwy driving. I don't drive to conserve fuel..I just drive "normal"...sometimes I am quite agressive with the accelerator, but not all the time. BTW I paid $21,400 for mine with leather..only options I don't have is the CD-Changer (trunk mount) and Auto Tranny.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,825
    Sorry for the late answer, out and about for a few days on the CA coast in Santa Barbara, CA. Yes, you have that correct but make sure, since you have a 2004 that you get either the Motul or the Castrol that meets the 505.01 VW specification also in 5w40.

    It is not really difficult to change oil the old traditional way. VW of course, wants to make it more difficult: 1. with the plastic pan underneath. 2. you ran into the three bolt plastic piece on the top, with plastic caps.

    I bought a Mity Vac evacuator, and changing oil after almost 5 decades is almost fun again. After the plastic top removal of 3 each 10 mm nuts,(use a 10 mm nut driver) you pull it off to expose the plastic top loaded cartridge oil filter top. You remove the dip stick and put the evacuator straw down app 33 in and pump the evacuator and remove the hot to warm oil. It might take you all of 3 mins!!! After you remove the plastic top loaded cartridge oil filter top, you can pull out the oil filter cartridge (use a plastic bag, as if you are picking up dog poop, and you can turn the bag in on itself for little to no messy drip all over your engine block) When the evacuator is finished (app 4-4.25 qts), pump it again once you put the straw into the oil filter cartridge holder and evacuate the oil in the deep holes and in the upper portion. Total oil change and rebutton takes app 10 min.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    I have a couple questions. What is the brand on the evacuator device? Do you think the 505.01 type oil is hype or real damage could be caused by using any other type oil? There are so many diverse opinions on which oil to use that it is very confusing.
  • oldboyoldboy Posts: 59
    I know you were asking Ruking1, but let me put in a word, Gary. It is indeed critical that owners of the 2004 PD TDI use only the 505.01 oil, as specified by VW. I've read something about the Pumpe Duse injectors having tight tolerances, subject to wear. VW developed the 505.01 oil specifically to meet this need, and they warn that using any other oil could void your warranty! It is a nuisance having to search for this oil, but necessary. I hear that Mobil and Shell have the correct oil available in Europe, but not here - yet. Meanwhile there is the Castrol oil, available only from VW dealers, and there is Motul, available on the internet. Best price I have seen for it lately is $27 for 5 liters. I don't think I'm allowed to give that seller here, but you can find it easily but searching Motul 505.01.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,825
    The one I got was the Mity Vac brand. There are many brands, such as the Pela. Mine happens to be a long cylinder and seems to evacuate faster than others have reported with the other brands. For me the Mity Vac stands in a corner with very little footprint. However, some folks will definitely like the compact app size of a basketball put in the trunk feature of, say like the Pela unit. They are app 15-50 dollars.

    For certain! Go with the warranty recommendations of VW spec 505.01. I would, if I were a 2004 PD TDI owner, i.e., Castrol and or Motul, 5w40.

    However, my own personal opinion before and after seeing the virgin oil analysis of the VW 505.01 oils such as Castrol and Motul is that it is primarily formulated to make the emissions control portion last longer. If you compare the three oils side by side; (Mobil One Truck and SUV aka) Delvac One (this is a CI-4 specification), Castrol, Motul, the Delvac One seems to have more of the elements of additive package than the Castrol and Motul. I also realize that my own personal opinion is a bit like cursing in church, But truly I am not interested in starting any controversy.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    Thank you both for the explanation. I doubt I would take a chance for $27 an oil change. I will look at the mity vac. sounds like a cleaner way to change oil. There was so much difference of opinion on oil for my Kubota tractor, I just wondered if this was the same deal.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,825
    Actually the oil discussion can get almost to the bizarre! VW (I am certain you have probably read the owners manual and/or technical data) basically adds "fuel to the fire" in regards to oil and oil viscosity!

    For the 2004 PD they are almost skitzoid! I have heard more than a few horror stories of VW DEALERS NOT putting in VW 505.01, despite the dire warnings to the contrary. VW dealers of course would be the warranty agent in case of fulfillment on engine warranty!

    Again it is important to use the 5w40 oils, again with the proper specifications. I also know that VW 505.01 is "backward compatible" with the 505.00 VW specification, i.e., I can use 505.01 in my 505.00 specified 2003 TDI.

    The TDI's also are not up to full PSI till around 60,000 miles. So in a manner of speaking my 33k TDI is still "breaking in" I use the Delvac One 5w40 in light of the long term goal to keep this thing running 500k - 1M miles.

    I really think it is only a matter of time before Mobil will get certified for the VW 505.01 specification in the USA. (some of the Mobil brands in Euro are already certified) But truly, I could be wrong.
  • oldboyoldboy Posts: 59
    Exactly! I would not trust any quick-lube place, or even some VW dealers, to do an oil change. Even if the dealer knows enough to use the correct oil, the kid he hires to do the work may not know, or not care. I even heard recently of some kid at a VW dealer pumping GAS into a diesel fuel tank! Until the diesels become more common, it's better to do your own maintenance in my opinion.
  • transfxtransfx Posts: 2
    The 04/05 Passat diesel with 5spd tiptronic has a problem in that it shudders at low in town speeds. It is much like driving a manual car too slow in to high a gear. Has anyone noticed this problem with the Jetta tiptronic auto?? Note consumer reports also noticed this problem with the passat diesel
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    I have not bought a Jetta TDI. I am thinking about it for our place in Hawaii. They are popular over there and more plentiful than CA. If you were buying a used TDI what is the oldest you would consider? This question is for anyone with an opinion. It sounds like I should keep my coveralls and do my own maintenance. I have gotten lazy in my older age (61). I usually watch and have caught inexperienced mechanics making big mistakes.
  • oldboyoldboy Posts: 59
    I did not reply right away, Gary, because I thought someone more knowledgeable might offer an opinion. Fact is I do not have a TDI yet myself, but I have read up on them. Personally I plan to wait until we get ULSD fuel in 2006. If you do get a 2003 or earlier Jetta, you should have no trouble finding oil, as the Mobil 1 or Delvac 1 5w-40 (which meets 505.00) is readily available. You could probably trust your VW dealer to do oil changes with the older models too, if you don't care to do it yourself. It is only the 2004 with its need for the rarer 505.01 spec. that would make me cautious.
    Another consideration with an older TDI is that you must replace the timing belt every 60,000 miles, whereas the new TDI can go 100,000 miles before this is needed. If you don't do this, and the timing belt breaks, it will likely destroy your diesel engine! So if you get an older TDI with about 60,000 miles, find out if the timing belt has been replaced. If not, get it done right away. Good luck!
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    The real issue is the only dealer on the Big Island is in Kona on the other side. I have talked to them and they sell about 50% diesel vehicles because of the high cost of unleaded. I would assume they would be qualified to maintain. I would hate to have a lot of warranty issues and be going back and forth. I may just buy a diesel truck. They don't have ULSD over there yet from what I have read.
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