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Volkswagen Jetta Maintenance and Repair

I am interested in purchasing a New VW Jetta but
people have told me that they are not a quality
made car. That is the question I ask you. Are VW
Jettas, or VW's in general poorly ame cars? The
reviews talk about performance, I want to know
about durability. Or if you know a place to look
for the information, please direct me there.

Thanks for your help,


  • First off, Motor Trend magazine just did published a survey in one of their recent issues (last month or two) on the Jetta.

    Now, my experience:
    Everyone I asked loved their Jetta and claimed no problems. I bought a '96 for my wife. The car is a great value, BUT, I did have some problems:
    The car has a great engine for this price class. Fairly peppy and really smooth and I have had no problems with the engine at all.
    I took the car in for three warranty repairs! It had the climate control fan burn out (and shoot smoke!), a window motor fail, and the sunroof motor fail. Each repair resulted in multiple visits (which really sucked) because they never have these parts in stock. This was a common complaint in Motor Trend's survey (lack of parts). Also Motor Trend reported that almost all of the owners had to go back in for one or more warranty repairs (ridiculous). My two Nissans have never been in for a warranty repair except my first had 8 year old seatbelts that were recalled and replaced.
    One niggly complaint I have is that the paint is soft and scratches easily. A plus to this is that minor scratches are more easily polished out.

    My wife loves her car and would buy another but I wouldn't because I'm the one who has to take care of all of the repairs while she ust takes my Nissan!
  • cp4cp4 Posts: 1
    Yellowboy sounds like he may be a Nissan Salesman!
  • justinjustin Posts: 1,918
    Let me say that I owned a 98 Nissan Altima - it was a joke! Although, a not very funny one. It was always in the shop. Drivetrain/tranny probs, window seal probs, sunroof drainage channel probs, brake issues, etc, etc. Kept it for one year, and traded, at much expense, for a 99 Jetta VR6. Had this car for 6 months - no probs at all except for one cosmetic flaw - the headliner was "growing" some sort of fungus! Replaced and no more probs. Love the VW - doors slam and the windows don't rattle like the Nissan. The sunroof only lets sun in - no rain, unlike the Nissan. The motor runs well at all speeds, and uses no more gas than the 4 cyl Nissan. NEVER AGAIN NISSAN! And people wonder why they are almost bankrupt. Rosenthal Nissan in Vienna VA was AWFUL and Nissan corp
    would not take the car back......even to replace with another one. I hope they do go bankrupt. Shotty products do not belong on the road - nobody should have to pay almost 20 grand and get that kind of hassle.
  • I have a Nissian Altima and am contemplating buying a VW. I have had my Nissian for about a year and I have to date spent $900 on repairs. I finally got fedup while 2 weeks ago I took it to the shop to have the spark plugs replaced, only to find out that it wasn't the sparks that needed replace, but the Intake Manifold Valve/gasket was the problem. Cost $1000. They have to break the header to get to it. I went to 3 mechanics, and each of the shook their heads and gently told me to get rid of it.

    Please tell me that VW's are better!
  • Had a 92 Corrado with the VR6 engine. Best car VW made. Had it since new. Would be driving it today except a Toyota 4 runner made an illegal left turn and I hit him at 45 mph. The car was totalled with 90k mi. No problems with the car and as for crash protection-- exceptional(no cabin intrusion).

    Would have bought another VW, but they don't make anything that compares to a Corrado. So I bought an Audi A4 2.8 quattro. Excellent car!!

    My advise is go for the Jetta with the VR6 engine(GLS) , then replace the springs/struts with Neuspeed & Bilstein for greatly improved handling.
    I thought the Jetta was grossly undertired and had too much body roll. I wish VW would make their cars handle like their other division--Audi.
  • ..are the big issue here. I bought my first Beetle off of the showroom floor back in 1972. I've owned 2 VW's since then. Great cars, but delaers NEVER have parts in stock. That was in I live in KC, and hate to think about parts availability here in Jerkwater, USA! The new Jetta's are excellent cars, but be sure to get the V6.
  • I came into this discussion looking for repair information on the Jetta (4 or 6 cylinder), and am still seeking more data, if it is out there. My experience with VW's (an '80 Rabbit, a '90 Fox and an '85 Jetta) has been that they are in the shop much more frequently than my '94 Nissan Altima, which now boasts 132,000 miles and has had NO problems other than normal wear & tear. The handling has been a great disappointment, however--it does not come close to any VW.

    Also, tonewheel & jwolff, please tell me why you think that the VR6 is a better bet than the GLS with manual transmission. I have felt that previous VW's were under-powered: is this the basic reason, or are there other considerations?
  • The VR6 is just a better engine. I think its worth the extra money to get a GLS with the 6 as opposed to the 4. I don't know why VW hasn't put the VR6 in their Cabrio-- grossly underpowered given the added wt over a Golf.

    I think there is more aftermarket stuff for the VR6 and they are better all around engines. If you live in the SW I would recommend putting an (New Dimensons ?sp)additional oil cooler on the VR6 b/c they tend to run hot and after the first oil change ie at 7500 mi change to a synthetic like Mobil one 15w50 or Castrol Synthetic 5w50.
  • looking for an aftermarket computer chip for the 1999 jetta 2.8 v6. wish the new jettas came with the 1.8 turbo like the passat. change the chip and you get an extra 50hp, but i donl like the passat as much as the jetta!!!!! anybody have any ideas???
  • I recently bought a Jetta 2000 VR6 automatic. When I start it up in the morning it shakes so hard my muffler sounds like it is going to fall off. The services department told me that all VR6's do this and many people have complained, but until VW, Inc. finds a solution there's nothing they can do. Also, I hear this annoying whining sound when I accelerate through 35 to 55 miles an hour. It's especially annoying when I maintain a speed of around 40 mph. If I take my foot off the accelerate the sound immediately stops.

    I drove a Honda for years and have never had such problems. Is this a German car problem?
  • mau1mau1 Posts: 1

    I read somewhere (I don't remember where) that sometime early in 2000, the Jetta would be available with the 1.8T engine just like the new beetle. Has anyone heard of this and If so would you have an idea of when?

    How would you compare this engine to the V6?
  • I have a 97 Passat with the same VR6 - a great engine. Have never had a problem. The only noise I get is that sweet whine at the heart of the torque curve.
    I also have a 97 Cabrio. The engine is standard 2.0 but we have an automatic transmission - it hasn't impressed me at all. The car doesn't need more engine, it's not all that agile anyway.
    One more thing on the VR6. It's got less horsepower than the new Audi 6 going into the Passat but it had more torque at the right speed ranges.
  • Hi, I read the 2000 GTI GLS will replace the 2.0 with the 1.8T sometime during 1Q00. One would hope the Jetta would offer the same. Previous experience with VR6 was great. Love the new GTI GLX but could do without pricey equipment in the package.
  • 19741974 Posts: 2
    My 1974 VW super beetle is about to bite the dust. Otherwise, I would never think of giving up the ghost. But to have to rent a car for a long-distance weekend is the end, or the beginning of the end, I can see.
    I love the looks of the Golf; My mechanic says don't buy Golf, not good car, made in Mexico, fall apart one year (he is from Korea). So, I want a car to last another 25 years. Yes, I am almost the original owner, minus 10,000 miles. It has 126,000.
    I like the looks of the Jetta next and am disappointed to see it too is made in Mexcio...meaning shoddy workmanship?
    I don't have tons of money. After I paid $3300 in 1975, how can I adjust to $15,000 plus? (well, yes, my salary is no longer $5100 a year.
    So, I have read Conumer Report which suggests Corolla (I have seen them but I really do not like the jelly bean-generic shapes. Everything else about it sounds great. I have yet to look at the Civic, Mazda Protege, and maybe the Subaru Impreza (all CR recommended). I have even considered the RAV4 but really am anti-SUV's.
    So, what do you say, gentlemen? I have read your comments w/ interest and truly am interested in beauty, longevity, style, and cost. Sounds like a good way to look for other things in my life, too.
    Please help this damsel not yet in distress in DC.
  • Don't think you'll get too much out of chipping a VR6. The best and least expensive is NEUSPEED which may be purchased through Greedspeed( on the web). It will set you back around $140.

    About the Peublo plant in Mexico. I doubt VW would spend millions $$$ to have quality control problems. The new Jettas are probably the tightest cars in their class. Let your butt decide. Drive as many cars in your price range as possible.
  • I am in the market for a new car and am considering the Jetta but have reservations about its reliability and longevity which is basically unproven in the new model. I had an Accord for 13 years and 220K miles with very few problems and little expense. I am confident it would have gone for 300K if I didn't have my accident.

    Does anyone have any opinions?
  • I have had my 97 Jetta for 2 1/2 years and it's been the most reliable car I've ever had. It has 55,000 miles and besides the regular maintenance, I've only had to take it in for a repair once and that was due to road debris. I'm currently looking to purchase a 99 or 2000 Jetta since I can't see myself in anything else.
  • hi, i wished the new jetta came with this engine, like the audi A4 and passat. its rated at 150 hp, but with a aftermarket chip, it pushes it up to 200hp and will blow the doors off the 2.8 V6 and without wearing out the engine. from the factory, the 1.8 turbo is only pushing around 7 psi of pressure, realy downgraded for a turbo, but with a new chip, its pushed up to 11-12 psi, where it should be. the 2.0 4 banger in the new jetts ok for grandma, and the 2.8V6 is nice, but too exspensive. as for if they are going to put it into the 2000 jetta, the salesmen at the dealerships say no, but i wouldnt believe them, they just want to sell whats on the lot, but i havent heard anything about it either, but if they do, ill be the first one in line to buy it!!!!!
    so if someone has heard anything else about it, i would like to know!!!!!!
  • I had a '82 Corolla and the engine blew at 4,000 miles due to shoddy installation of a Chapman lock by the dealer. They literally told me to get the car off their lot and did nothing for me. I even wrote to Mr. Toyota in Japan twice and he blew me off by saying he had no control over dealers' actions. I would recommend staying far away from Toyota. Anyway, the car is very tinny compared to the Jetta. I'm on my second one and am pleased so far.
  • Now I think I will not. I have a new 99 Mustang that has turned out to be a lemon. Nothing but Computer problems from a constant air/fuel mix ratio bungle to the keyless entry going dead. Sad for such an American icon of a car. Guess I'll look at the Honda Accord or Toyota Avalon.

    Thanks for the brief read of everyone elses' problems with the Jetta.
  • asfasf Posts: 4
    I owned a 1985 Jetta GL (purchased new). I just retired it last year with 225,000 miles. The transmission failed (lost 5th gear and reverse was going). The only significant repair problems encountered during it's 13 years of service were:
    1. Fuel pumps (both of them!)replaced at around 100k
    2. "Black box" choke (fifth injector) controller at around 120k
    3. Leaking windshield seal at around 180k

    Later in it's life it developed a hot start problem that was identical to what I encountered in my '77 Rabbit. The car started great when cold, but would have a problem when it was hot. There was a period of about 5 minutes after I would shut it off that it would start fine, or after about a half hour. But in between, it would start and immediately kill when put under load. If you could get the car to move, it would recover and operate normally. I learned to live with it and did not try to have it serviced for this problem.

    Fuel mileage was extremely predictable over the life of the vehicle, with 35 mpg in the peak of summer and 27 mpg in the dead of winter (in Minnesota). The car had the 1.8 liter gasoline engine.

    Overall, I was very happy with that Jetta.

    I am thinking about getting a new Jetta GLS. I have not been able to get much of a price here in the Minneapolis area. VW dealers are riding high right now and are not discounting very far from list price. I may have to wait a while until the frenzy dies down.

    Any comments on pricing and discounting?
  • You were concerned about the Jetta coming from Mexico. So was I; but I bought a '99 GLX (passion overcame caution) and it's a wonderful car. Came with ZERO defects, and after 1 year and 12,000 miles, I've had absolutely no problems.
    Consumer reports indicates that reliability of VW's have improved substantially.

    If you're from DC, suggest you check Autohaus Tischer on Rt. 198 in Laurel. It was an excellent dealer, and always stood behind the cars, even when vw was having lots of reliability problems. My repair guy (also Korean)in DC gave me the same warning. Maybe its a cultural thing.

    Anyway,VW has changed. Don't be scared off by a reputation it no longer deserves. The cars are terrific to drive. Just too expensive.
  • I put 195K miles on my '88 Ford Festiva. Loved that little car. #3 cylinder finally fried and didn't want to spend the $$ to fix it. Anyway, my husband and I bought our 2000 Jetta GLS VR6, 5-speed manual with leather in early August and it is just HOT. Of course, it is uncomparable to my Ford. But the Jetta...whatta car! Lots of spunk, really smooth quite drive, comfortable even on long rides, great space in the trunk. And I can say that the workmanship is absolutely outstanding!!! I've read the comments about Mexico, and I didn't know this until a few weeks after I made the purchase. I had a conversation with my salesman who told me that they have a 3-strikes you're out policy. There's so many people waiting in line to fill the jobs that they are very particular about their job performance. And I totally believe it. What really impressed me was the air vents (the way they close flush) and how all the lines are in perfect matching order and just heads over any piece of American-made junk I've seen. Quite impressive.

    Previous comment regarding shaking and whining noises......never happened here.

    PROBLEMS: 1) The liner under the power sunroof: the clips installed in the factory were defective and broke. Had to have them replaced a few weeks after buying the car. Service said they've had this complaint numerous times and that an updated part that they installed should fix the problem.
    2) Factory-installed sunroof air deflector (automatic mechanism) "sticks" and then lets go after going over a bump. Having that fixed in a couple weeks. Didn't start happening until after I had a air deflector put on.

    Other than that, our experience has been outstanding. For the price, this car has many, MANY features that undoubtedly would cost several thousand more dollars if placed inside a Honda or Audi. Great machine. Very happy.
  • I owned a 78 Rabbit and it was super reliable. Moved to '82 Quantum and it was troublesome.
    Three Toyota's later I've had NO problems - only std maint. I traded cars as family changed, not due to problems. Granted VWs handle & look better, but that's little consolation when you are stranded or spending many frustrating hours arguing with service depts.
    I WANT a 99 or 2K Passat, but after reading that post and the Jetta post, think I'll buy a Mazda!
  • Bought our 94 Jetta GLS new, now has 125,000 miles, gets 23-24 MPG (city) with automatic. Have had little trouble (compared to previous 79 Ford Fairmont Wgn 110K miles which always needed a starter, went through 5 and exhaust sys replaced 3 tail pipes, 4 mufflers and countless header/pipe donuts and '79 Ford E-150 van which needed engine rebuilt @89K due to head gasket leak allowing coolent into oil sys and LR axle/bearing replaced @75K. Both needed major overhauls way B4 100K) Back to the Jetta, repaired under warrentee: anti-squeak shims @14K, timing belt @55K, coolent connection into block (flange?) cracked @85K. As GLS had so much power windows, sun roof and central locking sys, we bought a GE extended warrentee through dealer which covered: central lock sys vacuum pump died @70K, driver side window regulator and cracked washer tank @87K, two little plastic guides thingees in sunroff at 90K, dash panel as back light holder died @98K. Out of MY pocket have replaced: battery $75 @90K, plugs (Platnum+4s) $24 @110k, transmission indicator lamp in dash $4 @105K, driverside lock cylender to central lock sys connector $23 @102K, timing and accs belts, strut tower bearings/alignment $675 @112K (dealers wash crew broke radio ant off $0), radio just now died @120K (will get another from junk yard for under $50), central lock sys vac pump sounds like its on last legs so have another item to look for at the junk yard!
    Will start looking for a new Jetta or Passet next year for wife/long trip car and keep the 94 for ME/around town car. NO car is perfect but this VW is _darned_ close! Glad I bought the GE extended warrentee to cover all the power features NOT covered by VW after 24K miles.
  • Wondering if anyone has, or knows someone with a 2k Jetta with the TDI. Am considering purchasing within the next month...
  • I just drove the Nissan 2000 SE and the 2000 VW Jetta GLX. Hands down to both cars. Both are extremely fast and have great engines. But my vote goes to the VW. It handles better, better matching of transmission w/engine, total German appeal and experience, and superior quality. I am now placing my 99 Accord EX for sale!
  • Just bought Jetta TDI GL
    I haven't had this much enjoyment
    in twenty years of driving.
    Great car, resposive and handles great!
    Looking forward to the next 200K miles.
  • I have a '91 Jetta GL and have loved it. But it's very basic and at 100K I'm ready for a new one. I drove both the Jetta V6 and the Passat (4 & 6 cyl) and am in a quandary. I loved the Jetta--what handling and a little rocket to boot. But the interior seems to have lost room compared with my '91. We're contemplating a family, so that's a factor in my choice. The Passat is much roomier, and the tiptronic auto/manual quite fun, but a lot less pizazz. Any comments on one or the other?
  • I like the whining, whistling sound between 25 and 40 MPH that it makes....I love the feel on my tookus...not a car built for heavy folks...bolsters pinch you people!!! :)
    The charcoal velour seats pick up TONS of lint though!!!
    Shopped around for a year, GLS VR6 automatic...whoo hoooo!!! Had a 95 Cavalier...BLEH...I hated it, it hated me!
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