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Volkswagen Jetta Maintenance and Repair



  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Here is how CR itself puts it (April 2007 issue):

    If the only things that mattered to a
    car buyer were performance, comfort,
    and safety, Volkswagen would be at the
    top of the heap. Its Volkswagen and Audi
    models do well in handling, braking, and
    standard safety features. But few VWs
    have decent reliability.

    Conversly, if all that matters to you is reliability, then I guess Toyota is your best bet.

    I don't know about CR's use of the term "decent" there. I think it overstates the differences. I would have put it this way: most VWs have had below average reliability.

    We bought the new model Jetta in 2005. It had several very minor items that were taken care of at the same time that we had it in for the one recall that it has had. After that we had a couple more significant issues taken care of under warranty. This was during the first year.

    Since then, for the past 1.5 years, we have had no issues. We only have about 20,000 miles on it, though.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,436
    I think your's and Cosmo's post sum up app 99,000 miles of 2003 VW Jetta TDI experiences for me. I do own Toyota's and Honda's, past, present and concurrently, so I would invite folks to ask comparison questions if interested.

    Consumable items on the Toyota and Honda do WEAR (get consumed ) much faster than on the VW. For example I have received checks for so called faster wearing rotors and brake pads from Toyota. Some folks have reported normal change rates @18-20k miles. Mine where at 40-60k. On the VW Jetta for example, at 99,000 miles app half of the material in the brake pads are left.

    To date, I have had two VW TSB's: 1. brake light switch replacement (never malfunctioned but changed anyway) 2. rear door lock parts replaced, from plastic to steel parts (again, never malfunctioned but changed anyway)

    The goals for the VW Jetta is a min of 5 to a max of 10 timing belt/water pump changes @ 100,000 miles per timing belt/water pump change.

    The goal for the Civic is a min of 4 timing belt/water pump changes @ 105,000 miles per timing belt/water pump change.
  • cosmocosmo Posts: 203
    Consumer Reports describes its rating system as follows:

    "Models that score a (much worse than average) are not necessarily unreliable, but they have a higher problem rate than than the average model. Similarly, models that score a (much better than average) are not necessarily problem-free, but they had relatively few problems compared with other models.

    Because problem rates in some trouble spots are very low, we do not assign a (much worse than average) or (worse than average) unless the model's problem rate exceeds 3 percent. If a problem rate is below 2 percent, it will be assigned a (better than average). If a problem rate is below 1 percent, it will be assigned a (much better than average)."

    So, that implies Consumer Report considers a model with a 3% problem rate or better as "decent". Seems to me that a model that is only average is still a good risk. We're not talking about the reliability of 1960's British or Italian sport cars here.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,436
    I think the whole statistical model/s is/are misunderstood.

    The rates, whatever they are or purport to measure, are really statistical CHANCES of getting the so called -(old maid- the card game.). To me it is important what each dealer/oem warranty/logistic supply system will do to rectify the problem at so called no to reasonable costs.

    So as it applies to TDI's and VW's (since we are on a specific VW thread) the dealers and oem/warranty/logistics system has notoriously taken the position/s its the customers fault/problem. So from a customer service point of view, they need to shape this portion up ENORMOUSLY. So if you do happen to have a good VW dealer, count yourself lucky!

    So for those who do not wish to understand a vehicle, or do not have access to so called "guru's" I would say; stay away from VW's. For those who can see the problems, opportunities, can and want to use independent shops, can hook up with guru types, the VW is truly a hoot in almost every sense!

    There is NO doubt in my mind that if you get one of the majority of the so called "good ones", that one will be very satified. So in my case, there is no doubt in my mind that 500,0000 to 1,000,000 miles (baring a crash) is do able. This of course is NOT a characteristic of a poorly made car!
  • ruking1 puts it very well
    "So for those who do not wish to understand a vehicle, or do not have access to so called "guru's" I would say stay away from VW's. For those who can see the problems, opportunities,can and want to use independent shops, can hook up with guru types, it is truly a hoot in almost every sense!"

    There is a risk in buying any car. My wife has had two VWs a 1986 Golf made in Germany, and a 1997 Jetta made in Mexico. Reliability was/is never a question. I won't be purchasing another VW anytime soon because I don't have the time to devote to a car anymore like I used to, and I haven't found an import mechanic yet to help fix/diagnose the major things. Both VW dealership service departments I have dealt with were beyond reproach and VWOA only came through and helped me one time.
  • raytxraytx Posts: 1
    I just bought my Jetta w/ 10k miles on it. Loving it so far. Do I need a special oil (Mobil 1) and special oil filters? I've been told that is the case by a friend who has a 1.8T, but he's very, very picky. Thanks.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,436
    Yes, it is important to read your SPECIFIC year's (06) oem owner's manual with special emphasis on the oil specifications for the ACTUAL engine YOU have. VW specifications can be (and are) all over the place, but the lastest one is VW 507.00. Use the specified oil that meets OR exceeds your specific specification.

    I would use oil filters either oem ( and usually oem'd by) or Mahle, Mann. They are manufactured to VERY stringent specifications, among them, being able to endure a (normal) 30,000 mile OCI!

    So for example, while I use Mobil One Truck & SUV 5w40 aka Delvac One 5w40 (2003 TDI)for app 95,000 miles/100,000 miles, it does NOT meet the VW 501.00 (for TDI of that YEAR)!!?? HOWEVER, it EXCEEDS that specification with the CF4 specification! So depending on year/s and engine models, I would not necessarily recommend either. Indeed, given the specific specifications, I would not recommend Mobil or Delvac at all!!!

    So on the come side of your 06 VW 2.0 engine meeting the VW 507.00 specification, some good oils are the ELF, (certain Mobil One EP)Motul and of course certain Castrol's (available usually at your VW dealer.) VW oem BRAND is also usually available, also at your dealer.
  • Here is the run down:
    2002 Jetta-VR6-TipTronic-"Hecho en Mexico"

    Car will not start unless jumped. Not completely dead (like an alternator problem) but just the signs of a dead battery (clicking). Once jumped, is fine, until it sits overnight.
    Had the battery replaced twice within the past 2 months (DieHard-International).
    Alternator checked fine (had it replaced about 6 months ago w/a refurbished one).

    Took to dealership three times and they had it for a total of about two weeks. The first time, they found a major draw from the radio. They disconnected the radio but the same issue. Took it back twice since then. Checked newest battery, fine. Checked alternator, fine. The last time they stated that there was a half amp draw but could not isolate where it was coming from. They also stated it sat for two days (w/ doors unlocked & windows down) then cranked fine on the third. Took it home, cranked it the next morning and no go. They asked me to not jump it and have it towed to them so they could better isolate the draw. Not too confident they can/will find it.

    Any suggestions?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    You may have "heard" some things.... but your statements contridict themselves.

    Yes VWs have been ASSEMBLED in Mexico for many years.... but the components which you suggest are troublesome are NOT built in Mexico. (Engine, xmission...etc)

    Dont take my word for it... READ the window-stickers. By Federal law, they must list the "country of origin" for all components.
    (Copy of windowSticker is found under carpeting in trunk)

    The REAL problem with VWs is that there are not many mechanics which know how to troubleshoot and work on them. Many mechanics take a small problem end up making matters worse.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    YES YES YES the 2.0 turbo REQUIRES synthetic oil and premium fuel.

    This is not being "picky"... this is the nature of a turbocharged engine.

    The Synthetic oil is the only kind that can stand up to the rigors of hot turbocharger bearings. Premium fuel is required because of the high combustion pressures induced by the turbocharger.... lest you may get holes in the pistons due to pre-ignition.

    May I suggest you actually READ your owners manual several times cover-to-cover. You may discover a lot of things you did not know about your VW.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    You asked for suggestions... find somone who can read schematic diagrams and use an ammeter.

    The problem you describe is not difficult to isolate... but it does require some knowledge of electron-flow. (aka electricity)

    BTW: Are you aware that VW has had 2 recalls for brake-light swithces because they would get stuck "on" and the brake-lights would drain the battery while vehcile is parked? (I would like to think that your dealership has already ruled this out as your specific problem)
  • Thank you for so much response to my question.. It sounds like the biggest problem is finding a dealer or mechanic that knows the car and what it takes to fix it. I was told by one of the dealerships in my area (ok, so it was by the sales dept) that they have some crazy number of "master mechanics". I don't remember the exact number, but it seems like it was 6 or 7... They said that most dealerships are lucky to have 1 or 2. Maybe that will make some sort of difference from the service standpoint. I really think that I am still leaning towards the '08 TDI. Of course, with the new blue tec type engine, maybe there will be some "new" bugs that will need to be worked out....
    Hmmmmm. :confuse:
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Were you aware that VW "demonstrated" the new 2008 TDI enigne reciently at a TDIFest? Everyone was AMAZED how quiet it was. It was almost silent. (and it has somthing like 180 HP!!!!)

    My 2003 TDI is rated at 90HP... but I really love the 800+ miles per tank of fuel. (about 55MPG)

    I just changed oil/filter/fuelfilter/airfilter this evening. It took me about 1/2 hour to perform this 80K mile service.

    When my TDI ever needs replaced (at over 200K miles) I am looking forward to the new diesel engine technologies which will be available then.
  • I really appreciate your kind words. I am back to feeling more confident in my choice. I even thought about waiting til the TDI was out for a while to see what probs they will have with the new blue tec stuff, but my current lease is up in april, so I have to go for it. :shades:
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    The REAL problem with VWs is that there are not many mechanics which know how to troubleshoot and work on them. Many mechanics take a small problem end up making matters worse.

    I think there is some truth to that. I don't think VWs have this poor reliability reputation in Europe, where they are much more common.
  • I want to thank everyone for your replies and your help! I found out the problem! And since im an idiot i didnt realize that there was something stuck in the latch of the trunk which enabled the "chirping". Im dumb. I know someone had said that you have to hit the lock on the keyfob once in order for the alarm to chirp, well i double checked, mine you have to hit twice... maybe my car special, idk. Thanks everyone though!!!
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,436
    We have scratched the surface of the true reasonings. American place a premium on so called reliability (no break downs). However when you factor in that really means 100,000 miles or less, it can be an artificially low or high index or expectation. Things tend to need repair replace above 100,000 miles. So for example, when Honda or Toyota lays claim to being the reliability leader (presumably over VW) they qualify it, excluding so called consumables. Since I run both side by side, CURIOUSLY the consumables on the Honda and Toyota wear FASTER than the consumables on the VW!! They are also curiously MORE costly in addition to wearing faster. So the upshot is Europeans keep their autos FAR longer than Americans, as all aspects of car ownership are much more costly; starting with fuel at 6-8 per gal US vs our "high" cost here of 3 per gal. Maintenance and repair are more rigorously done as the yearly inspections mandate that. We Americans tend to ignore things untill they dont work.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Thank you RUKING!

    Some folks tend to get mixed up between the terms QUALITY and RELIABILITY. These are not the same metric.

    Having owned VWs and Asian vehicles over the years and doing my own maintenance on all of them. I can say without hesitation that VWs are higher QUALITY throughout. Historically, the materials, design and maintainability tend to be outstanding on most German vehicles. This may not be what many people consider the most "RELIABLE".

    Aisan vehicles generally are designed to be pretty much ignored. This is a good thing because common maintaince tasks can be challanging. (Changing the oilfilter on my Honda required a contortionist wearing a burn-proof protective suit)

    The makers of Asian vehicles are MASTERS at hiding the truth about their reliability issues. (Honda with their headgasket and transmission problems -- Toyota with their total-engine-failure issues) They do this with an EXCEPTIONAL dealer network that instanly fixes all problems without question... making for happy customers who felt they were treated right.

    VWs -on the other hand- seems to have not figured out that trick. They still tell people that they should have changed their oil...instead of just replacing the boneheads engine.

    Perception goes a long way... I find it amusing that some people suggest VW QUALITY is a problem when in fact, it may be the LEAST of their problems. (Fixing the PERCEPTION of poor quality is not as easy as just having good quality)

    As RUKING suggests... many components on VWs are designed to last a LONG time. This is due to superiour design and quality material.

    None of my 7 VWs ever EVER had an engine problem.... my Honda needed 2 headgaskets within 9 years. (Hondas are KNOWN to have this issue.)

    I would prefer to replace an occasional sensor on my VW than to have the engine lose all its antifreeze on the highway like a Honda.... To me, engine failure like this is a more significant problem.

    Sensor = $14
    Head gasket replacment = >$500
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,436
    It does not even have anything to do with the VW topic. On a local (station) but syndicated (national) business show, I heard a business report where one reporter said there is more money in a GM car FOR healthcare, than there is for the cost of STEEL in the vehicle!!! And we truly wonder why the American car industries are having the issues they are having. To boot, I also know that "Asian" vehicles, again such as Toyota and Honda are made from scrapped recycled steel from America. :( :)

    A real nexus is the VW body is made of galvanized steel. The rust through warranty is at 12 years while the "Asian" (many if not most are made in NO America) have app 3 years.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Speaking of the steel which is used...

    I know a guy who had a VW Golf ... all the horizontal surfaces had a slight "rippling" under the paint. It could only be seen if the light hit the surface just right.

    When I asked him about this, he said his car was in a parking lot which was pumeled by hailstones. He went on to say that most of the Asian makes which were parked in the same lot were considered TOTALED by the insurance companies.... while his VW only needed some paint. (As I recall, he said a Volvo was undamaged)

    Again... most folks do not realize VW has a 12-year/Unlimited milage corrosion warantee. No Aisan make even comes close to this. Here in Vermont, it is VERY important that your car does not rust into oblivian before it is paid for.

    Still more reflections on the QUALITY of the materials which VW uses.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    In refernce to your comment about the percentange of cost in an American-named vehicle which is paying for retired employees. Yup - that is correct.

    The Unions have grown so large, they have taken on a life of their own and are sucking the very life out of the huge corperations which sustain them. Experts are predicting that unless somthing changes... the Unions may end end up killing off at least one of the 'big 3' automakers. (I assume you know that Damler-Benz unloaded Dodge/Chrysler like a hot-potato because of this)

    In related news - VW is purputed to be considering a plant in North America. They have already said in no uncertain terms that they will NOT be using any Union labor. (Like what almost swallowed Toyota when they 1st came to NA.)
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,436
    ..."Still more reflections on the QUALITY of the materials which VW uses"...

    The engineering process can extend to the maintenance and repair also.

    Here are 2.5 examples:

    1. VW recommended/specified G12 antifreeze/coolant (unless there are internally/externally induced problems) is a LIFETIME coolant vs the various type recommend for many other vehicles.

    2. VW (to be fair, among others) started out with 10,000 mile OCI recommendations. The latest standard (VW 507.00) is the so called "extended" "long" life, and we are now talking of up to 30,000 mile OCI's.

    .5. are the topside oil evacuation capability, another is the so called topside CARTRIDGE oil filter replacement. While I have never done, this you can literally do a road side rest stop, oil and filter change with the MINIMUM of tools in app 5/10 min.

    This for me is EASY to contrast with almost any other vehicle I have or have had:

    1. recommended 30,000 mile coolant change

    2. 3,000 to 5,000 OCI recommendation (filter also)

    .5. Almost all vehicles need/ed to be jacked up for oil changes. Almost all oil filters have to be accessed from under the engine bay.
  • Hi.

    I had the MIL warning light come on this morning on my 2002 Jetta 1.8 Turbo. This warning light was solid. We came up with the code P0300. Our manual that came with the diagnostic checker is in French. Do you know what this particular code means?
  • My 2003 Jetta is in the shop for the 2nd time with the same problem: malfunction indicator light came on and fault was dx'd as P0501 for vehicle speed sensor. Per VW tech support, the transmission was taken apart and 3 internal speed sensors were replaced. After having my car back for 1 day the engine light came back on for the exact same fault. They had my car 10 days the first time around, diagnosing the problem and trying to fix it. They told me that VW sent the wrong size part and they had to re-order. It is covered under the power train warranty as it only has just over 40K miles. Has anyone had a similar experience and does anyone have any suggestions? The VW service dept. seems to be clueless, relying on VW tech support for guidance. Thank you.
  • Wow!! great info!! It seems as though there are many little details that I was not aware of about VW in general. I didn't know about the galvanized steel vs. what US and [non-permissible content removed] auto makers use. About the change in oil change requirements, is that for all vw's?? including the new tdi's? that would be sooo cool!!
    Again, thank you for all the great info!
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,436
    Yes, the new TDI's (PD or pump duse, especially) have some VERY specific requirements. If you have a PD TDI pay particular attention to the EXACT specifications, as even VW dealers have a (potentially destructive) habit of using the WRONG specification oil.

    But indeed if your specific owners' manual and more importantly specific engine specifications calls for the 507.00, that is the code or standard for up to 30,000 mile OCI's (long life, etc, etc.) The PD's as a rule are @ 10,000 miles OCI's.
  • omarhomarh Posts: 1
    Hello All,

    I've a VW Jetta 2000, about 2 weeks ago i found the warning light on the dashboard for the front brake pads switched on, i had my pads and the rotors changed but the light is still on, another thing is that in the same time sometimes the heat warning light also flashes while i'm sure that the temprature is ok!!, i believe that i have to replace a sensor or something, but is both problems are from the same cause or do i need 2 sensors? i really need help.
    Thanks alot.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    If you origianlly had front pads WITH sensor and they were replaced using pads WITHOUT sensor.... the "pigtail" from the old pad must be left plugged into the socket and the wires connected together. This will essentually "disable" the sensor circuit.(make the light on the dash go out)

    As for your temparture thing... the "engine temparature sensor" on the 2000 model year is KNOWN to fail. The "improved" replacemeht is a green-colored one. On the 2.0 engine, it is VERY easy to replace without even losing any anrifreeze.

    Cost of replacement (green) sensor including O-ring.... about $14. ( )

    I replaced "engine temparature sensor" on my daughters 2.0 engine at night with her holding a flashlight. (The only 'tricky' part is disconecting the connector.)
  • joker55joker55 Posts: 49
    is this only for TDIs or does it apply to any VW model? i have a 1999 2.0 Gas, and my sensor is blue, should i replace it or is that the correct color for my engine?

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    The green temparture sensor replaces ALL the engines which used the defective one. This includes TDI, 2.0L, 1.8T engines. (I am not certain - but I think the rectangular-connector sensor started use in the 2000 model year)

    I am not sure if your 1999 has the same engine which uses the green sensor. The shape on the electrical connector is different so there is no way to mix up the sensors. (If you read the link I provided above, it describes the shape of the connector. round -vs- rectangular)
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