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Volkswagen Jetta Maintenance and Repair



  • My manager owns a 99' Jetta (old body style) with the 2.0 engine. At 96K miles she had her cat replaced. She got a good deal on it buy purchasing it from and had it installed at Midas. I would definitely do the same thing if I were you. I think all together, labor and parts, she spent only $200.00.

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    QUESTION: What are the symptoms of a bad catylitic converter ?

    Does it have a hole in it and is leaking?
    Is it failing some kind of exhaust sniffer test?

    The reason I am curious is because I have many vehicles (mostly VWs) travel over 130K miles with no issues with the cat converter. Everyting else in the exhaust was replaced many times... but the original Cat was never replaced.
  • I need a cheap, but reliable car for school. I have an '01 Audi A4 now, but I need to sell that:(
    I drove the above mentioned Jetta today, but noticed two things:
    1. CV-Joints (both sides I think) are in rough shape, and;
    2. Gearshift is mushy...doesn't give me that feel-good engage if you know what I mean. Is it a clutch issue?
    The dealership wants $2500 for it (137K) I'm wondering what to expect for repair costs - Any experience here?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (fitzinlee) I base the below coments on the assumption you are looking for the LEAST EXPENSIVE transportaion. (while still maintaing some reliability.)

    Many years experience tells me that it is not worth the labor to replace just A CV joint or two... the others have the same milage on them and will fail soon. It is a better finantial decesion to just replace each driveshaft. A quick search for driveshafts on the web tells me that they are around $220 each side.

    If you choose to have a CV joint replaced... you will pay less for parts but MUCH MORE for labor. It is far easier for a mechanic to just bolt in a fresh driveshaft. Your money is going into PARTS YOU WILL USE instead of the mechanics pocket.

    As for the shifting... there is no way to tell how the clutch was treated in its previous life. Personally, I would either leave it alone or select another vehicle.

    You may be able to get the shifting feel you expect by having the shift linkage adjusted. There are some plastic "shims" that tend to wear out and for $20 can do wonders to the shifting feel.

    I hope this helps you out...
  • The first sign of a bad cat on her Jetta was the MIL (malfunction indicator lamp). The other was a nasty rattle when going over the slightest bump or pothole. Basically, the insides of the kitty were coming apart and rattling around inside the housing, not doing their job (obviously).

    If you have a MIL, get it checked out. It will throw codes indicating that the cat is bad.

  • Please help me, if you can:

    I've noticed, very recently, that my car is using gas at a much higher rate than it used to. Normally I could get 28-30 mpg. Now I am looking at 24-27. I drive about 50% highway and 50% city. My commute is 7.7 miles one way.

    The only difference would be that I spend time letting the car idle and warm up now that the weather is so cold. But I can't imagine the minute or so I spend warming up the car (just enough to get the tachometer to drop below 1000) would cause such a drop in fuel efficiency.

    Has anyone else experienced this?

    What could be the cause?

    I looked under the hood to see if a hose burst but I saw no sign of leaking. I doubt it is a leak in the fuel tank since I would be leaving fuel puddles. All the fluids are fine otherwise. Oil consumption is negligible/normal. The car is not making any noises at all to hint to some problem. If I wasn't monitoring my fuel economy I would never know there was a problem.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,555
    First of all fuel consumption goes up during cold weather, all things being equal. Second the proper way is to turn on the engine and go. If you let the engine idle for a min or two, not a big deal, but if you do it 7 days a week, pretty soon you are talking about 15 mins of idle time.
  • The winter habits are of course the key. My commute with the same engine and tranny in winter only drop about 1.5 mpg's at the most. My commute is 15 miles 75% hwy and 25% city.
    It is not good practice to start a car with fuel injection and let sit and idle only to warm up. It is bad in the long run for the motor. Carburetor equipped engines of the academic times are a different story. Your 7-8 mile commute factors into the lower mileage as the car still has just finished warming up when you get to work and shut it down.
    Most new car owner's manuals recommend to start car and drive easily until warmed up. Open your owners book to see.
  • I had little luck with my Jetta, since 2002 I had the following problems:
    1. Cognition coil recall
    2. Automatic windows malfunction recall
    3. Water leak from the release lever for engine hood
    4. Engine coolant light on due to circuit problem
    5. MIL light on for no specific reason and
    6. Fuel gauge goes to half-way after up/down hill and resume usual position only after 10-20 minutes even with tank full
    7. Selector lever display will be all highlighted and can't switch gears unless restarting the car

    I wondered if anyone has encountered problem #7 and found any reason behind this malfunction. The dealer can't find anything so far.

    I used to like my car but now I am a little scared driving it, especially I commute 60 miles everyday on the highway. I wondered if I should exchange for another car if 2002 Jetta 1.8T are really of bad quality.
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    I have a 2002 Jetta with the 2.0 (Manual) and have experienced 0 mechanical problems. Besides oil consumption issues (which have been resolved)the 2.0 is a good solid engine. The 1.8 had the coil problems and the infamous window regulator problems.
  • ruking and Ronnie,

    Thanks for your advice. However, I am well aware of the owner's manual stating that the engine does not need to be warmed up. I don't think that applies to winter driving. I just called my dealership and they told me to let my car warm up first. I don't know anyone who does not let their fuel injected car warm up first since high (a relative term) rpms could cause a lot of problems with cold pistons. In fact, everyone I know, all of my neighbors, friends, co-workers, all let their car warm up first.

    Since both of you live in states that are south of me, I think you experience milder winters. I live in central New England and the last two winters have been brutal. I just can't imagine not warming up the car in that kind of weather. I think I would cause more damage if I didn't let it warm up.

    I don't know anyone who owns a car with a carborator. I think they are all fuel injected. I have never heard of idling being bad for the engine, but I'm sure it isn't great for the environment.

    The one thought that comes to mind is that the gas stations have switched to a winter mixture in the gasoline. That may be making the car less efficient. Does anyone know?
  • Hi all - I am a one-time 1990 VW Fox owner thinking about buying either a 2001 5 sp manual Jetta (leather, sunroof, 45k miles, $13500) or maybe leasing a new Jetta.

    However, I have heard a few Jetta horror stories lately, as in dozens of expensive repairs.

    I love the way VWs drive, but not enough to endure so many mechanical problems.

    Any advice?
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,555
    Well yes, the winter mixture is an oxygenated gas (ethanol). Just that fact alone can affect/effect up to a 20% decrease in mpg. So if you are used to ie 25 mpg a 5 mpg or 20 mpg is conceiveable. :(
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,555
    "Hi all - I am a one-time 1990 VW Fox owner thinking about buying either a 2001 5 sp manual Jetta (leather, sunroof, 45k miles, $13500) or maybe leasing a new Jetta.

    However, I have heard a few Jetta horror stories lately, as in dozens of expensive repairs.

    I love the way VWs drive, but not enough to endure so many mechanical problems.

    Any advice? "

    For the increased chances of getting a "problem child" stay with gasser VW. For less chances I would stick with a Japanese make like a Civic or Corolla. VW gasser engines have too many "problem children" that consume more oil than most.

    I have a TDI Jetta and in 10 mo and 23k miles, it has performed flawlessly. But in the worst case, I have done and am prepared to do most maintenance myself and after 50k warranty willing to swap parts as needed.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (pop18t) Whoever you spoke to at the dealership is WRONG! They work on mostly new vehicles under warantee. Anyone that has experience with HIGH MILAGE engines can tell immediatly how it was warmed up over its life. The inside of the "idled" engine is a mess.... the inside of engines that were treated with more care are generally NOT EVEN SEEN (because they do not break)

    Letting an engine idle (especially until it is fully up to operating temp) will contaminate the oil with gunk and eventually destroy the engine.

    As soon as the engine is running smoothly, DRIVE IT! Just be gentle.

    It is a FACT that most engine wear occours DURING WARMUP. It is then, obvious that the warmup time should be made as short as possible. Gentle driving warms up the engine significantly faster than idling it.

    You spoke of living in "Central New England" but I cannot find your locale in your profile. I have extensive experience with true cold weather driving. I wonder if you have ever experienced "square tires" from being soo cold/stiff that they have flat spots on them. How about power-steering that will not turn because of the cold? Sublimination from the windshield? Doors that will not close no matter how hard you slam them?

    If you are concerned about driving a cold engine, get an engine heater. All of my vehicles have them.
  • Thanks for the input. I never let the car warm up using the temp gauge. I just wait until the tach drops bellow 1000 rpm and then I go. It takes about a minute at most. What do you consider the point at which the engine is "running smoothly?"
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    How about: "Not coughing and sputtering trying to keep itself idling."

    Basically, starting process in sub-zero Farenheit weather is;

    *Turn key to 'run' and observe that self-tests pass.
    *Turn key to 'start' and pray that the battery has enough juice to crank engine.
    ...if engine starts....
    *After 10-30 seconds let clutch out slowly in neutral to "load" the engine with the gears spinning in the very thick transmission lube.
    * Continue to 'load' the engine by tuning on electrical items (lights, seats, rear defrost, heated mirrors.)
    *gently turn steering wheel left-right several inches to verify that power-steering fluid is thin enough to steer.
    *by now the engine has been idling for about a minute... go ahead and drive it gently. keep revs low and do not overload engine with quick accelleration.

    NOTE: Some folks unfortunately have an AUTOMATIC transmission. (Mostly North America has this affliction) If you are one of the 'unfortunates', you may hold the brake and place engine in DRIVE to load it gently for the first 50 seconds or so before starting to drive. This allows time for the automatic xmission fluid to start flowing thru the passages. On a VW, this also heats up the engine because the heat generated in the xmission is transferred to the engine antifreeze via a heat exchanger.
  • Hello all. In the next year I am looking to buy a 1999 or 2000 jetta (5sp/4 or 6). I am looking for testamonials. I am used to toyotas, and understand VW is NOT toyota, but I don't want a maint. nightmare. Perspectives? Thanks.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (whatisthegrass) I have owned at least 5 VWs over the years. Each had gone well over 120,000 miles before I moved to another vehicle. Currently, my wife and daughter each have one.

    If VW still sold a pickup truck in North America, I would not own a Dodge. (I REALLY LOVED my rabbitt-pickup)

    I never considerd any of my VWs a "maint. nightmare". They were maintained propely and things were fixed correctly when problems arised. (broken Muffler, brakes worn out, worn suspension parts...etc) Nothing that any other vehicle with over 100,000 miles may encounter.

    My daughters 1st car was an old Golf. She drove the wheels off that thing... and it never left her stranded. Now, being older, she just bought a 2001 Golf and LOVES it.

    I have been so impressed with purchasing USED VWs over the years, I bought my wife a NEW one last year. (only 13,000 miles thus far)
  • I own a 2002 VW Jetta GLS 2.0 4 cylinder automatic. The auto shift from 2dn to 3rd gear is very hard! all other gears shift easy (even when cold). When cold, it feels like the transmission drops (very hard shift) during the 2nd to 3rd gear shift. Any advice? Also, answer the question about how long to warm up and any special "tricks" to use when first starting the car and putting it in gear.
  • My mechanic and I are stumped about what's causing engine fumes to enter the main cab of our 1996 Jetta GLS (104k). The problem is quite severe especially after slow city driving or idling in traffic. We've replaced fuel pump and seals recently and are wary of spending good money after bad especially since we're considering stepping into a car that can better handle our one-year-old's car seat and an adult passenger or two.

    Any suggestions on likely steps to take to eliminate the foul odor of exhaust from the cab would be greatly appreciated as would ideas of cars or small SUVS best suited to a growing family.
  • I'll betcha' it's the catalytic converter.

  • Hello,
      I have a 99 jetta that I have a tremendous rattle coming from the catalytic converter. It seems like something inside came loose and is bouncing around inside. It is really horrible especially at idle. I thought it was something I had to live with, or spend a lot of money on a new one. A friend said it should be covered under the factory warranty. I have about 90k on the car now. Anyone think I could get this covered? Also, I haven't had the car in for service in quite a while. Any recommendation on what I should get serviced without spending a fortune? Any input would be appreciated. Thanks
  • ben222ben222 Posts: 11
    Suggestion: Just had installed a great Hella driving light kit (originally fog light but replace bulbs to make them driving lights) in my '02 Jetta. Completely wireless so it was an easy install. Here is the kit (shows a Golf but it is for the Jetta): - Product_Code=75018

    Question: I have a little of what appears to be black paint on my left taillight. I can't remove it with a razor. Any suggestions?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (ben222) Those foglights look pretty cool. I wish I could put them on my VW, but alas, the area where the passengers-side foglight mounts is the INTERCOOLER AIR INTAKE for the 1.8T and TDI engines.

    I assume you have a NA (Normally Asperated) engine that does not have an intercooler so this is not an issue for you.
  • ben222ben222 Posts: 11
    The smallest engine - the name escapes me. Not the TDI, VR6, 1.8T. Just the one with "nothing" on the rear end of the vehicle. (obviously I am new to engines). I assume the customization shop would have told me if there was a problem, but from your message it seems that I am ok. Thanks for the response.

    Any ideas about that paint on the taillight? ;-)
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    I think you are referencing the base GL or GLS with the 2.0 engine.
  • tonymrotonymro Posts: 7
    Are there any other good looking after-market foglamp kits that will work on a Jetta TDI without interfering with the air intake?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (tonymro) The only foglights I have come across are the euro-style that have the foglight in the headlight housing. They are commonly known as "E-code" headlight housing.

    This website sells Ecode lighting products; - ore.html&productID=14 gen

    Here is another one;

    These are not true E-codes lights but are simular
  • ben222ben222 Posts: 11
    I looked into this for my GLS 2.0 - all Jettas have the foglights built into the headlight, but only the GLX has the wiring to the dash. All other versions just have the foglight built in but it does nothing - they just don't want to make two kinds of headlights I guess. If you have something other than the GLX, doing the wiring is so tough that no one I could find would even consider it. This is why I went with the grill ones that I got.
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