1996 Volkswagen Jetta GL 2.0
Decent car from A-B, but constant piddly repairs
I purchased this car in September 2003 from an uncle who is a local car dealer. I had seen this car on his lot and my father and I were very impressed by the condition of this car and it had 121K, not necessarily a huge amount for a 7 year old car. And at a price of $2300 it was only about half of the bluebook value, so it seemed to be a good deal. For the first 6-7 months this car ran excellent with no problems. I then started noticing that it was having problems starting when wet and at times stalling out when going over puddles, wet ground, etc. After reading various responses I realized that these issues (among other ones below) are very common for VW Jettas in this time frame:
Ignition coils replaced TWICE--over $1200 for the two repairs (been about a year and a half since this was done, so hopefully fixed for good)
In addition to the ignition coil issues, had trouble starting the car. Not a battery or starter issue, ignition switch was replaced--over $300 for that.
Noticed rattling under the car and a new muffler was constructed--$380 but done by the best muffler place in my town.
The car had an antifreeze leak that I dealt with for months--this was about $200 but it has never been a problem since then.
Air bag clock spring was repaired--$475, would have probably let it go, but it would not have passed inspection.
Had to unclog the A/C drain which leaked condensation into passenger floor board and over heated the car at times, eventually the new radiator fan blew--nearly $800 in repairs.
Most recently, an oil leak occured. I know oil leaks can be difficult to find, but it took it to the third place to repair this, could have been a dangerous thing, but turned out OK.
Overall, repairs cost over $3600 and maintenance over $900 for brakes and tires/alignment.
In addition to that, power locks are done (not that that is necessary) and side panels have fell off, but have been adequately fixed.
As the running of the car it runs fine. The car does not consume a ton of gas and really does not burn oil either. Relatively comfortable inside the vehicle and a large trunk as well. For a 10 year old car with a black paint job that has stayed in good condition.
No major problems with engine, transmission, etc. so that's good.
Parts can be both expensive and non-expensive (like most cars) but labor can be quite expensive due to the tightness and lack of size under the hood.
For a car that gets you from point A to B with decent gas mileage go for it, but get ready to open your wallet for repairs.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 3rd November, 2006
7th Nov 2006, 14:18
I have no sympathy for someone who buys a used car with over 100,000 miles on it and complains about expensive car repairs. You should have known better by purchasing a used VW with that kind of mileage on it. There was a reason why that car was on your uncles used car lot to begin with.
Sorry, but you got what you paid for.
3rd Dec 2006, 19:32
I have sympathy for him, but at the same time unless you like unique stylish cars and also like to work on them buy a Honda or Toyota. I bought a Jetta, but knew what I was getting into and have my reliable 320k accord as a boring backup.
28th Dec 2006, 05:21
I think the writer is posting his experience as a caveat to anyone buying a similar vehicle, he wasn't whining. To take the patrician tone the first responder did is unnecessary. I have the same vehicle with similar mileage, it ran well for about six months. Had I known, when I purchased the Jetta, that these problems were common, I would have bought something else. Having had bad experiences now with a brand new New Beetle as well, and having the benefit of warnings like this one posted, I will never buy VW's again. They are great cars until the relatively short warranty ends and they ARE difficult and expensive to repair. Currently I am weighing the value of repairing the Jetta vs. the seemingly endless car payments with a better car. Since small cars are getting top dollar, the value of a Toyota or Honda may not be as great any more.
3rd Mar 2007, 16:41
You are paying way too much for what you just described. I just saw one at $4,200 (Canadian). I was thinking of buying it, but I had to check some reviews about this car.