2002 Volkswagen Jetta GLS


Friends don't let friends drive Volkswagens


Wow - I am glad to see I am not alone! My 2002 VW Jetta has been pretty much nothing but one little or moderate problem after the other since the day I bought it new in 2002. In addition to being just pure bad luck (rear ended twice the first month I owned it), there have been mysterious electrical and random problems with this vehicle through the years. Here goes, in chronological order...

1) Transmission "sticks" between what feels like 2nd and 3rd gear - in the first 2 weeks of owning the car, I brought it back to the dealer to let them know that the gear seemed to "catch" when trying to accelerate. At one point, on a highway on ramp, the gear would not shift, causing the engine to rev into the redline. As with most of the problems I've read from all of you, of course they could not reproduce this problem at the dealer.

2) If the car has been parked, ignition off, >1 hour, when I start the car, foot on brake, slide it into drive, then slowly remove my foot off of the brake, the car JERKS forward, making me look like a fool who didn't pass my driver's ed class 20 years ago. This has happened at least once a week since the first week of owning the car. They can never reproduce this problem, either.

3) Engine light goes on and stays on. Had this evaluated at Advanced Auto, and they recommended changing oxygen sensor based on the computer "codes" they were given. Changed O2 sensor, engine light goes right back on 3 days later. Brought to dealer, they said it was never the O2 sensor, but was instead some part that was recalled and under warranty (sorry, can't remember part name, only know that I wasted money on the perfectly fine O2 sensor)

4) Notice that the door handles are peeling. Also notice that the same thing is happening to the cup holder facade - by the way, how many of you enjoy where the cup holders are 'conveniently' located in the 2002 Jetta? Right smack in front of the radio display. Smart thinking.

5) Headlights continue to worsen gradually through the years - look around at the Jettas you see on the road - most have yellowed, scratched, old, beat-up looking headlights. I don't know what material they use, but it's horrible. I replaced the headlights with OEM certified after-market lights 4 weeks ago - the lights pointed straight down at the ground in front of the car. Replaced these lights again (more money), and it's certainly better, but not as it should be. Oh, and the left blinker is on the fritz.

6) Radio fine one minute last week, dead the next. When I read the last few entries here, I went out to the car a few minutes ago, replaced fuse #42, and viola! You are all geniuses! I think its humorous (scandalous?) that the dealer tried to tell one of us to replace the entire radio. I am so grateful for your help so I didn't have to listen to that bologna myself!

7) I forgot to put this way up at the top - the passenger window fell down the first year (replaced under warranty) - and the knob to adjust the seat tilt on the driver's seat fell off in the first few months. They have never figured out how to get that darn thing to stay in place. It has lived on the floor in the back seat for years.

I am thoroughly disappointed with Volkswagen, and vow never to buy another cheaply-made car from this company. I am vocal about all of these problems to anyone that even hints about buying a VW. Sure, they're fun, sporty, have lots of added bonuses that other cars might charge for in their package, but who cares when all the little bonuses are heavily outweighed by these annoying problems? I should have bought a Honda...

Thank you to everyone for helping each other out! And remember, friends don't let friends drive VWs.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 9th September, 2008

10th Jun 2009, 20:54

I have had the same issue with my 2002 1.8T Automatic Jetta. This week, when coming up to speed onto the highway, between 2nd and 3rd gear, the engine did not shift. It redlined and the computer bumped it into neutral. This has happened 2 times in one day. Anyone have an idea of what the issue could possibly be?

2002 Volkswagen Jetta GLX 24 Valve


I will never own another VW product


Both front windows have fallen down inside the doors. The lift arm assembly was "improved" to be cheaper by the Tier-One supplier to VW by changing the metal clips to plastic. On a hot day in Arizona, you can literally hear windows fall into the doors on VW car lots. This was fixed free of charge.

The center arm rest assembly fell apart and VW issued a Technical Bulletin because they don't have recalls. This was fixed free of charge.

The automatic shifter knob split in two. VW said it was cosmetic and would not fix it although still in the warranty period.

The treble knob on the stereo split and fell off. I am not even going to try this one with VW.

The remote control will only work from 1 foot away from the door and not at all on the trunk despite new batteries.

The windshield wiper fluid dispensor on the driver's side keeps falling apart so I have to take the hood apart and reconnect the hoses and tubes every 3,000 miles.

The heated mirrors stopped working at 20,000 miles.

The transmission started to fail around 38,000 miles. The VW dealership checked this about every 10,000 miles and was never able to duplicate the problem until the car was out of warranty. Now they are willing to pay 10% towards a new transmission. The car would rev up between 3rd and 4th gear and slam into the next gear. Probably the oil accumulator, but it damaged the transmission so now I have to wait up to 30 seconds to get the reverse gear to engage.

The passenger side side-impact airbags deployed while my wife was driving down a flat road. VW said they had never seen anything like it before. They kept the car for 30 days and replaced the air bags, sensors, wiring harness, and air bag "brain". They then said that the sensor registered an impact and would have to be turned into our insurance company. Total cost, almost $4,000. If it was an impact, then why did they have to replace everything as if they had no idea why it went off. We decided option number 2 and filed a lawsuit against VW of North America. After 9 months of our car in their possession, they returned all payments made during that period for non-usage of the vehicle, paid attorney's fees, rental car fees, and inconvenience money. Dan Rather came on the CBS Sunday night news with a story about 114 VW's with exploding air bags. VW still contends it is not their fault.

The coil (s) had to be replaced about 95,000 miles.

The oxygen sensor had to be replaced about 98,000 miles.

The right front wheel speed sensor had to be replaced about 99,000 miles.

The spark plug wires and plugs had to be replaced about 104,000 miles.

The alternator workshop light and battery light are on right now and my brand new battery was drained in 20 minutes of driving.

General Comments:

When I got this car it drove like it was possessed. I outdrove the 3-Series BWM it test drove, as well as, the larger Passat. I have become so disappointed and broke due to this car, I can only pray that I can afford to fix the problems so I can dump it at Carmax.

On a side note, if you have to change a tire, keep a hammer or breaker bar in your trunk because the VW supplied 6 inch torque wrench isn't going to get the job done unless you jump on it with both feet.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 3rd August, 2008

26th Jan 2009, 18:00

Really, really sucks to be you... you gotta be doing something wrong man. I love VWs, have had several and I will admit that things like plastics, clips and small aesthetic items tend to fail or fall apart, but you either got a lemon here or you just don't know how to take care of your car dude.

I have never had a problem with any mechanical item on a VW.

BTW, for future reference, get a manual transmission... on ANY car. I don't trust automatic/tiptronic/steptronic crap and never will.