2002 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8 20v turbo


Trouble, but Fun - a difficult balance


My ownership of this vehicle has been a litany of problems. Through research I have found that the issues I have experienced over the past two years are sadly common.


1) May 2002 -While driving to the Kentucky Derby the radio died - fuse fault that required a new radio.

2) September 2002 -After the radio was replaced it died again at the beach. During the same week the passenger window fell inside the door. Luckily the battery died due to something involving the radio problem, after which the radio miraculously worked again.

3) July 2003 - a strange thumping is emanating from the right front tire during deceleration, but the dealer can't replicate the problem. The coating on the interior door handles is peeling, and the dealer advises this is common. Handles are replaced.

4) November 2003 - Radio dies again and now the chrome ring around the gear shift knob is peeling. Dealer fixes the radio and states a fuse was not seated properly, but I am not sure that I believe them. During this trip the ignition coil was replace as per the national recall, and service personnel detected an ABS fault. ABS parts and shifter knob are on order.

5) Still November 2003 - Large spring came loose from beneath the driver's seat.

General Comments:

I cannot track all of the problems I have had, but on each occasion that the radio fails I suffer a dead battery if the car is not driven every 10-12 hours. The vehicle has failed to start on numerous occasions for no apparent reason. I wait a few minutes and try again and miraculously it works.

I think this list covers it. I have filed a complaint with the NHTSA vehicle defect office and contacted VW customer care. I am currently investigating the NC lemon laws. I have a friend in GA who suffered repeated activation of an engine fault light (9 times in 3 days) who was able to have his vehicle declared a lemon.

I love the car because it drives like a dream. I am a police officer and drive fast all the time and this little car is simply fun to drive. The problem is just that - the problems.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 29th November, 2003

7th Jan 2004, 12:59

This radio problem with the Volkswagen is familiar. How can such a small “luxury” cause so many problems! I own a 1998 VW Passat. Like you, I love driving it. It is a beautiful piece of engineering… except for these eccentric mysteries.

The battery died over a year ago. Unbeknownst to me, when the battery dies, the stereo will need to be reset. You will need to know the individual code that will reset your stereo. Since I bought the car used from a dealer, I was not given the reset code. My mechanic called VW in hopes of getting the code from them. They gave them a code and it did not work. I called the dealer from whom we bought the car, they did not have the code on file. I called VW of America, and they stated that since we bought the car used, the warranty on the stereo was not valid. I loved the stereo, it was great, it’s lighting matched the trippy blue lighting of the dash, the sound was great, the programming was easy (except for this mysterious unknown code) – the only thing I did not like was that the CD storage was in the trunk. The local VW dealer only offered the same set up of trunk CD storage and the price was 2 times what I could get for another brand product. So, I opted to put “after-market” stereo in my VW. VW dealer would not offer me a “deal” to replace stereo that was not broken, but could not reprogram. I thought, “no big deal”, I will get a nice system and get set-up I want and save over $200.00!

After that small problem, my trunk light did not work, my heater dash lights did not work… according to VW dealer… all this is due to “after market” installation of stereo. We got the trunk light fixed. No connection to stereo hook up. Heater dash lights still do not work.

Then mysterious sound from front wheel starts happening. Similar to your problem… taken to mechanic, sound does not happen. Sound occurs at slowing speed. Finally get it to mechanic when he can hear it. Says may or may not be front axle. Sound gets worse, we have front axle replaced. Big bucks. Sound disappears… but reappears at lower volume. Cannot figure it out – only occurs occasionally now. Drive is smooth, I give up worrying.

Now, today, I go to smog inspection station for certification. Inspector states that VW computer not conversing with smog computer because of “after-market” stereo system installation. I ask if we can just disconnect stereo. Inspector states that official VW directive is that we must take to VW dealer to remedy problem. I call VW dealer’s service department. Service representative is very unfriendly and tells me that I need to go to stereo installer and have them fix their problem.

So that is where I am today. Thought I would look up VW stereo problems on the net and see if there are similar problems before I contact VW customer care with complaint. By the way on www.volkswagen.com email contact for customer care is not connected. Go figure… The Fahrvergnügen is still there, but am getting disillusioned with response to problem solving.

2002 Volkswagen Jetta GL


Lemons wanted


My car is a lemon...2 automatic transmission replacements three months apart... numerous other problems as well. Car has under 19,000 km.

Looking into legal action. I am wanting to locate other VW lemon owners who live in Canada.

Please email lemonjetta@yahoo.ca.

Thank you.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 2nd November, 2003