2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.8T


Save your money, get a Honda/Acura. It's okay if you plan to buy again in 7 years


@ 30 miles & the 1st rain in Calif, I got in started the engine and I swear water dripped on my foot. I thought I was losing my mind & ignored it. I got 6 miles & the car stopped. Just cut off in the middle of the road. Luckily I wasn't on the freeway. Waited 10 minutes & drove back home, next day the car wouldn't start, the dealership (not the one purchased at) acted like it was no big deal, had my car back 5 days later. We're GREAT after that (figured it's a fluke, I got an AMAZING deal, and the car seemed great)

** important note: My dad's a BMW car salesman, so I service my car as the handbook says **

27k miles - (1) exterior rocker panel (silver stripe) comes off the front door (I thought it was vandalism)

30k miles - engine starts getting louder.

35k miles - interior center arm rest/storage plastic clip breaks.

37k miles - the entire center arm rest/storage cover falls off.

*** somewhere between here, the front passenger speaker goes out, and as it gets hot again, I start realizing the A/C isn't working. It's on, but only a very minor amount of cold air is coming out unless I turn it to 4, I got the filters changed, but still nothing. (didn't bother getting it fixed because it's rarely hot enough to need A/C).

40k miles - car starts sounding like a lawn mower; 2nd rocker panel flies off while on the freeway. (I thought someone hit me it was so loud)

43k miles - bring the car in for a 40k service & to find out what the noise is. I'm told by a fellow Jetta owner who works in the dealership as well as the service rep that it's "normal", Jettas tend to do that. All cars get louder over time & Jettas seem to be louder than others. Uggh, OK. The car seems to ride a little smoother after that service, even though its embarrassing if others are around during cold startup. (seriously, an old skool lawn mower)

47k miles - car overheats on the freeway. Hmm; I'm only 25 miles from home, but it's perfect because I take the car back to where I bought it. Take the car to the dealership ; thermostat went out, secondary air pump has a hole in it because IT'S PLASTIC AND NEXT TO THE ENGINE. Volkswagen is aware that this is a problem & as long as you're under 55k they'll replace it WITH ANOTHER PLASTIC PIECE for free. "So in 45k miles I'll be back?" "Yeah, pretty much. Maybe longer. They don't make these in metal unfortunately." Huh? "What about these rocker panels? I'm about to lose my 3rd one." "Yeah, those are notorious for coming off in areas with lots of rain. but we don't cover that & they're $100 a piece." "Huh?" Takes 5 days to repair my car, but it no longer sounds like a lawn mower.

54k miles - notice "leather interior" around the radio is badly worn. (why didn't they use black plastic like around the CD player & the rest of this silly car?

60k miles - trunk almost impossible to open. It's a workout. The what I think are hydraulic pumps that help you lift the 2 ton door have went out. Noticing the same thing is happening on the regular doors. VW emblem fell off the engine, is probably floating around in there somewhere.

** The coolant signal comes on during cold start whenever it's time for another major service??? **

General Comments:

Overall I enjoy the performance of the vehicle, it picks up well and can be fun to drive, it's a GAS GUZZLER if you accelerate too quickly (still not as bad as my Acura, although I'm wishing I would have gotten an Acura RSX instead).

Overall it looks good, but the plastic parts are ANNOYING.

I took the car to have the battery changed around 60k, because it's strapped down from the bottom; don't even try to change it unless you're a mechanic in the shop (I left the lights on. Booo. That was obviously a great battery) and the mechanic (a family friend) laughs at me and says, this one's on me; I'm familiar with these plastic Tonka toys, you'll be back soon. Hmmm. My dad says that's what I get for not getting a Honda or another Acura (same difference - his lot sells Honda's too)

Oh, I'm 5'11 and I wanted a sports car so people couldn't ask me for rides, but didn't want the high insurance cost, so this was my compromise.. if you get it. I'm in the back seat when I drive. Surprisingly the leather has held up pretty well (not as well as the back seat, which never gets sat on) but pretty well. I use leather cleaner & conditioner though.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 10th April, 2009

2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.9 TDI PD turbo diesel


The best engine and tranny in a compact car, hands down


Rear tail light burned out, cost $5 to replace.

EGR cooler recall, free.

General Comments:

This is the first TDI engine in North America that doesn't use a separate fuel pump to provide fuel. Instead, each injector is driven off the camshaft.

The performance (stock) is OK for around town but especially shines on the freeway, where cruising at 80MPH feels like you're just getting warmed up.

Wind noise at that speed, however, is a bit loud, but not to be unexpected for a car in its price range.

Interior comfort is fine for a 6 ft. tall person in the front seat (s), although the rear is cramped for more than an hour or two. In this regard, the previous body (A3) had more room and seemingly better build, although cheaper-looking finish.

The materials, be they plastic, rubber, or carpet are good quality and long-lasting. Still on the original floor mats.

What sold me on it was knowing that it will easily achieve mid-40s MPG, needs no batteries, you'll always find fuel even after a hurricane, and you can most likely put at least 300K miles on the engine, provided you use the specified fluids.

Being a German-designed and engineered car, it is sensitive to what you feed it and how you care for it. Take care of it and it takes care of you. Don't skimp on maintenance; do it by the book and if at all possible, do it yourself and avoid the dealerships.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st January, 2009

8th Dec 2009, 21:43

Just checking in at 118,000 miles with nothing exciting to report. The TDI is running in tip-top shape, has consistently returned 42-44 MPGs for the past 3.5 years. I have since mildly "tuned" it for a little more power, now it puts SUVs and pick-em trucks to shame on the highway.

It's sad reading all the troubles people have with their VWs. Most get ripped off at the dealer, which translates into a terrible car for some reason. All cars have their failures, no such thing as perfection. At least for me, this TDI has come pretty close to it.

All it has asked of me in the past 3.5 years in 90K miles:

Oil changes, fully synthetic oil every 12-15K miles = $500

Set of tires = $500

Rear brakes, twice = $160

Filters (air & fuel) = $80

Timing Belt Kit = $350

I don't add the cost of fuel, and at 43 MPG average, I don't think I need to. Suffice to say I get about 600 miles per tank unless I'm having too much fun with the boost.

Great car so far, hasn't let me down once. I have added a few goodies, like Euro-spec xenon low-beam projectors, 16" alloys from a GTI, the aforementioned "tune" which puts me right about 140HP/240lbs.feet of torque, 30% tint all around, a "BORA" nameplate instead of Jetta, a short-shifter from the Audi TT, CAT fuel filter upgrade and an oil bypass filter kit that allows me to run up to 20-25K miles on an oil change while actually filtering oil to cleaner than new status.

What will it need in the future? Another set of tires soon, a new clutch since the original slips under too much boost, and that's all. Maybe I got lucky, or maybe the car just needs someone to take care of it. Still, it's obvious that the less time a car spends in a dealer's shop the happier and better it will run. I haven't seen a dealer for service since the EGR recall. Anyway, just wanted to update this post in case others are wondering about longevity.

12th Mar 2012, 15:29

I just change my timing belt on my Jetta 04; it cost me $600.00.

How did you pay less than $400.00?

Wish me good luck.