1990 Volkswagen Jetta Flair 2 1.8 8v from North America


Very fun car considering it's price and class


My alternator went as soon as I got the car.

My reverse lights worked periodically for a while and finally quit.

Diver's seat has a split in the vinyl.

Fan for heater only works on highest setting.

Battery has died once.

Exhaust has been replaced twice, cat converter only once.

Tires wore out.

Replaced alternator for a second time.

Minor oil leak.

Minor coolant leak from Radiator hose gasket.

Replaced front brake rotors and pads.

General Comments:

Considering the age and mileage of this car, it still handles very well and I have 100% faith in it's reliability. I have rarely had problems with it and when I have, they have they have either been wear and tear items or haven't kept the car from working.

I love driving it and although it certainly isn't a rocket, it does have decent power in most situations and has wonderful steering.

In the summer I get just over 29 mpg in my daily driving although much of it is on the highway and the large fuel tank gives me a long time between gas ups.

I love the car, it still looks pretty good and the paint has held up extremely well. Although the looks are a bit dated in design, it is easily identifiable as a Volkswagen and has character.

This has been the best car of the seven I have owned. It is easy to work on and I would gladly buy another.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th August, 2003

1990 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.8L from North America


A good deal, if you know how to maintain it... and have a warranty!


The head gasket was blown when I first got the car. Replaced by crummy mechanic who over-charged me.

Head required rust-removal and cleaning. Again replaced and was again overcharged.

Alternator blew at 112,000 miles. Replaced 3 times before finding a good one.

Wiring harness to radiator fan melted, 500 miles later, destroying the relay solenoid and O2 sensor and temp sensor.

Faulty radio wiring caused battery to drain after heaving driving.

Heater core blew at 115,00 miles, took 3 months to replace.

Headliner is falling down badly.

Cheap plastic dash and door pieces are beginning to fall off.

Questionable third-party wiring in engine may be cause of continual wiring faults.

Odometer stuck at 112,000 miles.

General Comments:

This has been a learning experience for me for sure. I bought the vehicle from my former boss for 200 bucks, then promptly got over-charged by a bogus mechanic to fix a relatively minor head gasket repair. After 1700 dollars and 4 months in the shop with 0% communitcation, I was left with a car with a running engine, and not much else.

The former owners of this car as well as my ex-convict boss should be prosecuted for abusing this car as much as they have.

It's a testament to VW Engineering that its even lasted THIS long! I'm slowly restoring it to a decent daily driver, with dreams of it someday becoming a cute little car with a decent stereo.

I can't blame Volkswagen, and I only curse myself for getting suckered and for deluding myself into thinking that this ex-wreck of a car was something I could handle. It's a tough little bugger to maintain, that's for sure!

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

Review Date: 6th June, 2003

5th Oct 2003, 14:15

I have the same problem with drain battery after a long trip. What did you do to cure the problem? Thanks in advance.

23rd Nov 2005, 15:10

You wanted a warranty on a $200 car???

14th Apr 2006, 01:46

I didn't expect a warranty, I'm just saying make sure you GET one if you buy a VW. Its very important, because maintenance is a kicker on these buggers. For chrissake - the Water Pump is behind the freaking oil pan! Who makes a water pump that hard to find? ZE GERMANS!

30th Mar 2008, 18:00

Water pump behind the oil pan...right. Well, last I looked on my VW its right behind the alternator. $1700 for a head gasket? Buy a new friggin' car with a warranty. Quit clogging up good sites like this with mis-information. My Jetta has 400,000km and runs like a top. Its ugly and needs some attention but for an 18 year old car its really quite good.