1992 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.8 from North America


This car has character, both good and bad


Initially, it needed cv boots, rear brake shoes, a valve cover gasket, spark plugs, a timing belt and various other minor miscellaneous things. You'll notice that these are relatively normal items for high mileage cars.

The emergency brake cable was broken. I'm not sure how, seems strange that it would brake. I'm a VW enthusiast, and this isn't very common.

My cv joint went bad soon, so I replaced the axle. The exhaust progressively got worse, so I did some patch-up work to keep it livable. A light bulb connection acted up in one brakelight, occasionally. All minor and acceptable for a high mileage car.

A small plastic piece kept falling off the interior of the passenger door. This needed a small $1 grommet from VW.

The temperature sensor was bad for as long as I had my Jetta. I never replaced it, as it wasn't a major problem.

One day, a small wire in the ignition system came loose and the car would not start. This was the type of wire that never comes loose; it's the last thing you'd check. I laughed in anger when I found it.

The heater core blew at 154,000. This is a very common VW problem. Any high mileage VW with an original heater is a rarity. Mine was just waiting to blow. This is roughly a $75 part, but labor is generally 5-6 hours and up to $700-$1000. It is very cumbersome, but for that money one would do it on their own. I didn't, though. I just looped the hoses so that no antifreeze flowed to the heater core, and accepted having no heat.

General Comments:

This car had little problems here and there that you can put up with. If you're handy with cars, you can take care of most of it. If not, and you're the type that needs a shop to change your spark plugs, don't buy any VW.

Otherwise, the engine is bulletproof, and can last for hundreds of miles. The transmissions are generally not problematic. 5 speeds can have sloppy shifters, but automatics are smooth. This one had no problems whatsoever.

The rewards came in the driving experience. VW's are Driver's Cars. There is nothing quite like a VW. Some cars are faster or handle "better," but nothing can match the VW experience. You just get in tune with your VW. Driving becomes fun. You take the long way home. You notice other VW's on the road and wave. You're happy when you drive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th May, 2003

8th Jul 2004, 06:52

Sudesh - South Africa (I own a 1992 Jetta 1.8 CSi Manual)

I agree with your comments, great car to own, but you've got to know a bit about repairs. This is my second VW (last one was a Golf 1), and I will still get another if I want to change cars.

Got the car for just over a year now and I had to to the clutch, CV boots, front wheel bearings; the electrical wiring has been messed with as well, but I've got most of that done as well. Brake pads all-round are also on the cards. And the car hasn't seen the inside of a mechanics garage yet, just mine. I got the car at 260000kms, now doing about 287000kms.

Overall great drive, comfortable, economical, powerful; just wasn't looked after by the last owner.

1992 Volkswagen Jetta GL not sure from North America


Run as fast as you can, away from this LEMON


As you read, keep in mind that I have treated this car with TLC. It is 11 years old, but hasn't even hit 100K miles.

At 40K, the engine mounts broke, resulting in an HUGE repair bill. (Luckily this was covered under an extended warranty I had purchased--otherwise $1,500.) Engine mounts breaking? Yikes, this is a sign of a serious lemon.

Between 40K-60K miles: the timing belt snapped (very costly to replace), the fuel pump needed to be replaced, the driver's side door handle needed to be replaced, the driver's side window fell off track, the heating system in the car blew up--since I couldn't afford it, my mechanic was able to bypass the problem without fixing it, I just have no heater in the car.

The computer fried at 85K miles. Lots and lots of money to replace.

The coil needed to be replaced - I have no idea what that even is, but I can tell you it was expensive.

The blaupunkt stereo was an inconvenient piece of junk--has an annoying security code and terrible sound quality-replaced it in 98.

Interior nuts and bolts have mysteriously disappeared.

General Comments:

Throughout my ownership of this car, I have enjoyed it thorougly many times, however, the amount of inconvenience and money I have spent on it FAR OUTWEIGH the joy.

I understand that 92 was a year that VWs were assembled in Mexico, and they have since changed that.

Imagine yourself on a dark road, late at night, having a breakdown. In the middle of a busy intersection, stalling.

On the freeway, heavy steam pouring out of the radiator vents. Not good.

Looking back, I should have purchased a used Mercedes. At least the ridiculously priced repairs would have been easier to swallow.

Do not buy a Jetta. Do not allow your friends to buy a Jetta. Do not even stare at a Jetta for long periods of time - I think they are the work of SATAN.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 9th May, 2003

29th Sep 2003, 22:13

It sounds like you got a bad car. I had A very similar set of problems with a car I bought. It was a ford mustang. I love fords, but this thing was a nightmare. As far as your remark toward the VW's being built in Mexico, they still are. The Eurovan, and the Passat are built in Germany, along with the new Phaeton, the Jettas, Golfs, Gti's, etc are still made in Germany. I know this to be a fact, as I work for a detail company that is sub contracted to do two separate VW dealerships, as well as an Audi.

Anyway, I feel your pain with the car troubles. All we can do is try something else. Remember one thing though, all car companies are in it for the money, and I have found build quality to be: 1) relatively poor, and 2) pretty much the same for most new cars.