1996 Volkswagen Jetta GLS Trek 2.0 from North America


Gotta get a Jetta!


Catalytic converter went out at 50,000 miles. It was covered under some law that governs Catalytic converters, all though the dealer, not Volkswagen tried to get me to pay for it.

The Transmission blew out at 71,400 miles sept 2002. Which in turn oiled my clutch. I replaced the clutch, rebuilt transmission. I also replaced my timing belt, serpentine, and power steering belts. All of which cost $1538.58 with a 1 year warranty on the transmission.

My Jetta is in the shop now getting the transmission replaced, as 5th gear went out, which thankfully is still under warranty. In addition to that, I have another $900 that I'm putting into the car. A full tune-up, at $278.15, a lot of other things are routine for the year, and miles, most are cosmetic things that I want fixed. Of the repairs the most significant is the valve cover & intake gaskets are being replaced, and the reverse light switch went out.

The driver side molding came off about 1 yr ago, which cost $130 total, for the part and to paint. The passenger side is now falling off too.

General Comments:

I love my Jetta, and It has been a great car, its just been loved a little to much, and not taken in to the shop as much as it should have been by the previous owner (s). This is the 2nd Jetta, that I've had, and my next purchase is going to be a Passat, as the new Jetta's are not as roomy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th May, 2003

1996 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 2.0 from North America


I have a love/hate relationship with this car! I love what it looks like, and I love how it handles. I have also had four vw's in the past. I work on these cars myself so I have a very good understanding of them.

The 1996 is a blend of the old good vw I remember, coupled with all the short cuts, and and cheap crap an engineer working for an arrogant big corporation could conceive! As a matter of fact this car was designed with one intention, to make vw more money, more money and more money!!! Lets examine this futher.

The biggest rip off is the automatic transmission. It never worked right! The thing slips, and is very rough. The older jettas (85-92) had great transmissions that could last 250,000 miles. The new one, you are lucky to get 100,000. When it goes do yu throw away the car? No you must rebuld it. This costs in excess of $3000.00!!! Its like paying $3000.00 on the back end of the sticker price!!! Remember vw's had a reputation of lasting! You cannot check the fluid because of there "sealed system". You must take it back to the dealer to check the proper level. This could cost $300.00. You must use there synthetic transmission fluid that costs 18.00/quart!!! It is really stealing!

Aside from the transmission, changing the radiator is a real treat. This one went at 60,000 miles! To get the radiator out, you must drop the front, bumber cover, remove the headlights, remove the top radiator support, dissasemble the ac core, the wire harness and many other small front end parts. Aside from this, the locks have jammed with the key inside, TWICE, the battery went at 40,000 miles, the front brakes at 40,000 miles, the moldings fall off at any miles!

Aside from this, the car was designed by morons!!! The cup holders cannot hold cups with the transmission in park, the front window switches are mounted on the door, the rear, on the dash. There is NO CLOVE compartment!!! The horn buttons are so small, they are hard to find when you NEED them! The door locks cannot be opened in an emergency by just opening the doors! The locking system itself is frustrating! I feel like junking the whole thing JUST because of the locking system!!! You turn the key once, it opens the front door, the rest stays locked. vw says this "feature" was designed to keep people from jumping you in a parking lot! It also keeps the owner from entering the car unless you remember to turn the key lock twice! The timing belt is easy to change. Parts are very very expensive!! The cooling system always leaks. The o ring seals just do not hold up. The plastic flanges crack. The plastic piping just does not hold up. I never had these problems with the old vw's.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 5th March, 2003

2nd May 2003, 16:41

I can understand that you would be very upset about the transmission, and the radiator, but come on, being upset about cup holders? The old VW's you love so much did not even have cup holders as an option. I can tell you now, I drive a 1989 Jetta, and personally, I would never buy a type 3 or type 4 Jetta. The reason.. Look at your VIN number.. they are made in Mexico. Now, buy a 95 Passat, that is a good, all around German designed and build car. Or, buy a type 4 Golf made between 1999.5-2002, and look at the Vin number. Get a good German one. But please, do not sit there, and trash all Volkswagens, because you don't like the cup holders. (Vin number starting WVW = All German steel, engine, trans ect)

24th Jul 2005, 17:10

Well. That comment really makes me think twice about purchasing my moms 1996 Jetta GLS off her...

3rd Oct 2005, 19:24

I've owned my '96 Jetta for 10 months now. When I first bought it, it broke down and cost an additional 1200 to fix. This was without any warning.

It ran smooth for awhile, but now when I shift it doesn't really go into gear. It will rev up in every gear so I don't know whats going on. I would really like to check the trans fluid, but can't figure out how to get in there.

Anyone know?

18th Mar 2010, 23:23

It's a sealed transmission, there is no checking the fluids in it. When it goes, it goes, you can possibly take it to the dealer and they might be able to, but it will cost a pretty penny.

15th Jul 2010, 06:10

The last two comments are kind of interesting! The last one is answering the one before it but they are five (5) years apart?