1996 Volkswagen Jetta GL from North America


The 1996 automatic Jetta sucks...money


I have a '96 Jetta with, granted, a couple of hundred clicks on it. It was sold to me by a "friend". I wish that someone had warned me about this car.

I have had to fix the exhaust system, the belts, the water-pump, the ignition wires, and countless other small things.

If I enter the car by a door different than I exited from, the alarm goes off.

Now the transmission is apparently "super-hooped", and will cost more than the car is worth to fix.

This is without a doubt the most unreliable vehicle I have ever owned!

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

Review Date: 14th June, 2008

1996 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 2.0 from North America




Since I got the car a month ago I have problems with it.

When I bought it I was driving home and the speedometer stopped working.

A week later I was driving home from work and it started puttering when I was on the gas. I pulled off the road after it dying a few times and looked under the hood and seen a spark from the coil. I looked at it and decided that it was just the wires and not the coil. I don't know what would be cheaper the stupid wires costed 90 bucks.

Another week later the a/c stopped blowing cold. I got recharged and it did the same thing. It blow cold sometimes but most of the time not.

I got my check engine light checked out and the speed sensor is bad, the spark plugs need to be changed, bad O2 sensors along with numerous other sensors.

Now the transmission is bad. It drives but won't shift gears. Since I got the car it has always shifted a little rough but nothing serious but now it won't even shift at all.

Oh and also one back window got rolled down and got stuck. I took apart the door panel and some plastic rollers and other little pieces were broken. I hot it fixed pretty much with some tie wire and it is just temporary but at least I don't have to have tape or cardboard on my window.

General Comments:

Piece of crap.

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

Review Date: 4th June, 2008

1996 Volkswagen Jetta Trek 2.0 from North America


This car isn't terrible if you don't mind staying home every time it rains!


I have always wanted a Jetta and finally was able to afford a loan and purchase one in February of 2005. The transmission always felt kind of funny from the beginning, like it was slipping. It still feels like that today but nothing too bad. I've been told that the transmission fluid is "factory sealed" and is a total pain to find someone who can change it, as I'm sure that might help.

In late 06/early 07, I had a major oil leak. I'm talking a quart or more a day was pouring out. Finally took it to get fixed and was told it was the oil sending unit, and it was only a $30 fix. Awesome. No problems with that since but I do notice things to be a little greasy looking under there again.

In December of 07 I locked the doors one night before leaving my car and then they wouldn't open. Had to call a tow truck to open it, which sent it into security alarm mode, which killed the battery. What a nightmare. They just plain old don't work now. The trunk only selectively opens with the power button inside too.

The side panel on the passenger side is just starting to peel off now. I've noticed ALOT of these cars have those strips missing. No big deal. I'm not that vain. A little gorilla glue and I'm set.

My BIGGEST problem with this car is that it doesn't like to start and/or run in the rain. Apparently I'm not the only one with this problem. Stalled a few times if I went through a huge puddle or something but I figured "hey, my fault, probably shouldn't be going through big puddles". It only got worse. Took it to a few different garages and called the VW dealership in town and everyone either had no answer or a different answer, and I wasn't trying to spend money on 100 different things to "find" the problem. It got so bad that it wouldn't start if it was humid, let alone raining. In June of 07 I got a full tune-up. Paid $160 for it, which I was told was cheap for that car. Ran OK for a while but then started the same old crap again. I've had to miss countless days of work and important events, not to mention the embarrassment factor. Like so many others, if and when you do get it started, it chugs and sputters and will stall at the drop of a hat. Ridiculous. My car also does that thing where it sounds like it wants to start after you put it in the off position and makes a loud bang. Eventually it usually does but this is an on-going SUPER annoying problem that I just can't seem to find an answer to. The car is a 96 and only had 62,000 on it when I got it in 05 and only 93,000 now.

General Comments:

All in all, good on gas-considering the price of that these days-and is a super cute little car. But don't be surprised if someone steals your radio one day because the doors don't lock. Just be happy they didn't steal the whole car, but that's only because it was raining and it wouldn't start!

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

Review Date: 1st May, 2008

3rd Jul 2008, 11:11

My Jetta Trek had the same problem when it rained, however I took it to the shop and I guess some wires to the spark plugs were broken. It was $500 to fix but now it runs just as well as the brand new VW I just test drove last week.

24th Sep 2008, 20:23

My door panels just started to come off last week... and I had the sputtering in the rain... I got new spark plugs and plug wires, and it was fixed no problem.

15th Dec 2008, 23:12

The hard starts in the rain are a common problem with these cars... it's caused by cracks in the ignition coil. Replace the coil (only purchase it at the dealership as the after market units are not as good quality) at around 90k and you are set. After about 140k or so start replacing the distributor cap, and rotor every year (I do it in November before winter). Purchase these from your local Bosch dealer - don't use non Bosch parts.

Another easily fixed problem these cars have... a cracked plastic PCV breather pipe... these usually go every 70k or so... and the vacuum leak can cause hard starting. $38 part from the dealership and its fixed...

I would avoid any of the Jetta's with power windows, as the window regulators would fail often. The manual window'd Jettas though were just fine.

The engines are bulletproof, other than the above mentioned items, and normal wear items (brakes, exhaust, tires, front wheel bearings, my 96 Jetta GL was like an appliance.

Its possible to hypermile the Jetta quite well... I was about to get around 34-35 mpg in all city driving hypermiling the Jetta GL. Normal was 23-24mpg in city driving. The secret is shifting at 2000 rpm - which is possible due to the nice low end these 8 valve motors have.