1996 Volkswagen Jetta 1.6 gas from North America
Not with a ten foot pole, unless you plan to impale it!
Multiple services starting at $600 each.
Oil is $18/L, flushing the sealed transmission once a year is a nightmare. An oil change is over $250!!
Timing belt replaced... precautionary measure.
All the trim has fallen off the car.
New windshield wiper tank
Leaking oil; new head gaskets, plugs, wires, etc once a year.
Practically every sensor on the car has been changed
Door lock system failed (can't even get in the trunk!)
Alarm system failed (went off when it wanted, couldn't be shut off.)
New exhaust, 100% replaced from head to tailpipe.
New CVs, joints
Windshield wiper switch malfunction: can't be shut off, comes on when it wants... only way to control is pull the fuse.
Temperature gauge stays on
Air conditioning works, but heater no longer pushes air. (Core is toast.)
Driver's side seat is collapsing. Seat belt won't retract.
EGAD. Where to start?
My husband bought this car USED from a dealership in Vancouver. No warranty, high mileage, but he said the car looked MINT. Black, shiny, clean. He paid $6900 CAD, which I thought was outrageous, considering the mileage. He liked the look of the car and the way it handled, so there was no convincing him otherwise. Did I mention that it was black and shiny?
He drove it home from the ferry, and it seemed okay. In the morning, he got up to drive the car to work (a one-hour drive), and I got a phone call a few hours later: "Hi honey...I'm stuck here. The tranny blew out of the car. Don't tell me you told me so, okay?"
That pretty much says it all.
Transmission rebuild-- (I don't even know how much it cost. He wouldn't tell me because I'd warned him not to buy the car in the first place. Dealership told him to sit and spin, and he already had a $6900 loan plus tax tied to the purchase. Throw it away, pay the loan and walk? Not feasible.)
A week later it needed a complete exhaust system, front and back. (It fell off on the highway.) Over $1000
Financing on the vehicle went up to ten grand, so I could do the math and guess how much the transmission cost.
In late 2003...he washed the car thoroughly, trying to get oil off the block after it blew a seal and leaked badly. Car wouldn't start afterwards: $900 service involved replacement of several sensors, wires, plugs, etc. By now I've lost count of the number of times this car has been towed.
Gauges, sensors and miscellaneous electrical components continue to fail in the vehicle: if it weren't so freaking expensive to replace these things, I'd describe it as a nickel and dime activity. However, not ONE of these "minor" things have cost under $200 to replace after calculating parts and labor. The windshield wiper issue is my favorite insanity so far: the garage refused to replace the part despite the fact that he'd brought the replacement part with him. Why? Well, they might inadvertently set off the airbag taking the steering column apart! THEN you'll REALLY have a big ole nasty mess to deal with!
The VW dealership here is one of the WORST anywhere. It offers the poorest service we've ever encountered, and we hear it from everyone who owns one of these cars: part of the bad experience is the run around you can expect from the local service center, which happens to be one of ONLY two places within 300 miles that will even touch the car. Flushing the transmission at the dealership: $600. At the competition: $560.
The car has become more gutless and sluggish every year. With almost 300K on it, this might be expected. Ironically, it continues to survive the daily long-distance accumulation of mileage; it leaks, the gauges don't work and it looks like a piece of crap now that the trim has fallen off and the seats have begun to collapse, but my husband hopes he'll get another 200K out of it.
He might... if he spends another 10K maintaining it!
The last time I drove it, the wipers wouldn't shut off. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I had no idea which fuse he usually pulls to shut them off. The car handles well, corners tightly and sticks to the road, but I can't say much more from a positive perspective. I have refrained from saying "I told you so!" over the years, but it's mostly because he's already suffered so much behind the wheel of this vehicle.
I seriously doubt we'll ever own another VW.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 7th February, 2008
23rd Feb 2008, 20:13
You need to CUT YOUR LOSSES and sell the Jetta NOW. Don't think that you can get on top of the repairs. You can't it's going to break down no matter what you do.
Buy a 1992 or earlier VW and it will run forever. But buy ANY VW built after 1992 and your buying junk that will break down left and right.
It's Honda for me from now on. VW lost my loyalty.