1997 Volkswagen Jetta GLX 2.8L VR6 12V from North America


What you should know when buying a GLX


1997 Jetta GLX VR6 (Mk3). For its age it's a great little performance car to buy for someone on a budget. You can pick these cars up now anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000.

Here's what you need to watch for when buying this car, besides the normal stuff.


These cars attract rust like bees to honey, if you live anywhere they salt roads. So make sure you check the rocker panels, most MK3 VWs love to rot there. Also check around fenders and rear quarter panels. Open the gas lid and check for rust behind it.

But most importantly, open the hood and check the strut towers, because for some reason, Jettas with VR6 motors seem to have the strut towers rot out, which if not caught early will destroy the car. Also check the floor boards for holes, as the rubber plugs love to fall out and leave golf ball size holes in the floor boards that rust and get bigger.


Well the main thing you wanna ask is if the "timing chains were replaced". To check this, put your head close to the right side of the engine (near the coil pack) and listen for a noise that kinda sounds like a chain bouncing around. If you hear that, talk the price down $1000. Cause that's how much a normal shop will charge to fix it. Cause the transmission has to be removed, making it a 10 hour shop job.

Also, when you get in the car, throw it in reverse and back up a hill. If it pops out of gear, or makes a grinding sound, don't buy it. Also make sure the car has pink antifreeze (G12), not the green stuff.

General Comments:

These cars are a lot of fun to drive. Interiors are really nice. The leather seats can be a bit stiff. Car could be quieter inside. With an Borla exhaust it sounds like a sports car. (Check youtube)

Since these cars are old and getting rare, Autozone, Advance and Nappa don't carry parts for them much anymore. So you will have to order stuff online, which ends up being cheaper.

Modding this engine will also empty your pocket.

If you're wanting to go crazy with mods and don't have a lot of money, get a 1.8T motor instead.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th February, 2010

1997 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6 2.8L VR6 from North America


Amazing fast sporty sedan


Driver wheel bearing replaced at 69k miles and again at 112k miles... also needed passenger side wheel bearing at 112k miles.

Exhaust system replaced in 2004, needs to be replaced again soon due to rusting out.

Engine coolant hoses are poor design, many have been replaced.

Timing chains are getting very noisy.

Passenger side motor mount shot at 116k.

Hole rotted out in rear passenger floorboard.

Transmission shifter lights work when they want to.

Oxygen sensor went out many years ago, would still run with the bad sensor, but stalled when idling.

Thermostat went out many years ago, was able to get it home, but had to keep stopping so it wouldn't blow up.

Colored door stripping fell off, had to glue it back on.

Side skirt clips broke and fell off.

Door handles get worn from the weather and get all chalky (common problem with VWs).

Key sticks in drivers door, and I have to fidget with it to get it to turn and unlock the door.

General Comments:

I absolutely love my Jetta VR6. My grandparents bought it new. I remember being there with them when they bought it.

It has had problems as expected for any vehicle, and will continue to have problems here and there as expected for a vehicle 13 years of age... most of them have been annoyances and not anything that affects the reliability of the vehicle.

The VR6 engine sounds like a dream and is powerful. The auto transmission is laggy and steals a lot of power from the VR6; I have driven a Passat VR6 with a stick and it was much faster because of the direct power to the wheels and not through an auto tranny.

My Jetta handles pretty good, it's kind of clumsy around corners with the tires I have on it, but steering feel is extremely light and the car is very comfortable to drive, and the handling is secure most of the times.

The interior design is great, love the black heated leather seats.

I plan to keep this car for as long as possible. I recommend it to anyone looking for a comfortable good looking sports sedan, but make sure to have extra money on hand for repairs... and the bad thing about these Jetta VR6's is that most of them are very beat. So buyer beware.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd January, 2010