1997 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 121 from North America


Lacks craftsmanship!!!


Battery died at 17k miles.

Alarm malfunctions at 20k miles.

Window lift unit fails and needs replacement at 29k miles.

Cassette player malfunctions and eats tapes at 12k miles.

General Comments:

Need to redesign ventilation system so that hot air can be directed at both the windshield and the feet at the same time.

Windshield wiper speeds are either too fast or too slow, where is the medium speed?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 28th November, 2002

12th Jan 2003, 10:24

Put the control knob on the heater between the defrost position and the the floor heat position and heat will go both places at the same time. Knob does not have to be in one position or the other.

'98 Jetta GT owner.

1997 Volkswagen Jetta GT 2.0 4 cylinder from North America


97 Jetta with hesitations and more hesitations!!


See 1999 "do not buy a Jetta, unless you want to spend a lot of money" and see Comments.

...Ditto, same problem here. Started a year ago, at first the hesitation only happened once a week, and now a couple of times a day. Brought my 97 Jetta GT in to the dealership twice and they never could find what was wrong with it, emailed the service manager and ignored it.

This is how it goes; the hesitation comes after the car has been sitting for a while and at the first stop, the car goes wild. You can usually anticipate it with how the brakes feel, you brake at the stop, a slight vibration, and when you hit the gas pedal, it does not want to go, seems to stay in neutral (even backs up a little) (and I have an automatic) and if you push the gas pedal too much, it gives you a hard kick. So the way to go is to hit the gas pedal, real slowly and it doesn't give you too much trouble. But hey, if they are cars behind you, that can be a problem, stuck there for a moment.

So I'm pretty much out of solutions!!! My car is not that old, so want to keep it for a while, even though it is costing me a lot in maintenance and other fix-ups, for a 5-year perfect maintenance record, the total comes to $2,500, everything seems to go bad early (battery at 30,000; front and rear brakes at 35,000; exhaust system at 47,000 etc). Without this problem, the car is great, but from my experiences I don't know if I want continue with Volkswagens, 2 generation of jetta/passat owners, maybe try them all, Beetle or Golf next? So live with the hesitation problem for now?? I'll try bringing it in at another dealership and hear what they have to say. Does anyone know what this is? To be continued...

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

Review Date: 10th November, 2002

10th Dec 2002, 16:11

Try going to www.vwvortex.com in the forums for your engine type. I have found a lot of useful advice from people there. You can certainly expect plenty of suggestions for your hesitation problem. I know a few certified VW techs that frequent the site, so you might even get some expert advice. Good luck!!

BTW, I have a 1997 Jetta with 75,000 miles, and have not had a single problem. VW is one of the most reliable cars you can buy. Trust me, and don't give up on em :)

29th Dec 2002, 17:56

Car problem solved, thank you. If you are having hesitation problems with your Volkswagen, check your transmission fluid level (or may need to replace the transmission system). It turned out that I was a quart short, causing the slippage to occur (had it for almost a year?) on my Jetta GT. Somehow my ex-dealership neglected to look into the transmission fluid level, during my 30k and 40k maintenance services, and also during oil changes?

I now have a new dealership I can trust. It wasn't my car that was bad, it was just the dealership! (and if you write to Gerd Klauss, CEO, 3800 Hamlin Road, Auburn Hills, MI 48326, they will respond, at least they did for me).

20th Sep 2004, 14:12


I have a 97 Jetta GT 300,000K no major probs. I also had the hesitation problem. Mine was the spark plug wires. Get them replaced - it fixed mine.

5th Feb 2007, 12:39

I own a 1997 Jetta and I experienced the same issues for about six months or more. The car is automatic and was acting like it had manual transmission. I took it in to the dealership to get a full tune up hoping that would ease the issue and it didn't.

Recently, I went to get an oil change and they told me I had a transmission leak. I took it to another German car repair shop and they said they can fix the levels, but the issue is the transmission and its on its way out. I got the fluid levels taken care and the car runs fine. There is no more hesitation in the transmission. But, I also have a broken throttle body which ultimately affecting the performance as well.