Nice Ride, But At What Cost?
I have fond memories of my childhood driving around in Volkswagen vehicles in Jamaica, West Indies. Until I bought my 2001 Jetta VR6, I had a favorable view of the brand and truly wanted to like it. I regret giving away my 1983 Toyota Cressida and buying the Jetta.
The Cressida was a dream. If memory serves, it was Toyota’s first flag ship luxury car. I inherited it from my mother and neither she nor I had any problems with it, apart from routine oil changes and replacing brake pads. I drove it numerous times between NY and Chicago for school, not to mention driving all around Chicago. And I never had a problem with it, even when the Cressida was pushing over 100K miles.
With the Jetta, the front passenger window exploded during the first year of ownership. Thankfully, repaired per a recall notice.
Some exhaust related issue also developed during the first year and caused the check engine light to trip. It was twice repaired and fortunately both were covered under my extended warranty. Otherwise, that would have cost about $1,400.
The trunk pump failed in 2005, so I have to manually lift trunk open. The $700 repair estimate from the dealer prompted me to forego that cost.
The ECM (engine control module) failed in PA while driving from NJ back to Chicago over Thanksgiving 2006. It took about 5-days to get it repaired, which cost a cool $1,300.00. I had to stay in a hotel during the repairs. Add another $600 to the bill for food and lodging, not to mention time away from work.
In Nov 2006, I brought it in for its 80K mile check up, which cost about $700.
In April 2007, the ignition coil and surrounding wires failed. They cost around $1,300. I was also told I had to have the device housing the spark plugs cleaned of built up carbon. That cost another $200. I also had to replace the rotors and pads, another $1,000.
Of course these do not include the other untold recalls, the maintenance and minor repair costs, and the Jetta’s voracious appetite for gas.
I allowed sentimental childhood yearnings to cloud my purchase of this car. Lesson learned: if you are shelling out the kind of cash it cost to buy a Jetta, do your homework, your due diligence. Otherwise, you’ll end up like me and the other disappointed folks here, who only wanted to love this car.