The cylinder rings had to be replaced because it was burning almost all of the oil between the 3000 mile oil changes. This happened when the car was only a year or two old. The dealerships we went to said that Volkswagen felt that this amount of oil use was within tolerance. We had to take the Jetta back to the dealership every 500 miles to do an oil consumption analysis test.
To do the consumption analysis tests, the dealership gave us a piece of paper with mileage points listed on them. We would have to stop in at every 500 miles to get a service dept employee to pull the dipstick and the level marked on the piece of paper. Sounds easy enough.
We normally drove 500 miles within a week or two. If we missed the 500 mile point, we would have to start the process over again. If the service department was closed, the salespeople were unable to pull the dipstick and mark the level on the piece of paper, so we’d have to start the process over again. This process was not user friendly. They dealership knew we were using a lot of oil and stated that Volkswagen said this amount of oil usage was within tolerance. Seriously, it was not uncommon for us to check the oil level between oil changes (every 3000 miles) and there wouldn’t be any oil on the dipstick. We were advised to carry extra oil in our trunk and that it is our responsibility to check the oil every time we stop for gas. If the oil was low, just add some, because the amount of usage was within tolerance. That was one of our biggest frustrations.
Another huge frustration is the electrical system. I can’t tell you how many times me or my wife has been pulled over by the police because one of the taillights was out, or both were out, or the brake lights were out. We’ve had the Jetta in the shop on numerous occasions for this issue. We know that there is an electrical problem (SAFETY ISSUE) because it happens so frequently. The dealership, with guidance from VW, acts as if there is not a problem. I challenge you to pay attention to the VW Beatles, Jettas, Passat, etc, during hours of limited visibility. See how many you see with either a headlight out, or any of the rear lights. This has been a major frustration because we are always getting pulled over by the police.
The interior is not made well the cup-holders have broken, the latch on the arm rest between the driver and passenger broke. Too expensive to justify getting it fixed. By the way, this broke shortly after the purchase of the vehicle.
The protective layer that goes over the door handles used to close the doors after entering the vehicle started wearing off within a year or two of purchase.
We’ve had many visits to the dealership service dept. One time, when we went to pick up our Jetta after getting either the rings replaced or lights fixed, the employee was bringing out our car and the driver’s side window broke. We were like, “What the heck just happened?” It was then that we were informed that this actually happens quite often with the Jettas. Something about the window support breaking, causing the window to drop and break.
Overall, our experience with the dealership (s), we are in the military and travel a lot, have not been good. They seem to live in a state of denial when it comes to the reliability of their cars. They did fix the rings, which helped with the oil consumption, but it was a real painful hassle to go through in order to get them to do it. It really took a lot of perseverance. We’ve had to pay for labor for serve light replacements, we could do it, but we keep taking the Jetta to the dealer so we can document how often we have to replace the lights. I have a 96 Chevy truck and have never had to take it to the shop to get the lights replaced. I’ve only had to replace three bulbs in the rear tail-lights since 96.
Even though VW boasts a great warranty, it is very difficult to get them to stand behind their product. When we first started having issues with our Jetta (shortly after our purchase), we complained to the dealer. Their solution was to give us a $2000 rebate for another VW. At this time, I can honestly say that I don’t ever plan on buying another VW.