2002 Volkswagen Jetta GLS from North America
Friends don't let friends drive Volkswagens
Wow - I am glad to see I am not alone! My 2002 VW Jetta has been pretty much nothing but one little or moderate problem after the other since the day I bought it new in 2002. In addition to being just pure bad luck (rear ended twice the first month I owned it), there have been mysterious electrical and random problems with this vehicle through the years. Here goes, in chronological order...
1) Transmission "sticks" between what feels like 2nd and 3rd gear - in the first 2 weeks of owning the car, I brought it back to the dealer to let them know that the gear seemed to "catch" when trying to accelerate. At one point, on a highway on ramp, the gear would not shift, causing the engine to rev into the redline. As with most of the problems I've read from all of you, of course they could not reproduce this problem at the dealer.
2) If the car has been parked, ignition off, >1 hour, when I start the car, foot on brake, slide it into drive, then slowly remove my foot off of the brake, the car JERKS forward, making me look like a fool who didn't pass my driver's ed class 20 years ago. This has happened at least once a week since the first week of owning the car. They can never reproduce this problem, either.
3) Engine light goes on and stays on. Had this evaluated at Advanced Auto, and they recommended changing oxygen sensor based on the computer "codes" they were given. Changed O2 sensor, engine light goes right back on 3 days later. Brought to dealer, they said it was never the O2 sensor, but was instead some part that was recalled and under warranty (sorry, can't remember part name, only know that I wasted money on the perfectly fine O2 sensor)
4) Notice that the door handles are peeling. Also notice that the same thing is happening to the cup holder facade - by the way, how many of you enjoy where the cup holders are 'conveniently' located in the 2002 Jetta? Right smack in front of the radio display. Smart thinking.
5) Headlights continue to worsen gradually through the years - look around at the Jettas you see on the road - most have yellowed, scratched, old, beat-up looking headlights. I don't know what material they use, but it's horrible. I replaced the headlights with OEM certified after-market lights 4 weeks ago - the lights pointed straight down at the ground in front of the car. Replaced these lights again (more money), and it's certainly better, but not as it should be. Oh, and the left blinker is on the fritz.
6) Radio fine one minute last week, dead the next. When I read the last few entries here, I went out to the car a few minutes ago, replaced fuse #42, and viola! You are all geniuses! I think its humorous (scandalous?) that the dealer tried to tell one of us to replace the entire radio. I am so grateful for your help so I didn't have to listen to that bologna myself!
7) I forgot to put this way up at the top - the passenger window fell down the first year (replaced under warranty) - and the knob to adjust the seat tilt on the driver's seat fell off in the first few months. They have never figured out how to get that darn thing to stay in place. It has lived on the floor in the back seat for years.
I am thoroughly disappointed with Volkswagen, and vow never to buy another cheaply-made car from this company. I am vocal about all of these problems to anyone that even hints about buying a VW. Sure, they're fun, sporty, have lots of added bonuses that other cars might charge for in their package, but who cares when all the little bonuses are heavily outweighed by these annoying problems? I should have bought a Honda...
Thank you to everyone for helping each other out! And remember, friends don't let friends drive VWs.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 9th September, 2008
10th Jun 2009, 20:54
I have had the same issue with my 2002 1.8T Automatic Jetta. This week, when coming up to speed onto the highway, between 2nd and 3rd gear, the engine did not shift. It redlined and the computer bumped it into neutral. This has happened 2 times in one day. Anyone have an idea of what the issue could possibly be?