23rd Feb 2003, 14:05

I had a Jetta TDI - and I loved it. It lasted until someone decided to turn into me without checking their blind spot.

I had mine chipped with a Wetterhauer chip, which increased the pickup significantly. In town, I could out-accelerate a Jetta GLX with the VR6 engine (both were manual transmission) - the VR6 would have dusted me at higher speeds of course, but it doesn't get 50 mpg.

The one problem with the TDI engine though is soot build up, both in the EGR line and in regards to the turbo. That can be solved by using a diesel rated motor oil and low-sulfur fuel. This isn't an issue for the TDI's in Europe for two reasons:

1) The sulfur content in European diesel fuel is SIGNIFICANTLY lower than what we have in the US (with a higher cetane number as well) and

2) VW-Germany recommends a proper diesel oil. VW-America uses Castrol-Syntex. This is a big area of disagreement between the two. For myself, I'll trust the guys who actually designed the car on this one, thank you very much.

I used a cetane booster as well, but as long as you use an API CH or CI rated oil (such as Delvac 1) and a low sulfur fuel (generally premium diesel fuel is low sulfur), the soot issue won't be a problem.

I loved that vehicle. No complaints at all.

28th Aug 2004, 05:00

My 2001 tdi has cold start problems. Has anyone tried the block heater that hooks up to the rubber line? If so, where may I purchase one at a reasonable price? - Larry; Quebec, Canada.

17th Apr 2006, 12:38

I've had my 2000 Jetta TDI since new and I love it for all the reasons mentioned above. Regarding maintenance: You will have to replace the EGR (by this I mean the device that catches exhaust soot) and it's expensive and required.

While it was plugged up, my mileage dropped by 10% and the car was clearly down on power. The worst of both worlds.

I needed mine replaced at around 40,000 miles and it cost me around $1100 (USD). My understanding is that this is considered "normal" maintenance for the TDI, so budget accordingly.

4th Sep 2007, 14:47

I agree with all of the positives. My 2001 TDI has just gone over 200,000kms (120,000mi.) and I expect it to last 200,000kms more!

It is, however, an expensive proposition to maintain the vehicle. The need for synthetic oil, specialty oil filters and a fuel filter change every 30,000kms adds up. Not to mention the big maintenance that includes the timing belt, EGR cleanup etc. that will set you back $1100 - 1300.00.

Even with these extra costs though it has never let me down, in warm or extremely cold weather (I'm in Ontario, Canada eh?), drives like a much more expensive car and feels rock solid on the road.

I guess I'll be buying a new one in 200-300,000 more kms (total of 500,000kms)! LOL. How many gas powered vehicles are around for this long!

9th Oct 2007, 15:31

Help, I love my 2001 Jetta TDI, but it is parked outdoors in winter and it has a hard time starting up in severe cold -10 f. I cannot allow this any longer, sometimes I have to wake a neighbor at 6:00 a.m. for a jump and this seems to get it warmed up enough. Is there another way? Can I possibly get a heater of sorts and where? I have looked all over! Please help.

22nd Oct 2007, 16:04

1. Do not attempt to idle the TDI to warm it up. This is covered in the TDIClub FAQ. Let it idle for 30 seconds, and then gently go. After a couple miles, you'll start to get heat out of.

2. I installed the inline heater (the one that goes in the heater hose), and it works great. I use it whenever I can when the weather is below freezing. It takes about 2 hours to fully warm it up, though. Anything over 30 minutes helps a lot, though.

3. To those with EGR 'soot' issues: you do not need a new EGR valve. Mine was 80% plugged at about 55k miles. It takes about 2 hours to completely clean it, with no new parts involved.

4. 'An expensive proposition to maintain the vehicle'!? What? First, let's compare oil changes. Gas car with conventional oil: $2 per quart x 4.5 quarts + $8 filter = $17. Time spent: 15-20 minutes. Good for: 3000 miles. TDI with Delvac 1: $37 per gallon + $9 filter = $51. Time spent: 15-20 minutes. Good for: 10,000 miles. That's a SAVINGS of $6 and 30-40 minutes every 10k miles. $1000 timing belt? The Audi A6 gas car I just sold runs the same for a timing belt, so the TDI is not special in that regard. The fact that the engine will last at least 300k miles, and save me $12k in fuel in that time, trumps all others. It's an excellent engine.

7th Nov 2007, 18:55

I have a 2003 Jetta TDI that won't start. It sounds like the batterie is dead when I try to start it, but a jump start did nothing. Does anyone know of a button or lever that is supposed to be pulled or pushed in cold weather when the car won't start?

15th Feb 2008, 15:09

Wow. Not sure what planet some of you purchased your vehicle on, but as for the 2001 owner who posted comments in 2002 - how's that Jetta running now? You shouldn't have ANY problems with a car after only one year, you had problems right off the top. Funny how all my problems started 2 months after my warranty ran out. I will never buy another Volkswagen, certainly not a diesel. You can talk all you want about the mileage, but it more than makes up for it in the repair bills. Outrageous! My ancient Mazda ran better and cost far less than my Jetta to maintain.

26th Mar 2008, 12:27

My '03 Jetta TDI has been a great car until this week! The only car I have ever owned that EXCEEDED the EPA mileage estimate!

Up till now its only shop visit was for a timing belt/water pump replacement at 100K miles.

At 102K miles I experienced intermittent loss of power, and the Check Engine light went on. I had about 40 miles on the most recent tank of fuel, so I thought that I may have gotten some bad diesel. The dealer took my history and escorted the car into the hospital. The diagnosis was soot build-up. The dealer asked if I had had the soot cleaned every 40K miles. No mention of this as a maintenance item in the owners manual, so I asked him, "What soot"? Well I guess I was living on borrowed time. Big $$$ for "decarbonizing" and a new MAF and EGR.

Got the car back and it was obvious that the technician had not test driven it. Engine ran OK at idle, had good acceleration in 1st and 2nd but would not make it over about 60mph. Drove it over a weekend until the dealer was available again. This time the check engine light was for a turbo control problem. Apparently another victim of that deadly carbon build-up. More $$$ for a new turbo control actuator. Dealer DID test drive this time and reports all is well.

The car's OK but I'm limping from a seriously bruised wallet! VW needs to mention at least the POSSIBILITY of carbon buildup in the intake manifold so we unsuspecting owners aren't blindsided.