29th May 2007, 11:47

Wow, I am so surprised by all these negative comments and lemon Jettas. I bought my GLS new in 1996 and have LOVED owning it. (I had a '91 Cabriolet before, and an '84 GTI convertible prior to that.) All my car has required is regular maintenance (tune-ups, oil change) and replacements due to wear and tear (new brakes and tires.) Yes, the door moldings fall off - I've lost two. But they were not at all expensive to replace. Of course, once the warranty ran out I ceased going to the dealer for anything. They will charge you and arm and a leg to do even the simplest of repairs.

I'm thinking of getting a new car in the fall and VWs are at the top of my list. LOVE THEM!!!

23rd Aug 2007, 18:47

The 96 Jetta is my first car, and although I do like the car in general, I have had many problems.

The central locking system does not work, and the oil light is on, as well as the check engine light. The car was maintained well, and has new oil.

30th Oct 2007, 17:00

Well I'm glad I googled this and found this forum; I own a '96 Jetta 2.0 GLS (auto) and yeah, it's given me problems; from the right rear window stop working and would have to wait till it wants to work again. (An intermittent problem.)

My cluster goes erratic on me. I bought a used one for 12,000 less miles; I know that's bad!

My transmission slips when I step on the gas, 1-2 gear, when it's cold. I'm almost afraid to service it knowing that some of you have done it and it made it worse.

I owned a '91 Jetta (manual trans) and I really miss that car; should have never gotten rid of it... but next time I buy a Jetta it will definitely be a MANUAL TRANSMISSION!!

I'm driving this one to the ground and not getting rid of it. I'll just have to live with the problems.

I love V-Dubsss! What can I say...

Bien (Seattle)

20th Dec 2007, 16:46

I purchased a '96 Jetta because of Volkswagon's reputation for precision German engineering. I think I would have been better off with a Pinto or a Gremlin. Replaced starter, ignition switch, struts, wheel bearings, cruise no longer works, poor factory paint job, molding falling off, and worst of all, the door lock sometimes prevent you from getting out of the vehicle. I've had to crawl out of the window! Sometimes the doors will not let me into the vehicle, so I've gotten into the habit of leaving the back seat down so I can crawl through the trunk if I need to get in my car. All this before 120,000 miles. I would never recommend this vehicle to anyone except for the poor sap I sell it to.

7th Feb 2008, 14:03

The wonderful 1996 VW Jetta GL!

Certainly, in many ways, this is a wonderful car. However, the repeated repairs are pushing me towards a different manufacturer.

I purchased the car used in early 2004 in the US when she had about 80,000 miles. The price was right and she is a very solid car when compared to our 1990 Toyota Tercel. The car is a 5-speed manual shift, 2.0 litre engine and currently has turned over approximately 150,000 miles.

In common with many other Jetta owners, the body mouldings fell off the car within the first week of my ownership. It was a simple enough problem to remedy using double-sided tape. The mouldings remain in place to this day. However, here is a somewhat complete list of additional problems to date. Hold on!

(NOTE: I have not included issues associated with standard vehicle upkeep, e.g., filters, shocks, new battery, etc.)

· Replace airbags

· Front passenger door panel lose.

· Central lock system inoperative.

· Replace valve stem caps

· Exhaust system heat shield rattles

· Hood release cable popped out

· Replace intake valve hoses

· Exhaust hangers

· Exhaust rattles

· Power steering pressure hose

· Starter motor faulty

· Replace oil pressure switch

· Replace power steering return hose

· Replace door switch in left front door

· Replace interior heater controls

· Heater hoses not connected to interior vents

· Body work for rust on rear right, below trunk

· Replace faulty ignition coil

· Replace faulty brake bolts

· Replace door switch in right front door

· Replace power steering supply hose

· Valve cover gaskets

· Replace brake shoes

· Replace brake lines

· Replace rear struts

· Replace vacuum line

· Replace valve stem caps … again

· Replace driver side lock cylinder

· Replace timing belt and all components

· Replace complete left tie-rod

· Replace intake valve hoses … again

· Replace driver side airbag … again

· Replace faulty ignition coil … again

· Replace vacuum line … again.

Ongoing problems (issues never resolved) :

· Rusting rear wheel wells & trunk lid at license mount

· Rusting wheel well, front passenger

· Leaking power-steering fluid

· Leaking oil

· Airbag light remains on

· Airbag replacement recommended … again!?@#!

· Door locks freeze in T-shirt weather

· Radio repeatedly shifts into safety mode to become inoperative.

All issues have been diagnosed, investigated and addressed by VW with some degree of success or lack thereof. She was last in the shop three weeks ago for major and very expensive work. Previously, major and very expensive work was completed in August 2007.

I love Jets. She is a fantastic car to drive in the city and on the highway. She has guts and feels safe. The 1996 Jetta is a very good car when it is top working order. However, the longevity of parts is far below standard, as is the consistency and honesty of VW service.

This morning, Jets is having trouble starting again. The check engine light has appeared... again.

This is a real shame.

20th Mar 2009, 21:37

I think the Jetta is a great car. People who are young and energetic, can fix just about anything that goes wrong with it by themselves, Which makes it super easy and affordable to maintain. I have put a whole of $17.00 into my Jetta, and it is great!! I wouldn't have any other car if I could.

9th Mar 2010, 11:41

I purchased my 96 VW Jetta almost a year and a half ago.

To this day it still is unable to pass state inspection. This is my third extension.

The speedometer works on rare occasions, but never at the department of motor vehicles.

The driver's side lock assembly comes out, so it's unusable, so I have to unlock on the passenger side.

The alarm system does not work properly, and I believe it is the reason my battery died. I have noticed on many web sites these same problems are very numerous. If anyone has found a way to disengage the alarm system, I could really use the help as this repair has to be done by myself.

Just 2 months ago we replaced the transmission and water pump timing belt. It's remarkable how many of us are dealing with the same problems. I think VW should be helping us out.

29th May 2010, 23:35

WOW, so many people have problems with their '96 Jettas. I think I know the answer; me and a handful of other people on here must have gotten the only few Jettas built correctly, must have been a fluke year, you know like 12000 built, but only about 12-15 with no problems.

Tell ya what, anyone who owns a Jetta or any other car and has problems with it; sell it and buy a bike, or take the bus.

Take care of your car and it will take care of you. Run the crap out of it and you'll have problems.

I love my Jetta, it's 14 years old and still looks brand new, inside and out.