6th Sep 2005, 16:47

I can't resist adding my experience with my 01 Jetta TDI (manual). It's a very nice car and I was extremely happy overall for 3 years or so, even though the cup holder and every headlight and taillight had failed. Not to mention that the chemicals in the interior were making me somewhat ill for the first 2 years. Now, the pattern is clear. Add to the above an expensive failed trunk release mechanism followed by the brakes locking up on a trip in downtown Seattle on memorial day weekend. Fortunately, the Better World Club found me a Midas dealer to redo the brakes on Saturday of a holiday weekend for $700+ dollars. Now I'm having problems with fuses and my glow plug system is out and the car won't start. I also just noticed that the rear ashtray mechanism has fallen apart, though never used. and the trim on the arm rest mechanism is falling apart. I'm still planning to keep the car because it gets such great fuel economy (53 mpg) and is nice on the highway, but disillusionment is setting in. Since my previous two cars were Toyotas, the contrast is striking. My 96 RAV had zero repairs in 9 years. I just replaced it with a Subaru Forester, only because a reckless driver totaled the RAV4 in a head on collision. Please, VW, work on the reliability and recoup your reputation. I also knew better, as a Consumer Reports subscriber, but decided to gamble. I was pleasantly surprised, for a while.

13th Oct 2005, 08:52


I have now owned my car for 1.5 Years. It is a 2001 Jetta TDI, with now 120,000 kms. I have to say I really enjoy the gas mileage, but like the previous person my rear ashtray has fallen apart and has never been used, my interior is peeling in some places, it is also very hard to keep clean, because of the material they have used. But my biggest beef is the electrical problems. At 80,000 kms, I had to replace the mass airflow sensor and at 100,000 kms I had problems with my remote car opener and then out of the blue it started working on its own. It also wasn't the battery. Now at 120,000 km my engine light has come on and the interior light keeps coming on randomly and the only way I can get it turned off is hitting the lock/unlock button. I enjoy the gas mileage, but not all the tedious little problems. I have a Honda Accord with 300,000+ and I have never had this many problems. You might get good gas mileage, but you end up spending all your fuel savings on fixing problems. Jake.

22nd Nov 2005, 19:11

I was a true believer in the VW Jetta until now. Previously owned a 1989 Jetta Flair diesel, awesome car, only replaced normal wear and tear parts and retired it at over 300,000 kms. Now I own a 2001 VW Jetta TDI, bought new. Currently has 129,000 kms on it and regularly dealer maintained. As I type this my car is in the VW dealer's shop with a faulty engine cooling temperature sensor. During removal of sensor, the housing broke adding additional cost and extra time in the shop. The cost of this repair is now CDN$315.00 plus tax! I am tired of replacing items that shouldn't need replacing. Since new I have replaced:

Windshield wiper transmission @ 78,169 kms, sway bar bushings @ 94,498 kms, Blower motor for heater, Cup holder (front) and is broken again, frequent headlights and tail lights, timing belt (regular maintenance), Glow plug bus bar & replace mass airflow sensor @ 100,024 kms, Rear brake disc & lining @ 103,941 kms, front brakes & rotors @ 129,000 kms.

Things that need replacing are: interior light switch, rattle in left rear door interior, no rear cup holder, rear ashtray broken & not used, poor radio reception-no AM stations, A/C musty odour.

For what I have saved on fuel and add in the price of the repairs, there are no savings, only extra costs. I am not impressed and considering selling and purchasing anything, but a VW.

Ontario Canada.

20th Sep 2006, 13:17

All the above comments are absolutely typical of the A4 VW platform. I have an 01 TDI and have had all the above go wrong. The biggest disappointment though has to be the inability of the dealer network to fix their own cars. my dealer is so useless I had to have an independent VW specialist (now my chosen garage) go to the dealer and show the techs how to program my new computer! More devastating is the case where they just keep throwing parts at the car until it works. A young man I work with took his car in and got soaked for $2700.00 in "repairs" before the dealer figured out the fault codes were false and it merely needed a mass air sensor. A friend who is a professional mechanic tells me VW tech treat the computer generated fault codes like gospel thus blinding themselves to logic. And then there's the depreciation! About 50% per year in my part of the world.

My neighbour's TDI had the heated seat catch fire. All A4 owners I know have had the wipers seize up.

My advice is to find a good technician away (far, far away!) from the dealer network and wait out the problems. At 270,000 km I have finally sorted out most of the trouble spots. Do the fuel savings justify the trouble? For me its just barely a yes. But the minute Toyota brings a diesel to North America I am leaving VW and never looking back. VW has done nothing to earn my patronage and in return I am telling anyone who will listen not to buy until VW gets their act together.

6th Oct 2006, 14:36

2000 Jetta TDI (Manual). I have owned this car since new. It now has 199,000 miles on it. I have had some of the minor problems others have spoke of i.e. the rear ashtray, cup holder, upholstery being hard to clean etc…. I must have lucked out and bought one of the best ones they put together, because other than a faulty airbag sensor, $120.00, I have not had a single major problem, it has never failed to start, even at -20 degrees. It still handles great. I have replaced the timing belt at 90k and 180K, I did not have the dealership do it and that cost about 450.00, the brake pads have been replaced, but all that is maintenance that you have to do on any car. Overall I am extremely impressed. I know for a fact that none of the “big 3” could produce a car of this quality, and with the MPGs over 50. Toyota and Honda are comparable, but you don't get the quality of ride and handling. I am now at the point where I want to see 300k out of this car and then it be retired, and I will be buying another one. Just my input. Sorry so many have had problems.

10th Nov 2006, 13:10

2001 Jetta TDI, with almost 60k miles thus far. I too must have lucked out as the only serious problem I have had is the mass air flow sensor (x3). But as VW has extended the warranty on this faulty part for seven years, it gets replaced for free. I know the symptoms now and when it starts acting up I just drive it in and say fix the MAS please. They look at me like I'm crazy, but then they call and say it was the MAS and there is no charge.

What is the deal with the timing belt though? They tried to push a new one on me along with a new water pump and a coolant flush all for the low low price of $1181. Is this standard? I have to check through my records, but I thought I had the t-belt replaced at the 40k mark. Thanks, and sorry so many have had lemons. All I hear from people is how bad VW's are and they're shocked mine is still running smoothly.