24th Jun 2010, 23:46

2003 Jetta TDI with 53,000 miles. Just noticed my front driver's side rotor chewed up with no prior warming signs.. turned out that the outer pad was worn down to the metal while the inner pad looked brand new... passenger side pads were near perfect.

Today, I inspected the passenger side rear brakes, and the pads are 90% gone. I use a scooter to get around town and the Jetta was reserved for trips to work (80 highway miles round trip), so am surprised to see the brakes go so fast.. other than that, the rear passenger window is on the blink.

After reading all of the above comments, it sounds like one needs to be a mechanic to own a Jetta TDI, and certainly it defies logic to buy one to save money on fuel.

8th Jul 2010, 22:00

I'm thinking about buying a 2001 Jetta TDI, and now I'm a little worried to do so after reading all the comments. Anyone have any advice to help me make a definite decision?!?!?!?


16th Jul 2010, 21:26

I have 2001 Jetta TDI with 460k. I love the car, everything works, it runs like a top, lots of power, 1000k to the tank.

I put in an after market radio/DVD for my son to watch, but again the car has worked flawlessly.

Local shop stated he has seen these cars exceed a million k. I'd buy another in a second.

5th Aug 2010, 15:03

I purchased a 1.8 T turbo Jetta 2001 in 2003.

Nothing really happened until this year 2010 at 82k. In three months I have spent $3000!!! My car was in the shop for 3 months.

My car began to stall and lose power while driving on a highway in February. Then it worked again for a while. Began to smoke white and stall at times, but nothing major until the big S. (S) Surprise: all engine was covered in oil. Brought it to a mechanic who apparently failed to see the main problem. I did not know the reason, but after he made me change the timing belt (was not damaged at that time), the fuel injection pump, and the water pump, he gave me back the car (cost $1300).

One day, when I added fuel 4 days after I got it back from him, it smoked like I have never seen before. I thought I wrongly put in diesel instead of regular gas. Everybody in the street stared at my smoking fogging car. It was white, thick blinding smoke. It was so thick that the police had to stop me as traffic hazard. Hell started from there. It refused to even start. Oil was leaking and spraying from the exhaust pipe. We found out it was the turbo charger from some friends. Had it replaced for $1719. Now I cannot pass inspection yet because of failure in the MAF??? One mechanic said the parts cost $290; when I check online, it is only at most $100!! But, though I like my car so much, I think reading all comments, I have decided I need to sell it ASAP before it breaks apart again and drains my money.

20th Aug 2010, 21:11

I have a 2002 VW Jetta TDI that I bought with about 5,000 miles. It has now 105,000 miles.

I have made trips to Rochester NY, city of New York and back, Atlanta, Berkeley. I did not experience any problems during the trips. However, the following items have been replaced.

Brakes, front 3 times, rear once.

Brake booster (by a dealer at a cost of $700).

AC compressor and drier at 105,000 miles at a cost of $1,028, Pep Boys (include new compressor with 12-month warranty).

Timing belt and alternator at 92,000 miles at a cost of $1,700 (alternator was about $450 from dealer).

Brake light switch 3 times (3rd time by dealer as a recall item, and since then there have been no issues).

Tires twice.

Following items need to be replaced:

Plastic cooling flange (leaks coolant from flange when the car is driving at over 82 mph).

Glow plugs, although the car functions without any problem, except for the check engine light).

The mileage depends on how soft you are on the diesel pedal. Over long trips, I can get about 50 mpg. If hard pressed, the mileage drops to about 32mpg.

I have replace engine oil and filter at 10k miles intervals. Also fuel filter at 20k miles in addition to air filter.

Have replaced twice front driver side light bulb, once brake light bulb, battery twice. Unless you can handle some repairs yourself, I would not recommend one to buy these diesels. It will make you a mechanic, or a friend of a mechanic.

28th Sep 2010, 09:46

I was just curious as to what you are sautering it to when, you are grounding the headlights... a wire, screw?? My driver's side headlight is out, and with a new bulb, still only glows. The blinker on the same side is lit, but will not blink (although all other blinkers are in working condition). My uncle said it looked charred in areas, as if something had been burning at some point inside the casing... does anyone have any suggestions for this?

2nd Nov 2010, 20:40

I have a 2000 Jetta TDI. It was bought by my father in-law new. He used it as a commuter car and had all the scheduled maintenance done at on time. He gave it to his daughter. I am driving it now since we had to get a family car, a 2003 VW Passat wagon.

Our Jetta has 226K miles on it and going strong! Yes we had to drop some money every now and then. However, if you do all the scheduled maintenance, these cars will last. Too many times individuals think that you cannot get that work done or the dealer is trying to rip me off. The work needs to be done and done on time. If so these cars will last!

9th Nov 2010, 10:39

Wow, I wanted one of these cars, but after reading all the comments on this one post, I am running away as well.

The only reason I found this is because I am looking for a good used car for 4-6k. Consumer reports has this car listed in their "The best used vehicles for under $20,000".

I think you all have a different opinion!

22nd Dec 2010, 06:13

I am embarrassed to say I ignored all the reports that gave this car an average (at best) reliability rating, and bought my 2001 TDI from a local dealer. I am doubly embarrassed to admit I am an aircraft engine mechanic who should know about reliability. But the lure of 50+mpg sucked me in.

The savings at the pump are completely lost to massive repair bills... and that's with me doing all the scheduled maintenance, and some of the big repairs myself!

The real problem with VW is the inconsistency of the quality. My neighbour bought the same car, and over the same period of time and miles, had almost no problems. I, on the other hand, have spent over $12,000 in 4 years of ownership. The car is maintained above the manuals recommendations, but to no avail.

The most ludicrous things break... like wiper transmissions! Headlight switches go on and off for no reason. Rear brakes every year and endless wheel bearings. The dealer is useless. No, I mean that literally. He actually gave me the car back unfixed, and when confronted, admitted they COULD NOT fix it??!! I found an excellent independent shop, but even he is ready to give up on this car. I keep telling myself Mazda or some other quality Japanese manufacturer will bring a reliable diesel, and then I'll move on from this nightmare.

My advice is to run far and fast, unless you're feeling lucky. Gambling on the 2nd biggest purchase you are likely to ever make doesn't much sense. On the bright side, I am a source of constant amusement to my fellow mechanics down at the hanger. Maybe my purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others!