6th Jan 2008, 14:21

We purchased a 1997 GLX for my son as a graduation present last spring. The car had 55,000 miles on it, and other than the passenger window not working, the car appeared in perfect condition. Since then we have spent $600 in repairs to the passenger window; $600 to repair the cruise control, which has broken again; $750 for a clutch job; $482 for a new alternator; and the driver's side window and left rear window have fallen down and do not work. We have not abused the vehicle, it just keeps falling apart! We should have known not to buy another Jetta; we had purchased a 2000 TDI brand new and had nothing, but trouble with windows, electronics, an air sensor, the engine light computer board, and the engine required a complete rebuild after the warranty had expired. We won't be fooled a third time.

5th Feb 2008, 18:11

I have a 96 GLS, bought 4 years ago used with about 104k on it, now close to 138k. The list of problems with it include: 2 alternators, transmission rebuilt, oil cooler, window motors not working properly, trouble with the lock mechanisms, one door handle/lock broken, ignition troubles, cat heat shield rattling, and most recently seems to be the coil, as at the moment the car will not start, and have had coil issues in the past week. It will be the last VW my family will ever purchase, as it has been nothing, but problems.

24th Feb 2008, 20:09

I am an owner of a 1996 jetta gls. I had a strong smell of exhaust in the car when I would turn the heater on. I brought it to my local garage which they told me it was the Header pipe. After 300$ later, I find there is a smell (not as strong) still in the car. Could there be any other problem that I am not looking at? Thanks in advance.

25th Feb 2008, 11:35

I bought a 96' Jetta GLS about 3 months ago and all it has been is trouble. When I test drove it, everything was fine, but after two weeks of owning it, all I could smell were exhaust fumes. My muffler fell off, and I had to have that replaced, but even after that it still smelled. It turned out I had three different leaks in the exhaust system. Then I drove it to Colorado, when the resonator fell off, and I had to have someone fix that- it wasn't until then that someone finally told me my whole exhaust system looked shot. My back windows don't go down, my side view mirror adjuster buttons are stuck, I had a fuse and a headlight blow already, and the heating doesn't stay hot, despite filling the fluids. Now I'm not the sharpest when it comes to cars, but I still don't believe I should have had this many problems already with a car I've only had for 3 months, I will never buy one again..

14th May 2008, 19:49

Hello there!

Well fellows, I got a '96 Jetta GLS last Summer with a lot of miles on it, and for the most part is been pretty good. One thing I have to say it had saved me a lot of money on gas. Previously I was driving a Silverado, but I got rid of it just in time.

So far I've had only minor repairs and oil change. What I'm having trouble with at the moment is the ignition system. It seems like I have to change the coil. When it gets too humid or rains heavily, it won't start.

Good luck to all of you out there.

18th Jun 2008, 23:36


I have had my 96 jetta for 4 years. It has power door locks. I tried to lock the car from the passenger door lock and the alarm went off. I could not find any way to turn the alarm off until I disconnected the battery.

Now I cannot lock the car without the alarm going off.

Can anyone offer any help for me?



---I have also had all of the problems mentioned above with my car. It will take something special for me to buy a VW again!

3rd Aug 2008, 14:19

Yes I just bought a 1996 VW Jetta GLS. I've had it for 4 months... had to replace the ignition coil so now it STARTS in the rain!

Timing belt just got replaced.

My windshield wiper go on and off when they like too.

I had smoke come out of the back of my steering wheel.

Keep popping fuses... and Yesterday my power steering pump went.

Once that is fixed I'm selling the stupid car!!! Never again a VW!!!

5th Aug 2008, 17:56

I have a 97 GL Jetta and love it. 202,000 miles on it. Bought it almost 5 years ago. It had 90,000 on it when I bought. Have put rear axle stubs on because people can't keep a wheel bearing packed and tight. Put on coil pack on it and various wear and tear items. Still makes a 80 mile round trip to work, 5 days a week, and burns about 10 gallons of gas (exxon mid grade rules) for the week. Running on 17 inch tires and wheels! It is a 5 speed still on the factory clutch. Sound like you all just got had by shyster selling a damaged car.

I have even hit 2 deer in the car and it still keeps on going. Had to replace that with a golf front for cosmetic reasons.

I will never own another brand of car. VW for life.

My friends new beetle TDI gets 60 mpg and runs like a top at nearly 200,000 We were racing to get to 200,000, I won.

They have a customer for life.

Remember if you by a used car you have to fix what the fool in front of you broke, or neglected to fix. People would rather buy that new pair of khaki's that look like the 10 other bland pair they own than actually take time and money to fix and maintain a car. Metal fatigues and wiring breaks down, nothing lasts forever people, just keep that in mind.

19th Aug 2008, 16:49

My daughter begged us to buy her a Jetta in 2001. We bought a used 1996 GLS in spite of our misgivings. What a major mistake!! The electrical system on this car has been a nightmare. The power door locks, ignition, sun roof, power window motors or regulators, and alarm have all been replaced multiple times. Since my husband and I have no car repair skills, we pay for all this stuff! My daughter is now married and bought a good car, with parts that all work, so we have the Jetta back again. The only good part of the car is that it still looks really nice.

4th Dec 2008, 10:15

1997 Jetta GL 155,00 miles. Works great, except the morning start, wet weather start. Been throwing parts at it, and not helping. Engine temp sensors, O2 sensors, fuel pressure regulator, ignition coil, spark is good, battery good, fuel pump is working. Can't chase this demon out, would appreciate any help.

Other than the unreliability of the car, it's a great little vehicle. Oh yes currently exhaust trouble. Was getting 40 mpg this summer!!

3rd Mar 2009, 01:27

Hi, I am looking to buy a 1996 VW Jetta GLS. The price is set at 1500, and yes it does need the window motors replaced. This would technically be my "first car" I was just wondering if I should get it or not? And if not, what type of affordable car should I try to get?



Please e-mail me at superjess11@hotmail.com.