Problems With a Volkswagen Jetta

Updated February 21, 2017

The Jetta is a small car manufactured by German automaker Volkswagen since 1979. Redesigned several times, the Jetta continues to be a popular mid-range car in the United States and around the world. Despite Volkswagen's reputation for quality and the Jetta's generally positive reliability ratings, several problems are common to the Jetta that owners and potential buyers should be aware of.

Engine Problems

The most common problems experienced by Jetta owners involve the vehicle's engine. Although the Jetta has been available with a wide range of engine options over the years and for various trim levels, many of the engine problems are widespread. Frequent Check Engine warning lights will indicate anything from an engine misfire due to a faulty ignition coil, errant spark plugs or maladjusted fuel injectors. Some Jetta engine problems are more common in cold weather.

Electrical Problems

The Jetta has also been known to have problems with its electrical system. Partial failure of the electrical system has resulted in power automatic door locks not working or power windows that operate only intermittently. Other electrical problems involve the dashboard display where warning lights can sometimes be engaged without any actual problem occurring in the vehicle. Other electrical problems reported by Jetta owners involve the car's battery and alarm system.

Safety Recalls

Modern generations of the Volkswagen Jetta have been recalled numerous times for dealers to service safety equipment. In 2007, over 300,000 Jettas were recalled due to a problem with the headlights. Another recall that same year dealt with a windshield wiper issue that affected nearly 60,000 vehicles. A 2004 recall of more than 400,000 vehicles dealt with Jettas that were manufactured with a faulty hazard light system switch. Braking problems were addressed in a 2007 recall of just over 13,000 Jetta models.

Mechanical Recalls

Other recalls have been enacted to repair or replace other components in the Jetta not directly related to safety. In 2009, a problem with the driveshaft prompted the recall of some 25,000 vehicles. More than 19,000 Jetta models equipped with a diesel engine were the subject of a recall in 2004 involving the fuel system. This came following a 2002 recall of close to half a million vehicles because of problems with the gas tank cap and filler pipe.

Other General Problems

Some problems with the Volkswagen Jetta are less substantial, but incorporate customer dissatisfaction in a number of areas. One of these problems is the Jetta's high price within its class. Car critics have complained about the Jetta's overall reliability, which, for some model years, has been calculated to be below that of other cars in Volkswagen's line-up. Depending on the engine used, some Jetta models are also consume a great deal of fuel relative to their power and size.

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