The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-18-2009, 07:08 PM
Indygrrl Indygrrl is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
How many miles should a VW Jetta get?

I'm looking for a car and came across a sweet Jetta with 131, 000 miles on it. I know this is high for an American car, but what about a VW? Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 02-18-2009, 07:17 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
In my experience VWs tend to have a lot of electrical problems (flashing back to memories of an old Corrado that wouldn't start when it rained heavily). Mechanically, however, VWs are generally pretty solid. 131k miles is pushing it for any car of uncertain provenance, but if the price is sweet take it to a mechanic for a lookover.

Stranger
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-18-2009, 07:17 PM
Indygrrl Indygrrl is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
And to add to my car questions, how far can you lowball and still be reasonable? I've got a limited budget, but it's in cold hard cash, so I'm thinking I can get the seller to come down quite a bit just because of that fact. Of course, that depends on how badly he needs to sell the car.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-18-2009, 07:22 PM
Shakes Shakes is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Dallas Tx.
Posts: 10,218
I'm not sure I'd use this as a data point but I once new a guy (late 90's) he had over 200k on his Jetta.

I wasn't close with this guy so I couldn't tell you the amount of maintenance he put into it.

I do vaguely remember electrical problems tho'.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-18-2009, 07:41 PM
freckafree freckafree is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
When I traded my Golf, it had 186,000 on it and still had the original clutch. We had a Rabbit that did have lots of electrical problems. The Golf didn't.

What year is the Jetta? Are you planning to take it to a mechanic and have him/her check it out?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-18-2009, 07:46 PM
74westy 74westy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Gas or Diesel?

I wouldn't get a VW diesel with that mileage. North American Diesel fuel is dirty by European standards and that reduces engine life.

In fact I don't think I'd get any VW that's very old. Once things start needing repairs, VWs get very expensive.

It should be understood that I'm excluding aircooleds. '74 westfalias are not expensive to maintain and is they are it's worth it. Unfortunately, that went by the boards when they got posh.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-18-2009, 10:16 PM
bouv bouv is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
I would stay away. Far, far away. My VW (99 Passat) has had nothing but problems, and I got it with about 150k miles. It has the aforementioned electrical gremlins (off the top of my head: moonroof originally would be spastic, then stopped working, driver's side window is flakey, the radio doesn't get reception, the cruise control doesn't work, ) as well as many other things (the heat is sub-par, struts, CV joints, and tie rods all needed replacing, I had a major oil leak that cost over $1000 to fix, timing belt, exhaust, and the check engine light will not go off ever.)

I've known more than a couple other people who also have lots of VW complaints. Volkswagons suck ass, and no one should ever buy them.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 02-18-2009, 10:25 PM
old_joe old_joe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
diesel vw

[QUOTE=74westy;10845855]Gas or Diesel?

I wouldn't get a VW diesel with that mileage. QUOTE]

You got to be kidding. My 1990 golf diesel had 480k (300,000 miles) before i redid the motor cause my belt went and took the motor with it. Daily driver and gets 55 mpg city. been a great car.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 02-18-2009, 10:50 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by bouv View Post
Volkswagons suck ass, and no one should ever buy them.
Or spell them.

Indy
, is the car under $2k? General rule of thumb: don't spend more than $3,000 on any car with more than 100,000 miles on it unless it's something really really nice.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 02-18-2009, 10:51 PM
Daffyd Daffyd is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Gotta agree with old_joe... Had a diesel Jetta that lasted close to 250,000 miles... Of course, the floors had rusted away, and the sunroof leaked consantly... and it finally died on the SF Bay Bridge at rush-hour when an axle broke in half...

But motor-wise, it was a great car... If the car you're looking at is diesel, I'd go for it... Gas, I'd skip it
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 02-18-2009, 11:37 PM
ParentalAdvisory ParentalAdvisory is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Indygrrl View Post
I'm looking for a car and came across a sweet Jetta with 131, 000 miles on it. I know this is high for an American car, but what about a VW? Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.
The 'ole "this is high for an American car" theme died in the 80's, and is largly untrue today for modern US cars. Any car with high miles, and your expectations of it being a good car will be determined by the previous owners maintenance habits. If the habits were good, the car is likey good. If bad, well you know...

-1994 Caprice, ~202500 miles, runs great, and I feel is about half broken in. It should last to 300,000 without major engine problems, which is fairly common for police and taxi's of the same make.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 02-18-2009, 11:52 PM
Gary T Gary T is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: KCMO
Posts: 9,530
Nowadays I woudn't consider 130K miles scarily high on any modern car. I don't think that general durability (e.g., fear of engine or transmission failure) is an issue so much as the cost of keeping it on the road. In general, here in the U.S. European cars are significantly more expensive to maintain and repair than American and Asian cars. Normal wear and tear items (alternator, wheel bearing, water pump, etc.) that one expects to take in stride with a ~10 year old/100+K mile car can sometimes present jaw-droppingly large repair bills.

My concern with European cars isn't whether you can afford to buy it, it's whether you can afford to own it.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 02-19-2009, 07:52 AM
Indygrrl Indygrrl is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
The guy wants $4950. I'm prepared to offer no more than $3500.

It's a 2000, so I don't know. I will go check it out at noon and let you guys know what happened. Also, this isn't the only car I'm looking at, so I'm not desperate to buy.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 02-19-2009, 07:54 AM
Indygrrl Indygrrl is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Also, does it make a difference whether the miles are "highway" miles? I'm guessing he's a travelling salesman or something and probably used this car for that.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 02-19-2009, 08:07 AM
Throatwarbler Mangrove Throatwarbler Mangrove is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Which engine does it have, the VR5 or the 1.8T?
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 02-19-2009, 08:11 AM
Indygrrl Indygrrl is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Throatwarbler Mangrove View Post
Which engine does it have, the VR5 or the 1.8T?
Not sure, it doesn't say in the ad. Which is better?
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 02-19-2009, 08:16 AM
Indygrrl Indygrrl is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
I'm also looking at an '02 Grand Am that only has 70K miles on it. And from the pics, it looks beautiful. I'm much more familiar with Pontiacs, so that's probably what I'll go for.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 02-19-2009, 08:20 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Indygrrl View Post
Not sure, it doesn't say in the ad. Which is better?
The VR5 will last longer. Turbos generally tend to have major issues after the 100k mark.

Could also be a VR6. That would be best.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 02-19-2009, 08:20 AM
Gary T Gary T is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: KCMO
Posts: 9,530
Quote:
Originally Posted by Indygrrl View Post
Also, does it make a difference whether the miles are "highway" miles?
Highway miles are less stressful on the engine and transmission than city miles. One key factor in the difference between "normal service" and "severe service" maintenance intervals is using the car for typical city driving - short trips, stop and go traffic, etc. - which requires more frequent oil changes.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 02-19-2009, 08:27 AM
Rick Rick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 15,661
Quote:
Originally Posted by Indygrrl View Post
I'm looking for a car and came across a sweet Jetta with 131, 000 miles on it. I know this is high for an American car, but what about a VW? Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.
Since when did a VW Jetta become an American car?
Did I miss a memo?
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 02-19-2009, 08:30 AM
Indygrrl Indygrrl is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Since when did a VW Jetta become an American car?
Did I miss a memo?
No, you only read about half of what I said.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 02-19-2009, 08:32 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Since when did a VW Jetta become an American car?
Did I miss a memo?
Might as well be, you know. Jetta sales are barely a blip on the radar elsewhere (particularly compared to the Golf), but it's by far the best-selling VW model in the US.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 02-19-2009, 08:34 AM
Telemark Telemark is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Hub of the sports world
Posts: 15,033
And 100,000 isn't high for any car sold in the US, American or not. All my cars (US and Foreign) hit 150K and were running fine when I sold them. Yes, there are maintenance costs on cars with over 100K but that's true for any make.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 02-19-2009, 08:36 AM
Throatwarbler Mangrove Throatwarbler Mangrove is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Quote:
Not sure, it doesn't say in the ad. Which is better?
It's probably the 1.8T, which was the base model and far more common.

That generation of the VW/Audi 1.8T is probably the most unreliable and trouble prone engine made by anyone in the last 20 years. There are no less than 3 class action lawsuits against VW/Audi on that engine.

- VW Audi either misprinted the timing belt change interval in the service manual, or used defective timing belts that didn't last nearly as long as they were supposed to. The result is catastrophic destruction of the engine. Class action lawsuit here:

http://www.timingbeltsettlement.com/

The details of the suite only mentions Audi models and the VW Passat, but the Jetta/Golf are identical in that respect and it is quite common to hear about their timing belts failing as well. If you were to buy the car, you would want to change the timing belt and water pump right away, probably costs around $1k at the dealer.

- VW apparently used defective coilpacks on the earlier engines resulting in multiple failures and expensive repairs. There was eventually a recall on this at some point after a class action lawsuit was launched:

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/automotive/vw_coils.html


- VW Audi either didn't design the engine correctly, or specified incorrect oil weights in their service manual, and the 1.8T engine suffers from an oil sludging issue which results in catastrophic destruction of the engine. Class action lawsuit here:

http://www.shulaw.com/unfair/vw-audi.asp

Note that this lawsuit does specifically apply to only the VW Passat and Audi A4, which have longitudinally mounted engines, and not the jetta/Golf/TT which have transverse engines with a different, bigger oilpan. But still, given that the rest of the engine is the same, you must be very wary that oil changes on this vehicle have been done correctly and ONLY with VW/Audi specified synthetic oil.


There are, as previous posters have said, a huge number of electrical problems with this car. The most prominent being a defective window regulator that results in the window randomly falling into the door and leaving the occupants cold. This is a multi-thousand dollar repair from the dealer.

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/autom...ta_window.html

No lawsuit on that one, but be prepared for basically everything electric to fail multiple times. This applies to the VR5 models as well, of course.

To quote my mechanic: Are you married to an unemployed VW/Audi mechanic with a lot of time on his hands? If not then it's probably not the car for you.

But hey, you say it's a sweet Jetta? I say go ahead and buy it.

Last edited by Throatwarbler Mangrove; 02-19-2009 at 08:37 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:05 AM
Gary T Gary T is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: KCMO
Posts: 9,530
Quote:
Originally Posted by Indygrrl View Post
I'm looking for a car and came across a sweet Jetta with 131, 000 miles on it. I know this is high for an American car, but what about a VW?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Since when did a VW Jetta become an American car?
Did I miss a memo?
No, you misinterpreted. She's saying "it's (worrisomely) high mileage for an American car, but what about a VW in comparison - is it worrisomely high mileage for it?"
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:16 AM
control-z control-z is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Another vote for "You're fine as long as you dodge the electrical bullets." My friend has a ~1998 Jetta and the factory alarm decides to arm itself and go off, then the car is immobolized and can't be started. It's also gone through several starters. Mechanically it's fine though.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:52 AM
Throatwarbler Mangrove Throatwarbler Mangrove is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
The platform change for the Jetta occured in 1999 for the North American market. 1998 would have been a Mk3, which did not have the 1.8T engine, while the OP is looking at a MY 2000 MK4.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 02-19-2009, 10:10 AM
HolyFreakingMoly HolyFreakingMoly is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
My experience is, if you're going to get a high mileage car, stick with Honda, Toyota or Nissan. If you're going to buy American, stick with low mileage. Any car is going to begin to need repairs as the mileage increases but Japanese cars tend to go to the 150K mark before burning through alternators and the like where American cars begin to shit the bed somewhere between 60K and 80K... But I'm a girl, what do I know??
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 02-19-2009, 11:52 AM
Velma Velma is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
We always buy used cars as my husband is able to do a lot of work himself, and we don't mind a few issues for the large amount of money we save. That said, we had a VW (Passat, but similar in many ways) with high miles a few years ago and I wouldn't buy a VW again. We never had issues with the engine, but there were so many little things that would go wrong, and even little repairs were a pain and more expensive than most cars. I was disappointed because I really liked it in many ways, it was a fun car to drive and I just liked the look and feel of it. But I wouldn't go there again.

I like Hondas for their ease of fixing and reliability. They seem to go forever, too. I have a CR-V with almost 200,000 miles on it and it runs great.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 02-19-2009, 11:58 AM
Queen Bruin Queen Bruin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by HolyFreakingMoly View Post
My experience is, if you're going to get a high mileage car, stick with Honda, Toyota or Nissan. If you're going to buy American, stick with low mileage. Any car is going to begin to need repairs as the mileage increases but Japanese cars tend to go to the 150K mark before burning through alternators and the like where American cars begin to shit the bed somewhere between 60K and 80K... But I'm a girl, what do I know??
My Ford Focus with 130k miles on it says otherwise.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 02-19-2009, 12:03 PM
control-z control-z is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Queen Bruin View Post
My Ford Focus with 130k miles on it says otherwise.
I think most cars these days, American or not, are fine up to 150,000+ miles. But I'd rather have a high-mileage Focus than a high-mileage Jetta. Cheaper to fix overall. If you want a 200,000+ mile car that you can mostly afford to fix, get Toyota, Nissan, or Honda.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 02-19-2009, 12:33 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 22,656
2000 is not a good year for VW. They recently have apparently got back into the idea of reliability and quality, but for the last decade or so, they have been doing pretty crappy.

For 2000 I'd want Honda or Toyota.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 02-19-2009, 02:08 PM
Necros Necros is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Golden, CO USA
Posts: 2,403
Quote:
Originally Posted by Throatwarbler Mangrove View Post
It's probably the 1.8T, which was the base model and far more common.
The 2.Slow would be the default (base level) engine in that car, I believe, not the 1.8T or the VR6.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 02-19-2009, 02:31 PM
Throatwarbler Mangrove Throatwarbler Mangrove is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Hmm. So it is.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 02-19-2009, 02:50 PM
Kkrose Kkrose is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Throatwarbler Mangrove View Post


There are, as previous posters have said, a huge number of electrical problems with this car. The most prominent being a defective window regulator that results in the window randomly falling into the door and leaving the occupants cold. This is a multi-thousand dollar repair from the dealer.

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/autom...ta_window.html


I had a Jetta and never had a problem with the engine. I think it had about 186,000 on it when it was totaled by a semi. However, At least one window was broken almost the whole time I had it. I would get one fixed, and another one would break within a week. I hated those windows so very much. I would drive around for months with a broken window before I could save up the money to fix it. Let me tell you, that was cold and wet during the winter. Everything else about the car was great. I liked the way it looked and the way it drove, but because of the huge pain in the ass that was those windows, I will never buy another VW. Also, when I first bought the car and was looking to get it checked out by my usual mechanic, he wouldn't look at it. He said he "didn't do VW's." So that is something else to think about, whether or not your current mechanic, if you are tied to one, will even work on it if need be.

Last edited by Kkrose; 02-19-2009 at 02:51 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 10-11-2011, 05:12 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Eastern Connecticut
Posts: 15,445
Quote:
Originally Posted by 74westy View Post
Gas or Diesel?

I wouldn't get a VW diesel with that mileage. North American Diesel fuel is dirty by European standards and that reduces engine life.

In fact I don't think I'd get any VW that's very old. Once things start needing repairs, VWs get very expensive.

It should be understood that I'm excluding aircooleds. '74 westfalias are not expensive to maintain and is they are it's worth it. Unfortunately, that went by the boards when they got posh.
I have a 2006 diesel with 112K miles on it and it is running just fine. Only problem it has is a couple window dings that a windshield repair garage did whatever they do to repair the dings. Although it could use a good carpet cleaning. We have fairly sandy ground in our driveway and it tracks onto the car floor despite the additional carpet swatches.

Mileage this past weekend headed to western NY to visit my mum was 44 mpg both ways. Normal stop and go mileage for mrAru commuting is 41/42 MPG as it is a mix of highway and city. No electrical troubles, starts just fine.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 10-30-2011, 06:51 PM
nasirm nasirm is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by control-z View Post
I think most cars these days, American or not, are fine up to 150,000+ miles. But I'd rather have a high-mileage Focus than a high-mileage Jetta. Cheaper to fix overall. If you want a 200,000+ mile car that you can mostly afford to fix, get Toyota, Nissan, or Honda.
My 98 Escort with 202k on it would disagree with the above assessment, as would the 92 Explorer with 220k. A well maintained vehicle, of any make, should last forever.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 02-17-2012, 01:26 PM
lmc11591 lmc11591 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
My jetta.

I have an 89 Jetta with close to 151k on it. It runs well and I don't have a lot of issues with it. I expect (and hope) that it'll last several more years. It's a dependable car.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:12 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.