Volkswagen Reliability?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Fearless Leader, Aug 2, 2007.

  1. Fearless Leader macrumors 68020

    Mar 21, 2006
    I'm looking at cars and was looking at either the new toyota camry, rav4, or tundra/tacoma. (I get a nice discount on new toyota's cause my aunt works for Toyota, so the new car loosing it's value isn't a prob)

    Well all was going good until I got into a friend's Volkswagen Jetta GLI. Hot damn that was a fun car. Now I can't get a stickshift cause the parents don't think I'm experienced enough... :rolleyes: but I liked the rest of the car alot.

    so after my little story here comes my question:

    Are jetta's / other vw reliable?

    MSN auto's listed all was mostly good except for a few things I could fix myself, and have read reviews of owners having great experiences.

    On the other end of the spectrum I get "VDubs suck! Don't buy, mine is in the shop all the time!" and consumer reports ranked them pretty harshly.

    I'm confused with all this conflicting data.
  2. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    I had a 2002 Passat GLS 1.8T until recently which has poisoned me against any further VAG cars.

    As much as I enjoyed driving it, I hated the relatively poor reliability and high maintenance costs. One of the ignition coils failed when the car was 1 mo old and that should already have given me an indication of what I was in for.

  3. Fearless Leader thread starter macrumors 68020

    Mar 21, 2006
    ^^ great.

    So I'm just confused, how can a "Japanese" car (The tundra I might buy is made 20mins from my house...) be that much better than a "German" car (which is made somewhere else in the US)?
  4. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

    Jan 14, 2007

    Pretty much Everyone I know that has had a VW has sold it due to ppor reliability and/or excessive repair costs.

    We currently have an 05 Touareg with ~40,000 miles. It's CD player has broken, both CV joints have gone, the trunk latch has broken 2x, engine sensors have gone bad, light bulbs burn out like crazy, the tire pressure monitoring system died and set off alarms, and an oil change is $80 or something crazy at the dealer. Luckily some of this has been covered under warranty.

    I guy at my dad's work also has a Toaureg. His wore through its factory tires after 6,000 miles. VW would not cover the wear because they didn't make the tires. Anyways it apparently turned into a big fiasco.

    My uncle had a 2003 Passat V6 4Motion and kept it for 2 years because it had horrible reliability issues. My friends mom had a 2002 Passat 1.8t wagon and kept it for 3 or 4 years and sold it because it just cost too much to maintain. Our friends had a VW bug and sold it for the same reason.

    People that own them think they are fun cars, but they're reliability is horrible compared to similar japanese cars. Even if you're lucky and you have a reliable VW, the repair costs will hurt you.

    I should also mention how they are designed so that you have to take it to the dealer. Even the battery- you can't even change the battery in them. They are covered in plastic so if you want to change the battery you better start unbolting. Once you change the battery it doesn't matter, the car will not unless the computer is reset, which can only be done by the dealer. If you look how to change a headlight in the manual it says take it to your local dealer. You can't easily change the battery in the key fob yourself either.

    They are nice cars, but just ridiculous. How some of these reviewers come up with reliability ratings is beyond me. All the VW owners I know are not satisfied with the reliability.

    Would you get a discount on a Lexus IS?
  5. Luis macrumors 65816


    Jul 19, 2006
    Costa Rica
    Ditto on the Touareg. I can't really comment about any other models, but avoid the Touareg.
  6. Fearless Leader thread starter macrumors 68020

    Mar 21, 2006
    Darn, its just the toyota's aren't as fun to drive.
    Their older brothers, Audi's and BMW are Good, Right? Cause I've found a couple used ones In my price range.
  7. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

    Jan 14, 2007
    Audi's are the same as VW's basically. My mom had a 1996 A4 2.8 I believe. She wasn't happy with the reliability on that either. The repair costs will be more expensive than the VW's for sure

    Then she got a 2001 Grand Cherokee and she was happy with that.

    One time when my mom was b****ing at the service people at the VW dealer they said that even they didn't drive VWs, one had a toyota and the other had a nissan. They also said not to get a BMW because they had really high repair costs. We had an X3 until it was deemed a lemon, so I can't really comment on how bad the prices actually are.
  8. ~J~ macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2007
    3rd Rock from the sun
    I have an '06 Jetta 2.5 that has over 21,000 miles on it... never had any issues. I wore thro the first set of tires already... but my motto is "drive it like you stole it"... if that gives you any idication, haha. I recently moved from the central coast CA to Dallas, TX - drove the whole trip no probs. And yeah, if you use synthetic oil (like VW recommends), an oil change is ~$80... but VW also recommends that you only change your oil every 5,000 miles... so thats a mute point in the long run.

    My buddy has an '03 Passat W8 (special engine VW made only for a couple years). It has 4Motion and everything... he's never had any big problems with it, and all the small problems were covered under the warranty. But you are absolutely right, I have never driven a "sedan" that was more fun! Oh... and one last thing... VW International owns Audi... (the A5 is my next car, its just sexy!)
  9. TurboLag macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2004
    Dont spread false information

    I have a 2002 Jetta 1.8T, which has had minimal repairs done, and most under warranty. Although I had to pay $300 to fix a collapsed window! However the engine is rock solid, quick, and has great milage.

    Really? I went to Canadian tire, bought an $80 battery and put it in in the parking lot.

    I splits apart in two with the use of a dime, and there is a standard battery in there.
  10. Jay42 macrumors 65816


    Jul 14, 2005
    How about a Subaru? Definitely superior in terms of reliability than most German cars (especially VW), and the Impreza 2.5i and WRX are definitely just as or more fun to drive as the GLI's. Depending upon where you live, the AWD might be a huge asset. Both those cars really deserve a stick shift though.

    I just bought a used '06 WRX sedan with the 5 speed and I can't get enough of it, just so addictive to drive. The only downside is that the interior quality of these cars doesn't live up to most German cars.
  11. decksnap macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2003
    I don't drive one but I have a friend who is a VW mechanic. His advice is don't bother. The older VWs used to be rock solid- the newer ones (last six or seven years?) are not reliable at all.

    VW is undergoing a major shift in their business right now. I imagine either the reliability will continue to go down or they'll start stripping off the trimmings - one way or the other, they're losing money.
  12. FrankBlack macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2005
    Looking for Lucy Butler
    Bear in mind, Audi is part of VW, and there is some parts sharing across the line. I only bring this up, because a lot of folks are not aware of it. The "great ignition coil fiasco" affected the entire VW line of cars that had the 1.8T engine. No dealer would replace all four coils, they would only replace the one that failed. Nasty, it was.

    If you've found a BMW in your price range, go check it out. And do give yourself a fair chance to learn to drive a stick shift, you won't regret it. (I'm sure everyone here agrees on that. ) The sooner you get the experience, the better. "Drive what you like" is the best advice.
  13. Fearless Leader thread starter macrumors 68020

    Mar 21, 2006
    Yes I love to drive a stickshift, the problem lies with my little sisters as this will be a car they use in a year. (Oh **** thats really scary to think about) and while I love stickshift I'd be surprised if they could get a stickshift to work.

    The Subaru's also look nice Its just I don't have dealer around here.

    I can drive a stickshift, friend with the jetta tought me, its my mom who doesn't want anything to do with it and she is paying a good chunk of the car...
  14. Silencio macrumors 68020


    Jul 18, 2002
    We have a 2000 Cabrio, maybe 66,000 miles on it. We've replaced seemingly every bulb in the car, seemingly every engine sensor, and the power window motors on both front windows. Now there's something wrong with the AC/vent fan, which conveniently enough decided to fritz out just as soon as we fixed the driver's side power window.

    VWs are nice-looking cars and fun to drive, but not reliable at all.
  15. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    I had a 2000 Passat GLX which I sold before moving to France. I had a huge fiasco when they changed out the water pump, but didn't replace the tensioner bolt at the same time. Evidently this caused it to be weakened, with the result that the time belt went flying while my wife was going 70 down the 405. Luckily she was able to get it to the side of the road safely. We had to get all of the headers replaced, which meant the car was in the shop for about 3 weeks. Also, the CV joints went out very early on, due to tearing in the boots which allowed dirt and gunk to get in and damage the joints. I was pleased to get that car off of my hands while it still had a little value, and I pity the person who bought it from the dealer we sold it to.

    No more VW for me for awhile, till they up their reputation. I'm driving a Subaru now, which I think will have a much longer lifetime.
  16. AHDuke99 macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2002
    Charleston, SC
    the mercedes c class is a great car. i love mine. i dont think i could drive anything else.
  17. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
    Pshh.. My parents are forcing me to buy a stickshift when I'm old enough. (Which I'd rather have anyway, but still)

    My grandparents only buy Toyota's, and they are relieable. My grandfather currently drives a 2001 Tacoma, with no problems at all. They have never had any real big problems with Toyota's. In fact, he still has a 1977 Toyota "Truck" (What they were called before Tacoma" Which is still in running condition, and has only had the radiator replaced. (He only uses it on his land because he doesn't want to pay for the insurance he would need for it to pass inspection)

    I seriously suggust you get a Tacoma.
  18. steamboat26 macrumors 65816


    May 25, 2006
    Arlington VA
    In reading about cars, i have learned that back in the day (read 1990s), VWs weren't that bad, most of them made after 2000 have astronomical maintenance costs. And simpler things tend to go wrong with them, ie windows don't work, locks don't work; but the repair estimate will be well above the cost for any other make.
  19. Sutekidane macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2005
    I have 3 friends with VW Jettas (one 2001, one 2004, and one 2006) and they have all had problems rating from minor to severe. Things like window motors, door looks, engines misfiring, constant oil leaks, broken ACs, shoddy electronics all around... Hope that helps.
  20. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Feb 12, 2005
    Compared to other brands, no. You can read personal stories all day long, but the legwork has been done by Consumer Reports and the fact is, VWs on the whole are less reliable.

    I've had three VWs and I currently drive a Beetle. The Beetle has over 170k miles and there have been many small annoyances (several electrical problems due to poor grounding, broken power window regulators, oil leaks, malfuntioning truck release, several faulty engine sensors) and a few major headaches (broken catalytic converter, broken transmission cooler, broken AC compressor).

    But to be fair, internally the engine and auto tranny are solid. The engine runs fine, doesn't burn oil, and the tranny shifts smoothly.
  21. j/k/Andy macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2007
  22. Fearless Leader thread starter macrumors 68020

    Mar 21, 2006
    gahh I want to bash my head in, I want a standard, and its what she learned on. but She says its too many distractions. And the tacoma's look nice, and I'm Pretty sure my giant self fits into them.

    Even though I love music, I hate the radio and will just use CD's of songs I like, Even though I got an iPhone, I don't like to talk to people, so I'm not going to talk to people while I'm driving. And I don't eat in cars and hardly ever drink in them and hate the idea of food in cars.
  23. SteveG4Cube macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2002
    MontCo., PA
    My golden rule of cars - NEVER own a German car out of warranty. ;)
  24. TheMonarch macrumors 65816


    May 6, 2005
    Bay Area
    Well, considering the VW Passat was this year's worst family car.

    I'd say VWs aren't too reliable.
  25. Funkatation macrumors regular

    Dec 29, 2001
    I have an 06 GLI (22k miles) and while I've had some small issues with it (all were taken care of under warranty) I don't think I could drive another car out there. The DSG is the best transmission on the market right now, and WAY better than a manual (its a dual clutch automatic so shifts faster than a stick). Also the 2.0T is one SWEET engine! I drove all of the other brands in that price range, and nothing beats the driving experience of a German car... The interior is by far the best of any car I've seen as well. While I do wish they were less small issues, I still love the car after owning it for 2 years.

    EDIT: we also have a 06 Passat that has had 0 problems (16k miles on it so far)

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