1997 Volkswagen Golf TDI Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1997 Volkswagen Golf TDI as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

Because of issues with the glow plugs and/or the glow plug wiring harness from the control relay, the Check Engine Light may illuminate. Our technicians tell us there is a service bulletin, not a recall from Volkswagen regarding replacement of the glow plugs on 2004-2005 model years only.

    One or more power windows may fail. Our technicians tell us this is commonly due to a failed window regulator which will require replacement.

    To ensure longevity of the engine, our technicians recommend to follow the maintenance schedule for the timing belt.

    Cars using biofuel typically have problems with injection pump failures; symptoms can include a "no start" condition or external pump leaks.

    Heater core leaks are common in this model, more so if the wrong anti-freeze/coolant is used in the cooling system.

    Oil and carbon tend to build up, creating restrictions in the intake manifold. Symptoms will be loss of power (sometimes severe) and poor fuel economy.

    Electrical issues that are difficult to diagnose—and sometimes intermittent—are typically due to ground wiring issues. The most troublesome ground locations are under the battery or at the engine.

    Reverse gear failures and noise in the manual transmission models are common.

    Shifting issues due to internal problems in high mileage automatic transmissions can be difficult to resolve without transmission replacement.