1990 Volkswagen GTI Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1990 Volkswagen GTI 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

The water pump and/or other cooling system may develop a coolant leak. Oil leaking from the  valve cover gasket is also common.

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

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

Ignition wire breakdown is common, resulting in misfires.

Extensive transmission damage can occur in some of the automatic transmission models when the transmission oil cooler fails and allows coolant to mix with the automatic transmission fluid.

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.