1996 Volkswagen GTI Problem Reports

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

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.

A coolant leak may develop after oil filter replacement. The coolant o-ring seal can be damaged if the oil filter housing turns when removing or installing the oil filter. The recommended procedure is to hold the filter housing when tightening or loosening the oil filter.

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

The Check Engine Light may illuminate as a result of a oxygen sensor and coolant temperature sensor fail. Replacement if the failed part will be necessary to correct this issue.

Throttle body failure is not uncommon and can lead to shifting issues with the automatic transmission and other drivability concerns.

An ignition coil or spark plug may fail unexpectedly resulting in an engine misfire and possible illumination of the Check Engine Light. Vehicles equipped with spark plug wires may also develop a misfire caused by a failed spark plug wire.

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

A damaged water pump impeller may cause an engine overheating condition. Our technicians tell us the repair should include replacement of the water pump, thermostat, and flushing the cooling system.

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

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

Poor drivability symptoms—including hard starting—can be caused by coolant temperature sensor and oxygen sensor faults.