1990 Volkswagen Jetta Problems

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

Head gasket failure is common on higher mileage vehicles.

Ignition wire breakdown is common, resulting in misfires.

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