Heater core leaks are common in this model, more so if the wrong anti-freeze/coolant is used in the cooling system.
Problems for specific Volkswagen Jetta TDI years:
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Repairpal verified 1996 Volkswagen Jetta TDI problems
Reverse gear failures and noise in the manual transmission models are 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.
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.
Shifting issues due to internal problems in high mileage automatic transmissions can be difficult to resolve without transmission 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.