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Volkswagen Jetta TDI Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Volkswagen Jetta TDI based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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22
Known Problems

One or both head lights may not work due to premature head light bulb burnout and/or bulb harness failure. Care should be taken to inspect the head light harness connector for damage when replacing bulbs. Damaged connectors should be replaced.

The 2.0L TDI engine used in the Volkswagen Jetta TDI very commonly faces camshaft lobe wear issues causing:

-Pronounced loss of power

-Backfire through the intake (heard under the hood)

-Rough vibrations while the engine is running

-decreased fuel economy

- OBD trouble code P0101

Correction for this issue requires substantial internal engine work including replacement of the camshaft, hydraulic lifters, and possibly fuel injectors

To help avoid this issue, ensure you are using the correct oil for your engine, as listed in your owners manual. 

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

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

The mass air flow (MAF) sensor may fail, resulting in drivability issues and/or illumination of the Check Engine Light.

Erratic turn signal operation can be a result of a failing turn signal flasher relay which will require 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.

Condensation in the heater case may cause a musty odor from the heating, ventilation and AC (HVAC) system after sitting for two hours or more. Our technicians tell us that a cleaner is available for the heater case and the drain system should be checked for debris.

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

A dirty or failed throttle body can cause various drivability issues and illumination of the Check Engine Light.

Due to an ignition component and/or engine coolant temperature sensor failure, the Check Engine Light may illuminate. Replacement of the failed component will be necessary to correct this concern.

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.

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.

Drivers of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI may experience a clunking noise associated with acceleration from a stop, or downshifting for hard acceleration. This will also be accompanied by a light impact sensation under the drivers feet. Drivers may also notice unexplained changes to their front end alignment while driving. 

This issue is commonly called " VW Subframe Clunk", and is caused by the gradual stretching of the bolts that secure the subframe to the vehicle. The subframe is a large plate that secures to the bottom of the engine bay, and connects the body of the car to the engine and suspension. Over time, the bolts that secure the subframe stretch, allowing the subframe to move and hit the bottom of the car when accelerating.

There are many aftermarket kits that can be installed to correct the issue, and Volkswagen has issued a correction including better bolts, and spacers which fit between the subframe and the car.