How Long Do Volkswagen Jettas Last? (Reliability & Recalls)

Volkswagen Jettas are considered to be one of the most reliable cars available. The Jetta is a compact car that can seat up to four people.

Most owners of Jettas do not have serious problems but some models do have some issues. We will discuss how to get the most miles out of your Jetta, as well as the symptoms and solutions to problems that do come up.

Volkswagen Jettas run until they have about 200,000 to 250,000 miles on them without needing serious, expensive repairs. This is 13 to 17 years of driving the Jetta and many models have reached a higher mileage than this. Jettas can last longer if you follow the manufacturer’s schedule for regularly servicing the vehicle. Driving in a conservative manner will also extend the life of your Jetta.

Most Jetta owners love their Jetta and intend to keep it for many years. It can be a good investment if you take the best care of it.

It is economical and gets 30 miles per gallon in the city and 40 miles per gallon on the freeway. This compact car is just right for driving back and forth to school or work or around the city. It is also economical for trips because of its great gas mileage.

Volkswagen Jetta Reliability Scores

The reliability of a car depends on whether you can depend on it to start and take you where you need to go. Vehicles that are not reliable have many days in the shop being repaired for problems.

Various companies test and report on the reliability of vehicles. Some of these are J.D. Power, Edmunds, RepairPal, and Consumer Reports. These companies make a nonbiased rating of each car they test. Their ratings are based on the cost and severity of the repairs that other vehicles of the same type have experienced.

Here are some reliability reports on the Jetta depending on various yearly models:

                                                       Volkswagen Jetta Reliability Scores

                2001 Jetta Model                                 4.0/5.0
                2005 Jetta Model                                 4.5/5/0
                2009 Jetta Model                                 4.6/5.0
                2014 Jetta Model                                 3.8/5.0
                2018 Jetta Model                                 4.0/5/0
                2021 Jetta Model                                 7.4/10

Worst Volkswagen Jetta Years

If you are thinking of buying a used Jetta, knowing which years were the best and which were the worst can narrow your search. We hope that the following information will help you, so here are the worst years for the Jetta Volkswagen:

2006 Model – This year had the most complaints in recent years. The biggest complaint was with the transmission issues like having difficulty shifting into another gear.

This usually happens around 88,000 to 110,000 miles. Another problem that the 2006 Jetta has is a rattling noise in the transmission. Owners complained that the noise was loud and aggravating. This problem can cost $1,000 or more to repair.

Owners of 2006 Jetta also had problems with premature wear on the rotors. Brakes are expensive to repair if the car is no longer under warranty.

2009 Model – This Jetta model had problems with the brakes. The Antilock Braking System (ABS) light comes on to warn you of this and afterward, the vehicle stalls and does not work. A recall was issued on this Jetta model. Having your car stall on the freeway with other vehicles speeding behind you is a real danger.

2010 Model – This model also has some serious issues. It had over 100 complaints. It was recalled more than once, so buying it used is not recommended.

The 2010 Jetta had fuel pump problems as well as a need to replace the entire stereo system for a cost of about $600. Professional reviews rated this model higher than expected at 4.5/5.0 by Kelly Blue Book, 4.6/5.0 by Edmunds, and 7.9/10.0 by U.S. News.

2013 Model – Owners did not like that this Jetta was not reliable. Owner ratings were 1.0/5.0 because of problems like the engine stalling when driving over 70 mph, which is dangerous on the freeway.

The vehicle is also known to flash the wrong lights at crucial times involving the fuel pump. J.D. Power rated the Jetta MDX at only 2.5/5.0 which was related to the complaints received and the problems this Jetta has.

2019 Model – This was another terrible year for the Jetta which was again rated 1.0/5.0 by owners. There were serious transmission problems and other smaller issues. Some of these were a flickering and blacking out of the infotainment system, noises from the stereo if it was turned loud, and door locks that didn’t work properly.

Best Volkswagen Jetta Years

2007 Model – This model does not have major issues with the engine or transmission and has no recalls. This means that we can look at style and features to evaluate this model. In addition, this Jetta is very comfortable with supportive seats. It is available in 5 trims, ranging in price as more deluxe features are added on.

Attractive features are alloy wheels and a sunroof, and it is stable with good traction on the road.

2008 Model – This model also had no recalls and is generally safe and reliable. Steering and handling are very good in this model, as well as seat and ride comfort.

2012 Model – This Jetta has an extra-large trunk and plenty of room inside. It is considered to be reliable and has no recalls. This Jetta model has a roomy back seat for passengers. Some owners think that it has a luxurious feel to it.

2017 Model – The Jetta models made this year are reliable and safe. They are also fun to drive on road trips because of the 6.3-inch infotainment system. It has a quiet ride and the driver can feel confident driving this Jetta.

Volkswagen Jetta Vs. Other Cars in Its Class

The Jetta can be compared to other vehicles that have similar features, costs, and lifetime as shown in the chart below:

Car & Model  How Many Miles Does It Last?
Jetta Vs. Honda CivicJetta 200,000-250,000 mi. Civic 200,000-300,000 mi.
Jetta Vs. Toyota CorollaJetta 200,000-250,000 Corolla-300,000 mi.
Jetta Vs. Hyundai ElantraJetta 200,000-250,000 Elantra-200,000 mi.
Jetta Vs. Kia ForteJetta 200,000=250,000 Forte-150,000-200,000 mi.

Maintenance for a car can vary from year to year. This chart will show you how much to expect to pay for maintenance on a year-to-year basis:

Volkswagen Jetta’s Maintenance Cost

Age of JettaMaintenance Cost
                                 1 year                                 $193
                                 3 years                                 $278
                                 5 years                                 $431
                                 7 years                                 $761
                                 9 years                                 $931
                                12 years                                 $1,199

The maintenance cost for the first 10 years of service for a Volkswagen Jetta is $5,622. This is lower than the maintenance costs for other popular sedans which cost $1,474 more per year.

Maintenance of your Jetta and whether you are rough or gentle on your car have a lot to do with how long the components last. Here is a chart that shows the average length of time that brakes, tires, and transmission in a Jetta last:

How Long Do the Volkswagen Components Last?

Brakes Last 10 YearsTires Last 3-5 YearsThe Transmission Lasts Up to 200,000 miles
Cost of new brake pads-$300 per axle1 tire-$100-$300New transmission-$3,500 up
Brake caliper replacement-$342A new set of 4 tires-About $608New Clutch-$500-$1,500
Brake rotors-$263Alignment-$60-$150Transmission Repair-$1,100-$3,200

Do Volkswagen Jettas Rust Quickly?

The Jetta is not known for rusting quickly. Rust could occur but usually doesn’t show up until the vehicle is 8-10 years old. Newer models come with a 7-year/100,000-mile corrosion warranty. Older models had a 12-year warranty against rusting.

Volkswagen uses a variety of corrosion protection during manufacturing to prevent rusting. Jetta owners who live near the ocean or in areas where salt is put on streets during a snowstorm have a higher chance of rust developing.

One way to prevent rust on your Jetta is to wash and dry it regularly, including the underside. If a rust spot is very small, you can sand the rust off and put an anti-rust treatment on the area. This can be done professionally at your paint shop. 

You can also have your Jetta rustproofed by a professional treatment that is reasonably priced, especially if you plan to keep the vehicle for many years.

Ceramic coating is another option that some Jetta owners use to prevent rust on their vehicles.

Most Common Jetta Problems

All cars have some problems, and hopefully, your Jetta does not experience a serious issue. Here are some of the most common problems in Jettas:

2006 Jetta – This model had engine problems such as the dangerous issue of stopping while driving. This could be life-threatening if it happens on the freeway. There were also transmission problems and drivetrain failures that cost an average of $4,000 to repair.

2009 Jetta — This year was actually worse than the 2006 Jetta with its anti-lock brake system.

The ABS light came on and the engine sometimes stalled in this Jetta. The brakes failed in some cases, and crashes occurred.

A recall was issued for these reasons. Volkswagen did not pay for all of the replacements of the ABS cases.

The cost to replace an ABS is $2,000 to $2,300.

2010 and 2011 Jettas – The 2010 and 2011 Jetta models were not much better than the 2009 Jetta. The 2010 model had 114 complaints, including some about electrical issues and fuel system problems. 34 complaints were about interior issues. Similar fuel system issues are even reported in models such as Volkswagen Tiguan.

There were 215 engine problems with the timing chain, stalling, and the engine occasionally catching on fire in the 2010 Jetta. 2011 also had issues like fuel pump failure and sudden loss of power.

1990-2015 Jettas – These Jetta models had transmission problems with trouble getting their vehicles to shift into Reverse. This affected vehicles with manual transmissions. Some owners reported that the issue was resolved when they put the car into Neutral which reset the system. They could then shift into Reverse.

2003 & 2005-2017 Jettas – These models had problems with an unusual smell coming from the HVAC system. The smell usually happened after the system had been running for 2 or more hours. You can clean the drain system if it has a clog, and this might remedy the bad smell for you.

If you do not work on cars, have a professional company do it for you.

1990-2014 Jettas – These cars had electrical problems including defective wipers, cruise control not working properly, issues with the heating and air conditioning systems, and more.

2002, 2004-2006, & 2008-2014 Jettas – These vehicles had problems with misfiring engines resulting in these symptoms:

  • CEL staying on
  • Loss of engine power
  • Blue smoke coming from the exhaust
  • Sputtering and shaking when accelerating

These problems may be caused by a faulty coil, failed oxygen sensor, bad fuel injector, or burned exhaust valve.

You could also have a defunct catalytic converter, blocked or stuck EGR valve, faulty camshaft position sensor, or broken computer. Have your mechanic or your Volkswagen dealership evaluate the problem.

Volkswagen Jetta Recalls

20V648000 – Some 2016-2018 Jettas have been recalled because of the possibility of fuel rail bolts loosening over time.

If the fuel leaks, there is an increased risk of a fire. Jetta owners will receive a recall letter and should make an appointment as soon as possible with the Volkswagen dealership. They will replace the bolts at no charge and will replace the fuel rail if necessary, also without charge.

20E064000 — 2004-2018 Jetta vehicles with master cylinders sold as replacement parts for 2004-2018 Jettas may be defective. The fluid seal crimp on the master cylinder may be insufficient and cause brake fluid to leak or the cylinder to come apart.

If this happens, the brakes will not work properly and there could be a resulting crash. Defective master cylinders will be replaced at no charge at your Volkswagen dealer if you received a recall notice.

20V505000 – Some 2020 Jetta cars have been recalled for a defect in the front seat frame and the backhead adjustor may not have been welded properly.

The backrest adjustment could break and the seatbelt not work properly in the case of a crash. Volkswagen will replace the backrest adjustment as needed free of charge.