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2000 Jetta with 144,000 miles

My former spouse bought our 24 year old son a 2000 Jetta. He told my son it could get 300,000 miles easily. I am trying to explain to my son that it may reach 300,000 miles but probably with a lot of work and expense. My son has no history on the car. My job is to help my son with a repair bill of 2,300 dollars to repair leaking heater core, hoses, fittings, oil gasket seal leak, and another 1,100 dollars to later fix suspension, control arm, steering tie rods, machine rotors on rear brakes, and fix wheel bearing drivers side. I hate to put that much money into the car but my son is moving to another city in a week to start a new job and career and needs his car. My questions are (1)even though my son didn’t pay for the car, is spending this money a waste? (2) Is the price for all this fair?

You’re correct, it’s not “easy” to get to 300,000 miles on any car. Which engine does this Jetta have? Is the the turbo gas, regular gas, or TDI diesel?

Are these cost estimates from a dealer or an independent shop? If a dealer, they are going to be high, regardless. And what work has been done vs. is still needed?

Your former spouse did not do your son a favor; the current expense is just the beginning. Your son may end up feeling guilty and miserable when all those future expenses start coming in. In India the equivalent would be giving someone a “white elephant”, a nice animal that wont do any work and keeps eating.

This car was likely sold by the previous owner for precisely the reason your son should not own it, the future multiple and expensive repairs it will incur.

If I was in your shoes, I would advise your son to fix the car as cheaply as possible, then sell it and buy somethiong simpler and more relaible. This panel can name any number of econoboxes that will make him happy.

Agree, you can get 300,000 miles out of a Jetta (I actually rode in a Jetta taxi in Brazil with that mileage), but you will spend many times more than what the car is worth to reach that point.

It seems your former spouse needs some elementary lessons in car shopping. Good seats and nice handling are not enough reasons to buy a specific car. And Jettas are not good first cars for young people. This vehicle would best be bought by a mechanic who car fix it at his leasure with free labor and cheap parts.

I would not be too hard on the spouse over this. The intention was noble even if the buying process was not.

The car is 12 years old with going on 150k miles and from the list of repairs this car strikes me as one that the previous owner, or plural of that, just flat neglected.

The price is fair but what I would be concerned with are other things that may be overlooked, may crop up next week, and that always present timing belt issue which I do not see mentioned.

Offhand, I’d say it may be best to sell this one for a best offer, caveat emptor, and go in another direction.

Fix the heater core, fix the oil leak, fix the wheel bearing, and have the suspension bits checked by another shop to see how bad they really are.

If the rear brakes currently work, and aren’t warped, plus have good pad life left, use them until they wear out. Otherwise, replace the rotors, and install new pads.

Leave the hoses and fittings until they actually do cause issues to save a bit of money for now.

Would have been better to have bought a used Hyundai Accent for the same money as what has been paid for the car initially, and all the money that will go into repairing it. Probably would come with 1/3rd the miles of the VW.


I agree and told my son so-- that father’s intentions were good. What I didn’t like was his painting a super rosey picture instead of being more honest and forthcoming with our son. And, yes, then making me look like the spoiler or naysayer and car idiot.

With that out of the way, I agree this car will continue to have problems. There is plumbing hose used to repair the cooling lines etc. Whoever owned it didn’t take great cae of it.

I will probably go ahead with helping out my son now because of the impending move, but that’s it. He can sell it when he gets to new job and hopefully we will at least get our money back and put it toward something easier to deal with.
All replies confirmed what I read on my own, learned from local mechanics, and from family members/mechanics who unfortunately live far away from us.Oh and yes I read on another posting at a different site that the timing belt would have to be replaced too because coolant leaking probably damaged the belt.

Thanks to all for the comments.

Prices don’t seem too out of line. My question is all of this work necessary? You should have another garage look the car over and give an estimate based on their findings.

Old VW’s are more expensive to repair, and need more repairs than some other brands, like Toyota or Honda. Still any car with 144K miles and over 10 years old will need some repairs. The question is if you don’t put money into this VW, what money is there for another car? If you buy another used car, you will find out it will need repairs too, perhaps more, perhaps less than this car.

You might need to do the heater core very soon. The gasket leak, perhaps can wait depending on how big is the leak? Suspension parts and steering parts are safety issues and seem higher priority in my mind. Leaking things don’t hit trees, bad steering can have very bad results.

Rethink your priorities and get some more estimates. My guess is repairing this car may be you best bet, but if son is working he may need to save up for a better car down the road.

I’m sorry your son ended up with a neglected car - but it happens to the best of us, sometimes. We learn that way. :slight_smile: They’re a lot of fun, and a very nimble little drive. I’ve avoided accidents at least twice because of that fact alone…that and really paying attention, I guess.

When it come to brakes, for this car, don’t bother - ever - machining the rotors. Front nor rear. New rotors for the rear are a measly $15, and the fronts are about $30 or so. You should get 100,000 miles from them (unless you ruin them by letting the pads wear out). bladecutter’s dead on with his comments.

As I always tell my friends, brakes are probably the most important component of any vehicle. It doesn’t matter how fast you can go, or how well you can turn…but if you can’t stop, stop fast, and stop reliably, then very bad things can happen very quickly.

Ref UncleTurbos comments: Suspension and steering = safety. Start with those, including the brakes.

You didn’t tell us which motor it has. VW made that car with 5 (yep, 5 - they switched mid year) different motors. Some will go further than others, easier. 300K is attainable with all of them, just easier with some. And he needs to either learn to do his own maintenance (and quick) or have a regular mechanic that can do it for him. One he trusts, and can rely on. Not all of them are out to get you - there are a few good ones left.

Sorry. Got a tad carried away. Best of luck,

Those sound like dealer prices. You can do a lot better with a local independent mechanic most of the time. It al all about maintenance. If you do it you likely make 300,000 but skimp and it will not get close.

Actually, that was AutoZone. You may do better at O’reilly’s or somewhere else. However, depending on the mechanic you get, yes, he can get better prices, but will he pass that savings on? Do note that the rear uses pads for braking, and a separate set of shoes for the e-brake.

I just did rotors/pads/shoes/fluid change on all 4 corners on my 01 Jetta…from the dealer. This car also has different rotors, depending on which half of the model year it was, and which engine was in it. The rotors are different sizes. All the parts totalled $170 (including tax). Sure, it was a bit high, but I normally get “genuine” parts (not the fluids), and I’m willing to pay that premium. However, that’s my call. I don’t do that to everyone I work with. I always give them options.

Wait…you’re talkng about her costs, aren’t you? NVM…