97 Jetta lifespan

Recently purchased a 97 Jetta GL 5 spd. with 170K miles for college student to use solely for 175 miles of highway driving twice/week.

Car seems to have been maintained well and runs great - but it’s only been a week.

Have never had a car this old or with mileage over 125K. Can any VW owners offer insight on problems we should anticipate in a Jetta of this age and mileage travelling at 65-70mph on the highway? Hopefully not that the wheels fall off over 55 mph!!

Try VWVortex. Lots of VW people there.

Relax, I’ve had several cars over 125K. There is nothing magical about 100K that spells doom for a car. You need to face reality that the car is 13 years old, so there will be some repairs over the next few years. Radiators are common items replaced on older cars. Heater cores, fans, yadda yadda.

Make sure the car has good tires, good brakes, and otherwise maintain it properly. After 100K miles many people just give up on normal maintenance. That is a big mistake. Properly cared for cars can go 200K miles, and some go way over 300K miles.

You need to find out what the proper service is for a '97 Jetta. If there is an owner’s manual in the glovebox that is the best place to start. Once you know what the mfg says needs to be done and when; then you need to figure out if the previous owner(s) kept up with the maintenance as per the mfg recommendations.

Get AAA for the kid. The car is on borrowed time.

A VW is no different than any other car on the market and you’re talking about one with 170k miles so some problems can be expected unless it was meticulously maintained; and the odds of that are pretty slim because only a very few cars fall into this category.

I worked for VW quite a few years and did not see anything about them more prone to repairs than any other car. While a VW was on one lift getting this or that fixed a Subaru or Honda was on the lift next to it getting its own proprietary problem solved.

One thing you should really check on and have performed if it cannot be verified is the timing belt replacement.

I had a GTI for 13 years, no unusual problems. As others have said, go through the maintenance schedule, make sure everything is up to date, like oil, coolant, timing belt/water pump, transmission fluid, brakes, alignment, and tires. If you don’t know about an item, do it. It may also be time for shocks/struts/alignment.