Jetta 2003 What's the standard life term?

I have a VW Jetta 2003, 2.0L 115 hp, imported into France from the US because it was cheaper to ship it here than to sell it in the US and buy something similar here.

It has had the big 60K-mile service and the dealer here changed the distribution belt and water pump, brakes, shock absorbers, struts, and all that jazz.

It has been fairly well maintained. It works great, with no apparent loss of power, specially when passing in the highway; hardly losses any oil, etc. In short it is still a great car.

It is approaching the 100k-mile mark and my question is: How many miles can I expect it to last? I hear that there are Toyotas and Hondas that last up to 200k-miles. Is it reasonable to expect the same from my car?


Most any car today will last 200k miles, given good maintenance. After 100k there will be increasing number of repairs (alternator, starter, radiator, etc), but the engine should last.

I agree with texases.
You should be able to get at least 150k miles out of this car, but if you want to avoid as many repairs as possible, and if you want to stretch the 150k to…perhaps 200k, I would strongly suggest that you change from maintaining the car “fairly well” to maintaining it VERY well.

Good maintenance is invariably cheaper than the repairs that result from lax maintenance.
And, scheduled maintenance is a whole lot more convenient than unexpected breakdowns.

Thanks Texases and VDCdriver!

Well, if changing (synthetic) oil every 10,000 miles and keeping close tags on fluids, driving it without abuse is not very well maintained, what else should I do?

If you REALLY want the car to last, change the oil twice as often. Europeans don’t keep their cars very long and a car like yours is shipped off to Africa or some other developing region long before it wears out.

In addition, follow the owner’s manual closely, but change the automatic transmission fluid every 30,000 -40,000 miles (another item that is NOT in the owner’s manual). Changing the timing belt on this car is CRITICAL; read the manual as to the frequency!!!

As Stated, you can make a VW last a long time, but if any major item fails, like the transmission or turbo, it will total the car.

What you are calling “good maintenance” is not even the bare minimum and it will not make your car last to 200,000 miles. Even a Toyota needs more maintenance to get there. The timing belt (without changing it) will likely give out at 150,000 miles totalling the engine and likely the car.


You are welcome, traductor, but now that you have revealed your 10k mile oil change regimen, I have to tell you that “fairly well maintained” is…not accurate. We can only wonder about how long you may have deferred other vital maintenance procedures.

Are you aware that these VW engines are notorious for “sludging” when the oil is not changed at least as often as VW specifies? Once a significant sludge build-up is present, the restriction of oil flow to the bearings and other sensitive areas of the engine is severely impeded, leading to engine failure.

Now that your maintenance habits are beginning to be revealed, I have to say that I would be very surprised if the car can be driven much longer before you begin to incur major repair costs.

As Docnick stated, READ THE OWNER’S MANUAL!

The 10k miles oil change interval is not a very good one to abide by. Away from the press releases and PR statements, this kind of regimen is rough on a vehicle out in the real world.

Drive it until problems develop (oil consumption, low oil pressure, etc.) and dump it at that point. When that point will be is unknown.

Other potential trouble spots could be due to lack of brake fluid changes, coolant changes, and the real fly in the ointment; fluid changes if the car has an automatic transmission. A failed automatic on an aged car is often means an economic death to the vehicle.

I have a 2003 Jetta TDI (diesel) and the spec scheduled oil change interval is every 10K miles using a full-synthetic oil. I believe the gas 2.0 engine even using a full-synthetic oil should be changes at least every 5K miles, for the reasons others have stated.

My 2003 Jetta TDI has been kept on the factory scheduled maintance and has 86K miles on it so far. It doesn’t use (burn) any oil to register any reduced oil capacity, but it does leak just enough oil (maybe a 1/4 cup) in the 10K mile interval to make a slight mess on the engine. The car has done this since it had 5K miles on it and the dealer tried a fix but no luck. I quite taking the car to the dealer as they tended to break more than they fixed each time I brought them my car. I do my own routine maintence and have found a local mechanic to do the big stuff (timing belt, water pumps, electrical, brakes…)

You should get 200K out of the car, but increase the oil change interval and maybe use some BG products to clean out any sludge buildup.