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Life of my car

How long should I expect my car to last? I have a 2001 VW Jetta, 112,000 miles, and all work has been done by the dealer where I purchased the car - all recommended maintenance, and whatever else necessary (with the exception of tires - went to Sears). I need new tires and am torn between getting another set of 60k or splurging for the 75k. If 200k is it’s life, then I think I’d go with the 75k. There is no rust on the body, but I haven’t crawled underneath to look. There hasn’t really been much major work - besides normal stuff: coolant temp sensor, water pump, and most recently a tie rod.


I never had much success for 70-80K tires actually lasting that long, so I would opt for 60K. As far as your Jetta’s life expectancy, you should hit 200K miles easily if you keep up the recommended services…your choice.

If the car is in solid mechanical shape now, and since it sounds like you actually take care of your car, there is no reason why it can’t go a few hundred thousand more miles.

The overwhelming majority of serious car problems (engine/transmission failures, etc.) are usually caused by lack of regular maintenance or when a small problem is allowed to become a big one; e.g. continuing to drive an overheating vehicle because a cooling fan fuse blew or a 5 dollar thermostat stuck closed.

If it has an automatic transmission, at some point before 200K it will probably fail, totaling the car. Usually, Cosco has a better deal on tires than Sears…

Sorry - I forgot to mention it is an automatic. Is there any way to check the transmission and see if it’s still in good shape?

I believe the trans in your Jetta is one that has no dipstick for the transmission and VW doesn’t recommend fluid changes. Unfortunately this does not mean the transmission will last forever.

I’m not sure how you can determine the condition of the transmission. There are others who may have to help you with that.

The transmission fluid should be changed about every 30k miles or so on an automatic. It’s the cheapest car transmission insurance policy you can buy.

It’s not a matter of determining the condition as it may look fine and still need to be changed.
If the fluid appears to be dark in color then changing it may be a step that is too late.

Although the cost of a new transmission might be more than the value of the car when it fails, it will not result in “totaling the car”. That is an insurance term used to get out of repairing a car when the cost of repairs after an accident are more than the vehicle value.

If you like the car, and it is in otherwise good condition, keep it. It is much less expensive to replace a transmission than it is to buy a new car.

VW Jetta/Golf uses a decent automatic transmission in the base 4cylinder.

My sis in law has a 1999 with original fluid(lifetime) with 200k miles. It shifts fine. The engine is a bit rough but still going. They live in the country(aka sticks) though and everything is at least 30-40 mins away.

If it has an automatic transmission, at some point before 200K

Which is usually because no one changed the transmission fluid or cleaned the filter unit after they started to have problems with the transmission.

The most expensive thing you can do to a car is to fail to provide proper maintenance.