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Should I give up on my new/old Jetta?


I’m hoping to get some good advice. I purchased a 2001 Jetta VR6 in April - the dealer told me it was in fantastic shape - and it looks good…But, in the last few months, I’ve replaced the water pump and the entire ignition system. Currently, it’s running jumpy and the check Engine light is on. I don’t have the money or energy to buy more parts. What should I do? Do you think it’s safe to keep driving?

It is hard from here to tell what condition the car is really in. I would start by finding a local trusted mechanic. Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car. They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies. They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent.

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee.  During the warranty period be sure to have all required (as listed in the owner's manual) maintenance done and to document all maintenance work.

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic. 

Note: Never ever use a quick oil change place. They are fast cheap and very very bad.

Thank you for your advice. The car seems to be running fine, expect for the jumpiness. It has fluids and is not running hot.

You need to go get the codes read somewhere to find out what your car is telling you with the engine light. AutoZone or Advance Auto usually does this. Post back here what the codes are, usually in a P#### format

The engine light is on because the car is running jumpy. Since you just replaced the ignition system, I suspect the problem might be something as simple as a loose spark plug wire.
If you are near an Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts store, either of these chains will come out to your car and plug into your car and tell you why the idiot light is on (I will buy the car that just TELLS me why the check engine light is on, by the way. Why can I get precise, real-time directions to the nearest pizza place while driving but get a single check engine light bulb that just turns on when any of the car’s hundreds of complex systems have decided to either fart a little or outright fail)?
Anyway, since your car is “jumpy” (great description) I bet the result will be a miss in some cylinder. The clerk from Autozone will be able to tell you which cylinder number is missing.
If you are a lucky person you will find a way to get your hand far enough to the farthest, rearmost spark plug wire and find that it is loose, and find the anger and absolute resolution that waits within to provide the means to contort your hand in just the right angle and apply enough pressure to properly seat the plug wire.

That is the best case scenario. I think it is likely if you do in fact have a misfire in a cylinder. The jumpy description sells the diagnosis, since most computer-diagnosed misfires occur unnoticed by the driver.

Thanks everyone for your help! I finally got the diagnosis today from Advance Auto Parts. It said misfire in cylinder 3. I?m guessing the car isn?t going to explode. Any ideas on whether buying another expensive part for this heap is necessary?

If you don’t get good VW help here, try

Consider using scrapyard parts. It is possible that scrapyard electronics if electronic parts are what you need, can be better than brand new parts. Scrapyard parts that still work are burned in, have proven themselves; are past the infant mortality stage of the life of a part.