What is the Jetta TDI's repair record like?

I like everything I see about the Jetta TDI (diesel), but I am leery of VWs because I have heard nasty things about the Passat and because Consumer Reports consistently rates most VW models as having a rather mediocre repair record. According to the April '09 issue, the Passat and the Touareg look like real stinkers, but the Jetta (5-cylinder???) seems OK except for ‘power equipment’. (What is that anyway?) However, I don’t think that they rated the diesel version. Can anyone reassure me that a DIESEL Jetta TDI has a good repair record?

Diesel car engines have twice the repair rate compared to car gas engines.
It also costs more to repair a diesel (the dealership has a monopoly).

“Diesel car engines have twice the repair rate compared to car gas engines.
It also costs more to repair a diesel (the dealership has a monopoly).”

Wrong on both counts. I believe you will find repair rates about the same and there are plenty of non-dealer mechanics familiar with TDI’s and other car diesels. There is nothing the dealer has a monopoly on.

Yes VW’s have a higher rate of problems. I don’t see TDI’s any higher than gasoline fueled VW’s. As for the higher rate of problems, I believe it is not nearly as significant as many people feel. If one car out of 1,000 as a problem on average, then a car that has one per 500 on average will have twice as many, but only one if 500 will have a problem. Put the differences in perspective.

I suggest you stop by www.tdiclub.com. They have more accurate information than you will find anywhere else. The good and the bad is all there. Chances are there are members in your area and would be happy to share their local experiences. In many areas the meet informally regularly and would be happy to have you join in.

If you are at all concerned with reliability, it’s wise to stay away from any Volkswagen. Some are better than others and some years are better than others, but by and large they rank near the bottom. Having said that, a well cared for Volkswagen will go many miles. The bodies are quite sturdy.

If you are a tech-savvy type and really understand what type of driving and care prolongs car life, a VW may be for you. By the nature of your question, however you may not be prepared for the care and feeding of a Volkswagen.

Also check VWVortex.com. It is sponsored or paid for by VW but there is no censorship of the truth there. The sponsor of TDIClub (Fred) runs the site with his own personal preferences in reserve if he does not approve of something posted.

The question that you did not ask is about maintanance. Consider that VW TDI diesels need a 25 dollar fuel filter every 20K miles, require special, harder to get engine oil that can cost $8 per quart, use rubber timing belts as do many oriental cars, not to mention that a typical turbo life is 125,000 miles. The cost to buy is higher, much higher in some instances than an ordinary compact gasoline car that can approach TDI fuel mileage figures.

If you want a unique and excellent driving car that is more than a transportation appliance, then a VW TDI is good but don’t expect to save money even if repairs are not needed. Diesel fuel prices switch places with 87 octane but recently have more often been more expensive than 87 octane. In the somewhat distant past, the opposite was true.

VW reached the ultimate in diesel car practicality and simplicity with non turbo, IDI, not TDI diesels. They stopped making IDI diesels for the 1993 model year. Yes, they have less power but have minimal German electronics to give trouble and can more easily be repaired and maintained by a home mechanic.

Hey, thanks for the info about the tdiclub. I’ll go there.

Fred J.