Here Are The Volkswagen Jetta Years To Avoid

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VW Jetta Next to a Lake

Source: Pixabay

The Volkswagen Jetta has earned its reputation as a classic family-friendly, compact sedan. Sold since 1984 in the U.S., the Jetta isn’t going away anytime soon.

As a long-enduring compact sedan, it’s no wonder that it’s a popular option when buying a second-hand car. So you’re probably asking, is the Volkswagen Jetta a reliable car?

Unfortunately, the Jetta isn’t exactly known for its reliability. This is why we made a list of the Volkswagen Jetta years to avoid. If you’re looking to buy a used Jetta, we highly recommend that you keep reading.


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Which Volkswagen Jetta Years To Avoid?

The popularity of the Volkswagen Jetta is hard to deny, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a bug-free car. When buying a used car, reliability is one of the most important criteria. Thus, some Jetta years are best avoided to help you get the most out of your money.

Below are the Volkswagen Jetta years to avoid:

  • 2006 Volkswagen Jetta
  • 2009 Volkswagen Jetta
  • 2010 Volkswagen Jetta
  • 2012 Volkswagen Jetta
  • 2013 Volkswagen Jetta
  • 2019 Volkswagen Jetta


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2006 Volkswagen Jetta

According to the folks at CarComplaints, the 2006 year has the most complaints out of all Jetta models, making it a prime candidate for this list of Volkswagen Jetta years to avoid.

The number one complaint about this model is its transmission failure issue. From 85k to 110k mileage, many drivers have reported that the 2006 Jetta has problems shifting and getting stuck in neutral. Other people also noted that the vehicle jerks whenever they shift gears, especially between the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gear. This is a rather significant issue since it often needs replacement to resolve, which costs as much as $4,000.

Another common problem of the 2006 Jetta is that the check engine light comes on during cold weather. Many owners find this defect very annoying since it comes on and off after a few months. The issue can be attributed to the Jetta’s glow plugs/wiring harness causing the check engine light to illuminate.

If reliability is your main concern, you can do better than the 2006 Jetta.

2009 Volkswagen Jetta

Although the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta has fewer complaints than the 2006 model, it’s widely considered one of the worst Volkswagen Jetta years to avoid - mainly due to the severity of its problems.

For starters, let’s talk about its Antilock Braking System (ABS) that’s susceptible to failure. This defect accounted for the majority of reported brake problems for this model. Several reviewers claimed that the ABS light came on after the system failed. In some cases, the failure led to a stall.

In extreme cases, the ABS module failure has caused an accident or near-accident because the brakes and traction control stopped working. The problem was so severe the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) issued a recall for the its faulty ABS module.


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2010 Volkswagen Jetta

A year later, Volkswagen released another troublesome model with the 2010 Jetta. The 2010 Jetta is yet another year used car buyers should avoid with over a hundred complaints.

Unexpectedly, the most common problem with the 2010 Jetta is its faulty stereo system. Many drivers reported that the car stereo simply died and did not work anymore. Adding to their frustration, the most common solution is to completely replace the stereo system, which can cost as much as $600.

The 2010 Jetta suffered from performance issues such as stalling, faulty check engine lights, and poor acceleration, according to the complaints. Unhappy Jetta owners also cited the fuel pump failure as one of the major problems of the 2010 model. It was found out that the source of the problem was the faulty high-pressure fuel pump.

2012 Volkswagen Jetta

While it’s not as problematic as the other Jettas on this list, the 2012 model year has its fair share of reliability woes. According to Car Complaints, the 2012 Jetta has lodged more than 700 complaints and had eight recalls.

One of the most reported issues with this model is its automatic transmission shifting. Some owners complained about hearing humming noises, smelling unusual odors, and unresponsiveness when shifting. Fortunately, this issue seems to occur in high-mileage Jettas. However, the proposed fix is quite expensive since the transmission system has to be replaced.

Misfiring engines is another problem you should look out for when buying this model year. When an engine misfires, the check engine light will illuminate.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta

Consumer Reports gave the 2013 Jetta a reliability rating of 1 out of 5, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s plagued with a host of reliability issues that we can’t overlook.

The 2013 Jetta’s most significant problem is its stalling engine. Several users complained that the Jetta’s engine stalled while on the road. One user mentioned that the engine stalled while he was driving at 70 mph, which is a dangerous situation. This particular engine problem can cost you a grand for repairs and manifests itself at around 68k miles.

The fuel system is another trouble spot for the 2013 Jetta. Like the aforementioned fuel pump failure, the Jetta flashed wrong error lights and suffered from performance problems. While it’s not as worse as the 2010 version, the presence of this TDI high-pressure fuel pump problem hardly inspires any confidence.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta

A lot is going on with the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta - impressive fuel economy, comfortable ride, effortless acceleration, and easy-to-use controls. However, in terms of reliability, it fell short.

As per Consumer Reports, the 2019 Jetta has an overall reliability score of 1 out of 5, ranking 9 out 9 among 2019 small cars. One of its sore spots is the transmission’s grinding noise produced in both Normal and ECO modes. Many owners were upset when the dealership told them that it was normal and not a problem.

Another troublesome spot for this Jetta is body hardware. From loose bolts to the faulty trunk, the 2019 Jetta received many complaints about its body integrity which isn’t a good sign, quality-wise. In other claims, the Jetta is allegedly improperly sealed from the elements, causing the water outside to leak inside.


With over four decades of models on the market, it’s tricky to land on the right option. You might wonder - what is the most reliable year Volkswagen Jetta offers interested customers?

Which Volkswagen Jetta Models are Safe to Buy Used?

Now that we’ve got the problematic Jettas out of the way, it’s time for our recommendation of the best model years to buy used.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta

The 2011 Jetta stands out as a solid compact car in that given year. A decade has passed, and it’s still an excellent iteration of the Jetta with a spacious interior, a huge trunk, and excellent fuel economy. Safety scores are also on-point, and best of all, it’s a reliable Jetta with very few known problems.

2017 Volkswagen Jetta

Buyers looking for a newer Jetta will have a lot to love with the 2017 year. At Consumer Reports, the 2017 VW Jetta is one of the top-rated years with a reliability rating of 4 out of 5. The 2017 Jetta offers a fun driving personality, roomy backseat and trunk, excellent driver visibility, and affordability.

2020 Volkswagen Jetta

2020 is the year when VW got it right with the Jetta. The trusty sedan delivers on all fronts, including refinement, value, and reliability.

Part of what makes the 2020 Jetta a reliable vehicle is its excellent safety scores. It includes standard safety features like ABS braking, stability control, and an automatic post-crash response system. The 2020 Jetta only has three recalls that only affected a few vehicles as of this writing.

The 2020 Jetta is a dependable sedan with enough power to get things done.

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