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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 10
Average Mileage:
29,246 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Volkswagen Jetta engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #31

Jan 012011


  • 110,000 miles


First issue, the engine is burning oil. I've noticed that my car engine started burning oil when it had about 50,000 miles on it. It took me almost two years to prove to the VW dealership mechanics that the engine is burning oil. At 73,000 miles the VW dealership mechanics rebuilt the engine. My oil consumption normalized. Now, at around 115,000 miles, I've noticed that the engine started burning oil again. 1,800 miles after an oil change, jiffy lube mechanic had to add 2.5qt of oil. Shouldn't the engine last at least 100,000 miles after rebuild" it seems that this engine only lasts 45,000 miles. This feels like a major defect and VW has to recall the engine. Second issue, my car is only 8 years old but it's on its third transmission. I had to replace transmission at 32,000 miles and again at 73,000 miles. I'm at 115,000 and I'm getting very worried because I'm starting to feel little jerks. This looks to be a 40,000 miles transmission. How can VW do this to consumers" it would seem reasonable to me if this transmission gets recalled. I'm not even mentioning many other malfunctions. One of which includes getting flooded during rainy season. I can't believe my car, 2002 VW Jetta 2.0L gls was allowed to be on the market.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #30

Jul 222010


  • 95,600 miles
Loss of power on freeway, without warning. Vehicle lost power, then, while attempting to restore power by 'pumping' the accelerator, shifted into second gear, resulting in a very rapid deceleration from 70 mph to 45 mph. This occurred twice in one hour, at both times requiring following motorists to swerve severely to avoid.

- Ventura, CA, USA

problem #29

Oct 242009


  • 7,500 miles
2002 VW Jetta 2.0 stopped and sputtered on main highway because of ignition coil failure. The car has 7500 miles and VW acknowledges the problem for 1.8 liter engines but not for 2.0 liter. They are recalling 90000 1.8 cars but are charging $600 for the 2.0 fixes. Surely, they bought them from the same supplier.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #28

Oct 222006

Jetta 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles


The oil pan is made of aluminum and the drain plug is metal. When my mechanic changed it out it was stripped causing me to have to pay for a new oil pan, screw and labor of about $440. I am requesting a full refund and asking VW to replace the drain plain with an aluminum screw or replace the oil pan. After reviewing VW blogs other cars are having this same issue. The second thins is the transmission service. I had been requesting over the last 3 years from the dealer that my transmission be serviced but they told me it was not serviceable. Even my mechanic who called to fix the oil they also told him that because my transmission was not changing gears properly. He pulled it any and found that the fluid was black and the filter was clogged not allowing in fluid to flow through. Had I waited two weeks more I would have had to replaced the entire transmission. Another coast of about request from VW is 1000 for replacement cost and labor.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #27

Oct 102006

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles
Engine revs high when accelerator is depressed, but does not accelerate. This happened a number of times when attempting to merge into high speed traffic.

- Lombard, IL, USA

problem #26

Jul 142006

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 69,900 miles
While driving in the afternoon, my vehicle suddenly lost power and acceleration capability with the "check engine" light coming on and blinking. I took it to the dealer immediately. I am informed my 2002 VW Jetta 1.8T has "3 faulty coils." The failure was sudden and without warning. I maintain my car according to VW specs. In 02/2003 VW acknowledged a problem with this in over 530,000 2001 to early 2003 vehicles. I feel the failure was premature (as to what could be typically expected of an engine/vehicle for reliability), and a danger. Obviously the fact that it has remanifested in such a short period of time shows that it was not properly addressed with the original fix only 2 years ago. My vehicle was unable to adequately maintain itself within the flow of traffic. I was lucky to get to the 'slow lane' without incident. VW disclaims any responsibility for defect or otherwise and says that because the vehicle is out of its warranty period I am responsible ($454). I will pay this, but how can I drive knowing that these coils could stop all or any one cylinder from correctly firing? this could kill me and the manufacturer does not care.. as they quite bluntly stated.

- El Cajon, CA, USA

problem #25

May 102006

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


I'm not positive this constitutes a safety issue, but it may in the event of an accident since an aluminum oil pan could be severely damaged and could cause an oil spill, but below is a portion of the letter I submitted to Volkswagen using their online form. If this is not under your office's responsibilities, can you tell me who I should contact next? basically they told me it could take them 2 to 3 years to issue a recall if ever. Thank you. I took my 2002 Jetta in on Wednesday, May 10th for what should have been a routine oil change, but $330 dollars later was obviously not. My mechanic informed me that I needed a new oil pan. Something that is 99% of the time only replaced after an accident or after 15 years or so if it's rusted out. The reason: The oil pan itself is made of aluminum and the drain plug is made of steel. Anyone with half an ounce of engineering or materials knowledge (something I would hope and assume a Volkswagen parts designer has) knows that you don't manufacture a part out of a soft metal which has something screwed into it made out of a harder metal. The threads eventually get completely stripped after repeated oil changes. According to the service schedule in my owner's manual, oil changes are mandatory service required to keep the car under warranty. Also this could very well present a safety issue in the event of an accident due to leaking oil if the pan was damaged since it's made of aluminum. What has angered me the most about this is that Volkswagen obviously knows about this design defect and has not issued a recall. When my mechanic called the local Volkswagen dealer (and where I purchased my car) the parts department told him "oh yeah, we know about that problem. In fact we stock the redesigned part". the bottom of my new oil pan is now made of steel which it should have been in the first place.

- Natrona Heights, PA, USA

problem #24

May 172006


  • miles
My wife's 2002 Jetta station wagon turbo has been nothing but trouble. Only 30 K and today a $2,600 repair. Valve for air conditioner pump broke and sent metal fragments through the system necessitating replacement of ac pump. Cooling fan not working- that's $800. Last repair was auto windows- idiot designers put in plastic components. My wife takes excellent care of her vehicle (oil change, etc.) and this inferior bit of workmanship just costs her more money. She will shortly be dumping this piece of crap for Toyota corolla.

- University Park, MD, USA

problem #23

Sep 212005

Jetta 4-cyl

  • miles
I have taken my 2002 VW Jetta turbo to the dealer numerous times in the past year that I have owned it, including two days after I purchased it for a "check engine" light. In the past two months, my car has been at the dealer's service dept more than I have driven it. I just picked up my car last Wednesday, and the light came on again today.

- St Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #22

Jun 172005

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,997 miles
2002 Jetta wagon, bought with 16K miles; now has 23000. Inspection report provided by sales dealer noted there were no sights of oil leaks, no visible smoke, normal oil pressure readings, etc. The oil was changed and the level checked just prior to purchase. Car has used 4 quarts of oil in 7000 miles, with no leaks or spray and no visible smoke. VW dealership says to have the warranty cover this problem (60000 mi/4 year warranty), that they would have change the oil, then I must bring it in every 1000 miles for the next few thousand miles to get oil checked, despite the fact that I have receipts that establish that the car burned 2 quarts of oil in approximately 3500 miles of driving. They say it is "normal" for this vehicle to burn 1 quart every 3000 miles. No vehicle with only 22000 miles on it should be burning oil. I have discovered many other Jettas have the same problem, and that owners are routinely told by VW it is "normal" to burn as much as 1 quart per 1000 miles. Even if the car was "only" burning 1 quart every 3000 miles, I would consider this a defect, not "normal." It's burning twice that. My concern is that VW has manufactured an engine that is inherently defective, and is telling customers that it is "normal" for low-mileage Jettas to be burning oil to avoid honoring the warranty. I am also concerned that this process of bringing it in every 1000 miles is just designed to delay addressing the problem until the warranty expires. I only have until September to resolve this issue before the warranty expires; I wanted to have a record of the fact that the problem developed prior to the end of the warranty.

- Lawrence, KS, USA

problem #21

Sep 202004

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles


The vehicle is a used 2002 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T, standard transmission, 1) the vehicle was purchased used in 08/2004 and was driven normally for transportation of my family. The check engine light came on several weeks after purchase. 2) the car began stalling frequently at all points of operation. The engine would simply stall at such points as comeing to a stop, accelerating, slowing for turn, or regular driving on freeway and surface streets. 3) we have taken it to the same dealership of purchase four times over five months for this same problem that is covered by the original factory warranty. Parts replaced (from earliest to most recent visits): 1) mass air-flow sensor, transmission reset; 2) pipe from PCV to 3-way hose by valve cover, 1/2 moon seal below chain adjuster, cam seals, breather valve; 3) turbo recirc valve; 4) mass air-flow meter.

- Fair Oaks, CA, USA

problem #20

Jan 012003

Jetta 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles
Engine failure, radio failure, window wouldn't roll back up, vibrating speakers. W service shop failed to correct conditions on several occasions.

- Whitestone, NY, USA

problem #19

Aug 102004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
Was currently deployed in support of operation iraqi freedom for more than a year, my car was at my parents, being driven once or twice a week to keep engine in good shape. Some of these things have been since returning in April 2004, others happened prior to leaving in February 2003. It's a 2002 Jetta gls. I shouldn't be having these type of problems this soon. 1. oil plug on oil pan is almost stripped from getting oil changes (advised by 3 different garages). Currently attempting to get a new plug, an oversized one per 2 garages. 2. patches of paint seem to be almost chipping away (on several spots all over the car). Took it to the dealer & they said it was due to bird poop. My car stays in a garage & gets washed bi-weekly. 3. the coating on both inside door handles is peeling. 4. the window mechanism needed fixed. Dealer fixed. 5. recall about brake light fixed by dealer.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #18

Jan 102004

Jetta 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
1) transmission slips, and causes a thud. Have taken vehicle to dealership 3 times and nothing has been done to correct this problem. 2) led display disappears. Have informed dealership of this problem twice and nothing has been done to correct this problem. 3) brakes are mushy. Have informed dealership once and nothing has been done to correct this problem. 4) vehicle is sluggish when accelerating. Have informed dealership once. 5) engine light has come on, and there is peculiar smell. Have informed dealership once.

- Newport News, VA, USA

problem #17

Jan 172004

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 27,350 miles
I own a 2002 Jetta purchased from a VW dealership in towson md in April, 02. I have close to 30000 miles on my car. About two months ago I noticed that my oil light came on. It was about 2000 miles until my next oil change. Oil is changed every 5K miles. When I checked my dipstick it was dry. I had to add about three quarts. Now about every 1K miles my car consumes about 1.5 qt of oil. This is a big problem. I read the owners manual regarding oil consuption with the Jetta and it said it will consume oil when the engine is new. Mine is not. There are posts all over the internet regarding this issue and something has to be done.

- York, PA, USA

problem #16

Nov 152003

Jetta 4-cyl

  • miles
I have a 2002 1.8T Volkswagen Jetta - I have experienced numerous failures. 1)radio has failed twice - in each instance fault was traced to a fuse - following radio failure I experienced repeated dead batteries until the radio was repaired. 2) ABS failure detected when I was getting my radio fixed the second time 3)vehicle has failed to start on two occasions - I wait a minute and try again - it worked 4)my window fell into the door 5)I experienced an activation of numerous engine fault lights that reset following engine restart 6)the coating on interior door handle surfaces peels off easily 7)the chrome ring around the shift know is peeling.

- Winston-Salem, NC, USA

problem #15

Feb 012002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Oil consumption. Volkswagen says "your oil should be changed every 5000 miles" well I have a Jetta and have run out of oil completely empty 3 times under 3000. I am currently undergoing an oil consumption with volkswagon. At this point I am at 3000 miles and I am 2 1/2 quarts low and still have 2000 miles till I have an oil change. There are no leaks, no oil on the engine. It is basically just disappearing on me. If I had not caught on to this, I could have blown the engine and it would have been my fault. Once volkswagon studies my oil consuption study they will determine what they are going to do with it. I have had it with volkswagon. I feel as if I live there. I am there more than I am at home with all kinds of problems. (slamming of the transmission, feels as if breaks won't catch to stop, broken consult, rip in seat seams, replacement of side door panels because of peeling, broken back ashtray, piece of sun roof broken off hit me in head).

- Forked River, NJ, USA

problem #14

May 282002

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 2,000 miles
Excessive engine oil consumption. His is my second new Jetta that burns engine oil. The car consumes 1 qt of oil per 2000 mi. Taking into consideration this car had 7 miles when I lease it, and I drive under normal driving conditions this engine oil consumption, for me, is totally unreasonable. If I would not refill the engine oil between oil change intervals (5000 mi), the car would consume 55% of its total engine oil, possibly burning its engine.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #13

May 161997

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 1,000 miles
I had both the passenger side window and the driver side window fall into the door frame within a matter of months. Both times the windows were fixed, however, they were reluctant to fix the problem as if it had been my fault. I have a small child and I don't think he appreciates asphyxiation from so much wind in his face on the long drives to the dealer to be replaced. This is just one of the problems on this car, the clutch gets stuck (repaired twice), the sunroof trim broke off and needed to be replaced, the engine makes a rattling noise when shifting (fixed twice), stereo system swallowed my cd (twice before new system installed), and air conditioning releases an awful moldy smell when turned on which dealer refuses to attempt to fix. Bought car in valencia Volkswagen in valencia, ca. Solution simple, traded in my 1yr old car for a better car, one that works!

- Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #12

Sep 282002


  • 200 miles
While driving, the vehicle suddenly decreased in speed.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

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