hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,953 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 #40

May 192014

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles


The car takes 15 minutes to heat up to 190, otherwise the car won't drive forward in proper gear without jerking. It drives like it is a stick shift instead of an automatic changing gear on it's own. The car stops without me pressing the brakes and sometimes just turns off unexpectedly. It smells like gasoline in the car. The cd player, clock and vehicle electrical malfunctions on and off. The engine light stays on. Autonation performed a multi point inspection and says the car needs a timing belt, coolant flange and after run pump, and rollers.

- Delray Beach , FL, USA

problem #39

Nov 072012

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 34,813 miles
Check engine light came on. Dealership confirmed it is do with mass air flow sensor. It turns out that this is a common problem with vws that the manufacturer does not acknowledge as a mass recall issue. I am dumbfounded that this can become an issue with such low mileage on the car.

- Palo Alto, CA, USA

problem #38

Oct 142011

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70 miles
We were traveling 70 mph on a highway in our 2002 Volkswagen Jetta wagon (gls 1.8T) when, without warning, an loud "poof" sound was heard, the car lost all power, and we smelled burning plastic. The car regained power, then a second "poof" sound was heard, and the power flickered in the car, at which point the car began filling with smoke. We rolled down the windows, pulled over to the shoulder, and evacuated the vehicle. We pulled out what belongings we could, but retreated from the car once flames appeared on the driver's side interior. Approximately 1 minute later, the entire car was engulfed in flames and was a total loss. We are thankful to have escaped with our lives. Here are the specifics of our vehicle: Model:Jetta trim:gls body style:4 door wagon engine:1.8L I4 20V mpfi DOHC turbo transmission:automatic.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #37

Nov 202010

Jetta 4-cyl

  • miles


Was driving while it was raining when all of a sudden my car started jerking and wouldn't let me go faster than 15mph. The asr and check engine lights went on. I was lucky enough to be driving at 6am with no one on the streets. I have had problems with this happenings in the past but I read online you just turn off the car and restart it. I tried it this morning and the lights were still on. This was at 6 am it is now 9:49 pm and still no luck. I also heard it might be due to engine coils but I had mine replaced less than a month ago.

- Montclair , CA, USA

problem #36

Jul 242002


  • 4 miles
My 2002 VW Jetta has smelled of melted crayons since the day that I bought it. I am not alone...just doing a google search brings up a lot of posts. VW of America is aware of the problem and is not doing anything to help those of us with this problem. The smell is so bad that it gives me a headache if I can't have the windows down. Turning on the heat makes the smell even worse, so I am dreading the cold winter. I don't know what breathing in these fumes is doing to my health.

- Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #35

Jul 022010


  • 16,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta. While driving between 15-20 mph, the engine completely stalled without warning. The contact was able to restart the vehicle as it resumed normal operation. The failure occurred twenty times. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic on ten times for the same failure. The crank position sensor was replaced with no additional repairs performed on the vehicle. The failure continued after the repair. The contact stated that there was a voluntary manufacturer recall associated with the catalytic converter. The dealer was notified and they informed the contact that the recall defect could possibly be related to the engine failure. The vehicle was in the process of being repaired. The contact stated the vehicle was unsafe to drive and planned to sell the vehicle. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was approximately 16,000.

- Mamaroneck, NY, USA

problem #34

Dec 012009


  • 76,000 miles


ABS warning light and check engine light lit up in 2002 Jetta.

- Everett, WA, USA

problem #33

Nov 022009


  • 69,000 miles
Our Volkswagen Jetta developed transmission issues just after the warranty period ran out. The transmission jerks at low speeds, when you hit the accelerator. Mechanics have said there is no saying when this will conk out. The water pump also conked out recently. Replacing the tranny is about $6000. Replacing the water pump cost us around $900. I hear dealerships charge a lot more for this service. The Volkswagen Jetta is too expensive a car, for it to have such poor quality. Hope someone can help make them pay for ripping customers off in this way. This outrageous.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #32

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 #31

Apr 062009


  • 85,333 miles
I bought a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta gls from a used car dealer last April. I have had a couple problems that I thought was unique to my specific car, however, after hours of research I've found that numerous other Jetta owners are having some of the same problems. 1. the vehicle smells like crayons 2. the heater stops working and only blows out hot air. 3. the engine eats oil and has a problem with sludge. This is inappropriate and no one is taking any responsibility or has a remedy for these problems. I'm afraid the fumes from the vehicle may be toxic and am unable to get rid of the car.

- Wasilla, AK, USA

problem #30

Jul 252009


  • 56,000 miles


2002 VW Jetta VR6 with cylinder no. 5 misfiring, rough idle and check engine stays on. Vehicle taken to the dealer where it was purchased, they replaced the coil pack injectors and the car has been tuned, however, the tech's at the dealer can not pinpoint the problem and the car will not pass the state inspection.

- New Castle, DE, USA

problem #29

Mar 232009


  • 75,000 miles
Volkswagen Jetta 2002 cooling fan failure/ inoperative I've been trying to locate the problem for about 2 months with no luck and I also did research on the web and there are quite a few people that have this same exact issue someone please help.

- Mechanicsburg, PA, USA

problem #28

Nov 042008


  • 136,014 miles
Timing belt was replaced at 89,000 miles per my request at VW dealership motor mount bolts failed at 136,000, motor dropped onto crossmember and steering components. Only one of two horizontal bolts was present at failure, remaining one bolt sheared off at block.

- Aberdeen, NJ, USA

problem #27

Apr 052008


  • 121,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta. While driving less than 10 mph in the driveway, the vehicle drove very roughly and felt as if it would shut off. Minutes later, the engine light illuminated on the instrument panel. The contact took the vehicle to a local mechanic and was informed that the engine coil failed. The vehicle was repaired and worked fine for a month before the failure recurred. She took the vehicle back to the local mechanic and had the vehicle repaired for a second time. The vehicle worked normally temporarily, but three weeks later, the engine light illuminated again. The mechanic stated that the engine coil failed again and they replaced it with a different part. Since the most recent repair, the vehicle has been working properly. The contact researched the failure and discovered numerous consumers with the same vehicle, who also experienced this same failure. The failure mileage was 121,000 and current mileage was 122,000.

- Dighton, MA, USA

problem #26

Apr 142008


  • 72,501 miles
I purchased the 2002 Volkswagen Jetta in August of 2006. The first set of repairs was on 3/2007 at 64,332 mi check engine light mulitple misfires: P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304 replaced ignition coils cost: $200.11 second repair took place in April of 2007 took car in for recall - replacement of brake light switch check engline light was back on - replaced temp. Sensor cost: $199.33 car was jerking into gear, downshifting hard and sluggish. Brought car into dealserhsip in April 2008 worn strut brushings needs rear pads needs rotors check engline light on again needs new coils again spark plugs temp sensor again new T-stat fans not working hoses under intake broken needs new transmission diagnosis cost: $149.21 estimated cost of repair: $6,500.

- Fairfield, CT, USA

problem #25

Apr 282007


  • 71,000 miles
2002 tdi VW Jetta. Had for 1.5 years engine blew at 70K on it.. took to seacoast VW in nh first said might be sludge later said was a chain that slipped caused engine to blow and metal pieces to be throughout. Called VW first said I would have to pay for it and then send them receipts. When not able to afford the thousands it would cost talked to them again spoke to alicia at VW and she called seacoast VW in nh then called and state it would be covered. Went about having it towed to VW dealership to get fixed. When called again was told wouldn't cover it but would give me 1000 dollars off the price of the repair valid for 30 days.. engine still blown car still sitting in garage been trying to get fixed since April of 2007.seems to be a common thing with VW that have major engine problems without lots of mileage.

- Camden, ME, USA

problem #24

Aug 152007

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 88,100 miles
Volkswagens use of cheap plastics on the oil stick of my 2002 Volkswagen Jetta caused plastic from the oil stick to fall into my motor and cause motor damage including an oil leak and eurasian auto service in panama city already has a VW product that is broken down in their shop, and even Volkswagen own service manager in panama city, mike boatwright, told VW they should authorize him to make the repairs but they refused, the ostensibly lowest bid plastics used for the 2002 VW's also caused mike boatwright to ask that VW replace my headlight lenses as they are creating a traffic hazard, and not only is this nationwide, but mallory horne of the Florida dmv who referred me to you wrote to me that " your complaint has not fallen on deaf ears, I just got rid of my Volkswagen Jetta for the same headlight problem" and I will be happy to mail you a copy in support of my complaint, also walmart's service manager in callaway Florida is the person who found that my car is now leaking oil due to Volkswagen failing to repair the motor and he says that he saw the same Volkswagen problem in new england at his previous job (scott). Also the cheap plastics used on my car that caused these safety traffic violations, were used on the glove box lock which is broken and the radio aerial which is broken. The first 2002 VW I was given broke down in traffic in the dark and was exchanged the following day. So there are more than enough witnesses that the 2002 Volkswagen Jettas should be recalled, me, jerry P carroll, mike boatwright, reggie at eurasian, mallory horne, and scott at walmart, in addition there are many students at my college with the same problem who are in hope that you will help them also. Breaking down in traffic with limited headlights is a national safety crisis, as far as deaths and injuries, entering zero only means that VW has managed so far to conceal any.

- Panama City , FL, USA

problem #23

Oct 172007

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • Manual transmission
  • 29,000 miles
Vehicle is a 2002 tdi Jetta gls 4 door sedan manual transmission. At about 29,000 miles the check engine light illuminated with and obd 2 code of (P0128 coolant thermostat-coolant temperature below thermostat regulating temperature). Took the vehicle to dealer which replaced the coolant temperature sensor and coolant fluid. This did not correct the problem which recurred. I then did research and found VW tech bulletin 4-04 which addresses this problem and is intended to guide technician troubleshooting. I feel this is either a parts design defect, engineering flaw, or vehicle wiring assembly defect. It is not a normal maintenance or wear and tear issue. Dealer is attempting second round of troubleshooting for this problem. Request NHTSA assess other vehicle owners similar complaints and pursue a recall for this VW known problem/defect as vehicle is no longer under warranty but this problem is known to occur for this vehicle.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #22

Jun 192007

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
Car stalled without warning. Usually happened when slowing down for a stop or while at a stop. Sometimes stalled when starting up from a stop. This was very dangerous as car stalled and cars behind were beginning to speed up or when trying to cross a busy road and making a left turn. I had about $1000 of service at the local Volkswagen dealer in the past 6 months.

- Niceville, FL, USA

problem #21

Apr 222007

Jetta 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles
On April 22, 2007 my son was returning to college in the 2002 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T when the engine siezed without warning as he accelerated to enter a busy interstat 80. Fortunately, he was able to coast off to the side of the road. Interstate 80was heavily used by trucks, and had my son not been in a position to get off to the side the engine failure could have caused a very serious safety hazard not only to my son but to many other vehicles using this highway. I understand that this is not an isolated instance of failure of the VW 1.8 T engine. From what I have seen on the internet it appears that is fairly common for these engines to fail and VW tends to blame the owners for improper maintenance. My Jetta was purchased in April 2006 with 31,000 miles, in the year that we had the car we put approx. 10,000 miles on it and we had the oil changed at least two times. We purchased this car based on VW advertising about the quality and safety of these cars and I feel that VW should take responsibility for their poorly engineered engine and issue a recall to correct deficiencies with this engine. I order for me to correct this problem I have to replace the engine, I also have just been informed that when the engine suddenly froze the transmission was also damaged. The cost of to make this car usable again will be in excess of $7,000. While I don't feel that it is right that I am stuck with the cost of repairs that are the result of a serious design problem with this engine, I am much more concerned with putting lives in jeopardy when an engine stops without warning at high way speeds

- Williamsport, PA, USA

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