really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
81,000 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine under warranty (2 reports)
  2. replace the engine (2 reports)
2003 Volkswagen Jetta engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments

problem #4

Mar 122007

Jetta GLS 1.8 T

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles


I travel for my job and This was real inconvenience . I had to borrow a car from a friend for 3 weeks while a used engine was located . I could not afford to have a new engine put in the car . Nor could I afford to have a rental car for the 3 weeks it took to find and engine and then the extra 2 it took for the mechanic to get the engine in . It was more than frustrating it was embarrassing . I thought I bought a quality car evidently Volkswagen has lowered it;s standards ....the even more frustrating thing is I couldn't get rid of the car but at the time I couldn't afford to buy a new one i have always been an avid VW customer Now I don't know what to buy next - I don't think I will be looking at any German cars.

- bornbuckeye, Albuquerque, NM, US

problem #3

Jan 092008

Jetta GLI 1.8L T

  • Manual transmission
  • 128,000 miles

at 60200 (just out of warranty) the oil pump was replaced (no explanation why) then at 100300 right after a maintenance service the oil pump failed again - the dealership blamed me for poor upkeep. little did they know i had all the oil change receipts but they still charged me big time to fix it. the for the third time the oil pump failed and the engine seized up --- because of oil sludge build up ---- now it is going to cost me a new motor AND they know all about the rotten oil pump problems

- Len S., Madison, GA, US

problem #2

Jul 132007

(reported on)

Jetta 1.8T

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

I found this VW 1.8T engine oil sludge petition online at http://new.PetitionOnline.com/VWSludge/petition.html, obviously this is a common problem and Volkswagen is trying to pass the buck..............

Volkswagen 1.8T Engine Oil Sludge View Current Signatures - Sign the Petition --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To: Volkswagen of America To: Volkswagen Motor Corporation

We, the undersigned petitioners, including former and current Volkswagen owners, do hereby give notice to Volkswagen Motor Corporation, that we are dissatisfied with the current customer service initiatives for owner complaints of engine oil sludge pertaining to the 1.8T engines found in Passat and Jetta models. This includes the "Extended Warranty Initiative" sent to all 1.8T engine owners. This initiative does not restore the original warranty rights of the affected consumers who continue to be blamed for the problem by this company. In addition, these initiatives do nothing to help those who had to trade in their vehicles due to an inability to pay for exorbitant repairs within the warranty period.

There are numerous complaints on sites like www.myvwlemon.com, www.vwsucks.com, etc. where owners are denied warranty work, some for the first time ever in their lives, because they cannot find 100% of their original oil change receipts. Others have all documentation and are still denied. The stories that are added daily to these sites indicate a SERIOUS situation that must be addressed as soon as possible.

Pointing the finger at the owners is unconscionable given that untold numbers of owners properly maintained their vehicles according to your recommended maintenance schedule. We, the "Volkswagen Owners Unite for Resolution" consumer group are not willing to accept blame for this very serious engine problem any longer! We would like a formal retraction of blame immediately. A public statement by Volkswagen Motor Corporation is appropriate. We would also like a recall of the affected engines. If these engines cannot be fixed permanently, we would like this company to repurchase the affected vehicles once the problem is formally acknowledged. The owners must be compensated for the loss of resale value of their vehicles due to this condition. In addition, all incidental and collateral expenses must be covered. Nothing less would be fair to the affected owners!

Engine oil sludge development is unacceptable, especially in these late model vehicles. These engines are not the same after repair. Some owners with engine replacement have experienced a recurrent sludge condition. Lack of owner maintenance is not the cause of either the slow or sudden demise of these engines. Volkswagen owner engine analyses reveal adverse changes in the engine's oil condition even with less than 3,000 miles on the engine's oil. We, the owners, believe there is a mechanical problem which is contributing to premature wear of these engines.

Owners are very concerned about the safety of these vehicles. Some engines are seizing at highway speeds. Engine failure is unpredictable. Some owners have lost all traces of engine oil suddenly. Owners have lost faith in their vehicles based on these occurrences.

We, the undersigned are shocked and appalled by the actions of Volkswagen Motor Corporation. We expected more from our Volkswagen vehicles given the daily advertisements describing these vehicles as high in quality and reliability. We want what we paid for... a safe, reliable vehicle that holds its value over time. We don't think this is asking too much! We want Volkswagen to do the right thing!

Sincerely, The Undersigned

- pooler, Brookfield, CT, US

problem #1

Mar 172007

(reported on)

Jetta 1.8T

  • Manual transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Our 2003 VW Passat 1.8T engine has seized and we are told it is due to oil sludge. When we went to VW to have the car repaired under warranty, we told we must showing ALL receipts from "authorized" facilities which would then be reviewed by VW to determine if the warranty would cover repair costs. Who could comply with such criteria? I'm not even sure if the service center's we used for oil change were "authorized" or actually used synthetic oil we we later learned is another requirement after the fact!!! Admittedly, our frequency of oil changes where not in strict accordance with the maintenance schedule, but certainly within reason. We are completely frustrated with VW and their "official" position with regard to an engine design that is obviously prone to failure. We are not mechanics, but I don't know of any other automobile where engine will seize under such conditions. This is a clear case in which VW dumped a non-robust engine design on the consumer and is weaseling out of standing behind their product!!! Even if we could find used engine, repair cost is estimated at $4,000 - $5,000. Currently, the Passat sits in a driveway while we continue to make car payments. Never again will we purchase a VW product. We would appreciate some advice from someone with a similar problem who has been successful in getting VW to stand behind their product... but we won't hold our breath waiting.

- Pete M., Eatontown, NJ, US

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