Notes: Digging through the long list of NHTSA complaints about a sudden loss of engine power and the high pressure fuel pump failing, it's never good to come across the "my car (with a cold engine) set itself on fire in the middle of the night" complaint.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
50,053 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.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #15

Mar 132013


  • 30,000 miles


This has happened multiple times. The first recorded incident was in March of 2013. Went to the car and it would not start. It acted like the engine was seized or a bad battery. Let it sit started ran like crap. Found out later that the car when driven in cold temperatures accumulates water in the system. Https:// thats the VW tech bulletin on the matter. It has happened multiple times. From reading online this has / can start a fire because the starter overheats. Since the water gets into the cylinders it can cause engine damage. VW did not address the issue when it was brought in because they could not repeat the problem. Said I must have killed the battery by leaving something on. Since than it has happened 4 more times I can relate to the condition. It is in the dealership now because of it. They could not get it to repeat and may not provide a fix (although the given fix does not 100% fix it I was told by a tech.)

- Holland, MI, USA

problem #14

Nov 202013

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 28,400 miles
Drive home from work at about 1500 hrs, with no issues. Stopped at local supermarket, started engine with slight delay, left parking lot, car started to buck, drove maybe 1/2 mi started losing power, after going another 50 ft car engine died, pushed car to my driveway called dealership and had car towed to dealership. On 11/21/13 dealership informed me that hpfp had exploded sending metal shavings into engine, they asked me if I accidentally put gas and I responded with no. They stated that fuel may have been contaminated. Dealership is repairing car since it is still under warranty, said maybe 1 week in the shop. I was given a rental in the meantime.

- Waipahu, HI, USA

problem #13

Nov 072013


  • 14,580 miles
During mid motion, with foot on the gas, the vehicle died in the middle of the intersection. No warning indications appeared on the dash. The speed of travel was approximately 35mph. The car was towed by aaa. Service at VW has yielded inconclusive results. There are numerous forums on edmunds detailing and accounting this seemingly ubiquitous and potentially fatal flaw. As it stands, VW is persistent in there stance to do nothing about it. They refuse to issue a refund or exchange on certified cars. This particular model in which I write about, was on its first day off of the lot, as a certified pre-owned vehicle. VW refuses any such possibility of return, even on account of possible safety concerns, and despite the accumulative reports others have made documenting this exact flaw, without any known way of remedying on VW's part.

- North Hollywood, CA, USA

problem #12

Sep 112013

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 45,125 miles


I was on my way home after work approximately 6-7 pm doing 45 mph. I looked down to my instrument cluster to check my speed to make sure I wasn't speeding. Then I saw the glow plug light blinking multiple times then about less than 5-10 seconds later my engine cut out. I cost off into a harper college parking lot came to a stop. I tried to start the car 2-3 times, each time the engine was crackin over but wouldn't start it up. I called the tow truck company and had the vehicle towed to VW dealer in schaumburg, il ( fox valley VW) dealer said the high pressure fuel pump failed. Vwoa cover this under power train warranty 5/60K warranty. The dealer replace hpfp, lift pump, pump in gas tank, fuel lines to engine, coils etc... repairs came to roughly $5300. Vwoa only give 12/12K miles warranty on the hpfp. This is a known problem on some VW with cjaa 2.0L turbo diesel engines and vwoa has not found the defect in the hpfp.vwoa should extend the hpfp to 100K miles due to deft in the hpfp since they haven't found the problem and corrected it.

- Volo, IL, USA

problem #11

Sep 192013

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 60,000 miles
High pitched whine, sudden stall at hwy speed. The fuel light and service engine now light came on. The vehicle would not run and required a tow to the dealership. I was notified it would be a $5000+ repair and the hpfp failed requiring the entire fuel system to be replaced.

- Crestwood, MO, USA

problem #10

Jul 082013

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 37,000 miles
The fuel pump in my car's 2.0 tdi diesel engine broke.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #9

May 302013

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 46,000 miles


I was driving along and the power dropped to almost nothing. Before I could get to a safe stopping point, the engine died. I had it towed to the dealership. They diagnosed it with a failed high pressure fuel pump(hpfp). If it had been out of warranty, it would have cost $6000 to repair. If this would have happened in the middle of a 4 lane expressway, I don't know what would have happened.

- Dacula, GA, USA

problem #8

Apr 222013

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 25,869 miles
Was driving and heard a clicking sound, shortly after my steering and brakes locked up, and then the entire car stalled. I was unable to restart the engine. Had car towed into the VW dealership where they told me my fuel (diesel for Jetta tdi) was contaminated causing the fuel pump to burst which lead to metal shards destroying the entire fuel system. However, I am 100% positive, and have receipts for proof, that the car had been filled up with diesel gas about 1 week prior to the incident and was running completely smoothly up until the sudden break down.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #7

Mar 272013

Jetta 6-cyl Diesel

  • 70,000 miles
While driving down the highway at 70 mph the engine lost power and coasted to a stop on the side of the highway with several lights on the dash flashing and it appears from research on the internet this is a common problem that the hpfp quits and the car will not accelerate. The motor is a diesel tdi.

- Keller, TX, USA

problem #6

Jan 022012

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 6,000 miles
Approximately a year ago, my engine began to give a clear sense of the car shuddering or rocking back and forth. While sometimes the feeling would occur even when stopped at a light, the vast majority of the time this occurred while I was driving at consistent low speeds. In almost all cases, I was attempting to maintain a consistent speed around either 13pmh or 30 mph. Eventually, I found the rocking motion very easy to reproduce. I'd set the car to 30 mph via cruise control and drive down a straight road with very slight upward and downward slopes. While it happens even on flat ground, I found that a slight decline is most likely to reproduce the feeling. My best guess is that there's something about the way the fuel supply system/transmission is trying to determine whether or not diesel needs to be supplied to the engine. The fuel supply system seems to almost cut out because giving diesel would produce a speed too high, and then it comes back on suddenly, because giving it no diesel would cause the car to slow too much. While sometimes this is simply a nuisance, I have had on many occasions felt that it was a genuine safety hazard since I couldn't predict how the engine would react. This in combination with overly strong engine break when letting off of the accelerator and delayed acceleration when stepping on the peddle that can cause inconsistencies and safety hazards when maneuvering in stop and go traffic on the highway. I've mentioned this problem every single time I've taken my car in for it's regularly scheduled maintenance. The vehicle has a diesel dsg engine, and as I've been told by service technicians and representatives, some of the things like strong engine breaking are associated with this type of engine. However, the car's rocking motion certainly goes beyond anything that could realistically be considered normal and safe.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #5

Oct 092012


  • 38,500 miles


Never received the recall notice for leaky fuel lines by my local dealer. My car developed a leak and almost caused a crash as it shut down while driving down the road.I am furious as I now also learned there is fuel pump failures being investigated by your organization and the dealer doesn't want to replace it right now while they are doing the fuel lines? this car is 14 months old there is no reason why this shouldn't all be replaced and warrantied for much longer I don't believe these cars are safe or dependable to drive and it's brand new! I think VW has done a horrible job and I don't want to ever buy a VW again.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #4

Oct 032012


  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated the exhaust tip was extended beyond the original length of the factory-installed exhaust pipes. As a result, the exhaust pipes burned a child's legs on three different occasions. The vehicle was taken to the dealer on one occasion but the dealer did not repair the problem. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign id number: 11E036000 (engine and engine cooling: Exhaust system) and called the dealer. The dealer repaired the exhaust pipe by capping the tips of the pipes per the recall. The manufacturer was notified. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 38,000.

- Silverado, CA, USA

problem #3

Jul 252012

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 30,000 miles
I was driving on I91 North in springfield mass the engine runaway on me, car reached 100 mph for some time put car in neutral, the engine run at full speed until blowing up throwing a connecting rod through the block, finally I managed to pull the car on the brake down lane. I have just picked the car from a 30000 mile service oil change from fathers & sons VW in West springfield mass. Towed the car back to dealer, engine is complete loss needs to be replace. Very scary it almost got me in an accident traffic at the time was heavy I have no trust on the car anymore

- Granby, MA, USA

problem #2

Jun 292012

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 18,200 miles
Traveling in the left lane on 95 N outside baltimore md at 65 mph my vehicle's gas pedal stopped responding and the car began to lose power and lurch forward and eventually die as the yellow diesel engine indicator along with the yellow engine indicator began blinking. I was able to avoid two lanes of traffic and coast over two lanes to an off ramp before the steering wheel locked. After contacting VW roadside assistance the vehicle was towed to heritage VW located at 9215 harford road #2 parkville, md 21234 (877) 398-1963. It was after 9:00 P.M so the vehicle was left in the lot and all the paperwork was dropped in the box. The service department cited a fuel pump malfunction along with a faulty fuel gauge as the issue. This is the second time we have had to submit a report to your Agency for the exact same issues (please see reference number 10417213), the agents information is listed below. [xxx] [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Brooklyn , NY, USA

problem #1

Apr 192012

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 29,000 miles
Car is a 2011 VW Jetta tdi. I was told by the VW dealer that the high pressure fuel pump had fallen apart causing metal to go through the fuel system.I bought the car new in July of 2011.volkwagen is replacing the entire fuel system but I am concerned that damage may have already been done to the engine.

- Cary, IL, USA

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