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:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
21,740 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

problem #18

Feb 082015


  • 41,000 miles


Was driving our 2011 Jetta sportwagen tdi 25 mph and check engine light and engine heater light were flashing. Car went into safe mode with very little throttle control. Took to dealer and was told a catastrophic fuel system failure occurred and the entire fuel system needs to be replaced. Found other car owners online have had similar issues. It is being covered under warranty but if this is an on going problem should be addressed. This would be a huge expense over $6,000 if not under warranty.

- Ventura, CA, USA

problem #17

Jan 302015


  • 87,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta. While driving at an unknown speed, the coolant level decreased. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The mechanic was unable to determine the cause of the failure, but filled the coolant. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was 87,000.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #16

Mar 252014

Jetta 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Since the end of March, 2014, my 2011 Jetta has completely shut off while in idle. Until recently it has shut off while in drive at low speeds, the vehicle begins bucking and having little hiccups, and then it just shuts off, sometimes able to get it to restart, other times it does not turn right back on. I have already had the fuel pump replaced, and the crank sensor, and have paid hundreds in testing thus far. I am extremely frustrated at this point. The car has been to 2 different dealerships, twice each, and the first time it went in anywhere was a local auto shop, but every time since it has gone to an authorized VW dealer. No one can seem to figure out what is going on with my car. This is a very scary safety issue that needs to be investigated, and reading other peoples complaints it seems I am not the only one who is having issues with their car shutting off.

- Bakerstown, PA, USA

problem #15

May 142014


  • 57,750 miles


I was in the drive thru of mc donalds then came a terrible rattle from under the car, 10 seconds later the car turned off. Turned it back on and glow plug light was flashing parked the car immediately. Turned it back on and had little to no power then came to a halt, tried to turn it back on and would not start. Had it towed to VW there looking at it I'm waiting on a response. This is not supposed to happen this early. I always had it serviced at the dealer. On time. Help us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! from the other complaints my stress has hit a limit. If it costs 10K to fix. Then I could of bought a BMW or whatever. 24K + 10K = 34K I'm sad :(

- Corona, CA, USA

problem #14

Apr 022014

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 64,854 miles
Glow plug & check engine lights came on, engine died 30 seconds later. Would not restart, towed to dealer, diagnosed hpfp catastrophic failure, metal debris in fuel system. Whole fuel system replaced, tank through to injectors. No warning of fault condition with no time to pull off to side of road, left stuck in middle of highway.

- West Caldwell, NJ, USA

problem #13

Sep 132012

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 35,465 miles
Driving 55mph car began loosing power check engine and glow light indicator lights cam on immediately. Once arrived home we verified the car computer it returned that there was low pressure in fuel line and that the catalytic converter was failing. We had car towed to nearest dealership. After 4 days dealer stated fuel had traces of gasoline, this is not possible I have never put gas in my diesel car. I immediately began making phone calls and the fuel companies where fuel purchased for last 5 fuelings where requested. Last purchase from sheetz hagerstown I notified them what dealership was proposing the corporate office immediately contacted the dealership 'sharretts' and requested proof of their blame. Once I have made contact to sheetz and shell they inturn call dealership the dealer stated that there was metal shavings noted in addition to the fuelrail system failure. On third call today they were not sure it was covered and a fuel test was being sent out for official testing to determine the presence of gasoline contamination. After I threatened a lawyer they state will call corporate for direction and have rep review. VW has continuously lied to many owners that the diesel was contaminated when in fact it is not, this should not be allowed my car is only 1 year old purchased new with only 4 miles on it I have made all the scheduled maintenance checks and had 3 recalls fixed within 7 months of ownership. I demand an investigation and an extended warranty on these diesel motors this is not fair to the consumer.

- Keedysville, MD, USA

problem #12

Jun 292011

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 2,000 miles


I am having what I believe to be a serious, but intermittent, safety problem with my 2011 Jetta sportwagon tdi. There is also what may be a related issue with the automatic transmission shifting at low speed. Occasionally when I attempt to accelerate away from a stop sign/traffic light, the engine does not respond to throttle movement. When I take my foot off the brake and press on the gas pedal the car moves ahead under what I believe is idle power but as I try to accelerate, it is like the gas pedal is not connected to the engine. The engine is running but won't rev and move the car. I usually end up about a third of the way into the intersection with a car that is seemingly stalled (engine still running however). The car behind me then has to brake and if I happened to be trying to cut into moving traffic, I am now a target for the cross traffic. I reported this to selling dealer service department early in my ownership experience of this car and was told don't worry about it, that is normal, it's a transmission thing. Perhaps there is a link to the transmission and as I mentioned earlier, this is a problem area as well. When driving slowly, around 20-25 miles per hour, the transmission can't seem to decide what gear it should be in. It keeps bouncing back and forth between gears causing a very uncomfortable surging. The surging part I can work around by shifting to sport mode. This mode might also help the acceleration problem but I don't have good experience yet to confirm.

- Midland, MI, USA

problem #11

Jul 052011


  • miles
The contact owns a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact stated that the vehicle would lose power and fail to accelerate before stalling sporadically and without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for a diagnosis where the dealer advised that they could find nothing wrong with the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was unknown, but the current mileage was 18,800.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #10

Sep 202011


  • 27,000 miles
During short drive home, the glow plug light started flashing, the car then went into limp mode. When I got home, 2 miles later, the car died and would not start. I hauled the car to the VW dealer and they said my hpfp failed. VW is going to fix it under warranty, I produced the last 4 fuel fill ups showing no gas had been put in the car. This was a 2011 Jetta tdi, manufacture date unknown, but car was purchased in January.

- Shreveport, LA, USA

problem #9

Jul 212011

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 50 miles
While entering freeway have to depress accelerator peddle 1/4 to 3/4 of the way down before acceleration begins. From stop and merging into traffic have to depress accelerator 1/4 to 3/4 of the way down before acceleration. Entering freeway or fast starts, accelerates then dies off then goes again. On hill starts it sometimes rolls back as if it is in neutral. These are intermittent problems at varying degrees of severity.

- Paradise, CA, USA

problem #8

Jul 202011

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 4,900 miles


Volkswagen Jetta sedan dsg tdi 2011. Vehicle as made has a two second hold for keeping the car from rolling backwards on inclines. However the car owners manual requires a slow acceleration which allows the car to roll backwards risking hitting the car or pedestrian behind you especially in driveways with inclines endangering small children because of visibility. The only way to overcome this safety defect is to use the emergency brake to hold vehicle until rpms increase enough to engage the transmission. The front and rear windshields have a blur, the front windshield extends from the bottom to approximately six inches up the glass and the rear glass has distortion throughout. This causes eye strain, watering, and headache when subjected to for an hour or more of travel and is especially bad in bright sunlight causing an unsafe driving condition. Dealer admitted distortion but refused to repair along with manufacturer. The car stalls when attempting to move forward from a stop resulting in an extremely unsafe vehicle when trying to cross lanes of traffic. The car will not reach its maximum RPM as indicated it should do by owners manual for passing or merging into traffic resulting in unsafe vehicle operation in multiple instances. The dealer actually made this worse then would not correct. The vehicle also does not have parking lights as required by some state statues and should have never been certified for sale in the usa.

- Corning, AR, USA

problem #7

Aug 082011

Jetta 4-cyl Diesel

  • 2,500 miles
Our 2011 Volkswagen Jetta tdi developed an engine oil leak. When we took it to the dealer the service manager refused to let us drive it due to the possibility of an engine fire. Per the service manger the oil leak was causing an atomization of the engine oil that could have reached heated parts of the engine or exhaust and caused an oil fire.

- Harrisville, WV, USA

problem #6

Feb 162011


  • 1,704 miles
I purchased a 2011 VW Jetta S sedan on 1/24/2011. At approximately 1000 miles, the car began making a whistling noise from under the dash nearly all the time. I brought the car in for service on 2/16/11 and after a few days, I was told the problem was isolated to the thermal expansion valve in the ac system. This was replaced and the problem was fixed. About 2 weeks later, the sound returned. I brought the car in again on 3/29/11 and again was contacted a couple of days later. The dealer service rep told me that the VW factory tech rep looked at the car and there is nothing wrong with it. His determination is that it is operating according to specification. I contacted VW of America and they confirmed this as the outcome and that if I remain unsatisfied I could call the better business bureau auto line for resolution, which I have also done. This isn't a safety issue, but certainly represents a design flaw that VW is not willing to rectify. The car whistles nearly constantly when the ac system is at operating pressure and temperature. Additionally, the clearcoat sustained damage after less than 48 hours of exposure to bird droppings. The dealership stated there is nothing they can do and the warranty specifically excludes that damage from coverage.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #5

Apr 022011


  • miles
The contact owns a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta. The contact was driving approximately 30 mph, and crashed into the rear end bumper of the proceeding vehicle. Suddenly, flames emitted from the front hood area. The contact exited the vehicle which then engulfed into massive flames. There were no personal injuries. The fire department extinguished the fire and a police report was filed for the incident. The vehicle was completely destroyed and towed to a collision center. The manufacturer and insurance company planned to perform an investigation to determine the cause of failure. The failure mileage was unknown. The VIN was unavailable.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #4

Jan 292011


  • 100 miles
New car manual transmission, car stalls out at low speeds on snow covered roads. RPM's 1400 - 2000 can stop problem if traction control is disabled. I have driven manuals for over 30 years and it is not operator error it is a problem with the traction control and computer system - it dies in traffic and requires the key to be turned all the way off and then back on to get the car started. Taking the RPM's up to 2500 avoids the problem - but this will certainly wear out the clutch. Dealer feels it is just a sensitive clutch - I now have 600 miles on the car and have to disable traction control to stop the stalling at start ups and low speed shifting.

- Stoneham, MA, USA

problem #3

Oct 022010


  • 1,200 miles
My new 2011 VW Jetta sportswagen decelerated suddenly while driving at 65 mph on the highway. The engine lost most of its power and the car could only go at about 30 mph. The car regained all its power after the engine was shut off. I consider this a critical safety issue with the car.

- Olney, MD, USA

problem #2

Oct 102010


  • 400 miles
This is an addendum to complaint ODI# 10362604 and references 6 additional "glowplug" warning light ODI complaints filed for the 2009 model year. (the 3 references in the original complaint were only for the 2010 model year.). this brings the total to 9 other Volkswagen Jetta sportwagen tdi incidents that are similar or identical to my own. Based on these multiple reports, there can be no question but that Volkswagen has known about this hazardous and costly defect for at least 3 years. Additional ODI complaint numbers: 10356900, 10355519, 10354353, 10315932, 10297692, 10295191.

- Henrico, VA, USA

problem #1

Oct 102010


  • 400 miles
18 days and 400 odometer miles after purchasing my 2011 Jetta sportwagen tdi, the ¿glowlight¿ warning light came on while driving. The following day, the ¿glowlight¿ began to blink, then the ¿catalytic¿ warning light also began blinking. Car was taken to dealership the same day. After (remote) diagnostic assistance from the manufacturer, dealer reported that the ¿crank sensor¿ needed replacing. After 2 days, the dealer informed me that it was not the ¿crank sensor¿ after all. Days later, a manufacturer's rep inspected the car at the dealership and determined that an onboard computer was the problem, and that one would arrive from germany in 10 to 14 days. Dealer later revised that time estimate to 35 days. If dealer's estimate is correct, my new car will have been in the shop for well over 40 days. Note: U.S. dept. Of transportation database shows at least 3 similar complaints for 2010 Jetta tdi's. see ODI id # 10359939, 10359434, 10353544. So why hasn't Volkswagen corrected this known problem?

- Richmond, VA, USA

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