"Windows have major problems, plan on replacing some if not all of your window lifters in the future, along with any plastic pieces on the car, they break and fall off like the car is a toy. Other than that the structure of the car is good performance is good and reliable."
"I purchased this car new in 1998. I now have over 110000 miles on it with only a few repairs. I have the TDI model and get great mileage. I still enjoy driving this car 11 years later. The Japan's cars just aren't as much fun to drive. I also own a Mercedes diesel which is 27 years and counting. No plans in the near future to replace either cars."
"reverse seems to be a problem in theese cars I called a transmision repair place and he would not even repair the reverse gear so I have a car with no reverse that probably will never get repaired also the airconditioning works great but after running it for some time there seems to be a build up of water in the venting system I can not find a condensate drain I turn a corner and water pours out on the floor so my experience is not the best with this car motor probably will run forever but do not"
"Bought my 97 Jetta GLX two years ago. Previous owner had spent good money to put on K&W suspension and magnaflow exhaust. Very spirited car, narrow angle V6 rips and snarls like an angry animal (in a very good way), sounds like a small V8, but not obnoxious or boomy. I cannot think of another car as fun to drive for the money. (Stock suspension may be a different story, I hear they are pretty soft). The bad parts are the car has a passenger door that won't open in the cold, a broken windshield washer, AC doesn't work and will not hold a charge even after replacing compressor and a coolant or oil leak every several months that costs about 400-500$, not the end of the world for a car as old as it is and the engine always runs like a top, but by no means bulletproof. It helps I have an incredible mechanic,and the car is so fun to drive, otherwise the little problems might bother me much more."
"My blue automatic 1998 VW Jetta GLS was the first and only car I've ever had since I was 16. We bought her new and she's been great. Very reliable. I've never been left stranded anywhere or had an emergency issue arise with this car. Any problems I've had, aside from the common car issues, have been cosmetic, or having to do with the window motors. Hardly have any check engine lights come on.
Cosmetic: I don't know if it's because I've had her in very very hot to very very cold climates and back, but I've had to re-glue on the side strips a couple of times. Also, my VW, GLS, and Jetta signs all fell off the back.
Window Motors: My biggest issue. 3 out of 4 of my window motors went bad, which resulted in the windows dropping about an inch or so. I would have to push the windows back up with my hands to close them. I had one motor fixed for $600 and decided that I would deal with the others. (A little embarrassing going through a drive through and not being able to roll my windows down.)
Other than those two issues, my Jetta has been great up until recently (130,000 miles). Something went wrong with the transmission because she's wasn't shifting gears properly. I would have to take my foot off the gas to try and force shift her. This problem just kept getting worst (we didn't want to spend mucho $ at the VW dealership to repair) so my husband and I decided to trade her in. It was a sad day to say goodbye to her.
I would be thrilled to own another VW in the future."
"I bought my Jetta new in December 98 and have been pleased. Still have original clutch with 110K+ miles. Car is finally starting to show it's age--minor rust forming in a few spots.
Mechanically, this has been a great vehicle. I change my own oil every 3000 miles. No major engine problems. Worst things that happened were that I needed a water pump and the cruise control fried. Besides normal wear and tear (belts, plugs/wires, tires, brakes and exhaust), this car has cost me very little money.
There are some deficits to this car. I needed work on the upholstery as the edges of the seats tend to collapse (didn't know my butt was that big!). Some of the plastic trim has broken (along bottom of front seats, cup holder in back). And, the rubber door strips came unglued. After multiple failed attempts at fixing it myself, I had my friend's body shop take care of it and they have held fine ever since.
Even with over 110K miles, I still get about 30 mpg. The car still has the original clutch (last 25K miles have been all on freeway, previous 85 were mix of city/freeway). It drives well and handles great on dry pavement. In the snow, I prefer rear-wheel drive for snow (honest!). The Jetta is a relatively light vehicle, and has some pep, so you really have to go easy when coming off the line on snow and ice, or the front end will slide out from under you. I haven't really driven many winter miles with front-wheel drive, and took it very easy--I drove it in many blizzards this past winter with no problems when many others were in the ditch.
Any problems I had with this car have all been cosmetic and minor. I would recommend this car to others. My Jetta is a solid runner."
"I've had this car for a while, and I've learned from talking to others with this model and year that if it's been kept up from the start, that it's a great car, but if it's abused, and not meticulously up kept, it's the biggest pain in the world. I replaced all rotors, pads, shoes, wheel hub, need new tires, the shocks are gone, the power steering is almost useless, and the manual transmission, that's supposed to give it a little more pep, doesn't. It's possibly the slowest, biggest waste of my time and money I've ever got. The car was given to me after I totaled my first, and I wouldn't have taken it any other way."
"I bought this car 2 years old and have spent a lot on repairs in the last 6 years. The transmission needed replacing in '05, that was the biggest. It is too low to the ground and I just spent $800 to fix a punctured oil pan because of it, not to mention the several times the front end plastic piece needed replacing. There are a lot of little things that broke but they can't be repaired, you have to buy the whole part for several hundred dollars. I have to take it to the dealership because it's difficult for most mechanics to fix it, hard to get to everything.
The reason they sell so many is that this car handles great, it's really tight and fun to drive, good trunk storage and it's cute."