How many miles can a Volkswagen Jetta last? When you’re in the market for a new or second-hand Jetta, that’s a very reasonable question. After all, you’re probably looking to get the most bang for your buck. In this blog, we’ll look at the most popular models but first, let’s start with a quick answer:
On average, a Volkswagen Jetta lasts between 160.000 – 185.000 miles. A Volkswagen Jetta has to go to the garage for unscheduled repairs 0.32 times a year with a 10% chance of severe problems. Furthermore, Jetta owners spend an average of $609 per year on repairs.
Having said that, we’re certainly not done. Below, we’ll explain in more detail how many miles a Jetta can last. After that, we’ll compare the Jetta to its main competitors in terms of potential mileage and compare the car to other Volkswagens. Furthermore, we also discuss the common problems that the car can have, how much maintenance will cost per year and how to maintain a Jetta. Read on!
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Also read: Is The Volkswagen Jetta A Sports Car?
How Many Miles Can A Volkswagen Jetta Last?
Knowing how many miles your potential next buy will last is essential. We have done extensive research, gone through the database of autotrader.com, and analyzed the results we retrieved. We got the mileage information from 9,769 Jettas for sale in the North-American market.
On average, 3-5% reaching mileage above the 150,000-mile mark is considered a good percentage for a car, but the Volkswagen Jetta did not reach this limit. In total, 2.48% of the Jettas for sale had a mileage higher than this. This either indicates the car is relatively new, or the cars don’t have that long of a lifespan. Since the Jetta has been on the North-American market since 1979, newness is not the issue.
|Amount Of Miles||Percentage Of Cars|
|Cars With 150.000+||2.48%|
|Cars With 100.000 – 149.000||10.81%|
|Cars With 45.000 – 99.999||29.70%|
|Cars With 0 – 44.999||57.01%|
Besides the overall percentage, it’s also worth mentioning the highest mileage Jetta that we’ve been able to find. In the case of the Jetta, we see that one model had 266,421 miles on the odometer. As far as we know, this is the highest mileage Jetta.
Also read: What Gas Does A Volkswagen Jetta Take?
How Reliable Is A Volkswagen Jetta Compared To Its Competitors?
After going through the numbers for the Jetta, it’s essential to see how it compares to others and why we suggest that this car isn’t that reliable. After comparing with other competitors, we can picture what’s trustworthy and what’s not. It’s worth mentioning that we’ve written articles on each of the models mentioned in this table, so we’re confident about the displayed results.
We see here that the Volkswagen Jetta seems to be the shortest-lasting vehicle of them all. For example, the highest mileage Jetta we’ve been able to find had 266.000 miles on it, whereas the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic reliable reach this mileage on average.
|Model||Sample Size||Expected Mileage||Highest Mileage|
However, that isn’t the complete story. We’ll also have to compare the Jetta to other Volkswagens to see if this is a Jetta issue or a brand issue. Furthermore, we’ll dive into other reliability points to discover what’s truly happening with the Jetta.
How Reliable Is A Volkswagen Jetta Compared To Other Volkswagens?
What we see in the table below is quite alarming. Almost all Volkswagens we’ve researched don’t reliably reach a mileage of 200,000 or more. For reference, this is the first car brand that we’ve seen with this issue, given that most other car brands have most cars crossing the 200,000 miles mark with ease.
We have to mention that German luxury brands (such as BMW and Mercedes) typically have a lower average mileage than some more affordable brands (such as Honda, Chevy, Nissan, etc.). However, Volkswagen isn’t truly a luxury brand and has worse reliability than BMW or Mercedes, so it’s clear the brand isn’t living up to what can be expected from it.
|Model||Sample Size||Expected Mileage||Highest Mileage|
How Much Does Maintenance Cost Per Year?
Knowing how much you would have to spend annually on maintenance is essential to grasp this car’s reliability ratings better. Even a money pit car can achieve 200k+ miles, given that you have spent thousands of dollars annually to keep it going. You definitely wouldn’t want a money pit to haunt your life.
To estimate how much you will spend on the Volkswagen Jetta, we have used the repairpal.com database. We see that you can expect to pay $609 annually to keep a Jetta on the road. This is much higher than the average $526 annual for compact cars.
VWs are german cars, and even though the Jetta is not considered a luxury car, we still get comparatively higher maintenance costs per year compared to other brands offering similar products. For example, a Toyota Corolla would only cost you $362 annually.
|Volkswagen Jetta||Average Annual Repair & Maintenance Costs|
What we see in this table is that the older models of the Jetta are the ones to cause the financial troubles. The newer models have lower maintenance costs. This is to be expected for the first 3-4 years, given that these more recent models have fewer problems and many are still fixed under warranty. However, even the 2016 – 2018 model years have reasonable costs so far, which is quite surprising.
Owners’ Reviews Of The Jettas Reliability
Besides knowing all the data, it’s, of course, also essential to see how owners experience the Jetta. For this, we went to Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and Truecar.com. All three platforms have gathered hundreds of reviews from actual car owners. We summarized our findings in the image below.
We see that the Jetta gets reasonable reviews on platforms like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds, whereas owners on TrueCar seem to be a little more optimistic about the vehicle. The main reason for this is that owners on TrueCar leave a review after one or two months of use, whereas reviewers on KBB and Edmunds typically have already owned the car for a year or more.
We found that the Jetta isn’t perceived as a terrible car. However, we found that owners are either very positive about owning one or have had so many problems with them that they warrant a 1-star rating. This seems to indicate that there’re very good vehicles and ones that are a disaster. Therefore, let’s look at the potential problems this model has.
Volkswagen Jetta Common Problems
When looking for a Jetta in the used market, you must be aware of some common problems they might pose. Otherwise, you will get a fatal blow to your wallet later. It’s a must that you know about these problems beforehand.
NOTE: Before buying a used car, I always like to make sure the vehicle isn´t having any problems that you should be aware of. The easiest way to do this is by buying an OBD2 scanner. These scanners can easily be plugged into any car you’re interested in, and they’ll give you a rundown of potential problems.
Seventh-Generation (2019 – Present)
The model year you need to watch out for here is the 2019 one. To be honest, most other model years after it seemed to be relatively pain-free, but the 2019 one was a minor disaster. This was mainly due to the Aisin AWF8F35 eight-speed automatic transmission. This transmission was known for leaking oil, making a metallic grinding sound (at around 20 – 40 mph), and having trouble shifting.
Volkswagen eventually got a class-action lawsuit against itself and settled in court. The settlement meant owners would receive free repairs when necessary and reimbursement for repairs that were already paid out-of-pocket.
Furthermore, 2019 owners have reported quickly warping brake rotors which cause the vehicle to shake heavily under braking. This is most likely caused by Volkswagen using low-cost brake rotors that cannot handle the vehicle’s load.
Another thing you need to watch out for with the 2019 model year is the fact that various electronic features seem to throw owners off in bad ways. We’re talking about faulty batteries, inability to unlock the doors, hill-start assist malfunctioning and causing the engine to stall, etcetera. Overall, the 2019 model year seemed to be quite a lemon.
Sixth-Generation (2010 – 2016)
Honestly, it’s difficult to emphasize how much of a disaster this generation was in terms of build quality. Combined, these model years have racked up almost 3.000 complaints on the website of the NHTSA. The 2010 – 2012 model years account for half of these complaints. Not to mention the more than a dozen recalls and a couple of NHTSA investigations.
The most common problems of this generation were as follows. Leaking fuel lines would mean the car would lose power, and several would catch fire and burn down completely. Problems with the electrical system range from malfunctioning sunroofs to being unable to turn the car on or off, as well as complete loss of power and the car shutting down completely.
Furthermore, the 2008 – 2010 and 2012 – 2014 Jetta’s with EA888 engines have had problems with prematurely stretching timing chain tensioners, which either had to be replaced prematurely or would break and cause catastrophic engine failure.
Earlier models of this generation with a DSG transmission also had problems with a malfunctioning transmission because of a failing mechatronic unit for the DSG gearbox. This would result in complete transmission failure.
Overall, we would advise staying away from this whole generation as it has been proven by other owners that the vehicles can be great disasters.
Also read: This Is Where Volkswagen Jetta Are Made
Is a Volkswagen Jetta A Smart Buy?
When we look at the potential mileage of a Jetta, we see that it underperforms compared to its competitors. Even more important is that it doesn’t just underperform a little; in some cases, it has 100,000 fewer expected miles. When we continued our research, we saw that this low-mileage problem is a Volkswagen trait which didn’t seem to be a good start for the Jetta.
In terms of maintenance costs, we saw that the Jetta has an annual cost of $609, which is higher than average for a car of its size. We also noticed that these high maintenance costs are mainly caused by earlier vehicles.
Furthermore, when we inspected the problems of the Jetta, we saw that the 2010 – 2016 models are worth staying away from as they had transmission, engine, fuel line, and electrical problems that weren’t genuinely solved throughout the generation. For the newer generation, we saw the 2019 model wasn’t worth getting, but the model years after that seem to be fine so far.
All in all, we wouldn’t recommend getting a Jetta because of its low potential mileage, the low reliability of the brand in general, and the fact that this vehicle has a long-standing history of severe problems. Considering other options in the market, such as a Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic (on the lower end of the spectrum) and a BMW 5-series (on the higher end of the spectrum), we would advise you to look into those.
Volkswagen Jetta Maintenance Schedule
The maintenance schedule is essential as you would have a checklist to know how much the previous owner has taken care of. See if you can also get the receipts for regular maintenance; if not, it’s also okay because not everyone keeps tabs on these things.
While owing a Jetta, you must go through the following maintenance schedule. Another thing to note is that the manufacturer gives these numbers to ensure that they provide the customer with the lowest possible maintenance cost. Changing the engine oil at an interval of 10k miles is too optimistic, so much so that it might decrease the engine’s life span.
It’s recommended to change the engine oil at least before 7k miles on the clock, and changing before that would mean you love your vehicle and take good care of it.
So let’s talk about numbers now, shall we!
Before/on every 10k Mile Interval
You must be having
- An oil change and oil filter replacement.
- Tire rotation
- Adblue fluid check
- Airbag system check
- Wiper blades inspection
Before/on every 30K Mile Interval
You must have a thorough inspection of these essential components
- Brake system inspection
- Fuel filter replacement
- Dust and pollen filter replacement
- Tire inspection
- Tire filler bottle expiration date check
- Brake fluid check
- Clutch unit check
Before/On Every 40K Interval
This is the most comprehensive inspection that you must have to ensure that all the vehicle functions are working fine.
- Electrical components
- CV joints
- Underbody sealants
- DSG transmission fluid change and filter change
- Tire filler bottle replacement and mobility kit
Before/On Every 70K Interval
- Replace the ignition coils
- Replace the spark plugs
- Clean the PCV system
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
Read more about our fantastic team on our about page!