Skip to main content

VW Jetta problems and recalls (2011-2018)

VW Jetta

The Volkswagen Jetta may have begun life being saddled with the reputation of being a VW Rabbit with a trunk, but over time it has evolved gradually away from its hatchback sibling, to the extent that it is now a standalone car with its own bodywork.

And of course, being a VW, it’s the sort of car that feels like it’ll withstand and natural disaster and keep on going, no matter what you throw at it.

And to a large extent that’s true. But it isn’t flawless when it comes to reliability, and there are a few glitches that you’ll want to look out for. And that’s exactly where we at Haynes can help.

We’ve torn down a VW Jetta A6 (and put it back together again), so we can guide through each stage of the diagnosis and repair process. Just invest in a Haynes manual once and it’ll pay you back every time you need to call on it.

VW Jetta

What recalls has the VW Jetta been subject to?

The sixth-generation Volkswagen Jetta covered here was recalled because of a potential fault with the driver airbag clockspring, which could become damaged in use and render the airbag inoperative.

The 442,000 examples of the Jetta were recalled because of concerns over the durability of the rear trailing arms, which could fracture suddenly if they’d been previously damaged in an accident.

A faulty fuel rail could become detached from the cylinder head and leak, causing another recall, while a camshaft love fracture could result in the loss of your Jetta’s power brakes.

Finally, a number of 2017 vehicles were recalled because they had incorrect tire information labels.

What common problems does the VW Jetta have?

The VW Jetta A6 can suffer an issue that causes the clutch to emit a groaning or screeching noise when under high load.

Unfortunately, owners have reported a rattly noise from up front when they start their Jetta’s engine from cold. A failing timing chain tensioner is the cause.

And if your Jetta starts to misfire and run rough, a faulty PCV valve is a likely cause.

But of course, all those issues can only be experienced if you can actually get into your Jetta in the first place, and a number of owners cannot because of faulty front door locks.

Finally, a vibration can feel disconcerting and annoying, but Jetta Mk6 owners feel it sometimes when they hit the brake pedal.

VW Jetta

Does the VW Jetta suffer from a groaning clutch?

On occasions when the clutch is being placed under high load, such as a hill start on a steep road or pulling away briskly at high revs, the clutch on the VW Jetta Mk6 can emit a screeching noise.

The issue is that the clutch hub springs can start to fail, which causes a vibration through the pressure plate that in turn causes the noise.

However, Volkswagen has produced an improved clutch assembly precisely to counteract this issue, so you’ll need to remove the gearbox and swap the clutch.

This is an involved procedure, but is one that is covered in great detail in your Haynes Jetta manual. So take your time to read the steps thoroughly, both beforehand and as you carry out the procedure, and you’ll soon be back on the road with a screech-free clutch.

VW Jetta

Does the VW Jetta suffer from a rattly engine?

The Jetta A6’s engine has been known to suffer an issue that causes a rattle to emanate from the engine bay once the engine is started from cold.

The problem is a faulty timing chain tensioner, and you’ll need to sort it as soon as you can because if the timing chain tension is incorrect the chain can jump, causing the pistons and valves to interact in a mightily destructive manner.

Replacing the timing chain tensioner is not the work of a moment, but it’s covered fully in the Haynes Jetta manual. Just follow the procedure step by step and you’ll save yourself a whole load of dollars on labor charges.

VW Jetta

Is the engine in your VW Jetta misfiring?

Have you noticed the engine in your Volkswagen Jetta Mk6 stuttering when you give it some gas?

You might also notice it running rough, making an odd noise, and it’ll illuminate the malfunction indictor light (MIL).

Plug in a fault-code reader and it is likely to display the codes P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304, P2279, P1297, P1093 or P2187. The cause is a faulty positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve, which allow pressurised air back into the crankcase or valve cover. This can result in pressurized air escaping from many openings, such as the oil filler cap, the dipstick and the air filter, with oil being expelled as well. Messy.

Replacing the valve is covered within your Haynes Jetta manual, so just follow the steps and we’ll be alongside you every step of the way.

VW Jetta

Does the VW Jetta have door-lock problems?

There you are, late again. Should have got up earlier. Shouldn’t have spent so long on Wordle. So you throw toast and coffee down your neck, run out to your Volkswagen Jetta and it stays resolutely shut. It’s like it’s sitting there with arms crossed, asking: “What’s the password?”. Only a seriously hard tug will release the door.

The issue is faulty door locks, and the problem is exacerbated when the temperature is lower.

Volkswagen has produced upgraded parts, and the only way to avoid a repeat of the issue is to replace the locks; trying to adjust the door striker, adjust the position of the door lock or even lubricating the lock will not solve the problem.

However, the bodywork and fittings chapter of your Haynes Jetta manual will show you how to remove the inner door trim, which will allow access to the door lock. Then it’s a case of swapping out the old lock and replacing it with the new part. It’s a task that shouldn’t take too long, so get the tools out and off you go.

VW Jetta

Why are your VW Jetta brakes vibrating?

The brake discs on a Volkswagen Jetta A6 can be prone to warping or getting high spots, which you’ll notice when slowing down from high speeds.

The symptoms usually include a vibration through the body (usually if it’s the rear brake discs at fault), a steering wheel tremble (if it’s the front brake discs at fault) and a pulsation through the brake pedal (could be either end).

Yes, you could take the disc to be machined, but in reality the best option is simply to replace the discs with new ones, and you’ll need to replace the brake pads at the same time. Also, remember that you should always replace discs in pairs across an axle, so if one front brake is faulty you’ll have to replace both fronts, and the same goes for the rears.

The brake disc and pads replacement procedure is covered fully in your Haynes Jetta manual, so just get the parts ordered and crack on. You’ll have it done in a couple of hours, tops.