Which VW JETTA Years to Avoid and Why? (Explained)

Volkswagen Jetta is one of the classic names of sedans prevailing in the market over decades. Jetta is a compact car which became popular among users for its high mileage and exclusive comfort.

The vehicle has been around for seven generations starting from the 1970s. Therefore, it is prone to have some bad years. These are 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2019. 

Hyundai Elantra and Honda Civic are some competitors of the Jetta. 

Due to endurance, Jetta is a talked-about choice for buying used. But while some of the models of Jetta offer a good experience, some models are to be completely avoided.

VW Jetta Years to Avoid (List of Years)

The Jetta is popular but it is not free of issues that may ruin the experience of a user. Odour is a highly raised issue among Jetta users. The foul smell was found to originate from HVAC vents.

Problems with ABS (anti-lock braking system), paint, window regulator and electronic components arose over the years as well. Other than these, shifting problems and oil leakages were some troublesome issues with the Jetta.-

These problems were not experienced by users of all models but some specific models were hugely plagued.

The VW Jetta years to avoid are:

  • 2006 VW Jetta
  • 2009 VW Jetta
  • 2010 VW Jetta
  • 2013 VW Jetta
  • 2019 VW Jetta

Worst Year of VW Jetta:

The worst model of the line-up is the 2009 model. Although the 2006 model received more complaints regarding the fatality of the issues found in the 2009 model, it is dubbed as the worst model year.

The most prominent issue was the malfunction of the ABS. ABS is a braking system that prevents the car from locking up while braking and offers smoother steering control.

Due to problems in this system, there have been accidents. Stalling of brakes and traction control was identified as the cause of such accidents. 

What Makes These VW Jetta Years Worth Avoiding?

2006 VW Jetta Problems:

The 2006 model has received the highest number of complaints among all the Jetta models making it a must year to avoid. The worst issue of the model was transmission failure. This is a problem with an extremely high repair cost of up to 4,000 dollars. 

A faulty camshaft was another serious issue with the model.  Other significant complaints include failure of proper transmission engagement between gears and engine problems. The check engine light was reported to turn on during cool weather.

For the gear issue, stalling of the vehicle in neutral mode and jerky shifts caused disturbances for the users. Another issue raised was the short circuit of the wiring harness on the driver’s side.

2009 VW Jetta Problems:

Even though the 2009 Jetta does not have as many complaints as the 2006 Jetta, the problems it does have are severe up to life-threatening, marking it the worst year of Jetta.

Inoperative ABS and stability control have resulted in losing control of the vehicle leading to accidents. 11 crashes along with fire and injuries due to this issue were logged in. The repair cost amounted to around 2,320 dollars.

Complaints and crash reports regarding traction control are also of concern. Unexpected stalling of the vehicle, engine failure and diesel particle filter failure were some other reported problems.

2010 VW Jetta Problems:

After the notorious model of 2009, the 2010 Jetta did not offer a redeeming model. A high amount of complaints were made by users against this model and it was also recalled several times making it an unreliable second-hand purchase.

Fuel pump failure is one of the worst problems of this model which can stall the vehicle unexpectedly. Inadequate acceleration of the model can also be a bothersome issue. Moreover, there were reports of check engine lights being defective.

Another reported issue was a faulty stereo system. Repairs of this issue cost around 600 dollars as the only fix was to replace it fully.

Radio dying was another issue that cost around an average of 800 dollars to fix.

2013 VW Jetta Problems:

2013 is a must model year to avoid due to a high number of complaints regarding the engine. 119 NHTSA complaints were made about engine problems including the engine shutting off during a drive.

Engine shutting off at speed levels like 70mph posed a serious safety concern for users. The issue is recorded to occur at around 68,000 miles. Fuel pump failure like the 2010 model was also prevalent. 

Furthermore, faulty error lights of the model frustrated users. Key being stuck in ignition troubled consumers as well.

2019 VW Jetta Problems:

Among newer models, 2019 is a significant year to avoid. It has the highest number of complaints among the 7th generation Jetta. With a poor rating of 1/5 from Consumer Reports, it is safe to avoid this model.

The most troublesome issue with the model was grinding noises from transmission. The noises were found to be pronounced in Normal and ECO modes.

Other problems with the model are excessive oil consumption and transmission slips. The body of the vehicle turned out to be quite unreliable with faulty bolts and defective trunks.

Moreover, transmission fluid leak was a disturbing matter for users.

Which VW Jetta Years are Safe to Buy?

The most reliable and loved model within the VW Jetta line-up is the 2017 model.

With an impressive consumer rating, the model ensures a great experience. It offers multiple endearing features and also promises comfort. The commodious interior makes it a cosy vehicle and the driving experience is also enjoyable with exceptional visibility for the driver.

Four-wheel disc brakes also ensure superb handling of the vehicle. Other than the excellent 2017 model, some reliable models with the least complaints are 2014, 2016 and 2020 models.

The 2020 model has exceptional safety features. The ABS braking system works fine in this model. A post-crash response system adds to the safety score of the Jetta. Furthermore, the stability control feature makes it a more reliable vehicle.

2011 is a debatable model year with mixed reviews. It is one of the best-selling Jetta models but also has received negative complaints. Among older models, the 2007 and 2008 models can be considered.

Commodious redesign of the 2007 model and fast shifting response of the 2008 model are favourable.


The Jetta is a reliable vehicle given its long-lasting history and popularity. But not all models offer the same contentment.

High repair costs and stressful maintenance can make a user’s experience with the Jetta inconvenient. The complications of the VW Jetta also seem to increase with the mileage.

So it is best to avoid purchasing the year models with a high number of complaints and safety risks. Purchasing from one of the reliable years can fulfil the expectations from this historically sophisticated vehicle.

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