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How to Buy the Volkswagen Jetta TDI

Updated on December 18, 2011

The Volkwagen Jetta TDI is unique. It gets superb MPG, 30 in the city and 40+ on the highway. It has a 4-cylinder diesel engine. This car has been around for the past 10 years and way ahead of others in good MPG. Because of the MPG, their resale remains constant and high, even for 05 models. Their engine is so durable with simply maintenance, they last easily to 250,000 miles or more. Of course, other parts may wear out faster.

The cars are fairly clean. Unless one knows it is a diesel, one does not know. The 2009+ models are clean diesels and their air pollution is less than a gasoline engine. These engines have no spark plugs, wires, distributor, air\fuel mixtures, they have fuel injected directly into the cylinder-very efficient.

Besides all of the standard items must ask and check for when buying a used car, there are a few things specific to this car one must know and ask about. Failure to do this may cost you up to $2000 in repair bills.

1. If the car is over 100K miles, ask if and when the timing belt was replaced. This must be done. If the belt breaks while driving, your engine is fried. New belts should be done every 80K miles or so. Any signs of wear or cracks=replace it. A belt kit runs $140. You should always ask about the water pump, which is always replaced if the belt is changed. This costs $47.

2.Ask if the camshaft has been looked at, even after 100K miles. Ask if it was changed and when (in miles). If the cam is worn, it will affect idle and fuel delivery. If the car idles lousy and unsteady, suspect worn cams and lifters.A cam kit is $700. Labor is $500. There could be excessive smoke also at 2500 rpm, and loud noise or thumping.

3. Ask if the flywheel in the transmission has been checked for looseness or replacement. The first sign is when the car is in idle and rattling is heard. It disappears in gear. A loose flywheel will only get worse until it could cause serious damage to the tranny. Many will become lose at sometime before 200K, but not all. Cost of repair is $1200.

4. Ask about the kind of oil has been used in the car. If it is not synthetic and 5W-40 505.01 spec on the container, then, suspect that the cam is worn. Any other oil weight like 5W-30 505.01 spec is insufficient protection for cams. Also, if they have no clue or cite any oil not 505.01, odds are the cams are worn.

If you do these items when buying, you can avoid additional costs after the purchase. Most TDI owners know this information, they should be able to provide proof like receipts.


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