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Should You Buy a 2009 Volkswagen Jetta or Passat?

Updated on October 19, 2014
2005-10 models
2005-10 models

Before you ever buy a car, you should do some research about the car you are interested in. Just start on the Internet, visit specific model forums for the truth. If you are interested in buying a used VW diesel or gas Jetta or Passat it would be safe to steer clear of the 2009 model. It is not to say it is bad car, because it is not, but it has a bad reputation for a few issues that, should one or all of them happen to you, will make you go broke. Maybe that is why this year model tends to be cheaper than earlier years.

The horror begins with three items specific to this year model:

  • Its CBEA engine that has dual balance hex shafts tend to round out that operate the oil pump
  • Its High Pressure Fuel Pump that tends to explode in the tank even under 50K miles send metal slivers throughout the fuel system causing massive problems. Think cancer. As it spreads, it causes other problems to other parts. Like that disease, the only way to correct it is to remove the whole fuel system and lines! Then, replace the pump. The very sad thing is that the SAME pump must be installed again as FP's from earlier models are not the same, There are no warning signs except visually inspecting it in the fuel tank.
  • Its one piece emission control system, that if, should any part of the system fail, the WHOLE emission system must be replaced $6000 in parts (labor is another issue).
  • Its Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM). Basically, this is like ash residue and gathers on the filter. To be fair, all 2009+ models do have this, which can be an expense and unneeded worry (thanks to clean air). Now, models pre-2009, do not have this nor the more stringent emission controls, so the expense is much less should a problem arises. If the sensor fails or the filter is clogged, expensive repairs occur.
  • Its poorly design Dual Mass Flywheel (DMF) that is just more problematic than earlier models from 2006-08. If this fails, its $1300 alone.

There have been over 500 complaints filed with this model at the National Safety. While the model has no recall, it is in the engineering investigation mode to determine if the Federal Government should force VW to recall it. To be fair, of the complaints, only 1% of them are specifically to the disaster when the fuel pump explodes. VW claims that the cause of the exploding or corrosion is the diesel fuel is contaminated with some gas. Whether this is due to the owners mistakenly putting gas in or refineries leaving gas in diesel during refining is not known, but the US Government's own testings supports what VW is stating. VW does not make the FP itself and the same part number is re-installed after the event occurs, which greatly angers any owner who experiences it and cost.

For some reason, VW is constantly changing engine designs on their diesel and gas cars. For instance, their BRM engine, renowned for its robustness, was only in 2005-06 models. The engine used in the 2009 model is different than it in the 2010 model, did VW engineers know it would be a problem? Now, anyone can have problems with a 2009 and the odds seem to be in a buyers favor, what is 1% of 500? Yet, there are lots of other issues besides those major ones addressed here that cause problems and expense.

So, since all models have the same body style from 2005-10, I would say avoid the 2009. Buy a 2005--08 model with low mileage.


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