For Better or Worse - 200,000+ Miles with a 2006 Jetta TDI


Active member
Oct 18, 2007
2006 JETTA
2006: Purchased a 2006 Jetta TDI BRM sitting on a used car lot with 16,000 miles. 5 speed manual. Car looked and smelled new. The lot owner drove it to my work and told me car still under warranty, etc. These vehicles were hot and in short supply as fuel prices were going up. I had a diesel pickup and was making my own biodiesel at home so it seemed natural to get this car. Got 47 mpg on first long trip. I'm happy with the purchase.
2007: Battery died so I drove it to dealer to see if under warranty. Learned car had been totaled by insurance. Why is my title not salvaged? Anyway no warranty and no free battery. I buy battery and call dealer I bought car from. He says it was just a minor front end damage so no need for salvage title. I've been screwed.
2008: Wife takes car on long trip and engine falls forward into radiator. Electric fans catch on fire. Fire truck shows up and sprays water on engine. I rent a uhaul car hauler and go get her and the car - 200 miles each way. Take the car back to the used car dealer I bought it from and drop it at his lot. Tell him to fix the car or hear from my attorney. He installs new motor mounts and replaces the electric cooling fans. No charge.
2008: Running B100 homemade biodiesel the tandem pump on the engine starts spraying fuel. Take car to German automotive shop and he installed a new tandem pump after mechanic getting a spray of biodiesel in his mouth diagnosing the problem. Tastes good he says. He recommends I cut my biodiesel 50/50 with petrodiesel. So I start blending 50/50.
2010: Injectors throw a code. About 90,000 miles. I find a guy with a complete used TDI head on craigslist and purchase. Swap out the injectors and everything good again.
2011: Headliner falls down and have to get a new headliner installed. Learn my car assembled in Mexico and this happens to all Mexican VWs per shop owner. Great.
2012: AC quits working. Replace the solenoid valve on the compressor and it works again.
2013: At 120,000 miles the 5 speed manual transmission locks up in gear - won't shift. I find another 5 speed manual transmission in a junk car 100 miles away and go pick it up for $250. Past due on timing belt so I trailer the car with the transmission to German Automotive. Pay to have new timing belt, water pump, swap transmissions and have new CV joints installed. Back on the road. Ouch!
2014: Gear shift get wonky. Have to reset the cable and shifting mechanism. Also notice the shift boot is crumbling apart. Buy new shifter boot off Ebay.
2015: The door panel pleather start peeling off. I try gluing them back in place. Looks crappy. More Mexican assembly problems I'm told.
2016: The electrical cable running to driver door messes up. Can't open gas tank and car dings claiming my door open all the time. Another VW design flaw I'm told (cable too short) but remember I have no warranty. I solder the broken wires back together so I can open the fuel door. Car won't pass inspection. The headlight covers are too frosted over for the headlight to shine through. Buy 2 new assemblies off Ebay and install. Have to take the entire car front off to get to the lights. Pain.
2017: The sliding cover for the sun roof falls down. I pull if off and discard. Now sun shines on me but at least sun roof still opens and closes. Hey and it doesn't leak water either. That's rare I'm told.
2018: Light in the radio goes out. Can't see what station you are on. But presets still work. Screw it. Ride on.
2019: AC goes out again. Time for another solenoid valve. Try RKX brand this time. Told it is better. Replace and AC works again.
2020: The soldered driver door electrical cable breaks again. Now wires to air bag broken. Code on dash. I purchase a whole new cable off ebay and install. What an ordeal. You have to remove the outer door skin to replace the cable. Now door handle is a little wonky but no more door electrical problems. The replacement Ebay cable is definitely longer.
2021: 220,000 miles. Car starts running like crap and leaking oil out the front seal. Occasionally throwing MAF sensor, etc. Time for second timing belt change and everyone says I need to replace the camshaft. Another defective VW part. I get quote from German Automotive place. More $ than car worth. So I do myself. Have to buy a bunch of tools off Ebay to do the job. Takes me an entire weekend but I get it done. Car running good but turbo not boosting. Find vacuum hoses rotten. Replace hoses and now it is running good and the oil quit leaking out the front seal. That worn camshaft causes all kinds of problems.

Would I buy a 2006 TDI again? I certainly wouldn't have purchase the car off the used car lot without doing my history on the VIN number. Wonder if all this nonsense is typical for you guys and gals? If so I'm sure most everyone else would have traded the car long before now.


Veteran Member
May 21, 2017
2006 Jetta BRM
I’m surprised you never mentioned the coolant flange on the head. those seem to last about three years for me.


Veteran Member
Jul 24, 2010
Kitchener, ON
2010 Jetta 6spd MT, 2014 Touareg Execline
Oh the drama......
Why did you keep it for so long if it's such a lemon and so unreliable?
Who's been maintaining it? Have you been following any maintenance schedules and such?
The bottom line is, you bought a damaged vehicle that was probably zip tied together after the first accident..... who knows how much of the "already Mexican assembled stuff" was Mickey Moused before you got it.


Veteran Member
Feb 19, 2021
North Bay (ON)
2001 Jetta TDI (auto)
i admire you doing the work to keep the car running and on the road, most people i know would have scrapped the car long ago if they went through what you did.


Top Post Dawg
Oct 17, 2003
Maryland and New England
2003 Golf GLS 4D 5M, 2015 GSW SE 6M
Kudos to you for sticking with it! I'm a VW fan, but I would likely have ditched it once I found out it was a salvage car with no warranty.

We skipped the MkV as we already had three MkIV ALHs (now down to two), but those are at a half million miles with zero real VW problems. I say real, since I don't count frosted headlights or dead batteries as anything more than routine maint or items associated with any brand.

Your list sounds unfortunate, but you also have lots of odd things mixed in. From the start I was confused how you completed the sale with a used-car guy who said it had a warranty but didn't provide any warranty paperwork? Running homemade B100 is admirable, but of course you assume all risk of wear or damage to the components in that system, as most bio people know. Headliners in Texas? The adhesive on one of ours started to go at 16 years, but it would have been much sooner in higher heat- Mexico production has nothing to do with it. Same for door cards and upholstery, there is no magic in cars built in Germany, at least for the MkIV. Light bulbs, vac hoses, and timing belt? If the TB is past due, that's on you- right? The light behind the AC is a 60 second replacement, the bulb is not an infinite light source. Vac hoses are on you, right? I'm surprised they lasted 220,000 miles, we replace ours every 100k miles. Is a camshaft defective if it lasted 220K?

Anyway, it's reasonable to be unhappy with many of the other items. If my car had failed Chinese replacement engine mounts after a non-disclosed front end crash, which sent the engine into the rad, I'd be a little upset too- but not with Volkswagen (in that case particular case). I'm a VW fan, but there are no illusions about general reliability. I don't place a priority on reliability, but on driver enjoyment, and the marketplace seems to have shifted towards safety/reliability as a primary sales pitch/consumer concern over the last 20 years, so obviously I'm not the mainstream. Of course, I grew up with air-cooled Beetles, so 90Hp and heat in the winter are still luxuries to me.

Good job on all the work you have put in, regardless of final outcome. There is a reward in effort itself.