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for part 1 of this article, see http://www.myturbodiesel.com/1000q/a4/new-owner-checklist-VW-TDI-mk4.htm

Other misc. VW quirks and maintenance, non priority

Get the car detailed. You will be amazed at what a good paint polish and interior cleaning can do. See 1000q: car detailing index for more tips.
If you have locking wheel lug bolts (star pattern instead of 6 sided hex head bolts), the key is in the small pouch in the tool kit. VW switched locking lug styles so if you're missing the key count the points on the bolt and buy one ASAP or have the dealer put in a regular 6 sided hex lug bolt. Also check the spare tire wheel well.

You may also notice that the headlight plastic is oxidized and yellowed. Polishing the headlights will increase the headlight effectiveness and make it look better to. See 1000q: headlight polishing for more details.

Is there wax like tar dripping from the bottom of the doors? It's the wax sealant that VW uses to prevent corrosion. It helps to prevent rust but it melts, coming out of the door vents. Just use Goo Gone for auto paint or some other paint-safe solvent and wipe clean with a microfiber towel and lots of water. Why microfiber instead of a paper towel? Microfiber is non-scratch and paper towels will scratch the paint. The tar also has lots of dirt embedded in it. Follow up with soap and water, then wax. See 1000q: car detailing index for more detailing tips.

The front fenders will rust due to extra soundproofing that VW put between the metal fender and plastic wheel well liner. You can prevent this from occurring by following the technique here 1000q: wheel well rust fix and VW TSB. It seems to show up on the driver's side before the passenger's side. If you have a nice dealer they will fix it for free - there are many confirmed reports of free dealer replacements after being well out of regular warranty. The black triangular rear window trim on the Jetta tends to rust for no apparent reason. You can easily remove and repaint it. See 1000q: triangle trim repaint for more details.

Early cars used 10mm nuts to hold the engine cover to the engine. Later cars used a ball-socket snap cover that just pulls off. You can retrofit snap covers to the early engine cover, see 1000q: pumpe duse cover mod.

You may see ASR or ESP equipped on newer cars. ASR is traction control - it gives you some traction at low speeds (like from a stop on snow). The optional ESP is stability/yaw control - it uses a yaw sensor, steering wheel sensor, and a different ABS pump to straighten the car if you lose control (like sliding sideways on the highway from a sharp turn).

Do the front strut mounts have a lot of play between the mount and it's seat? Does the strut top stick up and does the strut fall down a little when you raise the car? This is normal because some play is needed to allow the front wheels to turn. As the suspension ages, you may notice a little more gap.

It's normal for the speedometer to read slightly higher than actual speed. German cars tend to have fast speedometers to account for car variations and so that they don't read lower than actual speed. The odometer reading should be correct and is a separate display from the speedometer. If it bothers you pull the instrument cluster needle and press it back on a little counterclockwise to slow the reading. See 1000q: instrument cluster removal for more tips. The high beam indicator is really bright and isn't dimmed with the rest of the cluster so you can dim it at the same time.

The dual mass flywheel in the mk4 and newer TDI has a higher rate of failure than single mass flywheel found in earlier TDI. The dual mass flywheel uses dampers to make the car quieter and absorb vibrations that would otherwise go into the transmission. This type of flywheel is used in many modern cars and has a higher rate of failure simply because it's two parts instead of one. It's nothing to be paranoid about but if you are removing the clutch/flywheel, it is suggested to also replace the dual mass flywheel. You can also swap it out for a single mass flywheel and a clutch/pressure plate that can hold more torque, especially if you plan on power upgrades. A single mass flywheel will not absorb the vibrations and will make noticeable chattering noises but can hold more power without stressing the dampeners in the dual mass flywheel. See 1000q: VW TDI clutch FAQ for technical details and 1000q: transmission removal for the procedure.

If you have very high mileage (around 270-300,000 miles), change the oil pump chain and tensioner when you change the timing belt. These begin to wear around this range and replacement will guarantee that it'll work flawlessly for much longer. During timing belt replacement, take off the crankshaft sprocket and front seal and it's easily replaced.

The 2004-2006 rubber intake hose can pop off at the intake manifold due to worn quick lock tabs. Check the clamp or use an aftermarket clamp to hold it if you find your car is having this problem. If it pops off you'll hear a pop while driving and engine stuttering or power loss. An aftermarket "doggie collar" can clamp a worn hose securely or you can buy a new hose. For the BEW engine the hose is VW# 1j0 145 838 t (from worldimpex)

The exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system lets in exhaust which mixes with the oily crankcase vapors. It forms a carbon buildup which will clog the intake. 1998-2003 cars seem to get this buildup and 2004 and up cars seem to not have significant buildup. Some people believe that it is a result of ultra low sulfur fuel or more precise EGR operation, either way, 2004+ cars don't seem to be as affected by buildup. Once build up sticks to the intake, it should be removed from the car for cleaning or replacement, do NOT try to clean it while it's still attached to the engine. See 1000q: intake cleaning for the procedure. Many people suggest turning down the EGR with a VCDS but the ECU will adapt and the result is lower fuel economy.

The EGR can also leak oil out the outside of the valve. This causes an oily mess but it can also be a fire hazard if the leak is bad and a lot of oil gets onto the exhaust. Previous TDIs had the EGR and intake manifold as one piece, luckily the mk4 cars have the EGR and intake manifold as two separate pieces. EGR replacement is suggested. See the above paragraph for the removal procedure or 1000q: EGR FAQ for general information on the EGR system.

The 1999-2002 cars with power windows can have faulty window regulator clips. The power windows are held by a clip which clamps a plastic slider which holds a cable. Any of these parts can break and cause the window to fall into the door without warning. See 1000q: window regulator recall for more details. This affects all years but only some years were covered by the extended recall. After they switched to the metal clips, the metal clips can still fall off so it's recommended to glue them on.

The driver's side handle tends to get scraped from use and lose it's "soft touch" coating. The soft touch coating is a kind of paint to make the plastic feel softer but it always gets scratched. To remove it, remove the affected panel and use a scrubber pad to scrape it off. See 1000q: door card removal or 1000q: center console removal or 1000q: headlight switch removal for more tips on removing the affected part. It also helps if you file your fingernails and use the pad of your fingers instead of the fingertip when touching the door. Audi of the same generation also have this problem.

If the doors were locked, the front doors will open with the first pull of the interior door handle. The rear interior door handles require 2 pulls - the first unlocks the door. The second pops the door open.

Never put your keys in the trunk because if you open the trunk, put your keys in with some bags, etc., and then close the trunk, the doors will be locked with the keys in the trunk

The sunroof has an open position beyond full open that you won't find unless you twist the knob harder than normal.


The variable vane actuators in and around the turbocharger can get stuck, causing too much or too little (normal failure mode) turbo boost. There is a lever on the outside of the turbo which can rust or seize and levers inside the turbo which can get stuck. The best way to prevent this is to occasionally put the engine under high load/rpm once the engine is fully warmed up to burn up the soot and heat up the exhaust gases. See 1000q: proper engine break in for more details on why you should occasionally put the engine under high load/rpm. All mk4 cars use a variable vane turbo. If it gets too stuck and causes a problem, it can put the car into limp mode or cause low power. See 1000q: limp mode , 1000q: low power fix, or 1000q: VNT actuator fix for more details on this issue.

The later pumpe duse engines (2004+) use a smart VNT actuator with a sensor that sees the position of the vanes. The wires going to the sensor tend to break or rub.

If you are having engine problems, there is a rare chance that the ECU (ECM, car computer) could be the problem. An ECU failure is very rare in any car but they seem to be more than very rare in the mk4 TDI ECU. Again, this is still a rare occurrence, so check for coolant migration first and all other possible sensor issues first.

Please gently close the glove box, don't slam it closed. Early hinges and handles tended to break so later cars used a different design. See 1000q: glove box repair for the fix and more details.

The early single-din Monsoon radio sounds better than the later double-din size OEM Monsoon radio. The double din size radio can be swapped for the European VW Delta 6 radio. It looks similar except it has no tape cassette slot and is considered by many to greatly improve the double din Monsoon system. The Delta 6 is shown below. European AM radio station spacing is different so it won't work as well in AM.


If you don't have Monsoon it's very difficult to add Monsoon because of the way the speakers and amp are wired. It's also difficult to swap the single-double din style radios.

Some high mileage cars are starting to get bad radiator cooling fans.

You can disable autolock of the doors at about 10 mph, set all doors to unlock with a single press of the key fob (instead of first press unlocks driver's door, second press unlocks all doors), or set all doors to unlock when you remove the ignition key. These are adjustable using a ross tech VCDS cable through the comfort convenience module or the dealer can do it. (should only take 10 minutes) See 1000q: VCDS mods for more details.

If you unlock the car and don't open the driver's side door within 30 seconds, the car will relock. This is to prevent accidental unlocking. If your car has weird door locking problems or doesn't seem to know that the driver's side door was opened, your door handle module is bad. See 1000q: door module replace to fix.

That's all the most common notes with these cars, see 1000q: mk4 "how to" index and 1000q: mk4 pumpe duse cars "how to" index for a more comprehensive list of how to.

Do you know of anything else that new owners should be aware of or common maintenance problems to add to this buying checklist and FAQ for VW Jetta TDI, Golf TDI, and New Beetle, TDI? If so, please post and add to this article.
 

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Added notes about the rear door function and sunroof open position. To avoid duplicate posts, this note has been added to all mk4 and newer checklists.
 

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Clogging intake!

Don't forget the clogging intake common in the 99-03 ALH engines. This is a result of the EGR cycling to reduce emissions. The recirculated oily exhaust will cling the intake walls and begin to make the intake smaller - like an impending heart attack. The sysmptoms will be loss of power and possible CEL. The intake must be removed and cleaned out - very dirty job but very satisfying.
 

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Don't forget the clogging intake common in the 99-03 ALH engines. This is a result of the EGR cycling to reduce emissions. The recirculated oily exhaust will cling the intake walls and begin to make the intake smaller - like an impending heart attack. The sysmptoms will be loss of power and possible CEL. The intake must be removed and cleaned out - very dirty job but very satisfying.
hi my wife's '03 jetta began loosing power (specially noticable when going uphill)
i read your comment and suspect that's what is going on. can you point me to some links where i can learn how to remove and clean out the intake? i don't mind dirty jobs that end up satisfying ;-)
is this the air-intake you're speaking of?
thank you
richard
 

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hi my wife's '03 jetta began loosing power (specially noticable when going uphill)
i read your comment and suspect that's what is going on. can you point me to some links where i can learn how to remove and clean out the intake? i don't mind dirty jobs that end up satisfying ;-)
is this the air-intake you're speaking of?
thank you
richard
http://www.myturbodiesel.com/1000q/a4/clean-intake-manifold-VW-TDI-carbon.htm Take a look in this FAQ article, step by step directions. Enjoy and welcometomyturbodies
 

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I noticed the tar when I purchased my Passat last week. I m glad it is nothing serious. However the headlights took a good Hour each, Advance has a Mothers powerball system that worked very well. N
 

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MK4 MFSW light switch

Has anyone ever noticed the buttons on the backside of the mfsw in mk4 jetta? They are for turning on and off the lights in the buttons for stereo and cruise functions.
 

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I've learned more in the last half hour than I have learned in the last ten years about my vehicle. I could have saved a mint. I've got 191000 miles and still love the ride and intend to get another 100k or more out of my '01 Jetta. Now I have a clue as to what to look for and some of what I can do myself. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge and experience.
 

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Bee helpful. Thank you for sharing all of this I've got a list of 3 items to clean. While I wait for my diesel geek timing belt kit (bew) 159k. No start. Looks like w/pump never removed. Had to have that puller. Preplan, another great tip. Thx. Bugsbug
 
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