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for part 1, of this new owner checklist and buying guide, see http://www.myturbodiesel.com/1000q/a5/2005-2006-VW-Jetta-TDI-buying-guide.htm

VW quirks, non priority maintenance, and other misc. things to know about your late 2005 (2005.5) 2006 Jetta TDI

Because of the newer technology on the mk5 cars, there are many car settings that must be set up during new delivery. CAN BUS technology cars (mk5 VW) come from the factory in sleep mode to prevent battery drain. Sometimes these setting are never configured (dealer error) or reset later. Some examples are the power seat and the power windows/sunroof remote functions. The window pinch protection can even be turned off. These options can be adjusted with a VCDS diagnostic tool (used to be called vag-com) or the dealer can do it.

If you disconnect the battery some functions have to be reset. See 1000q: window reset and steering adaptation. Also see 1000q: memory seat relearn for the detailed procedure on learning the boundaries of the seat travel. Otherwise the power seat controller will not activate the power seat memory.


Some cars had fold flat passenger seats. It's handy for loading long items or using as a table. It's folded using the lever shown right. If your car doesn't have the lever it doesn't have this feature.

If you have an amplifier under the seat you have the Hi-Fi premium system. If you don't you have the standard system. An easy plug-play upgrade for the premium system is the amplifier from the VW Passat with Dynaudio (shown below, the stock amp is silver). The part number is VW# 3c0 035 456 c. If you don't have the amplifier and wish to add the stock amp or Passat Dynaudio amp, you have to rewire the audio system. You can buy a retrofit harness here: http://naviservice.com.pl/?item=169&lang=en


The headrests are active. This means that in a crash which pushes you back into the seat the headrests mechanically tilt forward and down. This feature was removed for 2007 to save money and the "whiplash" rating went down. VW fixed the headrests tilted forward for 2009 and the whiplash rating went 2 steps up but some have complained that it's uncomfortable because they're tilted forward

The DRL light on the instrument cluster is always on is because the DRL are on. If a light bulb burns out, it will display a message in the MFD.

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.

ESP stability/yaw and traction control were standard on American cars. The disable button next to the front ashtray. Traction control brakes a slipping wheel during low speeds only to help you get traction (like trying to move from a stop on ice). Stability and yaw control uses a steering wheel sensor and yaw sensor to cycle all 4 brakes to help straighten the car if you lose control (like sliding sideways at higher speeds). Because stability control works by reducing power and braking, once you exceed the tire limits no stability control can defy physics because a tire has a traction limit. An example of exceeding traction limits is driving on solid ice with summer tires (they get hard and lose traction as it gets cold).

This shows some designers talking about the new 2005.5 Jetta and some features of the car. Some of these features were removed for 2006 and/or only kept on package 1 or package 2 cars.

This is part 2 of the video. This is available in 720 HD version at youtube which is why it has the black bars here.

If you turn the key on, sit for a few seconds, and then turn it off, you may hear a high pitched whining sound from the engine. This is the electric EGR valve motor running and turning the valve. You may also hear a trickling fluid sound for about 1/2 second. This is the electric fuel pump in the fuel tank pressurizing the lines and pushing and air bubble out.

VW put soundproofing foam at the top of the fenders which rubbed and usually resulted in rust on mk4 cars. It hasn't caused any major problems on mk5 cars yet but if you wish to remove it, see 1000q: fender rust solution for the proactive repair.

The sunvisors slide out as an extra adjustment. The armrest tilts up and/or slides out as well. This is visible in the picture above with the fold flat seat.


The rear folding seats have a little red indicator tag that is visible when the seats are not "clicked" into the upright normal position. When the seats are secure, the red part of the tag isn't visible. If the seats aren't put upright correctly, it could be dangerous for child seats or the rear passengers, or it could let items in the trunk enter the cabin.

The sunroof has 2 "full" open positions. Turning the switch until it stops is the first position (the green dot in the picture below) where it leaves a lip to limit wind buffeting. If you press the switch beyond that position (the maroon dot) and hold it, the sunroof will open further.


When it's colder than 48oF, wait 1 second after turning the key to "on" before turning the key to "start" and starting the engine. This lets the glow plugs turn on and warm up. The "wait to start" glow plug indicator light normally goes out in less than 1 second and could be on as long as 4-5 seconds when it's below freezing. The chime if the temperature drops below 39oF is to let you know the road could be icy. For more information on the multifunction display options, see 1000q: MFD menu FAQ.

The Jetta does not use any hydraulic power steering fluid. The steering rack uses an electric motor for power assist. The amount of steering assist can be adjusted with a VCDS cable, see 1000q: electric steering adjustment for details. Electric steering saves energy by only using steering assist when you need it instead of a traditional hydraulic steering pump running all the time and constantly using energy.

The engine coolant is "lifetime" G12. Do not mix it with green Prestone or other non compatible coolants. It's a sealed system so if the coolant level is low, figure out where the leak is.

The key uses an anti-theft device called an immobilizer. If you want new keys you can only have them programmed at the dealer, the few rare independent locksmiths who have the equipment, or with a few aftermarket solutions. See 1000q: immobilizer FAQ for more details and 1000q: a5 VW Jetta key replacement FAQ.

Regardless of what the owners manual says, the 12V power outlet can work all the time, sometimes only when key is on, sometimes only when engine is running, and sometimes doesn't work at all. This varies by car and in some cases, has been traced to a blown cigarette lighter fuse.

The "soft touch" coating on the radio buttons often peels off. I believe the chemicals in certain hand lotions or sanitizers can attack the coating. Sharp fingernails don't help either.

The black button radios do not play mp3 CDs. The silver button radios for 2007-2009 are plug and play and can play CDs. If you wish to add an ipod adapter, see more details in http://www.myturbodiesel.com/1000q/multi/vw-ipod-cable-aux-in.htm.

It's normal for the speedometer to read slightly higher than actual speed but some were ridiculously fast. 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. To correct a fast speedometer, see 1000q: speedometer adjustment.

It's normal for the windshield wipers to move a little when you start or shut off the car. This avoids the wipers getting bent in one position which lengthens their life. To change the wipers, use the wiper stalk after shutting the car off to move them to the service position.

You can't use truck stop high flow fueling nozzles on the mk5 cars. The high flow truck fueling nozzles are larger and flow faster for filling a semi's larger fuel tank. Because the nozzle won't fit in the TDI fuel tank opening, some fuel can splash out. Use the smaller diameter passenger car diesel fuel nozzles. Don't forcefully jam the filler neck all the way in because sometimes it gets stuck. Just rest it in there.

If you have the MFD2 navigation system, the GPS map runs off the DVD in the "cd slot". See 1000q: MFD2 FAQ for more details. Unless you have the CD changer in the armrest (should be there on all TDI), you cannot use the GPS navigation and CD player at the same time. Because you already have the GPS antenna the newer RNS 510 GPS system is plug-play. While the older system works, the newer system is touchscreen, has SD card mp3 support, and uses an internal hard drive for the GPS map. See 1000q: RNS 510 GPS installation for more details.

You can slightly raise mileage and lower rpm when in 5th gear (manual 5 speed transmission only) by swapping the old 5th gear for a taller gearset, see 1000q: 5th gear swap for more details. This cannot be done on the 6 speed manual transmissions found on the 2009, only the 2005.5-2006. To calculate the change in RPM, speed, and gearing, see 1000q: wheel/tire/gearing calculator.

All TDI use front mount intercoolers and all cars had fuel coolers. Earlier TDI had fuel coolers on only automatic transmission cars.

There is an electric heating strip in the air vent system to help warm up the cabin on cold winter mornings. It draws up to 1000 watts (look in the fuse box under the hood) and is called the "auxiliary air heater", controlled by module j604 and climate control. It won't blow hot air but lukewarm air is better than nothing and is enough to prevent your frozen breath from ice-fogging the windshield on super cold mornings. This is found only on TDI, not on gassers.

The air conditioned glove box works but don't expect chilled champagne. It's just a tube from the air duct and not a true refrigeration unit. The on/off knob is inside the glovebox. There's also a shelf for the owner's manual that isn't easily visible unless you really look in there. Some cars may have an Aux in jack in the glove box.

When you disconnect the battery some settings may be reset. Once clue is that the yellow steering wheel symbol showing steering sensor problems and ESP stability control malfunction lights are on. To reset window pinch protection and reset steering and ESP, see 1000q: reset pinch protection and steering sensors.

The electric power steering can be adjusted to give more or less assist and give you lighter or heavier steering. See 1000q: steering assist for more details.
The car will relock itself after 30 seconds if you don't open the door. This is to resolve an accidental press of the unlock button on the key fob. If the door handle switch inside the door lock module breaks, the car won't know the door was opened.

There's a plastic dust cover on the ignition key slot. It's a rare problem, but if turning the wheel to unlock the steering wheel won't let you insert the key, try tilting the key towards the front of the car or use a pick to move the cover to insert the key. Never use oil in an ignition cylinder, only use a graphite lubricant.

You may also want to tint the windows. Auto glass blocks UV light but even clear or light tint will block a lot more UV light. Tinting the side windows helps prevent aging of the interior, aging of your skin, adds privacy, and in the event of the window shattering, controls glass particles by holding them to the stick-on film. Tint darkness can come in clear or barely noticeable all the way to dark "limo" tints, check your local laws for any restrictions. Also use only simple soap and water on window tint, never use ammonia based cleaner on the interior of the window where stick-on tint film is applied. The satellite radio and GPS (if equipped) antenna is in the sharkfin antenna on the roof and the diversity radio antenna is in the rear window. Metallic tint will cause loss of almost all AM radio reception but some "hybrid" metal tints won't interfere with FM very much. Ceramic has excellent heat rejection with no signal interference.

There are a few reports of paint flaking off the front plastic bumper unrelated to road or parking damage on early A5 TDIs. This is a defect and should be corrected by the dealer. Since the last TDIs were made in 2007 (sold as 2006), they should have fixed this issue by now.

The AC compressors on these cars have a noticeable problem rate. There is no AC clutch - the compressor is always turning. The system is pressurized through a regulator valve inside the compressor.

Transmission issues and clutch problems on 2005 2006 VW Jetta TDI

A5 body Jetta tend to be the most reliable yet but the 2005.5-2006 models had some issues with the transmissions and flywheel. A 5 speed manual was standard, 6 speed DSG was optional. Early manual transmission cars that had the Sachs clutch were covered by this .pdf for clutch replacement.

Although the DSG transmission (introduced with the 2004 New Beetle TDI) has it's drawbacks, it's still a good automatic compared to previous ones. However, if you want better mileage and reliability, nothing beats a regular manual transmission.

To change the manual transmission gear oil, see 1000q: transmission gear oil change. There's a strange design problem where the fill hole is too low.

Please read 1000q: DSG FAQ for maintenance, quirks, and other common issues with the DSG transmission. To change the transmission fluid (every 40,000 miles), see 1000q: DSG DIY fluid change. It costs under $150 when doing it yourself but could cost $400-900 at the dealer.

Since the DSG transmission is engaged during engine start, always put your foot on the brake and use the parking brake when starting the engine. If temperatures are very low, the car might creep forward a little bit. Before putting the car in park, always apply the parking brake before putting the shifter in park.

The DSG transmission needs to have consistent maintenance. Every 40,000 miles the DSG fluid and filter should be changed, price is about $400-900 at the dealer, under $150 if you do it yourself.

All transmissions use a dual mass flywheel (DMF), and there are a few cases where the DMF scatters and damages the transmission or engine. If you live at high altitude and cold temperatures, you may encounter a no-start/hard start engine under extreme conditions with some cars. If there are high pressure altitude atmospheric conditions when you are trying to do a cold start in a cold day (for example, 15oF), the engine may not start or have a hard start. This is not related to cold temperatures only. When cold temperatures are combined with high pressure altitude, the air is too thin and compression is too low to overcome the resistance of the transmission. A DSG is always engaged and this set of unusual conditions can prevent a high compression diesel engine from starting. For example, on a very cold day in high altitude Colorado, one TDI owner had this issue and said he got a settlement out of VW because of this known design flaw. If you live at a lower altitude or warmer conditions, you should never see this problem. If you live at high altitude or cold temperatures, a garage or an engine heater should prevent this. Canadian VW TDI come with heaters but US dealers will not do this.
 

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Added a note about the sunroof operation.

Someone with a Touareg pointed out that the sunroof has 2 "full open" positions and I found that so does the Jetta. In all fairness, my car was purchased used and never came with an owner's manual so I never knew this. The first open position is the last dot on the dial and that's where the dial stops turning. However, if you keep turning the knob even more, it has a spring loaded position where it will open the sunroof a little more. The purpose is to limit wind buffeting. I will add example pictures later.
 

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Added a note about putting your keys in the trunk. No it didn't happen to me, I just thought about it and decided to add this warning.
 

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What a great article. I am looking to buy either a 2006 tdi or a 2010 tdi. This really helped me to get ready for the test drive. Excellent stuff. I joined this forum because of this post. Nice work people!
 

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Added a picture of the amplifier. If you have the hi fi system you have this amp under the driver's set. If you don't you don't have the premium system.

On a side note, if you have the amplifier, you can plug-play the dynaudio amplifier from the Passat for a big upgrade in the sound system. If you don't have the amplifier you have to rewire the system.
 

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What do the dealers do for the $500 DSG tranny service? Do they remove the sealed mechatronic and service it? does this need to be done? I know they spend 3 hrs of labor and $130 in parts, but what else do they do besides drain oil, replace it and a new filter? I have also heard some dealers say change the tranny oil every 70-90K miles. Why is there a difference?
 

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Thanks, well then, that is the greatest ripoff. I was told they remove the sealed portion containing the electronics. if this is true, what kind of maintenance would be needed. I understand if the shifting is not right, but otherwise, how could this take 3 hrs of labor?
 
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