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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking at getting a 98 Jetta GL with 99k miles on it. The owner says there are zero issues and is "mechanically sound and good to go for the next few years". He is asking 2800 or best offer.

I am trying to research this car and all I see are people talking about all the problems they are having. I am capable of basic repairs (water pump, timing belt, spark plugs, exhaust change etc..) but what about the electronic issues? Ecm? I read about issues in the rain?

If I buy the car what are things to look out for? Things to do to prevent certain problems?

I've always been a Jeep person so I'm new to the car/Jetta scene.

Thank you.
 

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Just like with anything else, it’s easier to find bad reviews than good. The MK3s are fickle beasts, many plagued by electrical issues. But, here’s the thing: they’re super easy to work on, there are A LOT of them around, and typically MK3 owners are a pretty helpful lot. My 97 Jazz has had issues typical of a car it’s age, such as needing a clutch, control arms, tie rod ends, ball joints, things that are meant to be replaced now and again. I’m a person with very little mechanic experience beyond changing a tire or my own oil and have been able to do the majority of repairs myself with the help of YouTube and the Bentley manual. My husband HATES working on this car since he seems to break something else every time he touches it lol I, on the other hand, LOVE working on this car. I’ve replaced my seats myself, my radio, cooling system, steering column, and more. Junkyards are full of these cars with great parts in them, making finding what I need a breeze, and cheap.

These cars are just like any other: you get out of them what you put into them, and they’re definitely a love/hate relationship kinda car. I love mine, he’s my daily at 65k miles a year, and he’s family.


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Somehow lost a paragraph when I hit send. The GL is going to have a 2.0L ABA motor in it, which is one of the best engines VW ever produced. Many say they’re bulletproof.

Things to look for are the usual with any car: rust in the undercarriage, belt wear, wiring health. Things to do after purchase are also the same: change your belts as a precaution (you never know if someone really changed them when they say they did), oil change, gear oil top off, and coolant flush.

The coolant is G12, which is red, is what you’re going to be using, also known as Pentosin (spelling?). AutoZone is the only local parts place we’ve been able to find it, and they’re discontinuing it. I admit, I’ve only been using water in mine and we’ve been fine, but do so at your own risk.

Best advice? Get the Bentley manual, around $70 on eBay, and worth every penny. Subscribe to HumbleMechanic and ExoVCDS on YouTube. They’re great at how-tos.


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Thank you for your thoughtful and detailed response. I really wanted to find a 5 speed but there is an extremely clean 1998 with an auto transmission and 99k miles for 2500. Would that be a good deal?

I don't mind auto or stick but just concerned on if the auto will last being well taken care of. I have a lot of experience in electronics and mechanics so fixing things would be a non issue.
 
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