2019 Volkswagen Jetta Top 3 Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Structure, engine and transmission problems issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Since the 80’s, the Volkswagen Jetta has been motoring down roadways worldwide. The ever-popular sedan, now on its seventh generation,has been completely redesigned for 2019. Although the revised car is praised by many for being both sporty and economical, some owners also complain of mechanical issues. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website, main problem areas for the 2019 Jetta are the powertrain, engine and structure.

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Powertrain

In 2019, the Jetta debuted an all-new 8-speed automatic transmission. Many owners claim that the unit makes a grinding noise or scraping noise at lower speeds. The torque converter, a fluid coupling device located between the engine and transmission, may also be to blame.
“Torque converter makes a grinding sound at 1,400 rpm. the sound is louder with “eco” mode selected on transmission but is still present when not engaged,” writes a consumer on the NHTSA website.

Another owner states: “While accelerating, a distinct grinding noise comes from the transmission. The noise is consistently heard while the vehicle is accelerating between 25-30 mph. My vehicle is roughly 5 months off the lot and has less than 10k miles, so this noise is very concerning. Third party mechanics have confirmed the noise is a hazard for the transmission, and have advised to bring the vehicle to Volkswagen for a warranty repair. Both the Volkswagen dealership and Volkswagen customer service have notified me the grinding noise is normal and of no concern. However, a software patch is available to “fix” the “non-issue”. Volkswagen customer service also notified me the patch does not completely fix the grinding noise. When I pressed further, customer service notified me there are no other options and “there is nothing we can do at this time to fix it.” The dealership also confirmed the noise is present in other 2019 Jettas on their lot, which is why they said the noise is normal for my vehicle. It sounds like VW has a transmission issue with all 2019 Jettas, and they do not know how and/or refuse to fix it.”

Some sources, like the owner mentioned above, say dealers have a software update designed to reduce the noise. Though, whether the software patch actually fixes the issue is unclear. A technical tip (32-18-01TT) issued by Volkswagen says the sound is “a normal operating characteristic” and does not recommend any repairs.

There are also accounts of the transmission leaking. “Car was bought brand new. After 6 weeks of driving and approx 1,200 miles noticed leaking oil in the garage. Took it to the dealer. transmission seal needs to be replaced and it could take 2-3 days depending on the availability of the parts,” says another consumer.
At this time, it’s unclear whether the alleged leaks and grinding noises are related.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 VW Jetta Transmission Problems:

I’ve had the 2019 Jetta for roughly 30 days now. I’ve noticed a strange grinding noise coming from the engine around 30 mph when accelerating under light load. As if a driver attempts to shift while the clutch is not engaged, the car produces a grinding noise (but this care is an automatic). So I decided to take it into VW to be looked at (young VW). They said and I quote “noise is normal operation of the drive system when accelerating.” that just doesn’t seem right to me.. My husband has a reasonable amount of automotive knowledge and has made an assertions that the issues is related to the transmission package; in his opinion any issue with the torque at low rams. VW refuses to even look at the issue, at this time. we worry is the car is defective and it damages the value of the vehicle and worse it’s a safety issue as it causes accelerated heating and failure rate for the entire transmission system.

While accelerating, a distinct grinding noise comes from the transmission. The noise is consistently heard while the vehicle is accelerating between 25-30 mph. My vehicle is roughly 5 months off the lot and has less than 10k miles, so this noise is very concerning. Third party mechanics have confirmed the noise is a hazard for the transmission, and have advised to bring the vehicle to Volkswagen for a warranty repair. Both the Volkswagen dealership and Volkswagen customer service have notified me the grinding noise is normal and of no concern. However, a software patch is available to “fix” the “non-issue”. Volkswagen customer service also notified me the patch does not completely fix the grinding noise. When I pressed further, customer service notified me there are no other options and “there is nothing we can do at this time to fix it.” the dealership also confirmed the noise is present in other 2019 Jetties on their lot, which is why they said the noise is normal for my vehicle. It sounds like VW has a transmission issue with all 2019 jetties, and they do not know how and/or refuse to fix it.

My vehicle, like many out there has a grinding or scraping noise emitted during up shifting at less than highway speed. During the noise, the car has a small loss of power. It sounds as though the transmission is coming apart. It happens in all modes but is more evident in Eco mode. The dealer is playing dumb pretending like it is not an issue and even said they have not heard of it before. The car came out of service with no improvement.

Engine

Two engine options are offered in the 2019 Jetta: a 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder and a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder. Some owners claim their engine runs low on oil before the 10,000-mile recommended service interval.

On the NHTSA website, one consumer says, ”First issue is the car running low on oil before it reaches the 10k mile mark. This car should be getting an oil change every 10k miles however it will run out of oil before the 10k mark is achieved.”

“The engine. I believe there is a internal defect because today I was driving a the engine oil light came on. Once I checked the oil I saw that the dipstick was clean, no oil, nada. Where has all the oil gone on a new 2019 Jetta? It sure hasn’t been leaking on the ground of my garage because there is no fluids,” says another owner.

So far, the NHSTA website does not list any communications from VW regarding the concern.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 VW Jetta Engine Problems:

While in neutral, the engine shuddered a little and then cut off. This has happened multiple times. Most recently I was stuck in the middle of an intersection while I had to restart my car.

Check oil level light/warning bell came on. Let the car cool, went out to check the oil with the dipstick, was very little oil in there !went to the auto parts store , checked it again, and this time the oil was back. Car was ok for 2 days then light came on again.

The car running low on oil before it reaches the 10k mile mark. This car should be getting an oil change every 10k miles however it will run out of oil before the 10k mark is achieved

Structure

Some owners allege their brand-new Jetta is improperly sealed from the elements, allowing water to leak into the interior.

“Takata recall- I took the vehicle in because the horn on the vehicle was going off randomly while driving. Once diagnosed VW dealership said that it was because the firewall of the vehicle had not been sealed, therefore water was entering the vehicle. There was mold found in the vehicle, which now they have to replace the interior of the vehicle. The vehicle has been at the dealership for over two weeks, and I have not received a completion date from the dealership. They have actually made no efforts to contact me,” reads one complaint on the NHTSA website.

Another states: “This car has vent issues and cowl seal issue. The seal is not tight and the inside the windshield and window freezes.”

Volkswagen has released a Technical service bulletin (TSB 50 18 04) to address leaks. The document outlines a “water leak due to improper application of body seam sealer”. Dealers are instructed to apply seam sealer to various parts of the vehicle, depending on the car’s VIN number.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 VW Jetta Structural Problems:

After a couple of months of ownership, the vehicle developed water leaks through the rear door handles when the car was stationary. Whenever it rained, water got into the door lock latch mechanisms and water was pooling between the inner and outer door seals. When the doors were opened, water poured out. I explained this issue to my local dealer and demonstrated the problem but they claimed that they talked to Volkswagen and that it was normal water drainage. I don’t believe this is normal for the following reasons : 1) the front doors don’t have this issue 2) this issue in the left rear door is not as bad as the right rear door ( a good amount of water pools in the sill in the right rear door and I can see water in the lock latch mechanism ) 3) this issue didn’t exist when I first bought the car 4) water is pooling inside of the outer plastic door seal that is on the door so if enough water accumulates, it may end up passing the inner plastic seal that is on the frame ( there are drainage holes on the outer bottom part of the door, which is for normal water drainage. I am not referring to these ) 5) this can lead to rust in the lock mechanism and can also be a safety hazard in cold weather where the door locks may freeze shut 6) I have not seen this type of issue in any of the other vehicles I’ve owned. So, I don’t agree with the dealer’s and manufacturer’s assessments that this is normal. Please look into this issue. Inside the car windshield and windows freezes and forms ice every day morning. Air leak in the door might be possible.

Upon accessing the trunk, I have been struck on the back of the head numerous times because the trunk lid does not stay up upon opening. I have heard that this design flaw was corrected after a certain manufacturer date, but I reported it to my dealer who did nothing about it and said that nothing could be done about it.

Trunk lid does not stay open all the way unless it is pushed and locked into place. Could knock someone out if you forget to do this. Never seen a design like this. VW should address and fix this hazard.

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9 COMMENTS
  • Alain R

    car vw 2019 quit again – few months ago they had to replace my transmission
    today a clicking noise occurs during ignition – sounds like piston?
    may be engine
    I will tow it tomorrow and find out more

  • BARBARA M

    I PURCHASE A 2019 JETTA BRAND NEW I NOTICE A LOUD GRINDING NOIS THE NEXT DAY ,, I WAS TOLD THAT THIS IS A NORMAL NOISE.. I FIND IT VERY IGNORING TO HEAR. I AM VERY UNHAPPY WITH THIS CAR . NOW MY CHECK OIL LEVEL LIGHT IS ON . THIS IS JUST NOT NORMAL.. I WAS TOLD TO KEEP DRIVING THE CAR..

  • David M

    just bought 2019 VW Jetta about 2 weeks ago. It has a grinding sound in the transmission and the dealer says its normal but he googled it and its a common issue. Milaege 300. Please call back.

  • Jan

    Many of these complaints surround the performance of the car in “ECO mode”. Granted, it’s an idiot feature that I find very annoying – especially that I have to turn off every time I turn the car on. Future models should make it an option not an auto feature. But it seems to me few buyers took the time to read the manual to understand why the car works the way it does. If they had read the manual, they would have understood about the ECO mode feature that the car goes into a sleep idle sitting for more than a minute, etc.
    I would advise VW dealers to take a few extra minutes promoting the ECO mode to avoid buyers that end up complaining because they think the car is stalling out.
    I think the new design of the car causes a leak issue in the gas cap housing; first hard rain, my CEL was on in my less than two week old car. Dealer said it was a recall fix & sent me on my way. Next heavy downpour, same thing, but since I found water in the gas cap area, I suspected that was the cause. So I dried the area very well & after two days the light went out. I added a rubber seal which was noticeably absent on the gas cap door & haven’t had a repeat since. VW really pulled out all the tech stops on this car but some features like the ECO mode are just better left out. The tires are barely a match and the body style not conducive to handling at high speed. The brakes are not high performance, so there’s a bit of mismatch with this Frankenstein of a Jetta. Knowing VW, they’ll get it right with the 2020 model. Lease before you buy & these minor issues won’t be so stressful.

  • Danielle

    My first VW was a leased 2017 jetta and it used oil so i purchased a 2019 jetta thinking it was a new car. How stupid i feel. It uses oil, i have chaned the oil 3 times because it was low on oil. I have 11k miles and vw said i for me to have them change it every 10k. The math don’t seem right. The eco button keeps shutting off and shows an engine error. The seats seem to get hot when its not even on. I have taken my car in 4 time including oil change and vw dealership keeps telling me nothing is wrong. Hhhhmmmm also, they won’t document or provide me any documentation when i pick up my car. Im pist now.

  • Jereme H

    I too Am having the same grinding issue with my 2019 jetta. I got the car in September and it has less than 2k miles on it. I have not gone to the dealer about this yet because I don’t want to be lied to and told that a grinding transmission is normal. I’m hoping that it doesn’t get worse and I’m able to wait until that class action suite is settled.

  • Wendy E

    I’m having the same transmission issue with my new 2019 VW SEL Jetta. I brought it into the dealer one week after I picked the car up and they told me they didn’t hear it. Which was a lie. Dealership called me and said the spoke to the “specialists” in Germany and they were told that is a “normal” sound and to return the car to the customer. Another issue I am having is there is a buzzing noise coming from the glovebox or passenger door. Almost like the speaker is blown but not. These are two things that many 2019 Jetta owners are complaining about. Now I have to listen to these two irritating issues for 39 months. Clearly there is an issue with this new model. I really hope VW takes care of the issues or it will be the last VW that I will purchase.

  • Robert J

    I just bought a 2019 Jetta 1.4t 8spd auto on10-05-2019 and within 2 days I’ve noticed the transmission just loses power and makes a grinding noise at 22-28 mph. I will be contacting the dealership in the morning to ask them if their cars make the same noise because 2 of the employees say they are driving the same vehicle as I just bought. Curious if they are having problems too. I’ve also noticed it at other shift points but not as bad as the low speed shift.

  • Oscar

    My car was out of service for more than 30 days under warranty. It was a brand new car from the dealership and I wanted to know if the car was considered a lemon and if I could get my money back.

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