Common 2011 to 2018 Volkswagen Jetta Problems

The VW Jetta has existed for many generations and is currently in its 7th. We review the 6th generation and the top issues it’s known to run into. It’s typical for a 2011 to 2018 Volkswagen Jetta to have problems like ignition coil pack failure or lower control arm bushings wearing, and these are just two of the most common problems this generation experiences.

Top 5 Problems with the 6th Generation 2011 to 2018 VW Jetta

Mechanic reviewing the most common problems with the 2011 to 2018 6th generation Volkswagen Jetta

1. Ignition Coil Pack Failure

Symptoms of a Bad Ignition Coil Pack

  • Engine stalling
  • Car not starting
  • Flashing check engine light
  • Engine misfires

Causes of Ignition Coil Pack Failure

The 2-liter engine has a single coil pack with spark plug wires. Most of the other engines have a coil-overplug set up, with a coil sitting over the spark plug; if one of these fails, you’ll get a code for a specific cylinder with the defective ignition coil. With this engine, a bad coil pack will affect all of the cylinders, leading to a stall or no start. You may also get a flashing check engine light and a misfire, and there may be a problem with the wires or spark plugs.

How to Fix a Defective Ignition Coil Pack

Testing the ignition coil pack with a spark tester on the 2011 to 2018 Volkswagen Jetta
Testing the ignition coil pack with a spark tester on the 2011 to 2018 Volkswagen Jetta

You can use a spark tester to test the coil pack. You’ll need to remove one of the wires from the coil pack and connect the spark tester in its place. If spark is being sent down to the spark plug, you’ll see the tester flashing, which is a sign the coil is in good condition.

If replacing the coil, we recommend replacing the spark plugs and wires at the same time. Old and worn spark plugs and wires can cause the ignition coil to work harder and fail.

2. Window Regulator Failure

Symptoms of a Bad Window Regulator

  • Windows not working properly

Causes of a Faulty Window Regulator

The window may not move and you might hear the window motor working without the window moving to follow. The window regulator in the 2011 to 2018 VW Jetta is cable-driven, and they can bind up or fray over time, causing the window to not work properly.

How to Fix Window Regulator Problems on the 2011 to 2018 Volkswagen Jetta

If the window is in the down position, for a temporary fix you may be able to pull it up and secure it with masking tape at the bottom, but if the window regulator is damaged it’ll need to be replaced.

You can replace a window regulator yourself with little to no DIY experience. You’ll have to remove some trim pieces and fasteners from the door panel, and then unclip it to remove it and gain access to the window regulator.

3. Lower Control Arm Bushings

Symptoms of Bad Lower Control Arms

  • Clicking or clunking noise when driving over bumps

Causes of Lower Control Arm Failure

A bushing located at the front and back of the control arm can break down over time. The rubber that cracks and separates can create a clunking noise. The lower ball joint on the control arm might also have too much play, although normally you won’t find as much noise as a faulty bushing if there’s an issue with the ball joint.

How to Fix Problems with the Lower Control Arms on the 6th Gen VW Jetta

Steps to replace the control arm include removing the wheel and the bolts from the control arm. If the ball joint is in good condition, you can separate it from the control arm. Make sure to torque the bolts to Volkswagen’s specifications, and then have an alignment procedure done after completing this repair.

4. Water Pump Failure

Symptoms of Problems with the Water Pump in the 2011 to 2018 VW Jetta

  • No heat from the vents
  • Engine overheating

Causes of Water Pump Failure

The timing belt will need to be replaced around 80,000 to 100,000 miles, and since the water pump is located underneath the timing cover, it’ll need to be replaced at the same time. The pump’s plastic impeller can break down over time and stop working, which means it’ll stop pumping coolant throughout the engine and lead to the engine overheating.  

How to Fix a Faulty Water Pump

The water pump is located underneath the timing cover, and you’ll have to replace both the timing belt and the water pump if either needs to be replaced.

5. Headlight Bulb Failure

Symptoms of Problems with the Headlight Bulbs in the 6th Gen Volkswagen Jetta

  • Headlight is not turning on

Causes of Headlight Bulb Failure

The terminal connectors can sometimes lose contact and cause the headlight bulb to fail. If they’re not making good contact, there will be too much resistance, and the bulb will heat up and burn out.

How to Fix Bad Headlight Bulbs

You don’t have to remove many parts to replace the headlight bulbs on the 2011 to 2018 Volkswagen Jetta. Take the cover off, slightly twist the socket, and remove it from the headlight. Grab the bracket, pry underneath with a flat blade screwdriver, and slide the bulb out. Check the terminals of the bulbs for burn marks. See if the terminal connector has burn marks that will cause the bulbs to burn out quicker. The bulb is an H7 which is common and easy to find. Reinstall the bulb the same way it came out without touching the glass.

6. Wiper Motor Noise

Symptoms of Problems with the Wiper Motor in the 2011 to 2018 Volkswagen Jetta

  • Wiper motor making noise when the wipers are in use

Causes of Wiper Motor Failure

The wiper motor can make noise and fail, and if so should be replaced as soon as possible.

How to Fix a Faulty Wiper Motor

Steps to replace a wiper motor include removing the wiper arms, cowl panel, and motor and transmission. Then remove the motor and replace it with a new one.

6th Generation Volkswagen Jetta Model Years

Shop Quality Auto Parts

Fix common 2011 to 2018 Volkswagen Jetta problems yourself with quality parts and tips available at
Common 2011 to 2018 Volkswagen Jetta Problems - 6th Gen - 1A Auto
Article Name
Common 2011 to 2018 Volkswagen Jetta Problems - 6th Gen - 1A Auto
It's common for a 2011 to 2018 Volkswagen Jetta to have problems with the headlight bulbs and control arm bushings. Learn about the top problems the 6th generation VW Jetta experiences in this article and video.
Publisher Name
1A Auto
Publisher Logo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *