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The Volkswagen MK6 Jetta (A6) was first introduced in 2010 and went all the way through 2018. Volkswagen switched its perspective from the MK5 premium Jetta to a mainstream MK6 Jetta trying to get more selling volume by lowering the cost to consumers. This came with a cost. The interior suffered greatly from the cost-cutting by Volkswagen. However, the goal for them was to increase volume and it did just that by selling more than 800,000 in the US by 2018.
The A6 Jetta came with many engines throughout its production cycle: 1.2 TSI, 1.4 TSI, 1.6 MPI, 1.8 TSI, “2.slow”, 2.0 TSI, and 2.5 MPI. The 6th Gen Jetta brought back the “2.slow” Volkswagen engine that puts down 115hp and became the new base engine for cost and reliability purposes. The transmission options offered were: 5-speed manual, 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic, and 7-speed DSG automatic transmission.
Before getting into the common problems of this Jetta, make sure the replacement parts linked below fit. We will be focusing on the 2.0 engine since that is the most common base engine in these Jettas. So if you need help looking for parts or guides with other engines, reach out in the comments and we will assist in any way we can.
Common VW MK6 Jetta Engine Problems
- Ignition coil pack/spark plug failure
- Water pump failure
- Faulty throttle body
- Power window regulator failure
- Faulty map sensor
1. Ignition coil pack/spark plug failure
This is the most common failure when it comes to Volkswagen vehicles and when coils or plugs go out, the vehicle will experience misfires. Ignition coils turn the lower voltage provided by the battery into much higher voltage needed for the spark plugs to create a spark for combustion. So needless to say, these two play a big role when it comes to the engine running optimally. Usually, these fail for one of three reasons: normal wear and tear, faulty wiring or part components, and tuning an engine.
Depending on driving habits or engine tuning, spark plugs and ignition coils should be changed out every 45,000 – 60,000 miles to ensure the engine is running at optimal levels. Something worth mentioning is when one does happen to go out, we highly recommend changing them all, coils and plugs, at once to avoid any future headaches.
Symptoms of Ignition Coil/Spark Plugs Failure:
- Check engine light illuminating
- Engine misfires with P0300-P0304 fault codes
- Power loss
- Engine not turning over
- Engine stalls
Ignition Coil/Spark Plugs Replacement Options:
This repair is fairly straightforward if you have the proper tools and know where to locate the coils and plugs. A dealer would probably charge around $200 for a repair like this. If you are tuned or plan on going tuned, we highly advise going with the 1-step colder spark plugs. The more boost you’re running, the hotter the engine gets, which leads to misfires under full throttle on OEM spark plugs.
Buy Here: MK6 Jetta Replacement Ignition Coils
Buy Here: MK6 Jetta Replacement Spark Plugs
1-Step Colder MK6 GLI Spark Plugs
DIY Difficulty: Easy
2. Water pump failure
Another very common problem in most Volkswagen’s and Audi’s is premature water pump failure. Water pumps are crucial in the cooling system. They take coolant from the radiator and push it to the engine to ensure optimal engine temperature. A failing water pump will cause the engine to overheat, which can lead to further engine damage if ignored.
The main reasons water pumps fail: normal wear and tear or a faulty component out of the factory, typically the gaskets. Proper functioning water pumps should last up to 60,000 miles or more depending on how well maintained an engine is. So with that calculation, a water pump should be replaced at least once, if not twice, throughout the vehicle’s lifecycle.
Symptoms of Water Pump Failure:
- Engine overheating
- White steam coming from the engine bay
- Engine coolant leaking
- Whining noise coming from the engine
Water Pump Replacement Options:
When it comes to water pump failure, it is strongly advised to change out the timing belt with it. This is because typically they go out around the same time, so you don’t want to put a brand new water pump on an old timing belt and have the timing belt fail shortly after. A DIY like this is not the easiest, but it can definitely be done to save money. A dealer or local mechanic would charge anywhere from around $350 – $500.
Buy Here: MK6 Jetta Replacement Water Pump
DIY Difficulty: Intermediate
3. Faulty Throttle Body
A faulty or failing throttle body is not a very common problem on most VW’s or Audi’s but seems to be rather common on MK6 Jetta’s. A throttle body regulates the amount of air the flows into the engine and is a crucial component in a vehicle’s air intake system.
Typically in Jetta’s, the throttle body will have carbon buildup in the housing which makes up about 90% of the cases where these fail. When a throttle body fails, is blocked, or is stuck, engine stalls could occur or a rough idle could be present. A functioning throttle body should last throughout the vehicle’s lifecycle without any issues, besides an occasional cleaning of the housing.
Symptoms of Throttle Body failure:
- P0122 Fault code or EPC light illuminating
- Carbon build-up in the housing
- Vacuum leaks
- Rough idle
- Rough engine performance
- Decreased fuel efficiency
Throttle Body Replacement Options:
Throttle body’s aren’t cheap to replace, however, there are some good aftermarket options out there if you don’t want to throw up the $500 for the OEM replacement. The DIY isn’t the easiest either unless you know your way around the engine. We’ve supplied a great video if you want to try it out yourself and save some dough for future MK6 Jetta mods. A local dealer or mechanic will probably charge around $700 depending on parts and labor.
DIY Difficulty: Difficult
4. Power Window Regulator Failure
The power window regulators in the MK6 Jetta’s seem to be a downfall correlated to Volkswagen’s attempt to make the vehicle competitively priced. A power window regulator holds the window glass in two channels and operates in two motions, up and down. In Lehman’s terms, it basically is what moves the window up and down.
These were faulty out of the factory and are prone to premature failure which will lead to the power window not functioning. As anyone can imagine, this is quite annoying when you try to move a window up or down and it doesn’t work. However, when replaced with a better part the vehicle shouldn’t experience this failure throughout the vehicle’s life cycle.
Power Window Regulator Replacement Options:
When you press the switch to roll down a power window and it doesn’t go up or down, odds are the power window regulator needs to be replaced. This is not a hard DIY, but it is a tedious one. The highly detailed video below is a great walkthrough to save you money on labor costs from a mechanic. If you were to take the Jetta to the shop, you would be looking at a cost of about $350 – $400.
Buy Here: Replacement MK6 Jetta Power Window Regulator
DIY Difficulty: Intermediate
5. Faulty MAP Sensor
MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) sensor issues are more common on the 2.5L engines for the MK6 Jetta’s. A MAP sensor reads the amount of air pressure with vacuum inside of an intake manifold.
These MAP sensors were not the best coming out of the factory, which is the main reason for the failure, faulty. When it does fail, any of the below fault codes will appear and the vehicle will be running very poorly. Typically these shouldn’t fail at all in vehicles unless they happen to be faulty of the factory, which is the case here.
Symptoms of Failing MAP Sensor:
- Check Engine Light Illuminating (P0105 – P0109 fault code)
- Engine surging
- Poor AFR (rich or lean)
- Engine stalls
- Decreased fuel economy
- Engine not turning over
- Engine misfires
MAP Sensor Replacement Options:
On some of the 2.5L Volkswagen engines, there is a software update that will resolve the issue you may be having with the MAP sensor. When the MAP sensor receives a bad reading, this could indicate a clogged/dirty throttle body. Upon diagnosing this issue, we would advise replacing the MAP sensor, then cleaning out the throttle body. If either of those fixes doesn’t work, check the electrical harness for the MAP sensor. A dealer or mechanic will charge around $200 to replace a MAP sensor, but it could be more expensive if that is not the problem.
Buy Here: Replacement MK6 Jetta Map Sensor
DIY Difficulty: Intermediate
VW MK6 Jetta Reliability
This is a common question when it comes to vehicles, how long will an MK6 Jetta last? We know there is a laundry list of problems list above but unless you have a lemon, these should easily surpass 100,000 miles without any major engine problems. We’ve seen many Jetta’s push past 200,000 miles that have followed maintenance schedules religiously. The later years, 2016-2018, of this Jetta will be your best bet if you’re in the market for a Jetta because they were able to resolve most of the electrical issues listed above.
If you want to check out more Jetta content, here is our write-up on the common problems for a Volkswagen MK4 Jetta.
Jeppe Helligsø says
What about troubles can occur with the 1.6 engine?
I’m thinking bout buying a mk6 with 1.6 so it would be interesting to hear their problems beforehand.
I have a 2011 jetta 2.5 sometimes it shuts off while driving but starts right away and sometimes it takes 2_3 times to start and it does not show check engine light.
I chang plugs coiled and evab.purge valve and still I can’t pin point the problem. The dealership could find the problem
Did you mean to say the dealership could *not* find the problem?