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I am interested in a Jetta and am curious if 60k on an automatic 2001 model is considered high.

I will enjoy changing the brake pads and other maintenance, but not dumping a ton of money into it over the next year.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I'd say that was pretty low mileage. I generally work on a ballpark figure of 10-12k/year, so I'd expect an average 10 year old car to have at least 100k on the clock.

The things to watch for a low mileage car is that maintenance may have been neglected, especially if it has been standing unused for any length of time. Check the maintenance records to make sure everything has been done, and check over the car to make sure its appearance and condition match the paperwork.

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There are some inherent risks to buying a car that age regardless of mileage. You should do a good bit of research on common problems and any recalls on the jetta before purchasing it. I'd also recommend checking out both the electrical system and for any rust on vehicle (both are common issues with Volkswagon vehicles). Regardless of mileage it's good practice to do an oil change as soon as possible after buying the car. I'd look at fluid in the cooling system as well, if it's not a nice healthy RED, it's worth the effort to flush it now rather than waiting 'til your thermostat fails or you find the radiator stuck with rust and/or debris.

Overall, a car w/ low mileage regardless of age should be a good pick up if the price is right. The engines in those Jettas are pretty reliable so if you take care of it properly you should get quite a few years out of that car.

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I have a 2001 1.8T Jetta. Mine has 211k and is still going strong. Here's a list of major things that I've had to replace, and # of miles where they needed to be dealt with. I'm not going to list things like brake pads, tires, etc.

  • Water Pump (usually done with timing belt, since you have take apart the entire thing to get to it): 70,000; 135,000; 200,000 (Note: if the timing belt breaks, you will destroy one or more engine components, since these things are interference engines). Be proactive about this. The water pump and timing belt is usually around 750-800 after parts and labor (unless you go to a dealership which will run you upwards of 1200).

  • Alternator: 120,000

  • Catalytic Converter: 140,000

  • Clutch - 160,000 (I bought mine online for ~350, a single mass meant for the VR6; chatters a bit when the clutch isn't pushed in, but costs 1/3 the price. Labor was another $350)

  • Ignition coils: many, many, many iterations... FREE! VW has a major problem with these things failing; mine are now a totally different part number, and 10 years later, I was still getting free updates because they were always recall items.

  • Exhaust manifold: Multiple repairs over the years, including a full replacement; less than $150 each time the thing needed to be welded back together.

  • Secondary air injection pump: my rivets failed ~170,000 miles. I took the things out, replaced them with long bolts and nuts, put it back in, and it works fine again ($10?)

  • Cam chain tensioner: 180,000 - around $400

In short, if that thing was garage kept, it's going to be in terrific condition. Do the timing belt and if you're a DIY'er, invest in a genuine VCDS system from Ross-Tech. It'll help you diagnose a lot of issues.

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