I am looking at purchasing a new, 2014 Volkswagen Jetta TDI car. I have a 35 mile commute to work on pretty much all highway. I want something good on gas mileage, so I heard the Jetta TDIs get awesome gas mileage. My only concern is the maintenance frequency (and cost).

So my question(s) are:

  • How frequently does the oil need to be changed?
  • Are there any other general maintenance items I need to do during the first 40-60k miles?
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    Looks like I have to earn "real" reputation before I can post an answer, so I'll comment for now. We have two Jetta TDI wagons, a 2002 Mk4 ALH automatic and a 2005 Mk4 BEW manual, both with well over 200,000 miles. Our maintenance costs have averaged just over $0.10/mile (USD) over the time we've owned them. I do a lot of the work on them (oil changes, brakes, electrical work, etc.), but major jobs like timing belts we take to an independent shop.
    – dlu
    Commented Apr 2, 2016 at 23:01

4 Answers 4


According to the 2013 TDI maintenance schedule for US market (PDF, via tdiclub.com), oil and filter changes occur every 10 000 miles (synthetic only, which allows for higher mileage between changes), same with tyre rotations; fuel filter replaced every 20 000 miles. This would be covered under 30 000 miles US Carefree Maintenance program included with purchase of most new or certified used VWs, I believe.

First thorough service, however, at 40 000 miles, that includes going over most systems is not covered by that program. Other important maintenance items include replacing transmission oil and filter on DSG (non-auto) gear boxes every 40 000 miles; checking DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) after 120 000 miles, and, if replacement not necessary then, every 20 000 miles thereafter; timing belt replacement at 130 000 miles.


For what it might be worth, we have a pair of Jetta Mk4 TDIs one with the ALH engine, the other with a BEW. Both are well over 200,000 miles (the ALH is pushing 300,000) and for the most part we do our own maintenance, using a local shop for thorny diagnostic issues and when specialized tools or a lift are required.

Over about 200,000 miles the ALH has run just over $0.10/mile (0.1028), that includes three timing belts, brakes, a drive shaft, struts – the usual stuff you might expect over 200,000 miles. It's worth noting that brakes have lasted over 100,000 miles, tires (Michelin) has lasted 80,000 miles, the exhaust system is still going strong, we're still on the original turbo, injectors, and injection pump (although I'm working on smoking issues right now).

We've only had the BEW for about 50,000 miles and it is running only $0.0208/mile (with basically no major work beyond normal maintenance items).

Both cars get serviced according to the factory schedule using OEM parts and good synthetic oil. The costs feel very reasonable to me and the durability of the cars makes me think that we've saved quite a bit over the cost of getting new (or new to us) cars over the years.


I have driven VW diesels since 1976. I currently own four of them. One has 330kmiles, and two are about 276kmiles and one is about 150kmiles. Normally maintenance is less than $0.10/mile (US$). I do essentially all my maintenance, and use premium oil, filters, parts. Rear brakes are the most often needed item. The alternator gets replace about every 2 years (we run the AC fan on high in the summer, and seats and windows in the winter). Generally, I do a timing belt every 100,000 ($500 parts plus labor, yes I know it can be done for less, but I service other things at this repair). On some cars the turbo can last for 330+ thousand miles, but I have one car which is on it's third turbo. One on it's second injector pump. These are bigger ticket repairs, and cause some people to dump cars.

The older Mk4 (such as the ALH) are very economical, and VW diesel friends try to pick up these because of that. I know of several ALH engines with more than 600K miles. One is owned by a woman who does no car work, and takes it to a local garage for all the work.

In general, when picking up a new to me vehicle, it takes more maintenance the first year or so. Even new cars. Then there is a steady state. Eventually things wear down, and as an example, I am replacing much of the front end on two of my cars this summer.

These individual variabilities make it hard to give you a reliable cost per mile, even with a sample size of four.

A front end I find unacceptable, may be just fine for someone else. If someone is hard of a clutch, that can add considerable expense.

Good luck as you try to analyze what to get.


I have a 2011 jetta tdi, turbo went out at 109,000. now particulate filter is bad, cost near 1200 for just filter, timing belt kit 690 w/ water pump, recomended. Everything on this car is too expensive and doesn't make up for the saving of 40 mpi.

  • 1
    Could you please add a currency to your post, otherwise your numbers are meaningless...
    – Nick C
    Commented Sep 4, 2014 at 9:13

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