Half a million miles on one turbo

Drew with VW

Recently, Matt Marion, an editor at Men’s Health, contacted Volkswagen to inform us that his MK IV Jetta 1.8T was approaching the 500,000 mile mark. It’s a remarkable milestone so he was invited to the Volkswagen Group of America offices in Auburn Hills, MI to do a thorough autopsy of the vehicle to determine what kept it going for so many miles.

Matt bought his 2001 Jetta brand new and picked this specific model in large part because of the turbo. To him, everything else was optional, including the CD player. After all, why do you need a stereo when the sound coming from the powertrain offers hours of entertainment?

What first turned Matt’s head to Volkswagen was a dark blue 1989 Golf he purchased with money his grandfather gave him when he graduated from high school. He owned the Golf for just one year before he sold it, but it still remains one of his favorite cars and one that provided a proper connection to the road.

So…What was the secret to his Jetta’s longevity? Ultimately, Matt performed routine maintenance, changing the oil as scheduled every 5,000 to 7,000 miles with synthetic oil, and drove most of those 500,000 miles on the highway. As for repairs, the transmission was never opened, except to replace a seal, and the turbo is the same one that was in the engine when Matt’s Jetta rolled off the dealer lot over ten years ago.

One thing the technicians weren’t able to do was a dynamometer test to measure how much power the Jetta was putting out after half a million miles. However, Matt did say that the powertrain and suspension were still as smooth as ever when he made his final drive to Auburn Hills, noting that trip was the most memorable one he had ever taken with the vehicle.

I asked Matt which 2012 Volkswagen he’d chose to go another half a million miles in. “As much as I love the GTI, GLI, and the new Golf R, I would choose a 2012 Golf TDI with the DSG. And never mind 500k—I wouldn’t stop until I hit a million.”

Tell me which Volkswagen you’d like to spend 500,000 miles in. Also, check out Matt’s blog post to read more about what the VW technicians found during the autopsy and additional insights toward what kept his Jetta in top condition.

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