Volkswagen Jetta Suspension Issues Explained(+5 Troubleshooting Pro-tips)

In this brief article, we are going to discuss the different Suspension issues that occur in Volkswagen Jetta cars, what the causes are, and Troubleshooting Tips.

What are the most common Suspension problems with VW Jetta?

  • 2014  Recall due to Rear trailing arm in Jetta and Beetle
  • Creaking noise in the front suspension in Jetta
  • Combination of Clunking, Popping and Rattling in Jetta
  • Steering Feels vague while lane-changing
  • Bouncy Rear suspension

What suspension does the Jetta have?

The Volkswagen Jetta is in the 7th Generation of the MQB A1 and shares this platform with the Jetta VS5 (2019–present)[32]

SEAT Ateca, Škoda Karoq, Volkswagen Bora, Volkswagen Jetta/Sagitar/Vento, Volkswagen Lavida Mk3 and Volkswagen T-Roc.

The Jetta front suspension is Macpherson Strut with Anti-Roll Bar.

The Rear set-up is a Torsion beam with coil springs and Dampers. For the Jetta GLI, the rear suspension is an entirely new design 4-link with Trailing Arm, Tie-Rod, Camber Arm and Lower Control Arm.

2014 VW Recall of apprx 440000 vehicles due to a rear suspension issue

The reason for the recall was concerning the safety of the Rear suspension trailing arm that was reused after damage/impact. According to VW, if rear suspension trailing arms are damaged for any reason whatsoever owing to impact, and subsequently repaired and reused, the trailing arms had a very high chance of sudden fracture. A fractured rear trailing arm could cause loss of control and increase the possibility of a crash.

Although a majority of the Jetta’s and Beetle’s of that model period would have received a replacement trailing arm under warranty, some may have been left out.

If your car happened to be among the affected models, it would be highly recommended to check your car’s service history and replace the trailing arm even if it is currently not damaged.

VW Models affected by the 2014 recall were:

Jettas  2011 – 2013 and 

Beetles 2012 – 2013

VW Creaking noise issue

The creaking noise, in most cases, originates in the front suspension. SItuations that aggravate this problem are:

  • While approaching a steep road/driveway
  • While approaching large speed bumps

The most probable source of this Creaking noise is the forward inner control arm bushing.

VW Models reporting maximum number of Creaking Noise issues:

2006-09 Volkswagen Passat

2005-09 Volkswagen Jetta A5, 

2009 Jetta SportWagen 

2006-09 Volkswagen Rabbit, GTI, R32 

2007-09 Volkswagen Eos 

2009 Volkswagen CC 

Troubleshooting the VW Creaking noise

  • Raise the vehicle on a lift 
  • Remove the wheel from the side you suspect the sound to originate from
  • Dismantle the lower control arm ball joint
  • Now try to articulate the control arm upwards and downwards
  • If you notice the noise during this motion, then dismantle and replace the control arm bushing with an OEM replacement part

Clunking, Popping, Rattling and other noises in Mk 5 Jetta Suspension

  • Noises from the suspension while going over bumps and potholes
  • Grinding noise while steering at a standstill
  • Predominantly seen in Jetta Mk 5 (2006–2010)

Troubleshooting Clunking, Popping and other noises the Jetta Suspension

  • For a 10+ year car VW’s are known to have broken springs. So that would be the first and easiest thing to suspect
  • Noise while steering at a standstill is a strong symptom of something wrong with the strut and spring
  • It is possible to diagnose if the spring is the problem even before removing the wheel. You need to park the vehicle on a really flat shop floor over 2 planks (LH and RH). Measure the fender bottom height from the plank on both sides, if the difference is more than ½ inch, then it is mostly a broken spring
  • For a more thorough look, remove the wheel on the lower height side and inspect the strut. If the spring is broken, it would be easily visible and breakage mostly appears very close to the spring bottom seating area.

Steering Feels Vague

While driving the car will feel as if it’s wandering a bit and that you need to correct your steering wheel continuously.

The Tie-rod is what connects the wheel spindle to the steering rack. In between the tie-rod and the Wheel spindle is a ball-joint on each side. If the ball-joints are worn out then they will have a lot of play. Because of this the steering becomes less accurate.

Troubleshooting Vague Steering feel

  • The primary suspect for steering vagueness is the Tie-rod. Tie-rods can be easily inspected without dismantling any suspension parts
  • Once the car has been lifted on a ramp, you need to rotate the tire back and forth keeping your arms in a 3 o’clock – 9 o’clock position
  • While doing so, if you notice either play or clicking noise, then you can be sure that the tie-rod ball joints are loose
  • For the steering vagueness, the next suspect would be the A-Arm Bushing.
  • This can be easily inspected by using a pry-bar in between the A-Arm and the sub-frame. See if there is excessive play. A-Arm bushing play also contributes to steering feel in a significant way.

Bouncy Rear suspension

  • The knocking noise originates from the rear suspension
  • Sound more prominent especially when taking a turn
  • The rear suspension also feels bumpier than normal

Bumpy Ride Troubleshooting: Shock Absorbers

The Shock Absorber’s job is to dampen the suspension vibrations. Meaning that the shock absorber is supposed to make the suspension less bouncy.

Shock absorbers wear out over time and lose their vibration dampening action, thus resulting in a more bouncy suspension.

  • The rear shock can be initially checked without going under  the vehicle. You can do a bounce test. Go to any of the rear corner suspensions and put all of your weight downwards onto the body of the vehicle in order to make it bounce. Keep doing this till bounce has reached its peak and won’t go any higher. Now let go of the car and watch it settling. If the car takes more than 1 bounce to settle, it means that your rear shock is on its way out.
  • Visually inspect the shock from underneath. If there are oil stains, it is also a sure sign of failure. (But it is not necessary that failed shocks are always leaky; they could get internally worn out also)

Conclusion

In this brief article we have discussed the different Suspension issues that occur in Volkswagen Jetta cars, what the causes are, and their Troubleshooting Tips.

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