In 1999 Volkwagen released the 4th generation Jetta in the US, and it continued until model year 2005. In many foreign countries however, the tremendously popular 4th generation is still sold. This Jetta is known for its increased interior, great fuel mileage and sporty look. But, there are some common problems with this VW, specifically, problems with the ABS (anti-lock braking system) wheel sensors.
The ABS is a safety feature that has the brakes “pulse” rather than lock-up, which makes the vehicle stop much quicker than traditional brakes. This is especially helpful in slick conditions. There are ABS sensors in the wheel to make sure that the system is indeed working. The light should only go on when the ABS malfunctions, but many owners report the light activates without reasonable cause. The most likely scenario is that the wheel sensors have malfunctioned. This can happen when water gets inside of them, causing a false connection. Another possible cause is that a flat tire was replaced by a mechanic not familiar with ABS systems and sensors.
In some cases, there is no problem with the ABS, but in other cases your ABS could very well need some work, making the car’s warning legitimate. And since you are dealing with the braking system, it could lead to a very dangerous situation. The most efficient way to check for certain is to bring the vehicle to a nearby German auto service expert who can check the car’s systems and tell you for certain whether it was the ABS that malfunctioned or the sensors that went bad. They will have the experience and know-how to get your back on the streets safely.
Search for a local, independent Volkswagen repair shop with Volkswagen mechanics that have dealer-level expertise at a fraction of the expense.