What is an older TDI worth?

Discussion in 'Diesel powered automobiles' started by OriEri, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. OriEri

    OriEri David

    Old TDI...worth the price?

    I am replacing my venerable TDI Jetta that died in a collision. This guy caught my eye.
    A 1998, apparently excellent or near excellent condition. KBB lists "excellent" with the mp3 CD player as ~$3000. The seller is asking $4800 and claiming that cars are just more expensive here on the west coast. He might be right. My 2001 160k Jetta was valued at something like $6300 by my insurance company and KBB lists it at $5200, but if I treat that as a proportion, or just a magic TDI demand bonus of $1100, it still comes up short of the $4800, the seller is asking?

    What you you all think? Thanks!

  2. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    236k miles? I'd go for the Prius you posted about over this vehicle.
  3. OriEri

    OriEri David

    The owner claims to have all maintenance records .I have always heard that the TDI engines are good for 450k if they have been cared for. Is that true?

    I should add I am probably reselling this vehicle or trading it in in 6-7 months.
  4. have you browsed around on tdiforums in that gen for issues and problems?
  5. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Yes, but the engine isn't really what I worry about in a VW TDI. I also think the Prius would hold its value better and be more attractive to the general public when you go to sell it simply because most of the population of the US is unable to drive manual transmission vehicles and is unwilling to deal with diesel.

    It's also worth mentioning that you'll spend less on fuel for the Prius, get better mileage in town, and have cleaner emissions.
  6. seftonm

    seftonm Veteran Staff Member

    I don't remember exactly and that engine is slightly different than the 1999.5-2003 TDI that I'm most familiar with. But I think around 300k miles, it becomes worth checking the condition on the injectors and lifters to see if they need replacing.
  7. OriEri

    OriEri David

    thanks for the tips. Strong sell, RLC. The TDI is on the table, because I can burn bioD made from recycled drippings Sure it is still carbon, but I figure it is carbon that would be released through decay in a landfill after a while, but the higher mileage is attractive, and ultimately bioD is fungible with regular diesel when the prices get high enough.
  8. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    I think the Mk4 engine had some significant improvements over the Mk3 you're now looking at (mostly in terms of power output, maybe?) but like RLC said it's not the engine that you worry about. Yeah the engine can go to 450k or possibly much longer, but it isn't the engine that puts these cars in the junkyard. Fortunately you're already a VW owner and know what you're dealing with, so I won't belabor that point.

    I will mention one potential problem that can be a real pain with VWs, and a seller may not disclose unless you ask. Make sure to specifically ask if it has any water leaks. VWs are notorious (especially in my wet climate) and we've dealt with water infiltration into the interior on both of ours. Not as big an issue in the bay area as western Oregon, but you still get rain so caveat emptor. A not-quite-so-wet climate like yours can actually make it harder to diagnose and fix the problem, since the problem is by definition intermittent.

    It really was worth that. KBB is dead wrong about your car. This always happens with TDIs when fuel prices go up. Used car values are through the roof right now, and that's even more true of biodiesel capable TDIs.

    $4500 does seem a bit steep for a Mk3 with 236k miles, even on the west coast -- although that does look like a nice one. For that price you should be able to get another 2001 with high miles, or a Mk3 with lower miles. If it's in really good shape I'd say it's worth more like $3500-4000. Not too far off, but I'd try to negotiate them down.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012

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