Jetta Radios Are Suddenly Dying

Jetta radios, particularly those in the 2010 and 2011, are suddenly dying. Some owners say they heard a pop before the everlasting silence. And once they're gone, they're gone for good.

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VW Killed the Radio Star

There are a thousand things that can go wrong in a car. And if you ranked those issues by severity, any sort of radio problem would rank towards the bottom.

However, there’s a trend popping up where VW radios are fine one minute, then “pop” before dying. This is particularly true in the 2010-2011 Jetta.

And no-one seems to know why.

Jetta OEM Radio Problems

If you search forums, or take a look at VW trending reports on CarComplaints.com, you’ll find that there are a growing number of complaints about the radio suddenly dying in the 2010-2011 Jetta.

Owners say the problem happens out of nowhere, and some report hearing a pop before everything went silent. The fuses are fine and even pulling them and trying to “reset” the system does nothing.

And once it’s gone? It’s gone for good.

These aren’t old radios, either. We’re talking about this problem showing up just 3 to 4 years into ownership. Which is inconveniently just out of warranty range for many owners.

With most complaints focused on just a couple model years, it seems likely that VW just got a bad batch of radios from their supplier which a few owners say is Delphi.

Model Years with Strange Radio Problems
Make Model Years
Volkswagen Jetta 2009 /  2010 /  2011

What About a Fix?

When presented with the problem, dealers will commonly respond with a “it’s an internal stereo component failure.” How generically unhelpful.

There are exchange programs available, and that can cost between $450 to $750, but there’s no guarantee it just won’t happen again. In fact, I think you could bank on it.

You see, some dealers won’t offer the exchange if they don’t think your current radio can be refurbished. In other words, if you opt in to the exchange, you are probably just going to get somebody else’s refurb.

For the price, you could get a very good replacement radio at an electronics store with plenty of money left over. But I understand not wanting to go that route – for some, OEM radios just look better and more integrated.

Getting Help

Unfortunately this isn’t a problem with a happy ending.

Depending on your mileage – and I have NO clue why mileage would be used as a determining factor – VW dealers might be willing to cut you a deal.

Other than that (and as of right now) the best advice we’ve found is to negotiate with your local dealer. Make your dissatisfaction known. Learn from toddlers who want snacks and are willing to throw themselves on the floor in a fit of unnecessary rage until you get your way.


Jetta Interior Image From Wikipedia Commons

On the Record

“Bottom line - both dealer and VW CC refused to honor their deal to replace the defective radio, and I will be headed to small claims court to resolve this. LOTS of people have problems with their VW radios. VW knows it is an issue, and they hope it will just go away.”

2011 Jetta Owner in Summerville, SC

“All of a sudden there was a popping sound and the radio turned off and wouldn't come back on. I pulled over at the next place I could and turned my car on and off thinking it my fix the issue. It didn't. I came home and checked the fuse and also not the issue.”

2010 Jetta Owner in Ridgewood, NJ

“Back in October of 2016, my radio in my 2011 Jetta stopped working. The touchscreen was just black. I took it to a VW dealership and was told after an $89 diagnostic check that the radio was shot and it would be $720 to replace it.”

2011 Jetta Owner in Willowick, OH

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, you can help make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

Below are a handful of steps you can take to make sure this problem gets the attention it needs.

  1. File Your Complaint at CarComplaints.com

    CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.

    Add a Complaint

  2. Notify the Center for Auto Safety

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify the CAS

  3. Report a Safety Concern to NHTSA

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA

  4. Spread the Word

    Social media is all the rage these days. And for good reason – it can help spread a message quickly. So get out there and start spreading this page.