The Volkswagen (VW) Jetta has several recalls on the brake systems, according to Repairpal.com. None of the recent recalls have been about the problems Jetta owners have with the clutch system on the manual transmission. Some owners have complained about the Jetta not going into reverse or becoming hard to shift from gear-to-gear.
The clutch in a VW Jetta wears over time because pressing it in and out causes friction on the discs. Every time the clutch is pressed and the gears are shifted, it creates wear. City driving, in particular, creates more wear than driving on the freeway because of all the stopping and starting in the city. The clutch will fail because the disc friction creates too much heat, causing the clutch to burn. The Jetta clutch is not made of heavy-duty clutches and can burn-up quicker because of city driving. The clutch needs to be replaced when the clutch burns up or overheats.
Carcomplaints.com has reported problems with the VW Jetta clutch slipping. No specific reason has been attributed for this clutch problem, but most of the time it comes from an oil or lubrication leak from the master or slave cylinder. The oil leaks out onto the clutch causing it to slip when shifting gears. The seals on the cylinders begin to wear and leak fluids. The clutch disc can be removed and cleaned to correct this slipping problem, but the seals will need to be replaced to prevent it from happening again.
Some owners of the VW Jetta have problems with the car not going into reverse and this is a clutch problem. When the clutch wears down it will not allow the car to be shifted into reverse. The clutch wear prevents reverse because the clutch has to be completely released to ensure the car goes into reverse, when the clutch wears it will not completely release. A Jetta owner can diagnose this problem by putting the car in reverse when the Jetta is shut off. If the car slightly moves when the owner attempts to start the Jetta, the clutch is worn. If the Jetta does not move at all, it is a transmission problem.