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I happened across a 2000 Golf TDI today and wonder what I need to look for on these cars. The car appears to have been well kept and has been driven plenty. It's showing over 106,000 on the clock. Everything seems to work well on the car. The engine seems to run very well, AC works, clutch and shifter feel fine, shocks/struts may be a little soft, CV's feel good with no clicking at full lock, but I have no maintenance history on the car.

How long do these little VW diesels run? Would I be buying a money pit? How reliable in general are they?

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The TDI is VERY reliable and with proper maintenance will go 300k+. With no records though, I would be concerned about the timming belt. In 2000 the factory belt was only good for 60k. Then they improved the belt and it was good for 80k, now the tentioner has been improved and it's good for 100k. Changing the belt is a big job but if you have no history on the car you will need to change it. The TDI is an interferance engine, if the belt breaks you will bend valves at BEST, head & pistons worse case.

BTW the little 1.9L TDI responds VERY well to mods.
 
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