Maintenance on a 20 something year old rabbit is the only thing keeping it on the road. Sometimes the line between maintenance and modification gets quite blurry. Well guess thats why its fun to own and drive these cars.

Change the oil

over 3,000 miles for normal driving, and every 1,500 for hard driving.

Castroil 20W50 is the prefered non-synthetic summer oil for the JH motor found in the Rabbit GTI.
Question: What grade OIL should I use? Answer
Brad Penn, Redline, Moble 1, AMSOIL are also very good synthetic choices.
With the oil change, the old filter needs to be changed. When selecting a oil filter make sure it was built for your motor. Not all oil filters have the check valve like VW OEM filters do. Some oil filter's filtering elements are very restrictive and may cause oil pressure to be reduced and cause undue load on the oil pump.
Mahle - are the prefered oil filter
How to change your oil DIY Link

Oil Leaks

There are a few common oil leak locations, that are very easy to fix and should be considered part of any upgrade project.
Valve Cover Gasket is # 1 - The rubberized cork gasket just doesn't last. There is a reusable upgrade gasket kit, that will stop the leaks. The kit normally sells for $20, and includes the 1 piece gasket and new valve cover mounting studs.
Oil Pan gasket leaking is # 2 - Same as the Valve cover, replace with a reusable 1 piece rubber gasket. Normally sells for about $15. Its also common at this point to replace the oil pan gasket with a windage tray. The windage tray keeps the oil near the oil pump pickup at all times(especially during high G turns). It its self is a gasket. When installing you have to remove the pump pickup, install the tray , reinstall the pump pickup, then install the pan.

How to replace the oil pan gasket Link
Cam Saver / Upper Oil Baffle Installs between cam and valve cover, fits all VW 8v valve covers. The baffle creats a barrier so the oil spraying of the spinning cam has a much harder time getting into the PVC valve and getting oil in the lower air filter box. This is also said to slightly reduce the noise the valves make by keeping them highly oiled. A highly oiled cam its likely to last longer, thus the name cam saver.

Spark plugs

Plugs need changing, platinum tip plugs single prong. Bosch or NGK (4 Prong don't seem to make any difference with these motors)


Fuel injection cleaner

Chevron fuel injector cleaner with Techron as a preventative maintenance on the fuel system; this will help keep the fuel injection components from clogging up, and keep them lubricated. This covers from the fuel pump to the injectors and everything in between. The biggest enemy of the CIS system is dirt, which can jam in the tight clearances, followed by water, which can cause rust that will jam the clearances. This should be done at least every 15kmi.
This Fuel System Cleaner works great for Volkswagens !!

Fuel filter

Replace the fuel filter every year or 15,000 miles, which ever comes first. Great source for these is GAP
How to replace a fuel filter DIY Link

Air Filter

Change the air filter every 6,000 miles.
Mahle paper filter - is the top performer. But if you don't like purchasing new air filters every 6,000 miles then K&N oiled gauze filters are for you. Check out this link for air flow tests on air filters.

airbox & filter flowbench tests