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Volkswagen Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems for 26 Volkswagen models based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

Reverse gear failures in the manual transmission models are common.

The engine may develop an overheating condition due to a damaged water pump impeller. Our technicians tell us the repair should include replacement of the water pump, thermostat, and flushing the cooling system.

The driver door wiring loom cracks and degrades with time due to weathering and frequent opening and closing of the door. This problem affects the normal operation of all electronic components of the door including, but not limited to:

-Electric Windows

-Electric Door Locks

-Trunk Release

-Fuel Filler Door Release

-Speakers

-Interior Lights Stay On at All Times

-Keyless Locks

-Power Side Mirrors

-Alarm

The correction for this issue is to replace the driver side door wiring harness. For security purposes, the doors can be locked with the key. The interior lights should be shut of manually, and through the multi function display in the gauge cluster to prevent battery drain.

Drivers of the Volkswagen Golf may experience a clunking noise associated with acceleration from a stop, or downshifting for hard acceleration. This will also be accompanied by a light impact sensation under the drivers feet. Drivers may also notice unexplained changes to their front end alignment while driving. 

This issue is commonly called " VW Subframe Clunk", and is caused by the gradual stretching of the bolts that secure the subframe to the vehicle. The subframe is a large plate that secures to the bottom of the engine bay, and connects the body of the car to the engine and suspension. Over time, the bolts that secure the subframe stretch, allowing the subframe to move and hit the bottom of the carcc when accelerating.

There are many aftermarket kits that can be installed to correct the issue, and Volkswagen has issued a correction including better bolts, and spacers which fit between the subframe and the car.

Erratic turn signal operation can be a result of a failing turn signal flasher relay which will require replacement.

Clogged sunroof drains can allow water to enter the interior and accumulate under the carpet where various control modules are mounted. Over time, the accumulated moisture can damage the control modules.

Condensation in the heater case may cause a musty odor from the heating, ventilation and AC (HVAC) system after sitting for two hours or more. Our technicians tell us that a cleaner is available for the heater case and the drain system should be checked for debris.

Popping sounds from the rear of the vehicle may be heard moments after starting the engine, or when slowing to a stop. This noise is from the leak detection pump filling the fuel tank with air, and releasing to retest the system when it finds a fault. The sequence of faults identifying this issue are as follows:

  • Succession of loud pops from rear of vehicle
  • Pops go away, and fuel economy decreases 
  • Check engine light illuminates
  • OBD trouble code P2404 and/or P0441 is stored
  • Engine will not start after refueling (must crank for over 30 seconds)
  • Vibration when slowing to a stop

The cause is a valve which is mounted on the front of the intake manifold, commonly called the N80 valve, or EVAP system purge valve. The valve is designed to open under specific circumstances, but a worn valve will remain open at all times, preventing the pressurization of the fuel tank. 

Correction of the issue is to replace the N80 valve with the latest revision. 

Various radio and navigation issues can be corrected by updating the necessary software. Our technicians remind us that radio and navigation problems should be properly diagnosed before any software updates are completed.

Erratic turn signal operation can be a result of a failing turn signal flasher relay which will require replacement.

An ignition coil or spark plug may fail unexpectedly resulting in an engine misfire and possible illumination of the Check Engine Light. Vehicles equipped with spark plug wires may also develop a misfire caused by a failed spark plug wire.

Throttle body failure is not uncommon and can lead to shifting issues with the automatic transmission and other drivability concerns.

Due to an ignition component and/or engine coolant temperature sensor failure, the Check Engine Light may illuminate. Replacement of the failed component will be necessary to correct this concern.

The Volkswagen Tiguan uses the TSI direct injection engine. This engine is subject to carbon buildup in the intake system which can cause power loss, OBD codes and a check engine light, and a rough idle. In normal engines, the engine is cleaned by the gasoline flowing through the injectors and into the intake system, however, since the Tiguan uses direct injection, gasoline does not flow through common carbon buildup areas. 

Possible trouble codes include: P0300P0301P0302P0303P0304.

The solution is to remove the intake manifold and professionally clean the intake manifold, intake ports on the cylinder head, and the intake valves. This may need to be done in as few as 20,000 miles.