Volkswagen Golf Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Volkswagen Golf as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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33
Known Problems

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. 

Shifting issues due to internal problems in high mileage automatic transmissions can be difficult to resolve without transmission replacement.

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.

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.

A dirty or failed throttle body can cause various drivability issues and illumination of the Check Engine Light.

Reverse gear failures and noise in the manual transmission models are common.

Engine oil leaks are common from the valve cover gaskets and camshaft chain tensioner gasket.

The mass air flow (MAF) sensor may fail, resulting in drivability issues and/or illumination of the Check Engine Light.

The water pump may fail resulting in engine overheating and possible timing belt damage. Overheating and/or timing belt failure can result in very expensive engine repairs. As a precaution, it is recommended to inspect the timing belt and water pump at regular intervals.

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.

A coolant leak may develop after oil filter replacement. When tightening or loosening the oil filter the filter housing may turn damaging the coolant o-ring seal. The recommended procedure is to hold the filter housing when tightening or loosening the oil filter.

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

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 Check Engine Light may illuminate because of evaporative (EVAP) emission failures and/or intake manifold vacuum leaks.

To avoid sludge accumulation inside the engine, our technicians recommend using the proper synthetic oil with the appropriate oil filter.