Volkswagen Golf TDI Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Volkswagen Golf TDI 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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24
Known Problems

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

Drivers of the Volkswagen Golf TDI 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 car 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.

The 2.0L TDI engine used in the Volkswagen Golf TDI very commonly faces camshaft lobe wear issues causing:

-Pronounced loss of power

-Backfire through the intake (heard under the hood)

-Rough vibrations while the engine is running

-decreased fuel economy

- OBD trouble code P0101

Correction for this issue requires substantial internal engine work including replacement of the camshaft, hydraulic lifters, and possibly fuel injectors

To help avoid this issue, ensure you are using the correct oil for your engine, as listed in your owners manual. 

The 2009-2012 Volkswagen Golf TDI 2.0L engine is equipped with a mechanical high pressure fuel pump (HPFP) which delivers highly pressurized fuel needed to run the clean diesel engine. This pump is know to fail at random in both new and used Golf TDI models leaving the vehicle running very roughly, with very little power, unable to start, and/or OBD code P0087  

The most common causes of failure are fueling with gasoline or biofuel, and a factory defect in the HPFP. 

When the HPFP fails, it sends fragments of metal through the entire fuel system, necessitating replacement of every component, with exception of the gas tank. 

To help prevent this issue, ensure you are using only diesel fuel, and highly trafficked gas stations.

Additionally, Volkswagen has issued an extended warranty of 10 years/120,000 miles for this condition on select vehicles.   

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

Because of issues with the glow plugs and/or the glow plug wiring harness from the control relay, the Check Engine Light may illuminate. Our technicians tell us there is a service bulletin, not a recall from Volkswagen regarding replacement of the glow plugs on 2004-2005 model years only.

    One or more power windows may fail. Our technicians tell us this is commonly due to a failed window regulator which will require replacement.

    The rear brakes tend to wear out quickly; rotors may need replacement by the first brake job. Our technicians recommend that the brakes be inspected for wear regularly.