2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 2011 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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Known Problems

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 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.   

One or both head lights may not work due to premature head light bulb burnout and/or bulb harness failure. Care should be taken to inspect the head light harness connector for damage when replacing bulbs. Damaged connectors should be replaced.

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