really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
67,344 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

The NHTSA is the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints can be spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem. See the Back button — blue bar at the very top of the page — to explore more.

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problem #15

Jan 302018


  • 86,231 miles
Vehicles timing chain tensioner failed causing the engine to stop running. Timing gain tensioner failed causing severe engine damage. While merging onto freeway engine lost all propulsion causing vehicle to lose acceleration due to issue. Almost caused an accident with a semi truck as vehicle was only moving at 20 mph onto a freeway where speed limit is seventy. Was able to move vehicle to the shoulder but would not restart due to engine damage. Volkswagen has acknowledged the issue but has offered zero assistance

- Chatsworth, GA, USA

problem #14

Jan 182018


  • 70,000 miles
The rear main seal on my 09 Tiguan 2.0 tsi blew at 709K miles from PCV valve defect. I have heard of several cases of the PCV clogging on the tsi engine cars sending boost pressure into crankcase and blowing the seal.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #13

Feb 132017


  • 80,600 miles
On Monday evening 02/13/2017 in downtown denver, co, I started my car and pulled into traffic when the car began to jump violently and all warning lights went on. I shut the engine off and it wouldn't start again. I had it towed to the garage where it had been serviced the preceding week.the mechanic called later to say that the engine was damaged because the timing mechanism had slipped but that he would have to pull the engine to evaluate the extent of the damage. Later on the next week, he reported that the engine was damaged beyond repair and that I would need a replacement engine. There was a wait of several days and time to do the work. I got my car back in running condition on 2/24/2017 after paying $6776.94 for the repairs.

- Lakewood,, CO, USA

problem #12

Feb 132017


  • 80,600 miles
I was in downtown denver, Colorado on 2/14/2017. I started the car, pulled into traffic and the car started jumping, all warning lights went on and I turned off the engine. It wouldn't start, was towed to a garage where the mechanic reported that the timing mechanism had slipped and damaged the engine. When he examined it further he realized it was beyond repair and that I needed a new engine.

- Lakewood, CO, USA

problem #11

Mar 302017


  • 67,000 miles
67,000 miles on an 8 year old Tiguan major failure of the rear main oil seal, followed 3 days later by the failure of the timing chain and tensioner. Both the seal and the tensioner are noted points of failure and vwoa is not standing behind the known issue and or quality issues regarding these parts. Rear main seal broke during a highway drive, no check engineer light appeared, oil was almost completely drained from the car and no low oil pressure light came on. The only indication of the failure was the pool of oil under the car when the car was parked. After repair of the rear main seal, car ran fine for 3 day and then the timing chain slipped causing sever engine shake. Car was station are when this occurred and car was immediately towed to the deal for diagnostic. Failure of the tensioner on the timing chain was the contributing factor and low oil pressure can cause the failure according to research of this particular issue. The failure of the rear main seal could have caused engine failure at a high rate of speed and with no waring lights or check engine lights the drive is unaware of the condition. In discussion with vwoa they are not interested in standing behind the quality of the engine and offer not assistance to help cover the cost of the defective, internal parts, that a consumer would have no understanding of how to check or confirm condition without either the manufacturer or the dealer making a point to check during normal service intervals. The tensioner has an existing tsb noting the propensity of the timing chain to slip and the tensioner to fail.

- Bel Air, MD, USA

problem #10

Nov 102016


  • 90,000 miles
While driving the rear oil seal failed causing sudden loss of oil pressure that required an immediate trip to the mechanic. No warning lights ever came on to indicate a problem. Had our vehicle stalled or engine failed due to loss of oil while we were driving at high speed we could have caused an accident. Almost a year later while parked the engine failed to turn over and had to be towed to mechanic. Timing tensioner had failed causing damage to engine requiring replacement. There was no indication that there was a problem leading up to this incident. Had we been driving and the timing chain failed we could have caused an accident. These are both known problems by VW yet they have done nothing to repair or make their customers whole due to these defects. Now I have an $7,000 paper weight because I have to replace a blown engine in a car that has 90,000 miles and is 7 years old.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #9

Sep 242016


  • 0 miles
While driving my car from wv to NY, I broke down in pa. My car was making an odd noise and rumbling feeling while I was driving on the freeway at 70 mph and would worsen during acceleration. I was very concerned, so I pulled off to a gas station. At this point no check engine lights were on. After I filled up on gas, the car would not start. It was towed to VW dealership in northern pa, where I was told an air hose was broken. 10 days later, my car began making the same noise and driving poorly again while I was driving on the express in long island, and was exacerbated by accelerating. My car could not accelerate above 30 mph, so I promptly took my car to the mechanics, where I was told the timing chain tensioner and guide, exhaust valves, gasket heads and spark plugs needed to be replaced. Additionally in 1400 miles, my car had consumed all of the its oil and was on running on fumes. Apparently my car consumes oil at an absurd and unacceptable rate. The timing chain tensioner failing has been a common problem amongst VW 2.0tsi engines and currently there are multiple lawsuits filed against this type of engine, as is the consumption of oil. My car was not involved in an accident due to these failures, but that is only because I pulled over to a safe location as soon as I felt something was wrong. Again a check engine light never came prior to both mechanic visits. However this could have caused an accident and may continue to cause one in other vehicles.

- Morgantown, WV, USA

problem #8

Mar 042016


  • 90,000 miles
Timing chain failed at 90,000 miles.

- Downingtown, PA, USA

problem #7

Jul 062015


  • 73,000 miles
While driving with my four year old in the backseat of the car, the car suddenly misfired and the engine rough idled. The car stalled at intersections and in the middle of the road. We almost got into an accident as we were driving down a city street, as cars behind us had to swerve out the way when our engine stalled. We took it to the mechanic immediately, as it was clearly hazardous to have on the road, and found that a piston had misfired and stretched the timing chain. The car, a VW Tiguan from 2009, was only 6 years old when this event occurred.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #6

Oct 242015


  • 49,000 miles
On Oct. 24, 2015 when I tried to start my car, it shook, idled roughly and stalled. I tried again and it wouldn't start. I had the car towed to my Volkswagen dealer. They checked it and told me the timing chair had broken causing catastrophic damage to the engine. The estimate for repairs was $4952.29. And if the engine had to be replaced, it would be $6500. Volkswagen of America group would pay nothing toward the repair claiming it was out of warranty. (the power train warranty was 5 years/60,000 miles.) the car had 49,000 miles, but was over the 5 year time period. But a timing chain should be good for the life of the car; unless there is a defective part. You have a tsb (TB-15-12-01 -NHTSA id number: 10045560) on the "tensioner" which causes the chain to become loose, skip and break. Moreover, there are numerous complaints on your site about this exact issue. Volkswagen failed to notify customers of this defect and there was no recall. This is a ticking time bomb that can result in a serious accident. The day before this happened, I was travelling on the Florida turnpike for 8 hours at the posted speed of 70 mph. If the chain had broken during that time, it could have resulted in a fatal accident involving me and/or others. Why hasn't there been a recall" why should Volkswagen be allowed to put my life and the lives of others at risk? why should I have to pay for Volkswagen's negligence when they were aware of this issue for almost 3 years? this defect has the potential to kill. Does someone have to die before you will take action to require Volkswagen to fix this problem"

- The Villages, FL, USA

problem #5

Aug 212015


  • 96,000 miles
While driving on road aprox. 40mph the vehicle suddenly stopped running-had to coast to side and tow it.when towed to VW dealer -they said timing chain tensioner failed and it's common problem.they even had tsb for that.why they don't recall this since they are aware of it.if I was at higher speed on interstate, I would be in big trouble.

- Ottumwa, IA, USA

problem #4

Apr 072015


  • 100,000 miles
Noticed oil leak on otherwise spotless driveway a few days after 100K service at VW dealership. Returned to dealer where rear main seal was identified as the source. Estimate was $1400 total cost to repair along with oil hoses to turbo. Discussed details and frequency of rms repair with tech, since transmission has to be removed. Also researched VW forum threads on rms failure to find that 2008+ model vws are most affected, 2009 Tiguans in particular. Of the 13 complaints on the NHTSA site regarding failed rear main seals on vws, more than half (7 of 13 = 54%) are from owners of 2009 Tiguans. (3 of 13 complaints were for 2009 passats, with 1 each for a 2009 cc, a 2011 Tiguan, and a 2012 jetta.). even with this small sampling, having 54% of the rms failures affecting the same model (Tiguan) of the same model year (2009) is more than a coincidence. It shows a trend. Volkswagen of America acknowledges no such trend, and VW customer care refuses any responsibility beyond warranty.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #3

Nov 012014


  • 42,500 miles
Car was being driven down interstate through construction area. Loud pop was heard from rear end. After a short distance, rear of car started to shutter then locked up completely. Car skidded to a stop on. Checked to see if it was brakes onsite and it was not. Had towed to VW dealer in hometown and they confirmed that the gears in the rear end had come apart and seized the rear wheels. * this had occurred at normal interstate speeds I would have expected worse results up to death. Wheels were completely locked until car was put into reverse to unbind the AWD system.

- Nicholasville, KY, USA

problem #2

Apr 222013

Tiguan 4-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
My 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan suffered a timing chain malfunction approximately 40,000 miles below its manufacturer recommended replacement date. This incident resulted in catastrophic mechanical failure (bent valves).

- Philadelphia, MS, USA

problem #1

Jun 132008


  • 1,232 miles
On June 13, 2008 I was traveling West bound on a typical South Florida day, very hot and humid clear day. Just then a pick-up truck put out very fast in front of me. I slammed on my brakes with plenty of time to stop, but just before I came to a complete stop, the engine roared and I hit the truck very hard. At first I thought my foot slipped off the brake to the gas, but no way, I broke my foot because I hit the brake so hard. My question is this, is there a known problem with this newcar?

- Weston, FL, USA