Volkswagen Problems

No car is perfect, but we've gathered everything relating to the Volkswagen reliability here to help you decide if it's a smart buy.

What can I do if my recently purchased used car has blown up?

Answered by CarsGuide 5 May 2021

ACT law requires a licensed used-car dealer to offer a warranty of three months or 5000km warranty on used passenger vehicles which are less than 10 years old or have travelled less than 160,000km. So regardless of the mileage your car has covered, it’s already 12 years old if you bought it last year. Unfortunately, that really means you’re not covered and the car-yard you bought it from has – on the surface – no legal obligation to compensate you whatsoever.

Australian Consumer Law can over-ride state and territory warranty laws, but this might only apply if you could prove that the vehicle was of unmerchantable quality, not fit for purpose or had existing faults that weren’t disclosed to you at the time of purchase. None of this would be easy to prove after eight months of ownership. You could elect to have the car independently inspected to determine the cause of the failure, but even this may not be conclusive. You’d also need to be able to prove that you maintained and serviced the car correctly for the time you’ve owned it. The first step would be to contact the car-yard and ask for help on a goodwill basis. I wouldn’t be holding my breath, however.

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Should I buy a 2021 Hyundai Kona or 2021 VW T-Roc?

Answered by CarsGuide 21 Apr 2021

Volkswagen’s latest cars are lovely to drive but it’s true; many mechanics (and plenty of owners) are wary of the brand’s recent reputation for reliability. But if you’re buying a brand-new or nearly new example, then the factory warranty will be some peace of mind. The safest bet right now, is something Japanese or South Korean, and that includes the Hyundai you’re looking at as well as the equivalent offerings from Kia. Both these brands have enviable reputations for durability and both come with terrific factory warranties.

Volkswagen’s current high-tech turbocharged engines are very entertaining to drive as well as being frugal in all situations, but, in reality, any current model mid-sized SUV is more than capable of delivering you interstate in comfort and safety as well as offering low running costs. Bear in mind you may have to pay extra for the top-shelf model if you want all the latest safety and convenience technology.

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Why do I get an error message when I connect the nav in my 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan?

Answered by CarsGuide 8 Feb 2021

Your car’s sat-nav should be taking its data from an SD card that’s inserted in a slot inside the glove-box. So, the first thing to check is that the SD card is seated in the slot correctly. But there have been cases where the VW’s software seems to have a light-headed moment and loses the plot (it happens on plenty of other brands, too). One thing you can try is to press the on-off button for the infotainment screen and hold it down for at least 15 seconds. Sometimes, that will actually reboot the system and everything will come to life again, including the sat-nav.

Failing that, it’s a trip to the dealership to have the experts fix it. It may turn out that your data card or the software in the car needs an upgrade, which the dealership should be able to sort out for you.

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What car should I buy to replace my 2006 Toyota Corolla?

Answered by CarsGuide 2 Dec 2020

There are still plenty of great small cars around within your budget, Agnes, and they all have good safety packages (or we wouldn’t recommend them). Look at offerings such as the Suzuki Swift Navigator (with the optional autonomous emergency braking) for around $17,000 (plus on-road costs) or the Kia Rio S at around $19,000 or Kia Picanto S (one size smaller than the Rio) at closer to $16,000. Both the Kias also feature the brand’s excellent seven-year warranty, capped-price servicing and free roadside assistance which is great peace of mind.

The Volkswagen Polo is a classy drive but a little more expensive at closer to $21,000 for the 85TSi Comfortline. Actually, to be honest, you’ve missed the boat on bargain small cars by a couple of years. Firm favourites such as the Toyota Yaris and Mazda 2 have both been updated relatively recently and have recorded big price jumps in the process. The cheapest Yaris with an automatic transmission is now around $23,000 (it was less than $17,000 back in 2018) while the Mazda 2 Maxx went from being a sub-$17,000 proposition in 2018 to a $23,000 car by the time you add an automatic transmission in 2020.

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How do I fold in the wing mirrors on my 2017 Volkswagen Passat?

Answered by CarsGuide 28 Oct 2020

From what I can gather, the 2017 Passat in its Australian-delivered configuration doesn’t include the ability to automatically fold its mirrors in when you lock the doors. Certainly, you can do this manually for when you tackle an automatic car-wash, but that becomes tedious if you want the mirrors folded every time you lock and leave the car.

But what’s interesting is that the car in other markets does, in fact, incorporate this feature, so it’s entirely possible, since your car already has the hardware) that the function is buried away deep, deep inside the set-up menus with a series of incomprehensible steps required to enable the function. Modern cars are subject to numerous hacks like this one, and a VW dealer might be able to point you in the right direction. It’s a handy feature and one that is valued highly by those who park on narrow streets each night. Actually, that’s why European versions of the Passat have the function in the first place, but it seems a bit mean that VW would drop it for our market.

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Why does my 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan need so many repairs?

Answered by CarsGuide 26 Oct 2020

It’s really not good enough, is it: A modern car should go well beyond the 100,000km mark before the cost of repairs required are higher than the value of the vehicle itself. However, before making a decision either way, I’d be getting a second opinion, because either your dealership has no idea what it’s talking about, or it’s making an attempt to shake you down. So go back to them and tell them – just for starters – that your engine has a timing belt and not a timing chain.

Based on that alone, I’d be dubious about any diagnosis made by a workshop that doesn’t know this rather simple fact about the engine in your car. A second opinion might put the situation into an entirely different light financially speaking, too. Try a workshop that isn’t a Volkswagen dealer and start from scratch. I’d also be talking to VW Australia customer service department, because that degree of work on a vehicle with just 96,000km showing is a scandal.

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What can I do about the faulty AEB on my 2018 Volkswagen Polo?

Answered by CarsGuide 14 Oct 2020

You’re on the right track here and it does appear that your car suddenly thinks it’s about to crash and triggers the Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) system to avoid the phantom prang. And it does that by automatically slamming on the brakes. Again, you’re right when you suggest that if other cars had been around at the time, the car’s attempts to avoid a crash may, indeed, have caused one.

I have a couple of questions for you: Does this problem occur when you’re driving with the active cruise-control engaged? And, does it happen when driving on a downhill section of road that then begins to level out? If the answers bare yes, then you’re not alone, because those are the precise circumstances reported by more than a dozen 2018 Polo owners in the US. The theory is that the levelling terrain is detected by the car’s sensors, causing it to confuse the undulating road with a potential collision threat. Calibration and set-up is critical in these sophisticated modern AEB systems, and something is not right with your car. I doubt that rebooting the system (as the dealer has suggested) will make much difference if the sensors are angled or calibrated incorrectly.

Honda has experienced similar problems with its 2014 and 2015 CR-V model which also had the potential to confuse inanimate roadside objects (like wheelie-bins) with potential crash obstacles, and produced a similar response from the car. Honda has actually recalled those CR-Vs in Australia to deal with this, but Volkswagen Australia does not appear to have followed suit, telling me that it hasn’t seen any cases of this yet (at head office level).

Honestly, I don’t blame you for refusing to take the car back. I wouldn’t want to be driving around in a car that could suddenly, and without any warning or legitimate reason, apply its own brakes as if there was an emergency. I’d be short-cutting the dealer and going straight to VW Australia’s customer service division and spelling it out.

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Should I buy a 2020 Volkswagen Polo?

Answered by CarsGuide 30 Sep 2020

The Polo is very nice to drive and has refinement levels that most of its competition can’t match. It’s also among the best of the small hatches to actually drive with dynamics that make it feel like a full size bigger in terms of its ride and handling. It’s no toy, that’s for sure.

VW now offers capped price servicing on the Polo and, given the 15,000km/12 month intervals, it stacks up reasonably well when compared with its major competition. The 12 month/15,000km service per VW’s capped-price deal will cost you $332, followed by $468 at the two-year mark, $426 after three years, $789 at the major service at four years and $332 for the fifth year. Those prices are for the DSG-transmission version, but the prices for the manual-transmission Polo are almost identical.

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My 2009 Volkswagen Golf is becoming expensive to repair, should I sell it?

Answered by CarsGuide 30 Sep 2020

This engine was a great thing to drive with superb fuel economy and plenty of performance. Unfortunately, it was also overly complex and prone to failures like the one yours has experienced. Because the car is so far out of warranty, you can probably forget about Volkswagen helping with the cost of repairs. But I’d still give its customer service department a call and state my case on the basis that 136,000km is hardly the expectation for a modern engine in terms of longevity, along with the fact that this engine has a rich history of failures exactly like yours.

If you can organise to have part of the cost taken car of by VW, then maybe it would be worth repairing the car. Beyond that, however, you’d be spending almost $6500 on a car that, even in working order, is worth something like $8000 or $9000. It doesn’t realty add up at that point, does it? Even then, you might find that other parts of the engine (like the turbocharger or supercharger or the complex system of intake plumbing that allows it all to work) might be next to go bang.

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How is oil mixing with coolant in my 2015 Volkswagen Polo?

Answered by CarsGuide 18 Sep 2020

Despite your extensive efforts to fix this problem, it appears you still have a situation where the coolant and oil are mixing. No oil should be able to mix with the coolant (or vice-versa) and if it is (which is why you’re seeing oil in the coolant tank) then you have a fairly major problem somewhere in the engine. Check the dipstick. Is the oil in the sump milky and opaque? I’m guessing it probably is, and that’s another giveaway that your engine has a major problem.

Perhaps the cylinder head itself is cracked. Maybe the engine has a split bore. Perhaps the light skimming the head received was not enough and it’s still warped. Either way, the oil and coolant are mixing and that’s bad. The fact that the oil and coolant in the bottle are being forced out of that tank suggests combustion pressure is also playing a part, once again signalling a leak between the oil, coolant and combustion areas of the engine.

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