If you are in the market for a used, Mexican-made, American-sold VW Tiguan, you need to educate yourself about all the potential problems that come with it. This blog will outline the most common Volkswagen Tiguan issues for models made between 2009 to today. However, before we go in-depth, we will first offer you a short answer.
Volkswagen Tiguan suffer from engine issues due to a faulty throttle body, defective turbocharger, failing timing chains, or issues with carbon deposit buildup. 2013 – 2020 models have been recalled numerous times for electrical issues caused by faulty wiring or software. Finally, 2015 and onwards models have had seven recalls for faulty airbags.
This was the short version, but now we will go in-depth about all the things that trouble the Tiguan. This includes complaints, recalls, and what it takes to fix them. So, if that is something that interests you, read on!
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Both early and later Volkswagen Tiguan models experience issues with the engine and the rest of the powertrain. These include random check engine lights, issues with the throttle body, the turbocharger, carbon deposits, and the timing chain tensioner.
Check Engine Lights
The check engine light is designed to notify you of something wrong with your engine and its associated systems. This means many things can prompt the check engine light; some are worse than others. For starters, if the check engine light persists, you should not drive the car for too long.
On the other hand, if your check engine light starts blinking, you ought to bring the car in abruptly. According to a few VW specialists, these issues are primarily due to severe engine misfiring, a faulty oxygen sensor, issues with the catalytic converter, or even a defective airflow sensor.
Issues With The Throttle Body
Throttle body issues are common with older and newer Tiguan models. The symptoms of these issues are rough idling, your car feeling like it’s going to die while cruising at low speeds, erratic RPM fluctuations, and of course, the dreaded check engine light. You might be able to continue driving the car even with a faulty throttle body, but your power output is likely to dwindle.
An automatic transmission relies on the signals coming from the throttle body. If a throttle body is partially defective or unable to do its job correctly, this will likely affect how the transmission shifts time-wise and how it feels in general. The average cost of a throttle body replacement is around $700-$750.
A relatively common problem with the Volkswagen Tiguan is that the turbocharger either malfunctions or fails. Some owners have reported that their cars experience a severe lack of power, while others said that the car is struggling to maintain highway speeds. If the engine also sounds like it’s overworking, chances are that the turbocharger is to blame.
These issues are so common that many VW owners have even petitioned for Volkswagen to recognize these issues and kickstart a recall.
According to a few Volkswagen owner’s forums, issues with carbon buildup are due to an engine design fault. Suppose you notice black smoke from the exhaust, failing sensors, or poor performance. In that case, you might want to focus on your cylinder walls, intake valves, and injector nozzles, as they tend to be covered with carbon deposits.
Timing Chain Issues
Likely one of the most frustrating and most expensive issues a VW Tiguan engine can endure is one associated with the timing system. The tensioners used on the VW Tiguan tend to be made of plastic which is why they can fail. If you notice your Tiguan rattling or misfiring while idling, chances are that your timing system is failing.
Also, be sure to focus on the timing chain if you notice a check engine light accompanied by contaminated engine oil, a misfiring engine and if the engine is unwilling to start.
Also read: How Many Miles Can A Volkswagen Tiguan Last? (+Reliability Scores)
Probably the most complained about group of issues with the VW Tiguan is tied to a bunch of essential and non-essential electrical systems. These include problematic exterior lights, problems with the infotainment screen, problems with the car’s rearview camera,
Exterior Lights Issues
These issues include low and high beams failing, issues with the sunroof ambient lighting bar, and issues with the taillights. Because some of these issues were common, they even prompted VW to issue a few recalls to fix them. These go as follows:
- 13V569000: Volkswagen recalled specific VW Tiguan models in November of 2013 due to a problem with the exterior light fuse, which can melt if it is continuously under load.
- 17V662000: Volkswagen recalled specific VW Tiguan models back in September of 2017 due to the tail lights not being bright enough
- 18V467000: Volkswagen recalled specific VW Tiguan models in July 2018 because the LED bar in the sunroof ambient lighting might short circuit and even cause the car to burst into flames.
Infotainment System Issues
Newer Volkswagen Tiguan models seem to suffer from specific infotainment screen/infotainment cluster-related issues where the system freezes or goes blank completely. Most of these can be resolved simply by resetting or updating the system to its newest version.
Be that as it may, Volkswagen did recall the Tiguan (18V824000) back in November of 2018 because the cluster can fail and not remind you that your key was still in the ignition when you left the vehicle.
Rearview Camera Issues
A troubled rearview camera is a reasonably regular sight with many modern-day VW models, and it seems like the Tiguan is no different. Because of that, Volkswagen even issued two recalls to combat this issue because a fully functioning rearview camera is mandated by the US government to be sold with all new cars. These are:
- 22V514000: Volkswagen issued a recall for specific VW Tiguan models back in September of 2020 due to the rearview camera not displaying an image at all and thus failing the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 111, “Rear Visibility.”
- 20V716000: Volkswagen issued a recall for specific VW Tiguan models in November of 2017 due to a camera failing and refusing to show a proper image and thus failing the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 111, “Rear Visibility.”
Issues With Airbags
Airbag-related issues are also reasonably frequent on many modern-day Volkswagen vehicles. These might be the most consistent complaints with the new era of the VW Tiguan. The most common airbag-related issues are those associated with the airbag control module, frontal airbag deployment, side/window airbags, and the dreaded coil spring.
These issues also prompted VW to recall the VW Tiguan a few times. These are:
- 21V732000: Volkswagen issued a recall for specific VW Tiguan models in September 2021 due to incorrect roof reinforcement, which can cause the side airbag to not deploy when needed.
- 19V535000: Volkswagen issued a recall for specific VW Tiguan models in July of 2019 due to a faulty power supply capacitor that can result in airbag deactivation.
- 18V375000: Volkswagen issued a recall for specific VW Tiguan models in August 2018 due to an improperly imploding frontal airbag.
- 18V102000: Volkswagen issued a recall for specific VW Tiguan models in February 2018 due to faulty airbags.
- 16V955000: Volkswagen issued a recall for specific VW Tiguan models in December 2016 due to the frontal airbags not deploying correctly.
- 16V045000: Volkswagen issued a recall for specific VW Tiguan models in January 2016 due to faulty side/window airbags.
- 15V483000: Volkswagen issued a recall for specific VW Tiguan models in August 2015 due to a faulty clock spring that could prevent the airbag from deploying.
Two fairly usual steering system issues have plagued the VW Tiguan since it came out. The first one is associated with the clock spring, one of the most stressful and annoying issues VW models tend to suffer from. A broken clock spring causes the multifunction steering wheel to fail and all other wheel-related systems, such as the airbag, even.
The other reasonably common steering system-related issue with the Tiguan is one where the power steering disengages. If you sense your steering wheel becoming extremely heavy, chances are that the power steering system is to blame.
Fuel System Issues
Diesel and gasoline-powered VW Tiguan models tend to suffer from fuel system-related issues. These issues include fuel leaks, a faulty fuel pump, and the N80 purge valve. It’s also worth mentioning that there are many other minor fuel-system-related issues the Tiguan sometimes suffer from, but they aren’t as common for us to list them here.
Also read: Types Of Gas A Volkswagen Tiguan Uses (Explained)
As far as fuel leaks are concerned, they can be caused by a whole host of issues, and fuel can leak through many different components. For starters, the Tiguan is known to leak fuel directly from the fuel tank assembly due to faulty fuel lines that can get scuffed and punctured.
A Faulty Fuel Pump
Another relatively common VW Tiguan issue is when the fuel pump fails or fails to pump at a consistent/exact pressure. This inevitably causes problems ranging from poor performance and higher fuel costs to leaks and car stalling. VW also issued a recall in July of 2014 (14V441000) due to the fuel pump failing to pump at the correct pressure.
N80 Purge Valve Issue
The N80 canister purge valve failure is also customary on both newer and older VW Tiguan models. The symptoms of this issue are performance issues, lousy gas mileage, and a check engine light. As such, the N80 purge valve will eventually fail to either pump enough fuel into the engine or pump too much fuel into the engine.
Seats and Seatbelts Issues
Another recurrent issue with VW seats is when they manage to tear up way too early. This is because Volkswagen offers many types of seats with their vehicles, some of which are low quality. However, these issues aren’t nearly as important as those that prompted VW to recall the Tiguan a few times. These are:
- 20V505000: Volkswagen recalled specific VW Tiguan models in August 2020 due to low-quality welds holding the driver’s seat backrest.
- 21V038000: Volkswagen recalled specific VW Tiguan models in January of 2021 due to the possibility of bolts missing from the front seat tracks.
Marko´s interest in cars runs in the family. His father was a car trader and regularly took him to car dealerships when he was younger.
These days, when he isn´t watching Drivetribe or Doug DeMuro videos, he´s building up quite a resume as an automotive writer since he´s also a regular contributor on Cararc.com, Tirehungry.com, and Luxurycarsa2z.com.