Press "Enter" to skip to content

Volkswagen Tiguan Quality Issues

My Volkswagen Tiguan experience

The Volkswagen Tiguan is a vehicle built with serious quality issues. I will describe all of the issues I have experienced below. I hope that, if you are reading this, you will strongly reconsider any thoughts you may have had of leasing or purchasing a Tiguan (or any Volkswagen vehicle, for that matter). They have demonstrated that they are a company that doesn’t care about quality, or customer service, or the safety of their customers.

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium
My Tiguan, affectionately nicknamed “Pepper”, right after taking delivery. Little did I know what a problem child this car would turn out to be…

I leased a 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium (the absolute top trim model) on May 24, 2018. I was initially very excited, as the vehicle was quite nice looking (I even opted for the brightly colored “Habanero Orange” one) and had all of the features I was looking for – navigation, premium sound, panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, CarPlay, and safety/driver assistance features.

My excitement quickly waned, however, as I began experiencing problems almost immediately with the vehicle (less than 500 miles after taking delivery). I’ve had a lot of issues, but make sure to read through to the end — my issues with the Lane Keep Assist feature are severe and should be enough for Volkswagen to comply with my request to repurchase the vehicle under Georgia’s Lemon Law statute. They’ve refused to do so.

Have you also had issues with your Tiguan (or another Volkswagen vehicle)?

Help me out by sharing this post so others don’t make the same mistake we did. Links to easily share the post are at the bottom. Your comments/stories are helpful and welcome also!

A list of issues I’ve experienced

Chrome trim already coming loose

Wow, way to build a quality vehicle. Not even four months into ownership and I already have chrome trim coming loose from the front of my Tiguan. I pop it back into place, but it will randomly pop back out every so often.

“Auto Hold” feature doesn’t work

I have had a few vehicles in the past with Auto Hold, a very useful feature that keeps the brakes electronically applied when at a stop so that you don’t have to keep your foot on the brake if you’re stopped for a long time (nice at drive-throughs, long traffic lights, etc.) So I was excited to see that the SEL Premium came with such a feature — or so I thought. Pressing the button did nothing whatsoever; the light on the button did not illuminate and the vehicle did not remain stopped when I let go of the brake as it should have.

I took the Tiguan into the dealership to have them investigate why the button wasn’t working. Their answer? “It’s not supposed to work. Your vehicle was never supposed to have that button.” Excuse me? So I have the top trim, but I somehow don’t have that feature, even though they put the button in for it? The dealer’s proposed solution was literally to order a new console assembly that didn’t include that button anymore. Ridiculous, but okay. Moving on…

Infotainment system randomly crashes

The infotainment system in the Tiguan is very buggy and will randomly stop responding to input, or the navigation will stop displaying, or it will have severe sound distortion issues. Some of these issues will require me to restart the infotainment system (not a big deal, but annoying nonetheless). Other times it requires restarting the entire vehicle to reset it, which as you can imagine is beyond frustrating when, say, on the freeway at the time an issue occurs.

Rough shifting at low speeds

The Tiguan has a very rough transmission that feels like it’s almost trying to stall out at lower speeds, such as when starting from a complete stop. It will suddenly lose all acceleration and then lurch forward unexpectedly. It doesn’t do it all the time, either, so it makes the driving experience very unpredictable (not a good thing when trying to, say, cross oncoming traffic). I have had the dealer reset the transmission program and it seemed to help for a while but the problem is happening again.

Blind Spot monitor overly sensitive

Volkswagen Tiguan Blind Spot Monitor Malfunction
A rough illustration of how the blind spot malfunctions on my 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium.

More than once now, I’ve had an issue with trying to steer into a lane next to another car (such as while merging onto a freeway into fast-moving traffic). The Tiguan will sense the vehicle in the lane to my left and will try to push me back into the lane to my right, thinking I’m about to collide. I haven’t even come close to entering the lane with the other vehicle, and yet it tries to push me out of the lane I’m trying to safely move into. Each time this has happened, it has nearly caused a collision because another vehicle had moved to the right of me, seeing that I was moving left. Extremely unsafe.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) tracks vehicles into other lanes

Adaptive Cruise Control is one of my favorite vehicle features. Who doesn’t want to just sit back and let the car worry about the acceleration and braking? However, I have noticed one major problem with this feature on the Tiguan — if a vehicle in front of you decides to move over a lane and decelerates quickly after they’ve already switched lanes, it will cause you to very quickly decelerate as well, which can cause the vehicles behind you to narrowly avoid a collision (and, at best, be mouthing obscenities at you from behind the wheel of their own car). There is no reason for the radar sensors to track and respond to the actions of a car once it has left your lane, and yet… that’s exactly what it does.

Recall #1: Lower Ball Joint Nut Replacement

Within just a few weeks of getting my Tiguan, I received an urgent notice about recall #18V324, an issue so severe I had to have the vehicle towed to the dealer. I couldn’t even drive it there according to the warnings in the recall.

A loose or improperly tightened ball joint nut can result in the separation of the lower ball joint causing steering, traction or other stability issues, increasing the risk of a crash.

The fix was a quick one, fortunately, but it definitely made me start to question the quality of the Tiguan — especially since, by this point (even though I only had about 1300 miles on the vehicle) I had already been experiencing many of the other issues in this post.

Recall #2: Ambient Lighting in Panoramic Sunroof

This is the latest issue I’ve had to deal with, and yet it still happened less than four months after getting my Tiguan. The vehicle has ambient lighting around the cabin, including on the doors and along the perimeter of the panoramic sunroof. Very cool looking when driving at night. And, I might add, a feature I paid for (the ambient lighting is not available on many of the lower trims). But alas… recall #18V467 necessitated that I once again return to the dealership for service:

The LED module for the panoramic-sunroof ambient light bar may short circuit, increasing the risk of fire. Dealers will disconnect the power supply for the panoramic-sunroof LED module until a future service action can safely reactivate the feature.

So my sunroof lighting is gone now. Whee. So glad I paid extra for that feature…

Update: They did end up re-activating the light. Their solution? Add an inline fuse. 🙄

EPC (Electronic Power Control) warning light

8/15/2019: I have been having issues with throttle/acceleration smoothness since I got the vehicle in May of 2018. Today the EPC light came on, which means I can’t drive the vehicle at all until whatever is wrong with the throttle control system is resolved. Fun…

The Big One™ — Lane Keep Assist

The Tiguan has a “safety” feature (in sarcastic quotes for soon-to-be-obvious reasons) that is intended to keep the vehicle in its lane even if it starts to drift a little bit. It is supposed to provide subtle steering input as necessary in order to ensure the vehicle doesn’t leave its lane. However, as you can see from the video below, my Tiguan intermittently (but frequently) attempts to aggressively steer out of the lane I’m traveling in, often causing me to nearly collide with other vehicles. When this happens, I have to actively wrestle with the steering wheel in order to regain steering control over the vehicle. This is a severe safety issue which Volkswagen is refusing to acknowledge nor do anything about.

The Lane Keep feature is part of a safety package for which I’ve paid extra on my vehicle (having purchased the top trim level). Yet, the only answer Volkswagen will give me when I report this issue is that I should deactivate it if I’m concerned. Wait… I should deactivate a safety system to make myself safer?! Are you people even listening to yourselves?

Honorable Mention – Front Assist (Collision Avoidance)

The front assist (frontal collision avoidance) system on my 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan is WAY too sensitive, even with the warning time turned to “late”. I was nowhere near the vehicle in front of me, and the Tiguan slammed on its brakes unexpectedly. This is another pretty serious safety issue as it could cause a vehicle behind me to collide into me due to my sudden, unexpected braking.


The Volkswagen Tiguan is full of quality issues, both minor and major, and I don’t trust that these quality issues will ever be able to be resolved to my satisfaction. I have tried very, very hard to be patient with Volkswagen in regard to my issues with this vehicle. However, they’ve been nothing but dismissive (both at the dealership and corporate level), essentially telling me that the problems I’m experiencing aren’t really problems. Worse, they are refusing to comply with the law in Georgia by honoring my request for a repurchase of the vehicle. Georgia’s Lemon Law statute requires that a safety issue only gets one repair attempt before the vehicle is considered a lemon. The lane keep issue has now had three attempts from two different dealers, and neither of them were able to do anything to solve the problem.

I will never buy another Volkswagen, and would strongly recommend against any of you buying one either. You will wish you hadn’t.

Are you a media agency or journalist looking to contact me for a story regarding this post?

Please feel free to contact me any time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Did you like this post? Please share it!
Linkedin Twitter Facebook Reddit Email


  1. Daryl Mitchell Daryl Mitchell

    thanks for the information, I just went through a 2 and half year ordeal with Ford about a 2016 Lincoln MKX. They finally agreed to settle but I had to hire an attorney. I’m still traumatized about buying a new vehicle. Your information is very helpful to me, thank you again.

    • V V

      My trunk only opened 1/4 of the way made a clunk sound…the top is bent…..trunk was not aligned properly causing too of trunk to bend…BE is deciding if they will fix it….they said it was ice…well can’t be the way it opens ice could not get in…..

    • Frank B Frank B

      I just bought a 2019 Tiguan and it has 1000 kms on it

      After only one day I noticed wet spots on driveway but thought it was my old 2003 Honda CR-V (which by the way has over 340000kms and doesn’t have any Leaks)

      I was in my driveway and watched my wife pull out in the new VW and noticed huge puddles of fluid under the new car and not the old one

      Looked under car and it was dripping wet!! Brand new car with 1000kms (only filled it once !)

      As it has a huge leak of either transmission or steering fluid (slight pink colour to fluid)

      I can’t believe this. Anyone know how lemon warrant my works and if I can get a new one instead of fixing this already ?

  2. FK FK

    I had truly unfortunate experience with Audi Q7 TDI also made by VW. faulty fuel pump spits metal particles into the engine. The problem well documented, but WV denies any responsibility. On top of cheating on diesel emissions, this company is unethical, dishonest, and fraudulent.

  3. Julia Lynch Julia Lynch

    Hi there

    I had a very frightening experience due to the automatic braking system coming on, totally out of the blue, on 3 separate occasions, the last one being more serious as I was doing 30 mph along a straight road – if something had been behind me. It would have caused a serious collision. I am now waiting for VW to collect it to have it thoroughly checked but I have seen other people since I googled this morning that have had similar dangerous occurrences. I thought I would let you know.

    • Shawn C. Reed Shawn C. Reed

      Thank you for sharing. Best of luck with your vehicle. I still haven’t gotten any resolution from VW on mine and it’s been almost a year. Guess I’ll just have to drive it until it wrecks itself?

    • Gail /Jay Dingee Gail /Jay Dingee

      I have a 2018 Tiguan that has @10,000 miles and I had the same frightening experience. On August 19th I was driving on two lane road that I go down 1-3 times a week. No rain, no traffic behind me for at least a half mile, nothing in front for 300 feet and that was cross traffic. I was driving straight about 35 mph on my cell phone blue tooth and the car SLAMMED on the brakes, full buzzer and red diagram in dashboard lights up. It came to a full abrupt stop. If anyone had been behind me it would have been a bad wreck. I called VW The next day panicked that I had to drive out of town 500 miles round trip on 8-21 and needed it fixed or a loaner car. Not availabile. Service acknowledged it happened to another woman on I-75 during a bad rainstorm but fortunately no one was behind her close enough to cause a wreck. Another customer has a Pasatt that does it every time it goes by a bank or cvs with automatic doors close to the road. VE service answer was to turn off the “safety” feature to drive the car out of town. I want to the service department and had them turn it off and show me how. Guess what’s? Every time you turn off the car it defaults back to on. So on the trip Every time I stop and restart the car I have to manually turn it off. Then I stopped and got back on I-75 and forgot to turn off. Have to exit I-75 stop and turn off. Plus when it’s manually off the dash has the warning symbol that a safety feature is off. I get to pay each month for a car that scares me. Once it happened you never get past it. It is so random it could happen anytime and you can be killed. I scheduled service to try to figure it out and open a “case” for VW corporate. Had to push hard to get it in before two weeks and to get a loaner car so I can work, I’m stuck with a car that I NEVER will trust. Service basically implies that there is no way to figure it out really.

      • Shawn C. Reed Shawn C. Reed

        I, too, am frustrated as hell by having a car I don’t feel completely safe in. Nor does my wife. And they gave me the same answer to turn it off. Oh, so turn off a feature I PAID EXTRA FOR to make sure it doesn’t kill me? Great answer. By the way, I escalated my lemon law claim all the way to the final stages and they refused to repurchase the vehicle. My only recourse at this point is arbitration. There needs to be a class action suit on this. Obviously I’m not alone with this problem.

        (By the way, as I write this reply, my 2018 Tiguan with 14000 miles on it is in the shop due to a malfunctioning turbo. It’s been there the whole week and still no ETA on a completed repair. This car is absolute garbage.)

  4. Macy Barnhill Macy Barnhill

    Hi Shawn,

    I leased my new 2018 VW Tiguan on December 17, 2017, in North Carolina. I have had nothing but problems. To start off, at 4,200 miles, I had a turbo pipe clamp pop off and was just sucking in air. This wouldn’t allow my car to accelerate nor reach over 55mph. Then I noticed I started getting moisture on the inside of my windshield the following winter. When it would get really cold, it would develop frost/ice on the inside. So not only was I scraping ice from the outside but on the inside too. Apparently, that was a recall and I received a notice about it. I took it in and was told it was fixed and it was not. It went back a few months later to be fixed for the 2nd time, and to my dismay, it is still developing moisture. To keep on going, I had the front assist issues of being “disabled” while driving and the car would apply brakes randomly. Long story short, the sensor shorted and melted. I had to get my passenger airbag and seatbelt modules replaced, as those shorted as well. I am HIGHLY unsatisfied with this lease. I was planning on purchasing afterward, but they can have it. I don’t want anything to do with VW.

    My lease is up Dec. 2020…. and I just scheduled my car to be serviced again, as the moisture problem will have to be worked on for the 3rd time and the front assist crap is happening again.

    I would love for them to take this crappy lease off my hands. I truly feel like I have wasted my money, I’d like a refund.

    • Shawn C. Reed Shawn C. Reed

      That’s unfortunate to hear. I’ve tried everything I can do from my side to get them to address the issues I’ve had, and they refuse to cooperate in any way because they deny any issue exists. Meanwhile my wife doesn’t even feel safe riding in my vehicle any longer due to these issues. I count the minutes until I can dump this pile of junk and get something I can trust. Best of luck in your situation. -Shawn

  5. RJab RJab

    My Tiguan has been in the shop 5 times. Infotainment system replaced, left side strut bar replaced, ECM replaced, rear passenger side door needed to be adjusted to close properly, rear windshield wiper broker off by itself. I have the same low speed transmission issue and every time it goes to the dealer the tech notices it on the ride along, when they run their computer test, they say it shows no faults. I’ve asked for a buyback of course it was denied. I also don’t understand what the dealer actually does when they say they do a 150 point inspection, I say this because the strut bar mentioned above, well I’ve complained about a suspension rattle since I bought the car in June 2018, they just fixed it July 2018

    • Ryan Campbell Ryan Campbell

      What issues were you experiencing to need the strut bar replaced?
      My car creams and makes a rattle sound when going downhill and braking or making a right hand turn.

  6. Scott Scott

    Tiguans don’t have Auto Hold since 2012, the bottom was installed by accident by the factory

    • Shawn C. Reed Shawn C. Reed

      So they just “accidentally” install a feature that hasn’t been in the car for 6 years? The parts just happened to be lying around and… oops? I’m not buying it. If that truly is an accident, that’s even more so an illustration of my point that these cars are garbage. VW doesn’t care about quality whatsoever.

    • Bob Lomas Bob Lomas

      That is not correct, I have a 2016 Mk 2 TDI 2.0 Litre DSG SEL And that has it fitted and that was listed in the spec when I bought it so I would not have been very happy if it had been delivered without it.

  7. Dee Gee Dee Gee

    MY wife and I leased a 2018 SEL Tiguan May 2018 before my son was born. Did not even make it to a day (or 50 miles on the odometer) of ownership before the check engine light came on. I was hoping it was something silly like a lose gas cap, but no luck. Code was an “air/fuel issue in cyl 2” or some such. Left at dealer and they said it just needed an ECU reflash. Pick up car, drive it for a week and the same code comes back. Take the car back and this time they claim to change the spark plugs, wires, injectors, and drain the gas tank and refilled it with fresh gas. This time I refused to pick up the car until they put on 50 test miles. Dealer call back two days later saying code came back. At this point they get corporate involved (takes three visits to trigger this) and they instruct to drop the oil pan. Boom. Metal shavings in the oil. Motor is garbage and needs to be replaced, which VW does for free. at this point I called VW USA and demand they take the car back because I don’t want my newborn son to be in “new” car that has been under such extensive repair. They actually complied and switched out the car for us. Sadly we believed our issues to be behind us, but turns out we have the same front collision issues you do. At one point, in a heavy downpour, I lost power steering suddenly. Had to pull over and restart the car to get it working again.

    These cars are utter garbage.

  8. John John

    Have a Touareg in Germany. Lane assist is aggressive so I switch it off. But you have to do that everytime you start the engine. Collision warning lights activate for no reason. Car slammed on the brakes recently because it thought I was going to hit a bike – I was no where near it and was steering away in any case. Use of the infotainment is a nightmare and you have to take your eyes off the road etc etc. I have asked my company to swop the car for another. Never again will I have a VW

  9. Dominic Dominic

    We purchased a new 2012 Tiguan from our local dealer here in Australia. Within the first two months the cars engine just shut down and stopped while my wife was driving at 100kph on the highway. VW dealer had the car for two weeks and decided the fault was caused by faulty wire crimping in the factory. Services here are extremely expensive. More recently there was an issue with the air flow flap between the turbo and the supercharger- $850 repair. And now the engine is stuttering badly under load. Told by VW we need a new turbo- cost $3800. I asked the VW dealer if they would purchase the vehicle off me. They responded with “the car is only worth approx 5K, and if we factor in the repairs it’s worthless- sorry.” So here we have the VW dealer telling me the car I purchased off them new in 2012 for nearly 30K and has only travelled 97000kms is now worthless- WTF!!! Luckily Toyota decided to give us 3K for the car as a trade on a new Corolla- never again VW!

  10. John V John V

    Thank you for sharing that. I never saw your article and bought a 2019 SEL VW tiguan and had close to the same problems as you. My first problem was my remote start stopped working at 500 miles. Techs claimed it was a “vacuum issue”. Now its lane keeping and right side mirror crash avoidance not working. I wish I saw your feedback sooner. Thanks for the guidance,

  11. Zach Zach

    Shawn, Great job posting your experience with your Tiguan. Wish I had read it before I bought mine. In February (2020) I purchased a 2020 Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium R-Line w/4Motion. Less than 300 miles later I had it towed to dealer because of a fuel leak. (that VW couldn’t smell the previous day when I swung by the dealer) as well as a knock in the engine. They discovered a bad seal on top of the tank and kept it in the shop to repair it. I was content with the loaner for a day. When I returned I asked if they had addressed the loud knocking sound in the engine. The tech started the car and immediately you could hear it. I said, you do know this is NOT a diesel and that sound may be an issue…..he raised the car on a lift and said it was a bad flywheel and they would replace it. fast forward 14 days…….finally get car back. New torque converter, new transmission…..still has the knock. Never replaced the flywheel that they thought was the problem. anyway, VW states vehicle runs and drives as designed and thats the end of it. Since then, this piece of shit continues to amaze me. There is now a rattle as if something is loose on the passenger side front end, I suspect they didn’t reassemble something correctly when they put the trans back in. the Forward Collision system doesn’t work. (it does work on the adaptive cruise though, strange!) The Lane assist was so annoying that I turned it off but, it still continues to jerk the wheel on occasion……this really bothers me since its not even active! I have lost all faith in the VW brand. Maybe its problems at the Puebla MX plant? Regardless, its a shit product with shit support. I have a video clip I made for the engine knock if you’d like to use it.

  12. Rachel Rachel

    I began to lease a 2019 VW Tiguan with Front Assistance (AEB System feature) about a year and a half ago. With ~14,000 miles on my car, today I experienced a rather frightening situation. Driving on a busy STRAIGHT road at about 45 mph, my car’s AEB system engaged for absolutely no reason (this is a road I drive on twice daily, every day). My vehicle braked out of nowhere whilst the system threw out a collision alert onto the screen. I had a car directly behind me which fortunately stopped on time, of course pissed off at me for randomly/quickly stopping. I called the dealership and they offered to take a look at my vehicle this next Tuesday(5 days from now), and I was told this is probably a calibration issue. Obviously reading more and more horror stories about this feature, I will have to keep it turned off for the foreseeable future. I am also upset to have signed for a higher lease/buyout price (about $3000) for a feature I don’t even feel safe using. If you have any suggestions or updates, I’d love to hear them.

  13. Glenn Glenn

    Here we go…

    About a month after taking deliver of our fully loaded 2018 SEL I purchased a trailer to haul a couple bikes. The hitch is specific for the Tiguan designed to utilize the 4 bolts in the rear frame which holds the rear bumper. Up getting under the car I was shocked to see two of these bolts were missing and the other 2 were held on by a single turn and would have likely fallen off at some point. My hunch is this is what happened to the missing bolds. It was clear from the undercoating that none of these bolts had ever been tightened down or even tightened enough to hold the rear bumper. Who’s ever job on the assembly line to to perform this simple task and the person responsible for quality control didn’t do their job. Have no idea if this was a one off or if there are lots of late model Tiguans on the road with loose rear bumpers and dropping bolts.

    At the time, we hadn’t experience any other issue but were concerned if this was an indication of the overall quality. We also loved the 2 month old Tiguan so we were hoping this was an isolated incident. So we decided to take VW’s offered to cover our service for 3 years, something we now highly regret doing.

    Other issues
    -More recalls than we’ve ever experienced on a new car.
    -Leaking roof issues, moldy sour smell, leak finally fixed (we think), all carpeting replaced.
    -Lane Assist not functioning which means Cruise Control not functioning. This was fixed twice under warranty. It stopped working again several months ago but the dealer told me they would have to charge us $495 since adjustments are not covered under warranty. Even after I explained they had fixed it twice before under warranty and that the feature and cruise hasn’t worked for 80% of the time we’ve owned the vehicle.
    -Extreme, intermittent hesitation

  14. John Coombes John Coombes

    I bought my Tiguan Hiline in July 2018. From the start there was a problem with the PDC. The Owner’s Manual states clearly that the PDC starts automatically when Reverse gear is engaged. However, this is most often not the case and there can be a delay of up to 12 seconds before the visual ion the Infortainment system appears. The sensors work properly as they sound the alarm if too close to any obstruction. It is intermittent. I can go for 6 or so startups with immediate display and then it will miss out for the next 4.
    The agent in conjunction with the VW factory has spent extensive time in trying to trace the problem; updated the firmware, replaced the PDC unit and finally the entire control system. It is exactly the same, in fact a bit worse.
    VW nbow maintain that the system is working according to spec and suggest that i wait until the visual appears (i mean, how obvious isn’t that?).
    The agent is going to continue searching; replacing the driver doorlock next week and then fitting the rear view camera option. According to an auto electrician that should finally resolve the ptoble.
    While the car has been repeired, the dealer lent me his 2021 Tiguan (same spec) and the PDC visual appears instantly.
    Has anyone else out these experienced the same problem that you may know of?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.