7 Common Volkswagen Tiguan Problems (W/ Recalls)

The Volkswagen Tiguan is a mid-sized SUV that sits between the T-Roc and the Touareg. It was first produced back in 2009. Since the Spring of 2020, 6 million have been sold.

As of April 2020, it was Volkswagen’s best=selling car and Europe’s best-selling SUV. However, with all of its popularity, it’s the least reliable when compared with similar cars according to Consumer Reports.

The most common problems that the Volkswagen Tiguan has been with its engine, overuse of oil, problems with power and fuel economy, problems with the infotainment system, problems with the emergency braking, problems with the clock spring, and problems with its timing chain and tensioners.

If you are a Volkswagen Tiguan owner, or you are thinking of buying one new or used, it’s best to know what you should expect from your vehicle. below we are going to look at some of the common issues with the Tiguan and the possible solutions that can be used to solve the problems.

How Reliable is the Volkswagen Tiguan

The Volkswagen Tiguan’s reliability ratings were average based on the website that you go to. This also depends on which model year is being reviewed.

For instance, the least reliable model years are 2019, 2020, and 2021 models. The most reliable one is the 2017 model. Therefore, if you are looking for a used model, the 2017 one is the one to choose.

All of the models score well in fuel economy, with its latest models giving great MPG when compared with other SUVs.

When it’s combined with the other features, it can give you years of use when you maintain it properly. Like many other models from Volkswagen, it can go a minimum of 100K miles when it’s repaired and maintained regularly.

Most Common Issues With The Volkswagen Tiguan

1. Engine Problems

In the 2016 to 2019 Tiguan models, there are many complaints from the owners who experienced their engine stalling and then their EPC warning light turning on.

Volkswagen has said that this light indicates that there are problems with the vehicle’s throttle system. What this means this that there could be an issue with the cruise control, throttle pedal, traction control, or throttle pedal.

Usually, an owner will report that they are driving along without any problems and suddenly their engine will stall.  The vehicle goes into what’s called limp mode. The driver then has to pull the Tiguan over so that it can be restarted.

This is obviously a very dangerous problem since they’re unable to control how fast they are going.


The issue was attributed to a fuel injection harness that was faulty and that is replaceable under warranty.

That recall is because the support bolts of the engine were not tightened properly. This can cause an unexpected breakdown of the engine or a sudden power loss.

2. Oil Issues

According to a website that collects feedback from car owners, one of the common problems with the Tiguan models, mostly from the year 2018, is the engine constantly needs to have oil added.

A lot of owners were left worried and confused since they burned through oil quickly. Some of them said that even though they just had their oil changed, their oil light lit up.

In the majority of cases, there aren’t any signs of drips or leaks, so they keep on adding more oil. Then the light comes on again and they need to add more even though only a few weeks have passed.


Even though some of the dealers said that it was okay that the vehicle was going through oil every 1K miles, it’s not good enough. It’s not normal, particularly when the car is new. It seems like the problem was linked to bad seals in the cylinder.

3. Power and Fuel Economy Problems

The problem that was most reported was the buildup of carbon. This causes a decrease in fuel economy and loss of power. This problem was reported in even other models such as the Volkswagen Jetta.

 This issue was reported in the model years from 2009 to 2016.  The engine that is in the Tiguan is prone to the buildup of carbon.

With regular engines, the engine gets cleaned when the gas flows by way of the injectors and into its intake system. But since the Tiguan is using direct injection, gas isn’t flowing through the common areas of carbon buildup.

Common carbon buildup symptoms include:

  • Black smoke coming from the exhaust
  • Decreased performance/acceleration
  • Hard starts
  • Misfiring of the engine cylinder
  • Power loss
  • Rough idling

What Can Be Done About It

The way to fix carbon buildup is remove the car’s intake manifold. Then you want to thoroughly clean the:

  • Intake manifold
  • Intake valves
  • Cylinder head’s intake ports

4. Emergency Braking Problems

One of the biggest complaints about the Tiguan is problems with the vehicle’s emergency brakes being randomly applied. Others have said that it wasn’t applied in instances when the brake should have kicked in. This issue was with 2018 models and newer ones.

If this is something that you are experiencing, you’ll want to contact your Volkswagen dealer. It’s possible that the problem lies with sensors that are overly sensitive.

5. Infotainment System Problems

Many 2022 Tiguan owners have made complaints about the infotainment system. There are reports of the system not starting or rebooting randomly.

Some of the owners have said that it can take as long as 15 minutes before the system turns on. A major problem with this is that the rare camera isn’t able to be used.

Since May 2018, backup cameras have been required for all vehicles built. Volkswagen is aware of the problem, and it will likely be fixed with a software update. Since the problem happens with the new models, it’s going to be under the car’s warranty. So. you want to call the dealership and take it in to be fixed.

6. Clock Spring Issues

Between 2011 and 2019, there were a lot of complaints about the Tiguan and issues with the horn and airbags. This is usually because of issues with the clock spring.

A clock spring is what creates the connection that’s between the wiring and the airbags. If it’s corroded or damaged, it will send a report to the control module of the airbag. This triggers the vehicle’s airbag light.

When this breaks, it often disables the electronics inside the steering wheel like the airbags and horn, both very important safety features.

If you’re driving a Tiguan and you’re noticing the airbag light coming on and you’re not able to use your horn, chances are that the clock spring has failed. This is a part that is supposed to last your vehicle’s whole life.

This is a simple fix. You’re going to need to get a new clock spring. However, since there are a lot of people who needed this part, it can be hard to get one without a lengthy wait.

7. Timing Chain & Tensioner

Like a lot of Volkswagens, the Tiguan has trouble with the reliability of its timing chain and tensioner. The timing chain is what is responsible for opening and closing the engine’s valves.

Without this functioning part, there will be major damage due to the engine. The tensioners are what keep a timing chain tense, allowing the engine to efficiently run.

There are two why the timing chain might fail:  the chain might completely break or it could be stretched because of tensioner failure.

When the tensioners or timing chain fails, the vehicle’s valves can collide with the pistons and cause damage upward of $6,000.

A vehicle’s timing chain should last the life of a vehicle. however, when it fails, it’s usually due to the tensioners.

Symptoms To Look for:

  • Engine dies
  • Engine doesn’t start, turn over or crank
  • There’s a rattling sound on the vehicle’s passenger side
  • Timing of the engine is off
  • The timing chain is stretched
  • Engine performance is sluggish

When your timing chain breaks or stretches, it’s necessary to replace it. It’s best to replace it using a whole kit because everything should be kept new due to it being so important to your engine.

What Years Did the Volkswagen Tiguan Have Problems?

So that you know which of the Tiguan model years have the most problems, the best way that you can compare them is to compare those models based on how many were sold and how many reported problems each had.

According to this, the years with the most problems were:

  • 2009  – 0.96 problems per model year
  • 2011 – 0.81 problems per model year
  • 2018 – 13.57 problems per model year

The years that had the least problems are:

  • 2014 – 0.42 problems per model year
  • 2016 – 0.35 problems per model year
  • 2017 – 0.18 problems per model year

The chart below is based on the index for car complaints per model year. This means the problems that were ported for every thousand vehicles for each year.

Model YearProblems

Recent Recall #s

If there is a recall on your Volkswagen Tiguan, you are going to receive the information about the problem through email. It usually will include a 10-digit number and a date. This number will allow the manufacturer to identify the recall’s details.

However, the way to know whether your Volkswagen Tiguan’s been recalled is with your VIN. This is a 17-digit number that you can find on your vehicle’s registration car or your windshield’s lower-left corner.

When you are looking for a vehicle to choose from, it’s always important to know what recalls the vehicle has had. There have been a few recalls when it comes to the Volkswagen Tiguan. Some recent recall numbers are as follows:

22V514000 = Back over prevention: sensing system: camera

This recall was issued on 4/1/22. This was related to the infotainment system. The image in the rearview camera didn’t display, meaning that the vehicle didn’t comply with the safety standards,

22V226000 – Structure: Body

This recall was issued on 4/19/22. Because of the wrong installation instructions, the vehicle’s accessory rear hatch spoiler might be attached insufficiently to the vehicle.

22V176000 – Suspension

This recall was issued on 4/4/22. The right or left rear suspension knuckles could break, crack and corrode.

Check to see whether your vehicle has an open recall

It’s simple to find out if your vehicle has a recall on it. Simply use the NHTSA VIN tool on their website. Input your 17-digit VIN in the search bar and you can find any recall information regarding that particular model.

How is it compared to similar cars?

Rankings from Consumer Reports detailed below are based on the newest models from the latest three years. As you can see, Tiguan’s score is the lowest, with a 17/100 score.

MakeModelReliability Score from Consumer Reports
BuickEnvision 90
FordBronco Sport88
ToyotaRAV4 Prime82
FordMustang Mach-E71
HyundaiIoniq 545
VolkswagenEclipse Cross45
Land RoverDiscovery Sport25
Land RoverRange Rover Evoque25
Land RoverRange Rover Velar25
Alfa RomeoStelvio18
TeslaModel Y18

What Is The Average Life Expectancy & mileage?

A Volkswagen Tiguan can last anywhere from 150K to 200K when its driven conservatively and properly maintained. If it’s driven around 15,000 years annually, this means that it can last between 13 to 17 years before it breaks down or is too expensive to maintain.

Is It Worth Buying Used?

If you want to buy a used Tiguan, it’s best to choose the 2017 model. Based on Consumer Reports, it had almost perfect ratings regarding reliability overall including really high ratings in cooling, paint, body, engine, suspension, transmission, and air conditioning. However, it’s best to not buy used 2019, 2020, or 2021 models since they received very low scores in reliability.

What is Good and Bad about the car?

Like most other types of vehicles, there are good and bad things about the Volkswagen Tiguan.

What’s Good About The Car

  • Comfortable
  • Fuel economy
  • Great look
  • High quality
  • Smooth ride

What’s Bad About The Car

  • Confusing electronics
  • Lack of pouches behind the seats
  • Slow acceleration
  • Underpowered
  • Weak warning signal for rear accident avoidance

What Do Owners Say About The Car?

Better gas mileage than what is listed by around 20%. It can hold seven people and it exceeds what they expected. There have been no issues. The vehicle handles great and is quiet.

Could use more power. However, overall, it’s enough for highway and city driving. Gas mileage is great for all-wheel drive. The seats are comfortable and its third row is handy when it’s needed.

Love the way it feels luxurious and sleek when they are driving it. Its quiet and smooth and well worth the price. From the features to its aesthetics, it doesn’t disappoint. My Tiguan SE R-line is great. I’m very happy with it!


Just like any other vehicle, there are a lot of good things and bad things about the Volkswagen Tiguan. But it’s important to know about the common problems that they have and, if you are purchasing a used one, know which ones to stay away from and which is the best choice.

Based on our research, we recommend buying the 2017 model if you are planning to purchase one used. Based on Consumer Reports, it’s the highest used model for reliability.