Volkswagen Tiguan Problems

Volkswagen Tiguan Problems – A Good Purchase Or Maybe Not?

Are you on the market for a compact crossover SUV? You probably stumbled upon the VW Tiguan and you are probably asking what are the Volkswagen Tiguan problems? If that is the case, then you are at the right place because we are going to cover a lot when it comes to the Tiguan.

Getting yourself informed on your future vehicle is probably your best bet if you don’t want to end up in a money pit. There are a ton of vehicles on the market marketed as the perfect purchase but most of them are far from perfect. And some of them are even basket cases full of problems.

That’s why you need to learn all of the problems of the specific vehicle that you want to purchase. Like in this example with the Volkswagen Tiguan. You have to learn all of the Volkswagen Tiguan problems in order to be safe from paying expensive repair bills. And trust me, if you get an unreliable car it can hurt your budget pretty quickly. Since expensive repairs can cost even thousands of dollars. But we are here to help you out.

In this article, we are going to cover everything you need to know when it comes to the Tiguan. We will start from the basics and then we will move on to the specs of both of the Tiguan generations and then we will learn the Volkswagen Tiguan problems. This would be quite useful if you plan to buy one. Then we will give our verdict if should you get one or not. So, let’s get into the article.

What Is The Volkswagen Tiguan?

So, what is the VW Tiguan? This chapter is specifically dedicated to the ones who aren’t quite familiar with it and how it fits in the Volkswagen family.

The Tiguan is a model made by the German brand Volkswagen. The Tiguan is a small crossover SUV which is a quite popular vehicle at the moment in the States.

The small SUV market is one of the biggest markets right now in the states. And a lot of car brands are focusing their forces to make the best ones in order to compete in this market.

Almost every big car manufacturer has its own offering in the crossover segment. But what is notable for these cars, what are their characteristics?

What is different with these cars is that they are neither a car nor an SUV, they are somewhere between the two. That’s why the name crossover, like a crossbreed of some animal.

But this doesn’t mean that they are bad. They are extremely desirable because they offer the looks and the safety of an SUV but also the commotion while driving on the road.

Their off-road characteristics are not comparable to real SUVs but they are still quite good. Especially if you get an all-wheel drive option of the specific car which in this case is the Tiguan.

The Tiguan is also one of the most popular cars that are sold in this segment and for a reason. It can offer quite a lot. The Tiguan is also one of the first cars that came out in this segment and basically are the benchmark when it comes to crossovers.

That’s why in the next chapter we will go through the Tiguan generations and we will learn more about them. Then we will cover the Volkswagen Tiguan problems. So, stay on.

Generations of Volkswagen Tiguan

In this chapter, we will cover the last two generations of the Tiguan where we will learn all of the specs and other interesting information that can come in handy when purchasing a car like the fuel mileage, safety, and other bits and pieces. Then we will cove the Volkswagen Tiguan problems.

First Generations Volkswagen Tiguan

The first generation of the Tiguan was introduced in 2007 and was in production until 2018 when it was replaced by the second-generation Tiguan.

Although a new concept the Tiguan has conquered the hearts of the audience pretty quickly because of the relatively low price when compared to its bigger brother the Touareg. But even, smaller, the Tiguan offered the same practicality of the Touareg in a smaller form factor.

All of the Tiguans for the US market were made in Wolfsburg and then exported into the US. That’s made the Tiguan quite more expensive when compared to other crossovers and affected the price greatly. And as a result of this VW only managed to sell 175,000 Tiguan cars from the first generation in the United States.

The first model was based on the VW Group A6 Platform and had a wheelbase of 102.5 inches. Which is comparable to a sedan. The length of the Tiguan was around 174 inches and it had a width of 71.2 inches. Yes, but what about the Volkswagen Tiguan problems? Well, more on that later. Let’s first take a look at the engines and transmissions used in the Tiguan.

Engines And Transmissions

The North American model was equipped with a direct-injected 2.0 straight-4 turbocharged engine producing 197hp. It was quite a peppy engine that had fast acceleration and delivered excellent performance.

There was just one engine option with the first generation of the Tiguan and as well only one transmission available. And that was the 6-speed automatic that was included on all trim levels. But which were the trim levels?

Trim Levels

There were a few trim levels that you could choose from. The base trim level was the S trim. Then was the SE that included leather and an AWD option. And the top of the line was the SEL 4Motion that was an AWD model with all the bells and whistles that you needed. But also the most expensive out of the bunch costing $33,500.

Fuel Economy

The fuel economy of the Tiguan was not the best but also not the worst out there. It was powered by a strong engine which means that this engine was also not that fuel-efficient.

The Tiguan only got 18 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway. The average fuel consumption was 21 mpg and considering that these are the official numbers, the real ones are probably a few mpg lower. Making the Tiguan not the ideal choice when it comes to fuel efficiency. But what are the Volkswagen Tiguan problems? More on that later after we cover the Tiguan safety ratings.


The Volkswagen Tiguan offered excellent safety. When the model was tested in 2016 by the NTHSA it got 5 stars on all of the tests which is quite good when considering that the model was a couple of years old.

Also, the tests by the IIHS were excellent and all marks were checked as “good”. Which tells a lot about the Tiguan and why people love this model. But what are the Volkswagen Tiguan problems?

Volkswagen Tiguan Problems

Since the Tiguan has a few issues, we are going to cover them in a separate chapter after we finish the second-generation specs. There we will list the problems for both of the generations. Scroll down to the bottom for the Volkswagen Tiguan problems.

Second Generation Volkswagen Tiguan

The second generation of the Tiguan was introduced in 2016 and is still in production. This new generation was debuted at the Frankfurt International Motor Show.

What is special for this generation is that it is built on the VW Group MQB platform and in comparison to the previous generation, this one is considerably longer. About 2.4 inches longer to be more precise. It is 1.2 inches wider and the wheelbase is longer by 3 inches. Making it quite chunkier than its predecessor.

What is also interesting with this generation is that it has a short wheelbase version and a long-wheelbase version. Depending on that if you need a 7 seater or a regular 5 seater cabin.

This generation is built in Mexico which means that it is imported from there, unlike the previous model that was brought from Wolfsburg, Germany.

Similar to its predecessor, can be purchased with a 2WD or an AWD for those who are more into off-roading.

What is good is that it comes with a 6-year 72,000-mile warranty. Which can come in handy and guarantee that you don’t get ripped off while fixing the car if something breaks. But what about the Volkswagen Tiguan problems? More on that later after we cover the other specs of this model.

Engines And Transmissions

Similar to the previous generation, this generation also offers only one engine and that is the 2.0 turbocharged engine that produces 184hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. Which makes this engine quite peppy and throttle happy. It is very good to drive this engine, to be honest.

In terms of transmission, the Tiguan only has one transmission available for purchase and that is the 8 speed automatic. Which is quite good and delivers a better fuel economy than the previous generation of this model.

Trim Levels

This generation includes the same trim levels and packages as the previous. Namely the S, SE, SEL, and also the SEL Premium which is the most upscale model out of the bunch and costs quite a bit more than the base model.

Fuel Economy

The fuel economy of the new Tiguan is not perfect. But it is also not that terrible. Getting 21 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway. The new automatic transmission did its job in order to reduce the fuel consumption quite well.

The average fuel consumption is 23 mpg. But the real-world number could be a bit less than this. Somewhere around 20 mpg. Regular unleaded gas is recommended for the Tiguan to run properly. You should always use the recommended gas and avoid using premium. Since you will not see a big improvement and you will spend more money on fuel.

But what are the Volkswagen Tiguan problems? More on that later. First, let’s see the safety of the second generation.


The safety ratings on the new Tiguan are on par with the ratings of the previous generation which were excellent. So, the new generation is following the same footsteps and delivers quite well on the tests.

Volkswagen Tiguan Problems

Now we came to the important bit of this article and that are the Volkswagen Tiguan problems. As you know you have to learn the problems in order to estimate if the Tiguan is the right car for you. Not knowing the possible issues with the vehicle could mean that you will face a money pit and spend thousands of dollars on repairs.

That’s why in the following two chapters we are going to cover the problems for both of these generations and learn what could go wrong with the Tiguan.

1st Generation Volkswagen Tiguan Problems

Now let’s discuss the problems with the first generation with the Tiguan. First, we will start with the engine and then we will move on to other important Volkswagen Tiguan problems.

Carbon Buildup

When you have a direct injection engine, carbon buildup on the valves is one of the most common consequences. So, why is this the case? This is the case because of direct injection engines. Fuel is dumped into the cylinder with a huge amount of force.

Making the piston develop carbon and this carbon spreads in the intake valves as well. And this for an engine that has 4 valves per cylinder is not good. This buildup will start making the engine lose compression and uneven engine operation will be present.

Volkswagen Tiguan Problems

The end result could be catastrophic engine damage and also valve and head damage. This is one of the most notorious problems that could easily scrap your engine. If detected on time, you could get away with a new valve job. If not, you will pay thousands of dollars for an engine replacement. These problems usually happen around 90,000 miles when the engine is not cleaned from carbon.

Carbon cleaning every 30,000 to 50,000 miles is key if you want to keep your direct injection engine safe from troubles.

Timing Chain Tensioner

Timing chain tensioners are notorious to fail on these engines. Most notably because these tensioners are made out of plastic.

And as we all know cheap plastic doesn’t like heat, especially inside of an engine. These tensioners break and make the chain make a rattling noise.

If you notice rattles, it is important to stop right away and take your car to a mechanic. If you don’t do this, the chain will eventually jump and a lot of damage could happen. Valves will collide with the pistons and catastrophic engine damage could occur.

Some owners even reported how their Tiguan stopped in the middle of traffic and they couldn’t do anything about it. The engine simply destroyed itself.

This problem often happens at 90,000 miles or lower. Some owners that reported damage were covered by VW. If your Tiguan is near 90,000 and the timing chain hasn’t been replaced it is important to replace it.

The average cost for this replacement is $3,250. It’s a very expensive repair because the whole engine has to come out. And the next Volkswagen Tiguan problem also requires the engine to come out.

Rear Main Seal Leak

The rear main seal is also known to leak oil. For those who don’t know, the rear main seal is the crankshaft seal that is located on the rear of the engine where the engine is connected to the transmission.

This seal is a rubber ring, but over time this rubber becomes like hard plastic and the oil starts to sip out from the engine.

This problem can dry out your engine from oil and catastrophic engine damage could happen. The only thing you can do is to replace this seal. And this is going to cost you quite a bit since the engine has to come apart from the transmission and this will require a lot of work.

The average cost for this work is above $2,000 depending on where you take your car to fix it. Also, pay attention to oil puddles and your oil level if you want to be safe.

Intake Manifold Cracks

Intake manifolds are also notorious to crack on the engine that is used in the Tiguan. Similar to the tensioner problem and the rear main seal, this is caused by the use of cheap plastic.

Heat doesn’t like plastic and the intake manifold will crack. Causing problems like running rich, and uneven work because there is unmetered air that enters the combustion chamber. This is not good if you want to have a properly working engine.

The fix for this is somewhere between $500 to $800 depending on the part and the labor price. Just make sure that you get a good quality part if you don’t want to replace it again in the near future.

Water Pump Failure

The water pump is also notorious to fail on these engines and it is one of the most common Volkswagen problems. The water pump fails very often, every 20,000 miles as owners claim.

Which is attributed to the bad engineering of this pump. Replacing this pump will also going to cost you quite a bit of money.

Also, you need to be aware of this issue and when you see that your temperature is running high. Make sure that you stop and let your engine cool down if you don’t want to overheat it.

Engine Misfires

Engine misfires are another consequence of some of the problems listed above like carbon buildup and bad intake manifold.

The work of the engine simply is not even and these misfires constantly happen. You will notice how the exhaust pops or you will hear small ticks from the top of the engine when you have misfires. They are a dead giveaway for some issues to be sorted before they do some damage to the engine.

2nd Generation Volkswagen Tiguan Problems

Now let’s discuss the problems of the second generations. With the second generation, there are considerably fewer Volkswagen Tiguan problems. But some of the old troubles have stayed.

Volkswagen Tiguan Problems

Oil Burning

Some of the owners of the new generation have reported oil burning issues on the Tiguan. This was most notable on the 2018 year model.

There were reports that some of the engines on higher miles were excessively drinking oil and this infuriated a lot of owners since they had to refill the oil every now and then in order to make sure that the oil is properly leveled.

This problem was probably due to bad quality oil rings that allowed the oil to escape inside of the combustion chamber.

Carbon Buildup

Since this engine implements the same direct-injection system it means that it also has some issues with carbon buildup on the intake ports.

The solution for this problem is simple and that is to take your car and to a carbon clean up on your engine every 50,000 miles. Doing this will guarantee that the valves will not get damaged prematurely and the engine will keep running properly.

Consider this as preventive maintenance. It is better to pay $500 for a clean instead of paying a few grand for a new engine.

Hesitation From The Transmission

This was reported on some brand new vehicles, how their transmission simply had trouble working properly and hesitated when shifting gears.

Also, some people reported while on traffic lights how the car wouldn’t accelerate and it suddenly jumped forward. Overall, a strange problem that affected some owners. But it is good to be noted out.

Facts about the Volkswagen Tiguan:

  1. The Volkswagen Tiguan was introduced in 2007 and is still in production today.
  2. The first-generation Tiguan, often referred to as 5N, was built on Volkswagen’s PQ46 platform.
  3. The second-generation Tiguan, often referred to as AD or BW, was built on Volkswagen’s MQB platform.
  4. The Tiguan is Volkswagen’s best-selling vehicle across the Volkswagen Group, selling more than six million units worldwide.
  5. The first-generation Tiguan was initially released with a 2.0 TDI engine that put down 138hp and a 1.4 TSI engine that put down 148hp.
  6. The second-generation Tiguan has a shorter wheelbase but a longer and wider body, and there were many engines available, including an EA211 1.4TSI, EA211 evo 1.5TSI, EA888 2.0TSI, EA288 1.6TDI, & an EA288 2.0TDI.
  7. Common engine problems with the Tiguan include ignition coil pack failure, clock spring failure, defective timing chain and tensioner, premature water pump failure, defective N80 valve, plastic intake manifold failure, and subframe clunk.
  8. Symptoms of coil packs failure include engine misfires, check engine light illuminating, and poor engine performance.
  9. Symptoms of water pump failure include low engine coolant/antifreeze indicator illuminating, engine overheating, and coolant leaking onto the ground.
  10. Symptoms of subframe clunk include clunking noise under driver’s seat from acceleration, clunking noise in the middle of the vehicle when downshifting, and squeaks or groans while turning.

Conclusion – Volkswagen Tiguan Problems

In this article, we have covered the VW Tiguan. We learned what the Tiguan is and we also covered the specs of the two generations of Tiguan. This information is good to know if you are on the market for a used Tiguan.

Then we have covered the Volkswagen Tiguan problems. We learned what are the most common mechanical issues with it. The first generation had some problems with the timing chain tensioner, rear main seal, water pump, and also with carbon buildup. Overall, every repair is quite expensive and I wouldn’t recommend this car to you.

The second generation on the other hand is quite an improvement since most of these issues were patched.

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