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VW MKVI-A6 Golf family including Jetta SportWagen (~ 2010-2014) Discussions area for A6/MkVI (2010-2014) Golf and Golf Wagons (Jetta Sportwagon in the USA).

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Old May 3rd, 2011, 19:09   #1
Join Date: May 2011
Location: MA
Default VW Golf TDI Reliability

Hello all,

Based on research and my attraction to the Golf, I purchased a new 2010 Golf TDI DSG last year. I was happy with the performance and fuel economy, and had bought into the brand loyalty and pride of ownership - lots of washing, waxing, cleaning, and keeping the vehicle garaged when not in use.

However, after 5 trips to the dealer over the past 8 months for faults my passion is starting to wane. That is why I am posting this - to get a reality check and see what others have to say.

My initial experience was with TPM hell. The tire pressure light would come on, and I would spend all my loose change on gas station air compressors, 3 different tire guages, and several trips to a tire shop, which used a fancy guage to determine that, yes, my tire pressure was correct for all 4 tires. The dealer cleared the warning light without any real explanation. 4 months later, same drill. Which tire is low? Is my guage defective? Does the gas station air hose have problems etc. Then after some days of frustration back to dealer. Warning light cleared again by dealer, with no part replacement or explanation. Concurrently they flashed my computer for a recall of another sort.

Currently my car is at the dealer with an undiagnoseable "check engine" light. Second one in three weeks. They have had my car for 2 days, and do not have an ETA for when I will get my car back. I was given a loaner car from a rental agency (the rental car has a faulty key and is a gas guzzler - all they had available for the dealer) so I am spending lots of money on gas for a large car. Not exactly why I bought a VW Golf TDI. I am hoping to get car back by the weekend, but dealer said they have no idea how long it will take to work with VW North America to fix the problem they cannot diagnose.

Should I just take the car back from the VW dealer and drive with check engine light on? How many more times should I go back to dealer if they fix and it goes on again? Any predicitons on if the TPMmonitor will start acting up again? The lemon law her in Massachussets is only good for first year, and I am into second year of ownership.

I am not feeling good about the TDI, and I have spent a good deal of energy defenending to myself that these little problems are just teething, but I have owned the car for over a year. Should I expect 2-3 weeks of downtime per year of ownership if I own a golf TDI? Is this normal to drive a German car?

Reading this forum I have seen others with lots of other problems like O2 sensers. Is this a car I would want to have a single day after the warrantee expires? What would this week long troubleshooting cost if the car was not under warrantee? Is VW under any obligation to keep fixing these troublesome cars after the warrantee expires, when the check enging lights and TPM lights continue to glow?

Any advice or reassurance would be appreciated. I have never had this level of recurring defects with the used honda civic I previously drove (over 3 years not one fault, and just regular maintenance). I have the feeling that this model of car is really not that reliable, and it is not just a one off for me.

Thank you

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Old May 3rd, 2011, 19:56   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: NJ

I'm 7 or 8mos into mine... I get the 3rd gear low speed stumble every now and then (havent been in for the first servicing thus no reflashes or anything yet tho)... and have some of that 2dr wind noise that seems to get posted on vortex much more then here....but other then that not one other even minor issue thus far.
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Old May 3rd, 2011, 20:49   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Richmond BC

Zeeman, have you thought about taking the cars to another VW dealer?
2k10 Golf TDI Wagon 6-sp manual
2k06 Mini Cooper CVT
1994 Aerostar cargo
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Old May 3rd, 2011, 21:23   #4
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this is my second Jetta TDI, --used to own 2009 --both of which performed flawlessly, no mechanical issues of any sort so far, I am at 14,500 miles on my 2010 and sold 2009 at 43,000 miles. Sorry for your unlucky experience but like other suggested, you may want to take your car to a different dealer since VW dealers are known to be incompetent in resolving problems our TDI’s experience.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 04:58   #5
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Albany, NY

19,000mi so far and no issues.....worry less, drive more!
2010 Golf TDI | Blue Graphite | 6-speed manual | Rear fog | Neuspeed turbo discharge pipe | Malone Stage 1.5 | DieselGeek Shifter
**VAG-COM OWNER** I have a Hex-USB+CAN cable. PM me if needed.

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Old May 4th, 2011, 06:07   #6
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Winnipeg, MB

Perhaps find someone with a VCDS and see if you can diagnose your problem and then take that info to a different dealership.

Sorry you've been having these problem, I'm almost a year into owning my car, lots of short trip city driving interspersed with some long (4500km) road trips. I had my intercooler ice up after driving out of the mountains where it was humid and 3c down to the praries where it was -25. Other than that everything has been great with the car.

Can you do something with the Lemon law in the states?
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Old May 4th, 2011, 07:13   #7
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Flashing my lights behind you, CT

Zeeman, have you thought about taking the cars to another VW dealer?
Name of current dealership? I also bought in Mass. I got the car last June and I'm only at 8k but will need to start thinking about the first 10k service. The dealer I bought mine from rhymes with "Hat trick".
So when the Dealer tells you "Don't worry, that's normal, they all do that." , they're not lying.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 07:44   #8
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Denver
TDI(s): 2003 GLS TDI
Fuel Economy: 32-48

I'm relatively new to the TDI scene myself. I have an older, much simpler one, but I don't think the problems you have had should just be chalked up to "TDIs are like that-- get used to it". One reality is that they are very heavily computerized cars. It really pays off to know more about your car than you would a Honda, for instance. Two thoughts that should hold you in good stead: 1) Dealers are generally at best useless, and at worst evil. And 2) Knowledge is power. (2a: TDIClub, Vortex, etc. are awesome resources).

In your shoes, I would ask the dealer what exact codes the ECU is throwing, and ask for a printout. I would ask the service manager who is their sharpest diesel guy, and ask them to provide specific information on why they are unable to diagnose a simple CEL. On the face of it, it sounds like you have an incompetent service department.

You probably don't want to go spending your own cash on a guru if you're still under warranty, but a friend with a laptop and a VCDS cable can go a long way. You can actually plug in the computer and drive around, logging data. If you have an intermittent sensor fault or something, that should catch it. Most faults are stored anyway, so logging is only necessary if you are seeing intermittent problems that aren't showing in the ECUs fault log. If the dealer is too stupid to try that, you need to take your car elsewhere.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 07:45   #9
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Boston, MA

Sorry to hear about the frustrations. In terms of the TPMS, I understand they have to be replaced every 5 yrs or so because a battery dies. Maybe you have a prematurely dying battery?

South of Boston I use Gallery group. They've been good for my scheduled maintenance. I have no experience with their troubleshooting skills. Quirk in Braintree is a high volume dealer and they may have more experience.

Good luck!
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Old May 4th, 2011, 08:05   #10
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: St. Louis, MO

Wow.. I went through the TPMS problems early on, they were quickly fixed (new control module) at the dealership. Anyway, it seems like your dealer is pretty crappy, I mean I've spent a lot of time at mine here in St. Louis (TPMS, Carpet recall thing, CEL/MIL for a crack in part of the EGR system, broken belly pan, new tires, scheduled maintenance, etc.), but we were always given a 2010 Jetta or Passat as a loaner, which was nice. I am out of warranty and have had to spend some $$ but I believe that was due to negligence on our behalf, and driving it a little further than we should've after encountering problems. I'm still a happy VW TDI owner and I'm pretty happy with my dealership overall, they have great customer service, free Starbucks, Ice Cream, and HD TV. I will say that I don't make as many trips to the dealer as I did when it was free, I now go through my local TDI Guru, which I would encourage you to do later on as well... All in all, I drive hard and far; the problems that I've encountered were all within reason for a new car. The VW CRD set up is pretty much a worldwide first, over the past couple of years. The US normally has to wait for this technology (i.e. PD) and as such many of the issues can be worked out in Europe, etc. before ever reaching the US. So we are encountering problems on par with the rest of the world with a new technology, so a little frustration is acceptable.
SOLD2010 Golf TDI
Failed Parts in 118K miles: Turbocharger, DSG Mechatronic Unit, A/C Compressor, Intake Manifold, Wiring Harness, Window Controls, EGR Valve, Exhaust Manifold
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Old May 4th, 2011, 09:30   #11
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Royal Oak, MI
Fuel Economy: 34ish

Not trying to say that you should make excuses for a new car, but on my last car (Subaru) the TPMS never worked in the winter...ever. I just knew it was going to light up when it got below 40 degrees and I successfully ignored it every winter. I never even took it in for it - just checked as you did for proper inflation and got over it. The 'check engine' light, on the other hand, is a different story.

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Old May 4th, 2011, 09:38   #12
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Joliet, IL USA

Have you looked at the top of this forum? There's a stickied thread that deals exactly with the TPMS light coming when all tires are fine.

There's a re-flash for the TPMS module that corrects the issue.
- Don
'97 Jetta TDI - 135K - R.I.P. 10/22/03
'03 Jetta TDI - Silver / Black Leather, 161K miles - Sold.
'09 Jetta TDI Sedan - Sold!
'14 Passat TDI SEL - Blue / Black Leather

VCDS Available in Chicagoland - trbodsl@gmail.com
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Old May 4th, 2011, 10:59   #13
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Fuel Economy: 4.7 L/100km

Sorry you are having trouble, I'm now kind happy that my Canadian version doesn't come with the TPMS. But ARBY comment might also be another reason why its not standard in Canada being so cold up here in the winter.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 11:18   #14
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: PA

For what it's worth, don't blame the TDI aspect. From the recommendations and personal experiences, this is a VW thing. Seems like "unlucky" is the norm. The die hard VW fans just seem accustomed to the punishment. Your experience is similar to mine. Confidence is shot. On the brights side, things could be worse. You're still here to complain about it, after all.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 15:43   #15
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: St. Louis, MO

Also, even in cold temperatures my TPMS has performed as it should since the fix... Here in St. Louis, Buffalo, Chicago, Toronto, Detroit, Columbus... No worries there.
SOLD2010 Golf TDI
Failed Parts in 118K miles: Turbocharger, DSG Mechatronic Unit, A/C Compressor, Intake Manifold, Wiring Harness, Window Controls, EGR Valve, Exhaust Manifold
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