Common Volkswagen Engine Problems

  1. Ignition Coil Failure

    Ignition coils produce a high-voltage current that fires the spark plugs. But VW coils often fail causing the engine to suddenly lose power. This can lead to shaking or hesitation and leave the driver in a vulnerable position.

    Continue reading article "Ignition Coil Failure" An ignition coil diagram over a blurred out image of a car
  2. Excessive Oil Consumption

    Volkswagen wants you to know that burning through a quart of oil every 1,000 miles is within their 'acceptable' range. We have a different definition of acceptable. VW has settled an oil consumption lawsuit in the past, is there any hope fo…

    Continue reading article "Excessive Oil Consumption" VW warning light about adding 1 quart of oil
  3. Oil Sludge in the 1.8L Turbo Engine

    From 1997-2005, VW manufactured a 1.8-liter turbocharged engine with a tiny 3.7 quart oil capacity. That’s simply not a lot of oil to compensate for the amount of heat this engine generates. Complaints sparked a class-action lawsuit with an…

    Continue reading article "Oil Sludge in the 1.8L Turbo Engine" An oil pan covered in sludge
  4. Defective Timing Chain

    Volkswagen’s EA888 2.0-liter engine has a history of tensioner problems that can lead to a loose timing chain and catastrophic engine failure. A series of lawsuits eventually led to a settlement that offers an extended warranty and potentia…

    Continue reading article "Defective Timing Chain" Gold timing chain in a VW engine

Where Engine Complaints Happen

Sometimes it helps just to tally up the complaints and see where the biggest stacks are. Use this information to learn about troublespots or to run for the hills.

Recent Engine News

There's a lot of news out there, but not all of it matters. We try to boil down it to the most important bits about things that actually help you with your car problem. Interested in getting these stories in an email? Signup for free email alerts over at

  1. There’s an important deadline coming up for VW owners who previously paid for repairs to their timing chain system or damage to their engine from a timing chain failure, and want the automaker to pick up the tab.

    A recently approved timing chain settlement benefits thousands of owners by providing them with an extended “new vehicle limited warranty” for any future repairs, plus conditional reimbursements for any previous repairs.

    The extended warranty is applied automatically if you own or lease one of the affected vehicles and didn’t opt out of the class-action.

    Owners who want to be eligible for reimbursements must file a claim by January 25th, 2019. More information is available at

    How to Submit a Claim

    1. Use the VIN lookup tool to check your eligibility
    2. Gather the documents requested by the Claim Administrator
    3. Submit your claim before 11:59 PST on January 25th, 2019
    keep reading article "Upcoming Deadline for Timing Chain Reimbursements"
  2. Like many diesel vehicle owners, Allen and Jennifer Pickard chose to keep their two Passats as part of Volkswagen's $10-billion diesel emissions settlement.

    The agreement came with compensation contingent upon the exhaust system being modified to meet EPA standards. And sure, every owner knew that likely meant a knock to engine performance or fuel economy. But I doubt anyone expected this...

    According to court documents, both Passats have been in the custody of an authorized Volkswagen mechanic for months because the emissions repairs caused both cars to not start.

    The plaintiffs claim numerous attempts made by VW technicians have failed to fix the no-start problems, so the owners tried to trade in one of the Passats. The lawsuit alleges they were told a trade wasn't possible because the car was worth $0 since it couldn't be started.

    Needless to say the couple is … let’s call it, “unimpressed” with VW’s “fix” and has filed a lawsuit against the automaker.

    keep reading article "Lawsuit Says the VW Emissions “Fix” Has Disabled the Car Entirely "
  3. Owners and lessees of certain 2008-2014 VW and Audi vehicles may soon be eligible to receive benefits for their engine’s defective timing chain.

    On November 19, 2018 a judge will rule on a proposed settlement that would either reimburse owners for previous repairs or fund future work on the timing chain tensioner system.

    This decision has been a long time coming. Even snails are embarrassed by how slowly this case has crept along.

    keep reading article "It’s the Final Countdown for VW’s Timing Chain Class-Action Settlement"
  4. A new lawsuit says VW is aware of a Touareg design issue that allows water to enter the engine, causing a sudden failure.

    The plaintiff says their engine failed for a second time while driving in traffic. Following an inspection, the dealership informed her that water had leaked into the air filter. She claims technicians accused her of intentionally driving through a lake of water in order to damage her Touareg.

    Dealerships sure can get creative with their unfounded accusations, eh?

    Volkswagen sent an engineer to inspect the SUV and it was confirmed water entered the air filter and engine because “drain in air guide was clogged with debris.”

    The real issue appears to be the air intake’s drain vales can get clogged, allowing water to saturate the air filters. When the engine draws air through the wet filter, it also pulls in water leading to stalling or a complete loss of power.

    The proposed class-action lawsuit includes all consumers in the U.S. who purchased or leased a VW Touareg manufactured between December 2014 and November 2017.

    keep reading article "Clogged Drains and Wet Air Filters Appear to be Shutting Down Touareg Engines"
  5. It appears Volkswagen is close to settling 7 lawsuits regarding defective timing chains and the threat of engine damage.

    The proposed settlement includes all consumers who purchased or leased certain 2008-2014 Audi and Volkswagen vehicles that will be determined by the vehicle identification numbers (VINs).

    According to the terms, reimbursement amounts will be determined based on the age of the vehicle, how many miles are on the odometer and if the timing chain tensioner, timing chain or engine was replaced."

    Reimbursement amounts are highly favoriable to owners who get work done at an authorized VW dealership. Our advice – if something goes wrong with your timing chain or tensioner and you're covered under this settlement, skip your local mechanic and go to an authorized dealer.

    keep reading article "VW Owners to Receive Reimbursements for Busted Timing Chains and Tensioners"
  6. Despite VW's best efforts, a timing chain lawsuit will continue in a New Jersey court after the judge denied the automaker's motion to dismiss

    . The case is a combination of two other lawsuits in the state, both of which allege VW is concealing known timing chain defects that lead to premature engine failure.

    You know that stack of papers they have you sign when you buy a car? Volkswagen's argument for dismissing the case was a hidden clause that says all problems must be taken into arbitration and not in front of jury. Which, let's be honest, is a shady thing to throw into a purchase contract. Luckily the judge ruled those agreements are between the consumer and the dealership, not the automaker.

    While a few of the lawsuit claims were thrown own, this is overall good news for consumers who have dealt with (or are worried about) timing chain failure.

    keep reading article "NJ Timing Chain Lawsuit Will Continue After VW Was Denied a Motion to Dismiss"
  7. Whenever a recall is announced, there's good reason to hold your breath.

    Especially when you hear Volkswagen is recalling the 2017 Jetta because its 1.4-liter engine can seize up. Well, breath easy friends – because this recall is for two vehicles. Yes, two.

    Well breathe easy unless you're one of the two unlucky ones. Then you should probably breathe fire.

    "Volkswagen is giving two choices to the two owners (or one owner if they own both Jettas): VW will replace the engine block in the vehicle or buy back the vehicle. However, Volkswagen didn't say what will be paid for the new Jetta."

    And while you'd think this would be the smallest recall in history, Kia says step aside, amateurs.

    keep reading article "Two 2017 Jettas Recalled for Seizing Engines"
  8. Owners of Volkswagen and Audi vehicles have filed a lawsuit claiming there's a defect in the timing chain tensioner system that allows the chain to "jump a tooth" in the camshaft.

    Once that happens, the engine could be destroyed. Want to repair it? You'll destroy your bank account too.

    The lawsuit focuses on 2008-2013 Audi and VW models equipped with 2-liter TSI or 2-liter TFSI EA888 engines. The plaintiffs say the problems happen well before 120,000 miles (the recommended time to repair them) and can cost upwards of $11,000 to fix.

    "The plaintiffs claim Audi and VW not only refused to acknowledge the alleged timing chain problems, but also refused to compensate certain owners for engine repairs. The lawsuit also alleges Audi and Volkswagen didn't offer loaner or replacement vehicles even though the vehicles were useless to owners."

    This isn't the first lawsuit to accuse VW of concealing timing chain defects.

    keep reading article "Lawsuit Says Engines Fail After the Timing Chains 'Jump a Tooth' in the Camshaft"
  9. A lawsuit filed in New Jersey says Volkswagen's timing chain tensioner has serious defects and can lead to premature engine failure.

    According to the plaintiff, in VW's warranty and maintenance schedules the tensioning system is expected to last 120,000 miles without the need for maintenance.

    "The VW and Audi A3 vehicles are equipped with EA888 2.0L TSI engines with engine codes CCTA or CBFA. The remaining Audi vehicles are equipped with EA888 2.0L TFSI engines designated with engine codes CAEB, CAEA, or CDNC. The plaintiff says all the engines with these five codes are versions of the EA888 engine and all use the same timing chain tensioning system."

    When the tensioning system fails, the results can be catastrophic and lead to out-of-pocket expenses that will make your bank account cry.

    This is a big lawsuit, covering many VW and Audi models from the 2008 model year on.

    keep reading article "VW Timing Chain Tensioner Lawsuit Says Defects Cause Engine Failure"
  10. Federal investigators couldn't figure out why perfectly good fuel pumps were failing in some Volkswagen (and Audi) vehicles.

    The investigation lasted 4 years and had VW's full cooperation.

    The pumps seemed fine and even came with built-in margins for fuels that were slightly out of specification. What the pumps couldn't handle is owners filling up their diesel engines with gasoline.

    For the love of everything, don't do that!

    Using gas for diesel engines would be like trying to replace my morning coffee with soy milk. Sure, I could swallow it but the result wouldn't be pretty. A little gas in a diesel engine will burn quickly and create a very low power output. A lot of gas in a diesel engine can cause the engine to blow or, you guessed it --- fuel pump to fail.

    In 2013, VW started a service campaign to install bright yellow stickers near the gas cap to warn owners not to let this happen.

    keep reading article "Hey, Stop Putting Gas in Your Diesel Engines"
  11. While you might have nightmares about falling or being chased by zombies, automakers are having nightmares about defective ignition switches.

    It started with GM's well-publicized ignition issues earlier this year, carried over to Chrysler's repeated problems, and now Volkswagen is joining the fray.

    VW is recalling 18,500 model year 2009 Routans that have ignition switches that can inadvertently turn the car (and it's safety features) off if the owner's keychain is too heavy.

    VW says the minivan should only be driven with a single key. That means no other keys, key fobs, bottle openers or knick knacks hanging from your ignition (sorry Mickey Mouse keychain, you have to go). Someday we'll all be telling our kids tales about landline phones, the sounds 56k modems used to make, and how we used to put car keys on heavy keychains.

    In March 2011, VW recalled the 2010 Routan for the same problem. Any 2010 Routans that weren't repaired from the 2011 recall will need to be fixed. The automaker estimates that's about 31,000 minivans in total.

    keep reading article "Dangerous Ignition Switch Recall"