Crossover & Midsize

The Worst VW Tiguan Model Years You Should Never Buy

The Volkswagen Tiguan is a good compact SUV for many reasons. Depending on which trim you get, it can have a lot of cool features like a Wi-Fi hotspot, a digital gauge cluster, and Apple CarPlay. The VW Tiguan also comes with some good standard safety features, but some of its crash test scores were a little concerning.

Additionally, if you’re interested in a used Tiguan, some model years are known for some very serious repair problems. It has also had consistently low reliability ratings over the years. The Tiguan may be one of Volkswagen’s most popular vehicles, but some models are truly a nightmare to own.

The 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan

Car Complaints lists the Tiguan’s debut model year as the one with the most reported issues. Maybe it was just finding its footing, but some of these problems can be a bit of hassle to fix. Most of the things that needed to be repaired were part of the car’s engine and cooling systems.

One of the most common complaints was a broken plastic intake manifold. According to many customers, dealers told them that this was a common problem for the Volkswagen Tiguan. Thankfully, since the problem occurs so early in the car’s life, some owners were able to get it fixed under warranty.

Even more drivers complained about a water pump failure. One owner even commented that they replaced their Tiguan’s water pump three times in under 20,000 miles. It’s definitely not a cheap fix either, costing drivers an average of $910 for parts and labor.

The most expensive problem 2009 Tiguan owners had to deal with was a faulty timing chain tensioner. Failure to replace this part caused some owners’ cars to stall while they were driving. The problem was so severe that many owners took part in a class-action lawsuit against Volkswagen.

A settlement was eventually reached, but some owners couldn’t benefit from the terms. The timing chain tensioner failure usually showed itself at around 93,000 miles. According to the settlement, only 25-45 percent of the repair cost would be covered in this case.

The settlement also states that Volkswagen Tiguans with over 100,000 miles are not eligible for the extended warranty. To make matters worse, some owners missed the January 2019 deadline to file their claim. These owners had to pay an average of $3,240 to replace the timing chain.

Some problems in 2010

This model year had slightly fewer complaints than 2009, but Volkswagen Tiguan owners were still experiencing a lot of problems. The engine continued to malfunction with main oil seal leaks, excessive oil consumption, and a skipping timing chain. Some owners also reported that the engine’s turbocharger and ignition coils were also faulty.

Some 2010 Tiguan models also developed engine failure. Over the course of several miles, a rough timing chain can cause irreversible damage to the engine. Owners who didn’t take part in the class-action lawsuit had to pay an average of nearly $4,000 for repairs.

2011 was even worse

RELATED: The 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Is Good Enough If You Really Want a Safe Compact SUV

Car Complaints cites 2011 as the worst model year for the Volkswagen Tiguan. As you can probably guess, the defective timing chain was still a reoccurring problem. However, some owners were seeing this issue earlier than when others reported in previous years.

A few Tiguans developed a rough timing chain after just 80,000 miles. Some owners were also quoted even higher repair costs to fix the engine – as much as $12,000. Many owners said that the engine stopped working with no prior warning.

The good news is that the new Volkswagen Tiguan models show signs of improvement. The 2020 model is incredibly safe and efficient. While older models may be cheaper, buying one with such a large potential problem is quite a gamble.