October 5

VW Tiguan Reliability



Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're going to talk about the reliability of the VW Tiguan today. How are you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well? 

Mark: So how reliable is the VW Tiguan? 

Bernie: Fairly reliable, with a few issues and most of them seem to be in the earlier model years of the vehicle. Some of the newer ones don't seem to have the same issues. It might be that they just need a little more time to age before the issues occur.

Mark: So how long has the Tiguan been around? 

Bernie: So in North America, it's been around since the 2009 model year and  you still buy a brand new one. So it's a what's that give them an 11, 11 year run of a 11, 12 year run on models. 

Mark: And it's basically a small or midsize, I don't know, it's smaller than midsize. It's kind of a compact SUV. 

Bernie: That's the category it's in. Yeah, it's a compact SUV. Nice little size vehicle. I mean, Volkswagen has the Touareg, which is definitely a much bigger vehicle. Completely different platform, it's basically the same as an Audi Q7, a Porsche Cayenne, and the VW Touareg are all on the same platform.

They look kind of different, but they're all kind of similar designs. Some have the same engines, you know, with little tweaks here and there.You wouldn't expect to buy a Porsche and it's got the same specifications as a Volkswagen and vice versa. So they do tweak and change those, but our vehicle, the Tiguan is definitely in the smaller category.

Mark: So what are the main issues that you've seen with this vehicle? 

Bernie: The main issues we've seen, and are really well documented out in the world are timing chain problems, timing chain tension or failures. These happen on kind of on a premature basis. Expensive damage can occur. You'll notice if you have an issue like this, there's a rattle from the timing chain will happen. Get it fixed immediately because if you leave it too long and the timing chain skips teeth or brakes, you'll wreck the engine and need to replace it. 

The other area is water pumps. These things use a kind of a strange design of water pump and there's issues with those failing prematurely as well. Those are kind of the two main things that we see on these vehicles. That's kind of the bulk of the main problems. 

Mark: So those are engine related problems. What about the transmission and drive train? 

Bernie: Transmission drive train, they all seem to be pretty good. There's not really anything major that goes on in that department. I always say that, you know, anything is possible on any car, but they seem to be pretty reliable. Most by the way, you know, most of them are automatics, at least in the North American market, it seems like everything's available in an automatic format. There are, in other markets like in Europe and different places, DSG, that's a direct shift gearbox transmission available. But in North America is mostly six speed automatic up to around 2017 or 18 and they go to an 18 speed automatic, sorry, six speed and eight speed. I've been thinking about bicycles a lot lately so my brain is adding an extra 10 on front.

Mark: What about steering, suspension, braking concerns? 

Bernie: Again those items are all pretty good in these vehicles. I mean, there's nothing abnormal, that tends to wear prematurely in the steering or suspension. Brakes seem to have you know, pretty decent average life span. I think of average life span is about 50 to 80,000 kilometres on a set of brakes. These vehicles definitely fit into that category. So they're good that way. There's nothing really obvious that that wears out prematurely on these vehicles. 

Of course, if you're buying a used one, always get an inspection, you never know how it's been used or what's happened to it. You know, things do wear no matter what. We're kind of just looking here at the really obvious, bad things and recurring problems. 

Mark: So what maintenance items would you suggest that people need to look after assiduously on if they have a Tiguan or are looking at buying a Tiguan?

Bernie: Yeah, so, obviously at the very minimum follow the manufacturer's maintenance schedule. So oil services need to be done at the prescribed interval. I believe it's probably around 10,000 kilometres. It's a synthetic oil in these vehicles. So you can go for a little longer, but it is a turbocharged engine. So that's, you know, turbocharged engines are under a fair bit of strain. So changing the oil more frequently is a good idea. 

The other area of maintenance is cleaning the fuel system or cleaning the valves. Cleaning the direct injection fuel systems involves a different service should be done every about 30 to 50,000 kilometres. And, you know, failure to do that can result in carbon buildup on valves. And if it gets excessive, you have to actually remove the intake manifold, blast out the carbon with a walnut blaster. It's a huge job, or actually even remove the cylinder head, which you really don't want to get into.

So doing regular services, cleaning the system is a very good idea on a routine basis. And you probably won't find that in the factory maintenance manual. So again, you know, if you're in Vancouver, you want service? We can take care of that. If you're somewhere else, make sure you ask your provider to do that service every 30 to 50,000 kilometres. You'll keep your engine running properly and prevent expensive problems. 

Other than that, you know, the transmission fluid needs to be changed at a certain interval. If it's an all wheel drive there's rear differential fluid, and brake fluid flushes about two years would be kind of critical.

Coolant does need to be flushed, but not very often, probably every five years. That kind of covers the bulk of it. And routine inspections of course prevent issues from happening. If oil leaks are noted, they can be fixed before any problems happen, not prematurely, or any problems happen. 

Mark: So would regular oil changes help with the problems that you've seen with the, with the drive train or with the engine I mean, with the, I can't think of the word, the timing chain, timing gene.

Bernie:  It certainly won't hurt it, but no, the answer is it's really a manufacturing defect. They just didn't build the components strong enough. So if you stretch your oil changes too far, absolutely it will have effect on it. It's not doing any good, but, even if you do your oil changes religiously and maybe even, you know, do them 30% sooner, you might get a little more life out of it, but, you know, chances are you'll need to do it at some point anyways. It's just part of that nature of the design of the vehicle, but, you know, good maintenance can never hurt.

Mark: So that'd be an issue if you're looking at buying a used one of these that you need to consider. 

Bernie: Absolutely. The best used vehicle to buy would be one that you're buying it from someone who has all the maintenance records or you're able to access them. If you're buying from a dealer, if they actually have the maintenance records from the previous owner, that'd be a good thing to do and look them through and see how this person maintain the vehicle. It's really important.

Mark: If you're looking for a VW Tiguan in Vancouver or repairs, maintenance, looking after it, considering one. The guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead. They're always busy. Check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of articles and videos on there about all makes and models of cars, all kinds of problems, 7 years worth. Of course, there's the YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair, again, videos on there. And we really appreciate you watching and listening to the podcast. Leave us a review on Apple. We appreciate it. And thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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