VW Tiguan Problems: 14 Most-Common Issues (Explained)

When it comes to the Volkswagen Tiguan, this popular compact crossover has its fair share of issues.

In this article, various common problems faced by Tiguan owners will be explored.

From engine malfunctions to transmission troubles, these issues can affect both driving experience and vehicle longevity.

By understanding these common problems, owners and potential buyers can make informed decisions regarding their VW Tiguan.

The Main Problems

Timing Chain Tensioner and Engine Damage

The timing chain tensioner is a critical component responsible for maintaining the appropriate tension on the engine’s timing chain. In the 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan, there have been reports of timing chain tensioner failure, which can lead to engine damage.

When the tensioner fails, the timing chain may become loose or even break, causing serious damage to the engine’s internal components.

Learn more here: Timing-Chain Problems? 5 Most-Common Issues & Fixes

Water Pump Failure

Another common issue in Volkswagen Tiguans is the failure of the water pump. The water pump is responsible for circulating coolant throughout the engine to prevent overheating. Failures typically result from gasket leaks, wear and tear, or insufficient coolant.

These issues can lead to engine overheating, which can cause severe damage if not addressed promptly.

Transmission Problems

For the 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan, some owners have reported transmission issues, specifically hard shifts up or down.

A malfunctioning transmission can negatively impact the vehicle’s performance and fuel efficiency.

This problem can lead to further complications if not resolved, such as potential damage to the transmission or drivetrain.

Brake Issues and Body Integrity Problems

In the 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan, there have been reports of brake issues, including reduced braking effectiveness and increased stopping distances.

Additionally, body integrity problems have been noted in both the 2019 and 2021 models. These issues can compromise the vehicle’s safety and performance, making them essential to address.

Problem Models Affected
Timing Chain Tensioner and Engine Damage 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan
Water Pump Failure Various models
Transmission Problems 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan
Brake Issues 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan
Body Integrity Problems 2019 and 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan

Other Smaller Problems

The Volkswagen Tiguan is known to have a few smaller problems that are less common but worth mentioning.

The following list provides details on these issues:

  • Carbon buildup: Some Tiguans, specifically from years 2009 to 2016, experience carbon buildup causing decreased power and fuel economy. This is due to the TSI direct engine injection engine the Tiguan employs.
  • Timing chain tensioner: The 2011 model faces issues related to the timing chain tensioner, potentially leading to engine damage if not addressed promptly.
  • Brake issues: The 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan is reported to have brake system concerns, resulting in low reliability scores.
  • Body integrity: Models from 2019 and 2021 encounter body integrity complications, which can impact the durability and longevity of the vehicle.
  • Power equipment: In the 2020 Tiguan, power equipment troubles have been observed that limit the dependability of the vehicle.
  • Transmission: Some owners have reported transmission slipping or jerking, potentially leading to costly repairs or replacements.
  • Electrical issues: The Tiguan may experience problems with its electrical components, such as the power windows or sunroof, affecting the user experience for drivers and passengers.
  • Climate control: In certain models, owners have reported malfunctions in the climate control system, impacting the overall comfort and functionality of the vehicle.
  • Interior quality: Some owners have mentioned subpar material quality and finish in the interior of the vehicle, affecting the overall aesthetic and long-term durability.

These smaller problems contribute to the overall reliability perception of the Volkswagen Tiguan.

While none of the aforementioned problems might be major on their own, collectively they can affect the ownership experience and the vehicle’s reputation.

General Pros and Cons with the Models

The VW Tiguan is a popular SUV that has attracted many consumers over the years. In this section, we will briefly discuss some general pros and cons of this model, without going into too much detail about specific problems.


  • Sure-footed handling makes the Tiguan enjoyable to drive
  • Spacious cabin and good cargo space in five-seater models
  • Modern driver assistance features
  • Comfortable ride quality


  • Lacks the performance some drivers may desire
  • Carbon buildup in 2009-2016 models
  • Bad timing chain tensioner in early models
  • Reports of engine failure due to oil circulation issues
  • Vehicle stalling and burning oil

Does The VW Tiguan Have More Problems Than Its Competitors?

Rav4 back logo

The Volkswagen Tiguan has faced some reliability issues, but how does it compare to its competitors in terms of problems?

To answer this question, we must analyze various issues reported by owners and compare them with the problems found in rival vehicles, such as the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4.

Some Volkswagen Tiguans, particularly the 2019 model, have experienced problems with their brakes, while body integrity problems have been reported in both the 2019 and 2021 models. Additionally, power equipment issues were found in the 2020 model.

These problems have contributed to lower reliability scores for the Tiguan.

Comparatively, the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V have had fewer significant issues over the years. The RAV4, for instance, has received praise for its low rate of problems and solid reputation for reliability.

The CR-V has also been recognized as a reliable vehicle, with minimal problems compared to the Tiguan.

It’s worth noting that the newer Tiguan models may have fewer issues than their predecessors.

While transmission problems have been reported for the 2019 Tiguan, it’s possible that subsequent models have addressed these issues.

In conclusion, based on the reported problems and reliability scores, the Volkswagen Tiguan does appear to have more issues than its competitors like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

However, this analysis doesn’t cover every aspect of the vehicles, and it’s essential for potential buyers to conduct further research on each model’s strengths and weaknesses before making a purchasing decision.

How Many Recalls Have There Been

The Volkswagen Tiguan has faced several recalls over the years, addressing various issues that have affected the vehicle’s performance and safety. It is essential for owners and potential buyers alike to be aware of these recalls to ensure their vehicle operates safely and efficiently.

According to search results, the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan has had at least two recalls.

One of these recalls was related to a backup camera issue, which could freeze or display a black screen. This recall began on February 18th, and affected owners can contact Volkswagen customer service at 800-893-5298 with the recall number 72L6 for assistance.

In another recall, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. recalled specific 2022 Tiguan, 2022 Taos, and 2021 Tiguan long wheelbase (LWB) vehicles under the recall number 22V176000.

Owners affected by this recall should expect to receive a second notice with more information.

Information regarding recalls for the 2023 Volkswagen Tiguan is not available, as there have been no safety recalls issued from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for this model year at the time of writing.

It is crucial for Tiguan owners to stay informed about recalls and address any necessary repairs or modifications as soon as possible to maintain their vehicle’s safety and performance. Proactively researching and registering for recall notifications can help owners take appropriate action when needed.

What’s the Resale Value

The resale value of a Volkswagen Tiguan can vary depending on the specific model year, mileage, and overall condition of the vehicle.

On average, a Volkswagen Tiguan will depreciate by 28% after five years, with a five-year resale value of $25,076.

Some VW models, such as the Passat, have been known to depreciate rapidly, with rates of more than 50% after three years. However, other models, including the Tiguan, have proven to be more reliable in terms of holding their resale value.

To provide a clearer picture of the resale value for the Volkswagen Tiguan, the following table displays examples of used models with varying model years, mileage, and depreciation percentages:

Model year Mileage Price Depreciation
2017 60,000 $19,000 31%
2018 45,000 $22,500 28%
2019 30,000 $26,000 22%

It is important to keep in mind that factors such as location, individual seller pricing, and vehicle options can also affect resale values.

When buying or selling a used Volkswagen Tiguan, doing thorough research and considering multiple sources can help to determine a fair and accurate price.

What Do the Reviews Say

The 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan has had its share of reliability problems in previous models, with issues ranging from brake problems to body integrity.

Consumer Reports states: “Major problem areas in previous Volkswagen Tiguan models include brake issues in the 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan, body integrity problems in the 2019 and 2021, and power equipment in the 2020.” (source: consumerreports.org)

Edmunds review of the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan SE R-Line Black provides a more positive perspective:

This is my 3rd Tiguan, 2011 GTI on stilts then a 2019 SE with 3rd row and now this 2021…” (source: edmunds.com)


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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.