Home / Car News / This Is Where I Complain Some More About My Wife’s Piece Of Shit 2010 VW Tiguan

This Is Where I Complain Some More About My Wife’s Piece Of Shit 2010 VW Tiguan


I just had one of those exciting experiences where you get to drop over a grand just to get your stupid car running the way its supposed to, less than a week after I pissed away a similar amount to take care of the same problem, which worked for all of 45 minutes before dramatically shitting the bed anew. I know that you didn’t ask, but I’m going to bitch about my wife’s 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan now, so you best make peace with the idea.

I’ll clarify right off the bat that this article may violate a few fundamental rules we try to live up to here at The Autopian. We have something called the Double E Rule, for example, which means that everything we run should include elements that are both educational and entertaining. It’s a good rule, but I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if I’m going to meet it this time, because all I want to do right now is complain about this fucking car.

Some background on the car: I got it in 2020 knowing full well that this car’s 2-liter TSI turbo-four came with some significant known problems, but I bought it anyway because my wife really liked it, and I gave up my right to tell anyone what car they should drive for rational reasons years and years ago.

Seriously, this is an important point: I have five absolutely ridiculous cars I cram onto our property, so there is no way I’m going to tell Sally what she can or can’t drive. She really loves the interior of the Tiguan, which is, admittedly, comfortable and airy and attractive and a very pleasant space to be in. She likes the way the car looks and drives (you know, when it’s driving) and while these aren’t necessarily rational reasons, cars never have been and never will be fully rational, so I just need to do what I need to do to make sure she has something to drive that makes her happy.

Of course, that doesn’t negate my right to bitch about it here, to all of you, which is what I’m doing now.

So, I thought I fixed this engine’s big Achilles’ heel when I had the timing chain and its crappy tensioner replaced, after bending a bunch of valves, which also meant a new cylinder head. I thought from that point on, everything would be nice and smooth.

What I forgot was the detail about how instead of building an engine with an Achilles’ heel, VW seems to have decided it would just make more sense to take a massive amount of Achilles’ heels, liquify them, cast them into a solid block, and just form the engines out of that, so everyfuckingthing on this engine has the opportunity to be a horrible point of failure.

This time, the point of failure was the positive crankcase ventilation valve setup, which is one of the known failure points of the 2-liter TSI engine, and, like the timing chain problem, likes to fail suddenly, without warning, and cause a colossal shitshow cascade of problems.

Here’s a little video about this hunk of crap that’s bolted to the top of the engine from our pal the Humble Mechanic, who fixed my timing chain:

Essentially, one of the several failure prone little diaphragms made out of some Germanic joke-rubber failed in Sally’s car and as a result, caused huge vacuum leaks that made the car run like absolute crap, with all the smoothness, power, and refinement one would expect from an early 1900s agricultural hit-and-miss engine, but without the charm:

Honestly, that’s running smoother. If there was a nearby sawmill I could have stolen one from, I might have replaced her engine with one of these.

After it happened I replaced the PCV assembly and looked at the old one, and the rubber diaphragms in there were crumbly and felt like a slice of parmesan cheese so it was clear what happened. Here, look:

What was also clear was that my attempt to replace the PCV unit was an act of sad, misplaced optimism, because the damage was done, because the PCV is an unforgiving, cruel beast, and when it fails, the crankcase pressure goes all bonkers, and then seals start to get blown out, so you have oil leaks and more vacuum leaks and nobody is happy ever again.

So, I had a shop do a smoke test to see where the seals failed and the vacuum leaks were happening, and they found the bad seal on the brake vacuum pump, so they replaced the pump and gasket and put a better PCV valve on than the crap aftermarket one I got and we thought all was finally well.

About 30 minutes into the drive home, though, Sally called me and told me that all of a sudden everything was terrible again. Actually, even worse, as the car now had trouble even maintaining 45 mph or so.


We get it back to the shop, the car never even having made it home, and found that the rear main seal, which wasn’t showing any leaks prior, had failed, spraying oil and causing huge vacuum leaks and all that.

I wanted to be mad at the shop, but, really, I couldn’t. The seal tested fine, and while clearly it must have sustained some damage and been weakened, it was working and showing no damage, but only because the leak from the brake vacuum pump seal was so bad. So, when that was fixed, and engine crankcase pressures got to levels they’re supposed to be when everything is working, only then did the rear main seal have the dignity to fail, like it was somehow engineered to find the most expensive way to shit the bed.

Again, fuck.

Replacing the rear main seal is an ass-pain. You have to drop the transmission down and take out the flywheel to get to it and it’s a hard, laborious job.

Anyway, it’s fixed now, and Sally has her car back, and enjoyed driving it home and it finally feeling powerful and good, and this cruel VW’s siren-like hold over her has been re-established, clouding the cold, hard truth that the engine under that hood is a callow, devious machine designed to fling itself into disasters without warning and secretly mock you as your bank account gets depleted.

Sally’s not going to read this, and I don’t want any of you telling her about it, either. The damage is done. Let her enjoy her car, but between you and I, stay the hell away from these TSI engines. The cars they’re put into are charmers, enjoyable to drive and with great interiors, but all of that is bait.

These cars are angler fish, dangling their glowing lures of driving satisfaction so they can chomp into you with their bad timing chains and unforgiving PCV valves and whatever. Hell, these engines even have a Top 5 Fails video made just for them. No engine should have a Top 5 Fails video.

This engine was the reason I’ve advocated for the adoption of one industry-wide turbo inline-four engine, because for the vast majority of cases, nobody really cares about who makes the inline turbo-four engine as long as it makes around 200-250 horsepower and doesn’t break.

I just can’t understand how VW could make an engine that fails on such basic shit as crankcase ventilation or timing chains – aren’t those solved problems?

I’m going to stop myself. The damage is done, the money is gone, the engine is fixed. Sally has a car she really likes, and I can keep hoarding weird low-horsepower shitboxes, and the world turns as intended.

Thanks for letting me vent. I just wish that stupid TSI had been able to do the same.

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111 Responses

  1. We are a one car household. My wife wants nothing to do with choosing a car. She just says “get what you want” even though she drives it 2/3rds of the time. Fortunately she hates CUVs and prefers a MT, so as long as real cars still exist, I’m good.

    Of course her real reason is that she can blame me for everything when something inevitably goes wrong. She seems to get a lot of satisfaction out of us owning a VW.

  2. I am a longtime car hoarder, married to a wife who doesn’t get it and may actively loathe the cars I love the most, but she’s tolerant.

    I have hated every single one of her cars over the past 13 years. I have found, purchased, and maintained them all. Every year or so, she tells me what she’d like next–A Jeep Liberty here, a derelict Audi TT vert there–and they invariably make my eyes bleed with various problems.

    I do not complain, nor do I begrudge. And tonight I go to pick up a Sebring convertible. Light a candle.

    1. A co-worker of mine was bragging about buying a Sebring convertible a few years ago. I joked about how long until it needed an engine and trans rebuild. His response, “Trans was rebuilt just before I bought it and engine is out getting rebuilt now”.

      1. My wife just sold her 08 2.7 convertible. She put 84k on it without any major engine/transmission service. One day, she went to put the top down…..the trunk opened to let the top come down…..and nothing else happened. Had to forcibly (by jumping on it repeatedly) close the trunk to get it towed home. Sat untouched in the garage until this past weekend. 2 guys offered her $900 to drive it away.

        Shame….was a halfway decent car aside from the idiocy involving the top.

  3. Can totally relate; Jason, here is where you are headed, if my wife’s desires are like yours.
    Lets review the steps:
    1. Both kids grown enough – now driving themselves everywhere.
    2. Wife wants to ditch the kid hauler, get something .. *completely different*.
    3. First she wanted a 2-seat car (had to introduce her to the term ‘roadster’). Impractical for the combination of hills and snow we exist in (she did not like the styling of any 2-seat FWD cars).
    4. Next she wanted a Jeep; or a vehicle that resembled a CJ (aka pre-80’s Toyota land cruiser ) Massively impractical for gas consumption and difficult to find one with auto transmission.. which caused her to swing toward the next extreme:
    5. Electric car. Ok this one is almost practical for 99% of her driving; just not good for long trips. But then out of the blue, she sees the ‘car of her dreams’ for sale:
    6. Mini Cooper convertible. End of story, this is her ‘Forever Car’. Bought it, and gotta say, looking back over the procession, it kinda makes sense in a weird way.

    Anyway Jason, hope your wife’s next car purchase journey is less convoluted (well I did enjoy shopping for all the different choices).

  4. Wonder if that has the same POS thrust bearing my R has that fails and trashes the engine? Someone decided to create a new way to do those bearings without positive oil feed because splash oiling was a winner on a model T so why not?

  5. Does this lack of reliability extend to European TSI engines, like the 1.4 in my wife’s 2016 Passat? We’ve had no problems in our 9 months and 20,000km or so of ownership, but I guess it’d be nice to know if we should expect issues, especially since I’ve relinquished my own car.

  6. 1) you definitely hit the Double E criteria as far as I’m concerned. I learned a lot about why to avoid this engine. I laughed because I’ve been there, though not with a VW.

    2) Future BIL just bought a Hit-n-Miss John Deere motor at an auction that hadn’t ran for years. I’d love to post a short video (15 seconds maybe?), hint hint, of it after we got it running. It’s awesome.

    3) Lesson learned (and learning) about respecting your significant other’s automotive choices and preferences. However, I’ve learned to like a lot of what he likes, he’s learned to like some of what I like. Most of the time, we never took the time to appreciate whatever car it is and had just dismissed it out-of-hand. Sometimes, one genuinely knows better (you in this case), but still must respect the other’s preferences.

    4) re: delayed seal failure. I had a somewhat beat up, pretty high mileage 1996 Ford Aerostar once. On a trip through 25 miles of nothingness, a plastic elbow on a heater hose leaked out most of the coolant. I had no cell service and like an idiot, I put more water in it and drove on. By the time I got to my parents house (my destination), it was badly knocking. My dad came out and said “what the hell?!” And I said “I blew the fucker up I guess” (one of like maybe 3 times I said the F word in his presence). I stayed the night and the next day, I put some water in it and checked the oil and cranked it, it ran perfectly. I replaced the elbo and put a normal mix of coolant and couldn’t believe my luck.

    Something like 8-10,000 miles later, the temp gauge starts acting weird (going well past half-way before dropping to it’s normal position upon inital warm-up). I replace the thermostat, no help. Oil looks good, coolant looks good. Cut to a week or so later, I’m back under the hood when it starts idling weird, kinda stumbling. I look behind the van and it’s billowing steam. The head gasket had finally blown. How did that engine last that long after the overheating event? No one could have blamed it if it never ran again after being ran dry and knocking, but somehow it ran absolutely normally, even on a cross-country trip, for that long?

    I sold it for $400 to a guy who drove it home. Also, no power steering, badly warped rotors, worn tires and probably close to 300k by then (and not a spec of rust, lived 100% outside the salt belt). It’s safe to say I got my money’s worth out of that van, lol, the $400 was just a bonus.

  7. I’m so incredibly lucky. My partner drives a Jeep TJ that she absolutely loves, has owned it for 14 years. She has a weird bond with that Jeep, but she absolutely doesn’t care what I do with my cars. She loves driving my Series 100 Land Cruiser, and she loves my 5MT Honda Element and F-150, but she completely understands that I NEED a fun car in addition. I’m shopping right now, with a MGB likely to wind upon in the garage in the next month or so.

    1. The TJ is the greatest Wrangler of all time. Modern but basic. Durable and easy to work on. Rugged but relatively decent on the road. I have a TJ that’s coming up to 20 years old. I don’t see myself ever getting rid of it. It is like a swiss army knife in that it can do almost all car tasks okay.

  8. This isn’t a VW thing as much as a German thing. The engine bay of my US-assembled Chevy with a US made engine is littered with German Bosch stuff. And the PCV system is similarly integrated into everything along with being either horribly expensive in time or money to properly fix. Parts were maybe $350 or so, but it was the 10 hours it took me to fix that was the kicker. Being a 10 year old Chevy sedan it’s worth less than a used tissue.

    Somehow I’m wanting an electric VW for my next car. Donations for out of warranty repairs gladly accepted.

    1. Look at the silver lining, a fraction of the moving parts means a fraction of things that can fail catastrophically.

      And the batteries will be someone else’s to catch on fire ????

  9. Jason.


    We all had this conversation with you back in the land of Herb. You need to bring your lovely wife into the room to read this with you.

    Your Tiguan wants to die. It is doing everything in its power to get sent to the scrapyard. I dread to think what it will do next if you keep trying to keep it alive. There are failures previously unknown to mankind that will happen with this car. The glovebox will get stuck shut, and this will somehow cause the ECM to lock the transmission in 1st gear until it explodes. This car is like Grandpa Marsh in South Park begging someone to help him stick a fork in the electrical outlet. Do the merciful thing.

    Damnit, now I kind of want to find out what incredibly fucked up thing will happen to this car next. Forget everything I just said. Terry Schiavo that thing for as long as you possibly can.

  10. Crankshaft position sensor failed on my GTI 3 times during the 10 months I owned it. I failed to take my own advice of “never buy a used VW”. But when that car ran, man, it was beautiful. That’s the long way of saying I feel your pain.

  11. I’ll read anything that includes a linked video of a hit-and-miss engine. Complain away.

    Seriously though, this stuff makes me appreciate that if I am going to own a vehicle at the end of its life, at least it’s simple and from the 1960s. When the (one) PCV valve goes bad, the engine -may- run like butt, until you take literally one minute to replace the valve with a new $7.00 one, and then everything is hunky dory again.*

    *Until the column shifter gets stuck in 2nd while my wife is driving the car, or a bolt falls out of the transmission tail shaft, or the shoulder belt buckle fails in a locked state while I’m belted in, etc. At least they’re all typically easy-peasy to repair.

  12. I learned to drive in an ’87 Conquest TSi, so these VW TSIs have always muddled me. I guess it’s fitting though, since it seems both cars are fun to drive when they’re running but their reliability is a bit hit or miss.

    1. I had a 1.6 Ford from the early 80’s. Lots of bad relays but I found a shop that would diagnose and replace them cheap.

      Timing belt went though at 80K, my first interferance engine. Luckily my dads coworkers daughter had done the same thing in her escort so he put a brand new head on it. Two weeks later she ignored the temp light and kicked the rods out. He bought a new long block and saved the two week old head.

      He came over and helped/swapped it for me for a bottle of Wild Turkey. I had to buy the head bolt kit and the new water pump, which was a life long lesson when doing timing belts.

  13. Jason – We all need to vent and you have a great forum to do it.

    It was educational – don’t buy one of these. Entertaining as I can image you wrote this in full rant mode.

    Also since I tend to buy the dumbest car possible for the job it needs to do, I am in the same boat of not being able to say “Why did you buy that?”

    Granted when people want an over researched buying experience they do come to me as I obsessively search. I am the guy that spent 2.5 to 3 years looking for the family hauler/land yacht before finding the best match.

    1. “Granted when people want an over researched buying experience they do come to me as I obsessively search. I am the guy that spent 2.5 to 3 years looking for the family hauler/land yacht before finding the best match.”

      So… what did you end up with for your current family hauler/land yacht?

      1. Do these plans involve very large medieval siege weaponry and a willingness to pay a $250 ticket for littering?
        Because if they don’t, I’ll gladly pay the $250 ticket if you film it.

          1. Excellent!

            Good thing I came back to check for an answer. But you guys really need a notification system here (the ultra-cynical part of me wonders if you’re intentionally resisting that in order to bump up return visits, but I blame the herbs of J/O Media for ramping up my cynicism; I expect better from you guys).

  14. I just can’t understand how VW could make an engine that fails on such basic shit as crankcase ventilation or timing chains – aren’t those solved problems?

    Because they absolutely could.
    Or they could squeeze every last nickel and dime out of the manufacturing costs, completely disregarding reliability. Because once you’re past 36,000 miles or if they can come up with even the lamest excuse for why it’s not covered by warranty, it’s not their problem, but it IS a nice revenue stream forcing you to pay more money every month just to have a car that does what you paid for it to do.
    Wanna guess which every single business chooses these days?

      1. I used to do warranty work. Let me assure you: if it becomes a problem, it very quickly becomes not a problem.
        Case in point: Dumber-Chrysler changed the rotors on the Grand Cherokee to a cheaper metal and also thinned them to cut costs. Customers were rolling in with 5k-10k miles and front rotors that were so badly warped the only thing you could do was replace them.
        “Man, they must have eaten a shitton of warranty costs there!” Nope. You wrote the ticket up as ‘defective rotors,’ warranty denied, clearly the customer is riding their brakes. ‘Premature wear,’ nope, customer driving. They’d only cover turning them and if it was any amount over minimum thickness, that was all they’d cover. Every single warranty claim was denied for months upon months under the flimsiest of pretenses. Turn the rotors even if they’re trash, can’t be turned then clearly it’s the customer. Everyone knew the rotors were not only unfit for purpose, but an extreme safety issue. There were numerous documented accidents.
        “Oh, so they were forced to recall them then!”
        Nope! More than a half dozen investigations, well over 2000 complaints to the NHTSA, and no recall was ever issued. Noises were finally made by lawyers and they just quietly started approving rotors as a warranty item. Anyone who’d been screwed previously did not get a refund or proper repairs, especially as the rotors having been previously turned was used as a warranty disqualifier.

        The NHTSA is a great example of regulatory capture and is completely and utterly toothless. They are 110% onboard with the famous calculus presented in Fight Club – which is a real thing. If the cost of the recall is more than the cost of settling with victims, there will never be a recall. Case in point, the Ford DCT was a very obvious safety issue, absolutely gross negligence and proven in court to be willful fraud on the part of Ford, and the NHTSA just said “hey Ford says the transmission abruptly becoming a box of neutrals is fine.”

        About the only way to get the NHTSA to do anything at all is to deliberately antagonize them. Usually by lying or refusing to play ball. Which is what Hyundai/Kia did. And even then, it was a $210M settlement that got the much larger and more costly defects swept under the rug, which was then yanked out from under the victims.
        Oh, and the settlement was a total joke. Free installation of “Knock Sensor Detection Software” (so a placebo flash) and a “lifetime warranty” (which conveniently didn’t define what a lifetime was, and has enough loopholes for the Ever Given to sail through.)

  15. You can always replace one of the “E”s with “Exasperating” and it can still be either Educational or Entertaining. But for what it’s worth, I found this article to be both educational and entertaining.

    1. Bingo…
      I’ve been a car guy as long as I can remember, 1st car was a Trimuph TR7 that I bought at 13 for $1000.00 of my own money made as a paperboy. Then for 20 years I was silly enough to put up with VW shenanigans driving a succession of 3 VWs as my daily driver (84′ GTI (4 years), 90′ GLI (6 years), 98′ TDI (Jetta – 12 years).

      Now… 2 toyotas for our daily drivers…
      Sienna as our family hauler / soccer mom / DYI/utility truck for 11 years
      Plug-in Prius commuter & actually has made a decently fun road trip car w/very low running costs
      + (b/c can’t give up on a fun car…) I have a 74 MG B GT

  16. My wife has had a 2010 Jetta for over a decade and that baby still runs great. It drives great, too. The only bad thing about it is that the cabin is not quiet, lots of wind and road noise, but everything else is really fantastic and it’s even been reliable.

    I guess she got a unicorn.

  17. My Granddaughter bought a 2018 Passat w/ low mileage (we secretly say that was because it spent so much time in the shop). She couldn’t afford the Jetta she really wanted. So, all the driving excitement and style of a Camry and reliability of a VW. I hope it won’t break her heart and wallet all at the same time.

  18. That many major issues with a modern VW doesn’t surprise me a bit. After owning two (I wasn’t screwed *enough* by the 1st one) I’ll never buy another one.

    Had a 2002.5 VW GTI 24v VR6. Engine is one of the most reliable VW ever made, but still had to replace the coolant sensor (black tops bad, green ones good) and the MAF sensor twice (considered a wear item). The coilpacks went through 26(!) part revisions. All other engines with these same coil pack part number were recalled, but the 24v VR6 in MkIV GTIs were so low production numbers, mine were NOT recalled. I replaced all 6 at least twice. I replaced the front suspension bushing 7 times! The engine mount broke twice. Slave cylinder failed, bent a shift fork, etc. I bought the car for 15k, stopped counting repairs at 22k.

    Then I bought a 2008 VW R32. Then I had the DSG fail on me. 4 times. That’s AFTER the guts of all of them were replaced under recall as they ALL failed before 40k miles on all R32s.When mine failed the 4th time, VW corporate sent me a letter saying they know my car is under warranty, but they won’t fix it. So yeah, screw VW.

    1. I owned one. A 2009 Jetta GLI (basically a GTI drivetrain in a Jetta). It was glorious. The car looked like something a grownup would drive, the interior was great and it had enough power to be fun.

      It also went through 3 INTAKE MANIFOLDS in 5 years. That should not be a failure point, but VW found a way to make it one.

  19. I was a service advisor for many years before getting into auto parts. A BMW dealership I was working at let me go shortly after it was sold off to another owner. I took the job at BMW because as a lifelong BMW nut, I knew the cars better than most.

    Here was my post layoff though process…”Crap where will I work now? Who has an open service advisor’s position? I get paid partially on commission…Let’s check with the VW dealer first, those things break all the time!”

  20. and this is why you only show your wife cars that you know will be reliable. haha. When my wife was done with her Chevy Equinox (I despised that car, and it’s seats were extremely uncomfortable to me. not to mention the lackluster interior materials and fitment), I showed her Rav4’s and CR-V’s. She landed on a 2015 Rav4 that is leaps and bounds better than the 2020 Equinox she used to have. No mechanical issues to date!

  21. I argue that a third E rule, schadenfreude- a word with THREE e’s, no less, be applied as well. As long as the article evokes that special feeling where we get to sip coffee and bask in the feeling that we are not personally involved in a particular automotive clusterfuck, the article gets a pass.

    Luckily, this includes a solid 40% of Torch’s articles and nearly every word David writes.

  22. Years ago I bought a “clean” used 89 Merc 300SE.

    As I handed the money to the guy I actually said: “$3400 for a clean S class. How could I go wrong?”

    Yes, those words came out of my mouth. Yes, I did go wrong. So, so wrong.

    It’s ze Germans, man. Ze Germans.

  23. Jason,

    I, like you, am a long time VW owner. I’ve owned a 76 Westfalia, a 92 Golf, and now a 03 Jetta TDI. The first and only car I’ve ever bought new. For the record I also own a London taxi and a Ford Model A but I digress.

    I’ve now owned by Jetta TDI for 19 years and 245,000 km with absolutely no end in sight. For the record I love my Jetta. I love it’s fuel economy and it’s power, now that It’s been upgraded to the European spec 150hp and more than double the torque of a Subaru Impreza. But it has also been the most unreliable car I have ever owned and each year requires between $1,500 and $3,000 (CAD) per year to keep on the road.

    Let me give you a list of everything that I can remember has gone wrong outside of regular wear and tear items in approximate chronological order.

    2003-Faulty brake switch
    2004-Electric seats wanting to catch fire
    2005-A sun roof that likes to jam open (2005)
    2006, 2009, 2012, 2022- anti-roll bar failures.
    2012- failed temp sender
    2014-Engine runaway on the highway (I saved the engine and drove it home).
    2014-Turbo exploded
    2014-Replacement OEM clutch has juddered and squeaked from the day it was installed eight years ago.
    2015-Intercooler exploded
    2019-Replaced cracked motor mounts
    2020-Replacement mounts stripped their bolts and the engine fell out (engine was saved only by my stainless steel belly pan).
    2020- Cracked a CAT back stainless steel exhaust down pipe when engine fell out
    2021-2022-Loud rattling from the engine bay. Engine is so loud that mechanics couldn’t locate where the rattle was coming from. In the end a new serpentine belt tensioner, A/C compressor, and alternator were installed. Yes it was the alternator which I suggested to the mechanic in the first place.

    I estimate that I’ve spent at least $20,000 in repairs over the years and will absolutely never buy another VW. It seems that everything about this car has been designed to be as unnecessarily complicated and deliberately expensive to repair as possible.

    I love and hate my VW. A good friend of mine has described this car as an abusive relationship.

    1. Wow. I’m surprised you had that many issues. I had a MK IV golf tdi for 9 years and had minimal issues (clutch, fuse box, and ac clutch were the only non-maintenance items). It had 210k miles on it when I sold it.

      Your 2020 issues seem to all relate to the motor mount issue that wasn’t properly prepared. The 2021 is just a bad mechanic throwing parts at the car without really diagnosing the problem. It would be pretty easy to tell which of those is causing the noise…

  24. I had the same engine in my ’09 GTI. Same problem. PCV valve failed last year and blew the rear main seal. I sold the whole car for scrap and moved on. I loved that car, but I had no more trust in anything under the hood.

  25. Good venting. You needed that. And it sounds like you’ll need to do it again, over this same VW curse in your life.

    Coulda had a V8. No really.. my history with V8 engines (American ones anyway) has been damn-near faultless. I think your next fun car should have a nice dependable and powerful V8.

  26. Sad about that, we had a similar situation with a Ford Sport-Trac Got it used, wife loved it, but the radiator had a leak right from the get go, replaced by seller, then the power steering rack failed, replaced that, then the brake modulator, replaced that, all this within 3 years, I was like, we can’t keep replacing parts, so was able to convince her to trade it before something else went. I guess it was sort of inevitable with the plastic bed that won’t rust, that everything else on the truck was fair game.

  27. I owned one VW – a 2019 Tiguan. VW lemon-lawed it at 11,000 mile for bad electronics. Bad, as in randomingly slamming on the electronic e-brake – at 65mph. Never again. They are shit cars with shit dealer service.

  28. I once owned a B7 A4 Avant 2.0T 6MT Quattro. The car was a joy to drive. It was comfortable, every highway drive was enjoyable and the AWD gave more confidence in the snow than I should have had. My ownership experience inspired me to make sure I knew the right words in the language of the people who designed and built it: Gottverdammter scheißwagen von Hölle.

    You’re right, they’re bait. I got so fed up that I traded it for a Toyota truck. At that point, I wanted something that could go to hell and back, since that A4 only took me on the first half of the journey.

  29. TheAutopian is as close as it comes to good old ,Klick and Klack, the Tappit brothers.
    The intelligence, knowledge, and hard work hidden behind the bad car jokes is noticeable.
    I love it.
    I read the comments section with as much enthusiasm as I do the articles. Your mission statement is working.
    Your double E rule is still intact.

  30. The thing is that actually all the problems of the 1.8 – 2.0 TSI (insert random 4 letters engine code from around ’08 to ’13 here in Europe) are well known and include:
    – a chain timing system that is going to fail a lot sooner than the belt counterpart (which has a service interval of 210K km)
    – PCV valve problems (inherited from previous generation)
    – probably the diverter valve (depends on the part revision, i’m not sure when they finally fixed it)
    – bad oil consumption (can eat up to 1L every 600km)
    My theory is that due to the Euro 5 emissions they tried to lighten all the moving parts inside the engine and just crossed their fingers. As I know cars with this family of engines that failed at 60K km due to timing fails or oil consumption.

    PS to solve the above problems: Oil consumption and timing issues it costs here around 2500-3000€ (average monthly wage ~800€)

    PS2 When I bought my current vehicle I saw that a lot of cars equipped with these engines were cheaper than older models while being lower mileage and initially didn’t understand why … after 2 hours of reading …everything was clear … including some class action in UK

  31. Hey, the double E part was provided by that lovely hit and miss video. Everything on that is amazing, from the engine to the weird contraptions. Who knew that a box factory could be so much fun? Principal Skinner was onto something with that field trip!

  32. Excellent tinkering ! And And I can also share these tinkering skills with anyone interested for Educational Purposes Alone:
    1. How to Reverse an ATM withdrawal transaction (reverse back the funds you withdraw into the cards account)
    2. How to REPEAT anybody’s previous payment/cash withdrawal transaction without their card/phone on any “Tap N Pay” (NFC) terminal they used with the “DKD” device; an NFC payment hacking device with video demonstration on how to use.
    3. How to use a simple software to retrieve >password of devices(All Operating systems) and logins details of accounts used on that device >deleted files, messages and call logs on that device.
    4. How to clone <a. door access cards <b. payment cards using it's track 1&2 (duplication of card) with a simple device and software.
    5. How to harvest social media and email logIn details with a simple software.
    6. How to use a device called "CaT" on all ATM machine cash dispenser.
    All with video demonstration on how to do/use them.

  33. When it comes to wives and cars, I have been very lucky for the last 53 years. When we first met I owned a ’62 TR3-B. It ruined her dress in a storm. We drove from Chicago to San Diego and only put the top up twice. She loved that car.

    That set the pattern for the rest of our lives. Every car we have bought was by consensus whether for her, me or both of us. That has led to an incredible string of cars, including 3 911’s (66, 77, 04) a Honda N600, lots of roadsters, 3 MB (59, 70, 77), a 1977 Citroen CX2000, an Audi 75 Variant, and a 1978 Monte Carlo with a 350 and a 4 spd from the factory as well as many others. We just bought our EOL (end of life) car in February. A very nice Cadillac CT6 with the twin turbo set up. Got my 1st ticket last week. Damned thing is scary fast.

    Hope you all can achieve such peace!

  34. Dropped 2K$ into the rear end of the BMW 850. 2nd test drive before getting it aligned and the fuel pumps die. Fix those and now I have another problem that I have to diagnose and to fix.

    In the meantime I had to replace the rear brakes on her Ford Transit. First thing I check was the front brakes they were fine. After getting the rears done, It had a bad vibration. I had snapped one of the front lugs and it fell off on the test drive.

    New hub and bearing and press work on the front. Had to hammer out one bolt with a 4 lb sledge and boogered up the steering end and had to cut that to pieces the wheel of death. Now it is going in for an alignment instead of the BMW

    1. +1 because I feel your pain. I’ve had simple things snowball seemingly out of control.

      Sticking brake drum = rebuilt system + new drums + new pads, then bad brake line, then bad proportioning valve, bought aftermarket (only available), then had to buy a separate wiring pigtail and sensor for the warning lamp, took 3 weeks+, then another brake line to the master cylinder because old too short now, then new ends for the other lines to fit new valve, then a bad master cylinder, probably from sitting empty for weeks waiting for parts. And now my truck stops, and doesn’t stay stopped when it does. Thus was after rebuilding the front brakes when I bought it the year before, thank God they’re disk.

      It started with a guy who ran me off the road in a Tacoma by crossing, fully, into my (oncoming) lane- the rear brake started sticking after that.

  35. VW has not failed to design a fucking thing. This shit is intentional with them. It sells parts. My wife loved her VR6 Passat when it was working… Which never happened. Within a week of purchase it had had the anti-theft disabled by pulling wires out under the dash, jumpering the shit out of it and leaving the nest dangling. That was the dealership “fix”. The endless oil leak from the rear main waited until the first rain led to a splash warping the hot oil pan. That could either not be fixed, get a new seal that fixed nothing, or get a new pan that was good until the next rain. THIS IS PDX!!! By the time it was 3, the ABS system faulted because of moisture in connectors whenever it rained. ABS worked great in the summer though. Tits on a board. Then there was the pcv (they called it something else). I learned to spot it’s failure quickly by ear and replaced it several times before they stopped selling them without THE ENTIRE AIR intake housing attached for a couple Benji’s. The first time it pulled it’s French girlfriend act (“Non! FUCK YOU! Tonight you WALK!) while she was driving our baby my wife stopped thinking it was OK. She said she wanted an Audi. I said I’d stop shooting an Audi when I ran out of rounds. She’s had a couple RX 350s since, so there was a happy ending for both of us.

    1. Volkswagen has long been called Hitler’s revenge, with good reason. From the days of the Beetle and the squareback to current stuff, all have never failed to disappoint. Sadly, I feel all German cars suffer from such fragility. The aprocryophal story goes that “if the Germans invented the paper clip, it would have 7 moving parts and cost $5/ea”. And it would fail on the 3rd use.

    2. Wait, I’m not done. (Picture Lewis Black index finger crooked – “And Another Thing!”)
      The doors had … window switches that routinely failed and door locks… “power” door locks … powered by a vacuum pump?!? Because VW is the company that should sell cars with locks actuated by a series of tubes that pass from the body into doors and get flexed each time the door is used. And the BBS emblems in the wheels that I eventually started calling Lemming Logos because if no one was looking they’d jump.

  36. My 2013 2.0 TSI GTI has been basically trouble free, the only thing with the engine once out of warranty was a recent replacement of the intake manifold for the flap actuator linkage. This was also covered as a recall.

    10,000 miles between oil changes and new coolant every three years. Helps tremendously to have the car since new!

  37. Well we’ll well, hoisted on your own John Luc Picard as they say. First educational needs a poll. What was worse giving women the right to vote or the right to drive? Yeah if we had negative votes I’d be #1 but hey I’m just saying. Entertainment Justin just because you don’t find it entertaining doesn’t mean the readers aren’t laughing at you, oops with you, oops yeah at you. Dave Tracy’s significant other never laughs at him. Yeah the Jeep.

  38. At least your PCV valve is accessible. I changed mine on my 2012 JKU with the 3.6 Pentastar. Even after using a miniature bit wrench (for the torx bit) with the 1.01″ of accessibility behind the passenger side valve cover and firewall, I still had to use a mini hacksaw on the nipple so it would clear. It was also a PITA to install.

    I did this during a valve rocker and lifter replacement and it was possibly the hardest part of the service.

    Here’s a video that shows how terrible it is:


    1. Well, she likes it and her husband makes sure that it gets fixed when it breaks. Also her husband has an absolutely ridiculous stable of vehicles, so if he looks like he’s about to complain all she has to do is point in the general direction of the garage. As long as they can afford the repairs, I don’t see how this is her problem.

  39. After seeing many of my coworkers go broke trying to fix their VWs, the lesson somehow stuck with me.

    Back in the early and mid 2000s I worked with several recent college grads of the female persuasion. I called them the Jetta Junketts. They loved their cute Jettas. After the cars hit about 40K (miles, not repair costs), it seemed like every month or two one or more of the pool of 6 cars was in the shop for whatever combos or repairs added up to no less than $600 dollars. Oil leaks, misfires, blown seals, etc. Eventually, after having accumulated repair bills nearly as high as the value of the cars themselves, one of the women bought a Toyota. Within 1 year, all of them owned new (or new to them) Toyota or Honda vehicles. Hardly a repair was mentioned for years afterward.

    There was this one women with a basic as you can get Jetta that drove it like a demon and only got the oil changed when the low pressure light came on. Only got the brakes done when they got so bad she couldn’t stop in a straight line well (RIP pads and rotors and one caliper) and we finally convinced her that if we could hear her pull into the parking lot from the break room, they needed to be fixed. That damn car lasted to over 140K miles without major failure. When she sold it, EVERYTHING was worn out, but it still moved under it’s own power.

  40. Jason,
    Your resident VW enthusiast/apologist here again. The hard fast rule is never buy a VW made after 99. I broke this rule with the plan that the 1.8t blows up so I can swap in a vr6. I don’t know why VW can’t build a gas powered turbo 4 but they just suck at it.
    To echo other statements here my other turbo 4 powered VAG product was a b5 a4 1.8tqm avant, when it ran right for all of two weeks I owned it, it was among the top 5 cars I’ve ever owned. When it was broken for the other 2 years I owned it I hated the damn thing and spent 3x what I bought it for just to sell it and break even.
    Happy wife happy life, no matter the cost.
    Yours in the VW struggle,

    1. I owned a B5 A4 1.8tqm as my first car and it was reliably in the shop exactly once a year, always for a relatively large repair. But oddly enough, never for the engine. The closest it got was needing a new radiator. I recently had a leftover Carfax report so I ran the VIN: the damn thing is still on the road at nearly 300K miles. Of course, this was a ’98, so it misses your “no VAG after 99” rule by a year.

      Currently I just bought a B5.5 Passat 1.8t 4motion 5mt wagon–spending a good chunk to get the engine back to good condition and assuming I’ll spend plenty more to keep it on the road. But it cost me less than scrap price to buy in the first place, so I’ve got some time before it begins to really feel like an awful financial decision. Even running a little ragged it such a nice car, and I’m both anxious and excited to get back into this B5 money pit life.

      1. You may be the same kinda stupid I am, we are friends now. You also managed to find one of the harder to find b5s after the w8 manual 4mo wagons so kudos on that.
        My avant needed a clutch, full control arms and then a turbo. All of which are 1k or better at the local shop and for my newly graduated working for non-profits making nothing ass it was killing me. Hard to drop 1500 bucks on a car when that is most of your monthly take home.
        You would think I learned a lesson from all that but no, I did not. But at this point I kinda like the pain. I mean I am a browns fan, married a ginger and I keep buying water-cooled vws.
        Also, friend of mine has a b6 a4 1.8tqm and he has it up over 350k now, but he has also spent at least sticker on maintenance over the years.

  41. Oh it gets better. The rear seal on these engines is a flat rubber washer that *is glued* to a stamped steel plate and bolted to the back of the block. So, not a seal as you might know it, but a *washer* that is pulled away from the steel bit when the crankcase pressure blows it off, because the *glue* is old and no longer trying to maintain the illusion that it is in fact a seal.

    I replaced mine with a fancy aftermarket version made from CNC aluminum with a proper seal pressed into it, so I have a fighting chance I won’t have to do this again when the PCV craps again.

  42. What the fuck kind of PCV valve is that? The one in my Miata is literally just a nugget that goes between the PCV hose and the valve cover. It has about one half of a moving part and costs $24 for a genuine OEM replacement, but you don’t need a replacement because it never breaks. How did Volkswagen manage to overcomplicate this so badly?

    1. Right? Not just VW, most major automakers eschewed the simple, easy to change PCV valve in exchange for an integrated “oil separator” housing with this bigass diaphragm thing. Bonus points go to Peugeot who made it part of the valve cover.

  43. My Volkswagen saga…

    Bought the wife a 2003 Passat. She loved the comfort features. I liked the reinforced body, decent mileage, and spunky engine. It was also nice that the dealership was only about seven blocks from the house.

    Eight years, eight recalls, about $4k in non-warranty repairs, one broken sunroof repair ($1200) that never got made, and who knows how many $50 replacement wiper blades later, the wife decided she didn’t like the comfort features that much. I no longer gave a damn about the reinforced body, mileage, or spunky engine. And I was never happier to take a dealer’s lowball trade-in offer to get rid of that POS.

    And I’ve never considered another VW since.

    The end.

  44. Since you run a car website, I have a feature proposal: Sally Reviews, where Sally reviews all sorts of crossovers and other vaguely similar to Tiguan vehicles, in a way to secretly get her to find something she really likes that doesn’t dramatically shit itself for no reason.

      1. If it’s anything like my wife…

        Wife: “Why won’t it shift from drive?”

        Me: “It’s a ratchet shifter, pull of the t-handle thing…”

        Wife: “Well that’s stupid, what’s the point of that, why don’t you get rid of that?”

        Me: “It’s so I can slam from 1 to 2 to D and not worry about going all the way to park.”

        Wife: “Why would I want to do that!?!”

        Me: “Racing!”

        Wife: “But you’ve never even raced!”

        Me: “Well, yeah, because this thing is so slow I’d never win a race.”

        Wife: “Then why does it have this dumb thing!?”

        Me: “Racing!”

        And the review would bemoan the dumb shifter.

    1. came here to say this, the article was entertaining, the comment thread was educational.. David won’t need to discipline Torch 😉

      I never owned a Volkswagen Kombi, but attended last rites for two of them, and executed strange field repairs on the other.. as college students/young and dumb graduates, my friends would buy them for road trips around South Africa. An aircooled engine was not optimal in African temperatures with loads of us, camping gear, and the beer needed to keep cool: so that accounted for two. The other one had cold problems, blew out a freeze plug somewhere deep in the mountains of Lesotho one icy night. We found an unreconstructed hippie named Toffee who was able to carve us a replacement plug out of hardwood. Hammered that in, put in the spare quarts of oil, drove six hundred miles home..

      When the water-cooled Kombis came out, my computer engineer friend bought one, the T3 Vanagon with ‘wasserboxer’ a water-cooled boxer engine. That was startlingly reliable.

      My brother had a series of girlfriends with a series of VW Beetles. Oh how he hated to work on those cars 😉

      My wife had a yellow CitiGolf manual, all Citigolfs were manual. It was a lot of fun to drive and dead reliable for four years or so when we sold it to emigrate. VWs in SA, Kombis and Beetles excepted, had a pretty good reputation for reliability. This might be because they were locally made in an assembly plant in Uitenhage, using very old designs which presumably had all the kinks worked out. The Citigolf was a MK1 Golf made in SA for SA because the MK2 Golf was too big and expensive for the market.

    2. I learned that I should probably see if my PCV valve needs replacing on my next service. I don’t see where Jason mentions the mileage on this vehicle. It would be good to know what lifetime to expect on this component.

      As for entertaining, there is plenty enough swearing to keep me amused.

      1. Its a 12 year old car, US average is typically 10k per year, but this thing has been broken a lot and Covid had us all huddled in our houses for two years.
        I’m gonna guess it ran just fine for 60k before it started having issues and give 7.5k per year after and 5k for each year of Covid.

        100k, final answer.

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