The sheer amount of issues this Golf CAN have is worrying to say at least. Of course it’s not gonna have all the issues at the same time, but the sheer fact that VW was not able/or didn’t want to solve the issues unrelated to engines from the previous gen. is not that positive.
Listen, I’m not sayin that the Mk7 is garbage, in fact you can fix most of the possible issues without much effort and you can choose a good engine which is gonna last a long time (and you can check the car properly before buying to avoid some issues).
So it’s not that catastrophic at all. It’s just hilarious that VW intentionally or unintentionally didn’t solve plenty of issues from the previous generation + they added intentionally or unintentionally some more.
The VW Golf MK7 was available in many different shapes and forms:
- 3 or 5 door hatchback
- GTI and R models
- GTE hybrid
- Fully electric e-Golf
To top of that it’s the first Golf to have things like the:
- automatic city emergency braking
- electric parking brake
- driving profile selector
- lane assist.
- pre crash safety assist.
- road sign recognition
- front axle differential lock
- LED headlights and LED fog lights
- better multimedia system with proper touch screen response
So if you desperately need some of these things in a car then the Mk7 can be your choice!
I could write that the interior of this car is pretty spacious, has good ergonomics and it can be equipped with various interesting things, but you already know this, I guess. Well if not, then go ahead and watch some videos from those really successful youtube car channels which are making tons of money from tons of views but are not providing ANY useful information which would save you money. (meanwhile I’m living on bread and water and soon I’m not gonna have bread either)
So let’s just briefly focus on the advantages and disadvantages:
- Ergonomics (the ac panel still has physical buttons which is awesome)
- Space (considering the size of the car there is enough space in the interior)
- The optional multimedia systems have great graphics and good touchscreen response
- The optional “ergo active”, electrically adjustable or sport front seats are comfortable enough
- Mostly durable materials
- The interior is up to date but not too much (-it can be equipped with up to date/modern equipment, but still has physical buttons for the important features)
- the metallic foil on the trim around the shifter can start to peel and disintegrate (the sharp edges of the metallic foil can even cut your fingers a bit)
- the start stop button surface can start to peel (and cut your fingers as well)
- rattle/creaking noises from the door/B pillar area can occur on bad roads
- sometimes other interior creaks or rattles can occur
- the standard basic front seats are not comfortable at all
- the standard basic AC is not very powerful in hot weather (the 2-zone AC is fine)
Body, paintjob, rust protection
Before buying check for small cracks on the rear roof edges, because some early production cars had issues with this. If untreated, over time the metal is gonna start to rust on this place. However this was not very common and as I said, the early production cars (2012-2014) had recorded issues with this. But you should check these areas on later cars too and basically on all the used cars in general.
It looks like the paintjob is a bit less durable than in the predecessor – because you can more often find cars with bigger or smaller amount of stone chips on the hood, on the front bumper and eventually on the front fender edges too.
Currently these cars don’t have any known common rust spots. But on cars used regularly on winter salty roads you should expect the rust to appear on the same spots as on the previous Golf MK6. + You should occasionally clean the area behind the front wheel well liners from dirt, since the dirt is gonna help the rust to spread in this front edge area of the sills.
To top of that, unlike the Mk6 this Mk7 has a steel front subframe (the Mk6 has an aluminum subframe). The simple steel subframe is “awesome”, since it’s cheaper to produce and the VW CEOs can buy more hookers. But the steel is gonna rust sooner or later, so it’s good to check this subframe for excessive rust – it doesn’t have the best rust protection from the factory. By the way, if you want to compare the issues and reliability of this Mk7 with the older model, then check out my video about the Mk6.
“some owners replaced the steel subframe with an aluminum subframe from Audi RS3 like here in this video, so this is a good solution to avoid the subframe rust completely”
1. Stuck fuel cap door
The fuel cap door can get stuck in closed position. This funny problem is caused by either the faulty fuel filler door lock actuator or it’s caused by the fuel filler door sticking itself. If the fuel filler door lock actuator fails then it will be difficult to open the fuel cap door, or you won’t open it at all. In this case you can try to lock and unlock the car a couple of times to finally get the actuator to unlock the door. This issue also applies to the fully electric E-Golf.
To fix the actuator issue you have to simply replace the actuator. But the fuel filler door sticking is caused by the inner plastic assembly of the door. The 2 sides of plastic part edge can get stuck in the corner part of the main plastic assembly. So either use some grease on this area regularly or trim it down with some sandpaper or something.
In this case to open the fuel cap door you can use some old credit card or something plastic and pry out the door.
2. Exterior mirrors can fall out
The exterior mirror can separate from the base. First it can start to shake/vibrate during driving and later it will simply fall out and break (so occasionally check the mirrors, and if they are loose, then glue them back or replace them)
They say that if you are using the heating mirror function a lot then the glue of these mirrors will let go sooner!
3. Trunk door lock
The trunk lock can fail, so you won’t be able to open the trunk door (the plastic gear in trunk lock can break or the microswitch in it fails)
new trunk door lock part number: 5G6827505B it costs approx. 90€
4. Rear door seal
The seal on the front part of rear door edge can get loose in the lower part. This is just a cosmetic “problem” but it can occur pretty often.
new seal part number: 5G6839431J 5AP
5. Xenon headlights fogging
Before facelift cars made to 2016 which are equipped with the optional xenon headlights can have a strange cosmetic issue with fogging. Specifically there can be a not very visible fogging on the inside of the headlight and also on the xenon lens. This is an optical flaw so the headlight performance should not be affected, but some owners received new headlights under warranty and some owners managed to clean this fogging from the inside.
official document about headlight covers fogging (in German, but there are pictures)
official document about xenon lens fogging (again in German, but there are pictures)
6. Sunroof external panel cracks
Cars equipped with the single pane sunroof can have in many cases cracks on the 2 front corners of the black panel which is mounted around the sunroof. This panel is made from plastic but it’s not cheap…, so definitely CHECK these places closely before buying!
7. Sunroof internal panel cracks
The internal panel/frame of the single pane sunroof can have cracks as well. The inner plastic sunroof frame or sunroof water channel in other words – can develop stress cracks. This is pretty bad since the water is gonna leak thru these cracks right into the interior. The good thing is: these cracks can be repaired or more like patched up with a genuine repair kit – some strange tape and sealant – that’s the repair. The bad thing is: this patching up is obviously not gonna last a very long time, but for approximately $3 600 you can have the frame replaced at the dealer. (repairing the cracks with the repair kit and sealant approx. $400 – $500)
To be honest I would definitely avoid cars equipped with sunroof. But if you want to deal with cracks, water leaks, creaking and rattling noises from the sunroof then go ahead and don’t listen to me.
8. Multimedia system/software
Occasionally issues with multimedia system can occur mainly in cold weather mainly in early production cars. Eventually some minor software issues related to the safety assist. systems can occur too.
9. AC/heater system issues
Check if the AC is working properly, and if you got 2 zone AC then definitely check if the temperature on the driver and passenger sides matches with the choosed temperature!
The most common AC and heater system related issues are the following:
–AC gas leaks, symptoms: weak AC, no AC, temperature difference issues. The AC gas can leak from numerous places like: from the AC condenser, from the AC compressor or from some other seal or hose. (rarely if you are unlucky then the evaporator can leak AC gas – in this case you have to remove the whole dash to replace the leaky evaporator)
–faulty blend door actuators (2 zone AC): there are 2 blend doors actuators under the dash, a lot of times the plastic gear gets loose or it will fall out, but the actuator can break too. (faulty blend door actuator symptoms: driver side works but passenger side blows only warm air no matter the setting – and vice versa)
replacing the temperature control blend door actuators: approx: $450 at the dealer
–clogged heater core under the dash: causing weak or no heating. Clogged heater matrix causing: weak heating in general (not blowing hot air), or weak heating only on one side, so the heater core can be clogged only slightly which will cause that only one side of the interior to be warm
–the AC compressor can be faulty or sometimes just the N280 valve on it can fail (for $500 you can have the compressor replaced with aftermarket compressor part+labour included)
–the blower motor can fail more often
–the air recirculation flap motor located behind the glove box can sometimes break causing a ticking/clicking noise under the dash
Heater core clogging issue explanation
The most interesting issue from these is the clogged heater core. The heater core can get clogged because of the coolant or because of the silica bag in the coolant tank.
Coolant is garbage
The coolant which is in most of these cars is a G13 type of coolant. The bad thing is that this G13 coolant is more prone to degradation – mainly in the diesel engines. This degraded coolant creates deposits which will clog up the heater core, parts of the coolant system or the water pump closing mechanism in the diesel engines. A clogged heater core is gonna cause weak heating and in worst case even not working heating in the interior. Because of this it’s very important to check the coolant before buying.
Silica bag is garbage
Some of these cars have a small bag of silica in the coolant tank. It’s there because the G13 is a more environmentally friendly coolant type so it needs that silica to increase the corrosion resistance properties + it’s also there to extend the lifetime of the coolant (I can be wrong, so correct me if I’m stating bullshit). This is all great and awesome, but the small bag can occasionally split and release the silica into the coolant circuit. This will clog parts of the coolant system + also the heater core under the dash, which means that you are not gonna have hot air blowing from the vents or the heating is gonna be just weak.
What to do if shit hits the fan?
What to do if you already have a not working heating-because of a clogged heater core, discolored coolant with deposits in it, or a burst silica bag?
In all these cases you have to flush the cooling system properly and you will have to replace the heater core.
The heater core itself is not that expensive but it’s located under the dash. Luckily, to replace it you don’t have to remove the dash so even replacing it is not expensive.
On the other side, to flush the coolant system properly you will need 2 chemicals, some special equipment + hours of labor since the system has to be flushed numerous times. You will also need to replace the coolant tank + obviously the heater matrix. In this case there is a chance that you won’t have issues with the cooling system at least for a couple of years. But in many cases even after this proper flush there can be remaining garbage or silica residue in the coolant system which will again clog up the things. So just be ready that the issue can go back if it once happened in the past!
The dealer can charge you approx. 1 000 – 1 500 € to fix this issue – this is the price for replacing the heater core and flushing the cooling system PROPERLY.
“the bad thing is that the coolant residue or the silica residue can restrict/slightly block the coolant flow even after flushing and thus cause usually smaller cooling issues – so the coolant or oil can be a bit more hot than it should be – which is obviously not ideal and it can eventually cause damage to the engine in the long run”
To end this list, as always check the functionality of all the other features too: like the power windows, door locks or electronic parking brake if the car is equipped with it. (cars made for the US market for example have regular-manual parking brake only)
Water leaks into the interior
This Golf is like a portable water collector because it can have a wide variety of interior water leaks. But the CRIMINAL thing is, that it can have the exact same water leaks as the previous MK6 + even some more! So definitely check the footwell area, the headliner and the trunk spare tire area for traces of water. But let’s start with the list:
Rear door speakers
-the rear door speakers on the 5 door models can often leak water into door jamb and then into the rear footwells. This is caused by the damaged speaker housing seal and a cracked speaker housing. To test this leak pour water onto the glass, after this open the door and if you will see water seeping through the gap between the door and door panel, then the speaker housing is leaking. + Keep in mind that some dirt can collect inside the door and block the rear door water drain holes which is gonna cause water accumulation in the doors themselves.
To fix the speaker housing leak: remove the speaker and put some sealant on it or buy a new speaker housing. By the way the front door speakers are the same design so I would keep an eye on them as well.
Rear bumper vents
-the next common water leak is caused by the rear side plastic vents behind the rear bumper. In this case first the water accumulates in the side trunk compartments and later in the trunk spare wheel area too. To fix this you can buy the new updated vents which do have bigger seals on them, or just put sealant around the old vents. ////Updated vents part number: 7N0819465E or the even newer 7N0819465F
THESE 2 leaks are the most common, but there are other potential sources of leaks too:
-the draining tube of the rear badge can be dislodged and let the water into the trunk, eventually onto the headliner
To open the trunk lid you traditionally have to use the VW badge. To avoid water collecting here there is a draining tube. Interestingly, the ending of this tube can disintegrate thus the tube can move a bit and then let the water directly into the trunk. But no problemo since you can buy an updated tube! (some say that on early cars there is no badge draining tube in the tailgate release)
-the tail light seals can let the water into trunk lid, but you can buy the seals separately, or use some sealant
-the 3rd brake light can let the water into the trunk
-the plastic connectors of the trunk lid wiring loom tube can be broken or loose: in this case the water will leak onto the headliner or in the trunk lid too
-the AC condensation drain in the front right footwell can leak – in this case you will have a wet carpet on this side /to fix this you can use some sealant or buy a new updated AC drain hose-new AC drain hose part number: 5Q1820127E/
-the rear windscreen washer plastic pipe can leak as well, but mostly in the front left footwell area. The plastic pipe can crack or it can disconnect from the connector – in this case this area is gonna be wet because of the washer fluid.
-the 2 water drains under the windshield on the sides of the scuttle area are pretty damn big so they are not gonna get clogged that easily. But it’s good to occasionally check them because if they do clog up then the water accumulates here and leaks into the interior thru the plastic air inlet.
CARS WITH SUNROOF
Additionally, if the car is equipped with a sunroof then you have to be ready for another leaks:
regular single part sunroof
The regular single part sunroof have 4 drain hoses in each corner of the sunroof frame. In this case mainly the front drain hoses can be clogged causing a water leak into the interior. To access these drain endings you have to remove the windscreen wipers and the plastic panel, since the front drain hoses drain the water into the scuttle area. However sometimes the drain hose can also disconnect from the rubber grommet which goes thru the firewall (see VW Golf Mk6 video)-and in this case you again end up with water in the front footwell. To top of that as I already mentioned, the cracked inner plastic frame of the sunroof can let the water in as well.
The estate models can be equipped with a big panoramic sunroof which also has 4 drains. In this case you can get a leak from all of these drain hoses, but at least the frame of the sunroof should be fine with no cracks.
+ All of the drain hoses have badly designed upper drain connections. These connectors glued to these hoses can get a little loose over time creating a gap around the hose which allows the water to leak not just into, but also onto the drain hose and into the interior.
+There are cases when the rear sunroof drain hoses were pinched by foam blocks on the headliner. In this case the water obviously cant drain out, so you will have to remove the headliner and fix the issue. More information about this here
on the next page: SUSPENSION, ENGINES