VW Golf MK7 (AU) 2012-2020

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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.

Anyway

The VW Golf MK7 was available in many different shapes and forms:

  • 3 or 5 door hatchback
  • Wagon
  • Sportsvan
  • Alltrack
  • 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!

Interior

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:

Good things:            

  • 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)

Bad things:

  • 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

body

Before buying check for small cracks on the rear roof edges, because some early production cars had issues with this. This is pretty shit, since 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.

paintjob

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.

rust protection

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-since 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”

Possible issues

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.

how to replace actuator post

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.

stuck fuel cap door video caused by door plastic assembly

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€

faulty trunk lock video


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)

internal sunroof frame cracks TSB

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

how to replace drivers side blend door actuator video

passenger side blend door actuator location video + some other info

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

how to replace blower motor video

how to replace blower motor post

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. Since 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)

how to replace/check rear badge draining tube video


-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/

AC drain location video


-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.

panoramic sunroof

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

how to clean panoramic sunroof drain endings video

Suspension

This Golf was available with:

  • standard suspension
  • factory sport suspension
  • adaptive electronically adjustable suspension

+2 rear axle types:

Additionally, cars equipped with the standard suspension were available with 2 types of rear axles. With the simple torsion beam rigid rear axle or with the more complex multi-link rear axle.

Torsion beam

Cars with weaker engines-under 90kW are equipped with the torsion beam rear axle which is cheap and simple. On one side it is good, because there are not many parts which would wear out. But on the other side: the handling, stability and comfort of the car is not good with this axle design – this is most noticeable on bumpy/uneven roads, so on completely smooth roads you are not gonna feel much difference compared to the multi-link axle.

Multi-link

The multi-link rear axle on the other hand is the more expensive axle design, which improves the handling, stability and comfort a lot(-most noticeable on bumpy/uneven roads). But it has numerous control arms with bushings – which are gonna obviously wear out in the future. Not like tomorrow, but in the future – in high mileage cars.

the Mk6 Golf was available with a multi-link rear axle ONLY – which is the more expensive technical solution, so even on this example you can see that they implemented more cost cutting measures on the Mk7 Golf

Check the shocks !

Before buying check all the shock absorbers visually for leaks and keep in mind that the electronically adjustable shocks are more expensive than the standard type. In cars with the electronically adjustable shocks you can of course change the stiffness of the suspension and it does indeed work pretty well. But if this gimmick is worth the additional cost of the shocks, well, you have to decide that yourself.

Two main common suspension issues

But what you don’t have to decide are the 2 well known problems of the suspension of this Golf:

1. Front control arm bushings

First of all there are the front control arm bushings, specifically the rear horizontally mounted bushings. These bushings can make a creaking noise on road imperfections or speed bumps at low speeds. This creak can appear on lower mileage cars as well as on higher mileage cars, so this noise is we can say essencially caused by the bad design of the bushings.

front control arm rear bushings creak video

In lower mileage cars with less than 100 000 km or with less than 50 000 km you don’t have to replace them if you are not bothered with the noise and if the car is driving fine. If you are bothered with the noise then its possible to put grease on these bushings which should fix the issue. But if the car was not driven on bad quality roads then the bushings should be still in a good condition.

However on cars with more than 150 000 km(sometimes earlier) the bushings can be already more worn which means, that they are not gonna just creak, but they are also gonna have bigger play which is gonna mess up the wheel alignment. In this case you will feel that the steering is a bit loose and the car is not that stable. So long story short:

  • if the bushing starts to separate or if there are more cracks on it
  • if you feel that the steering is a bit loose and the car is not that stable
  • if your front tires are unevenly worn because of bad wheel alignment-caused by worn bushings
  • if you are simply bothered with the creak

then you should of course replace the bushings

2. Rear shock absorbers

The next annoying issue is related to the rear shocks of the standard suspension (standard suspension, not electronic). If you hear knocking or rattling noises from the rear of the car then these noises are usually caused by the rear shock absorbers which were in many cases replaced under warranty. This not always fixed the issue, so some owners just replaced the rear shocks with good quality aftermarket shocks. But I have to add that these rear shocks are usually working fine even if they are rattling – so if the shock is not leaking and you are not bothered with the noise then you don’t have to replace it.

rear shock rattle explanation video

The rear shock absorber can look fine with no leaks but it can already make knocking or rattling noises, so if you are bothered by the noise then replace the shocks. To get rid of the noise for 100% replace the shocks with Bilstein aftermarket shocks which are not gonna rattle/knock.

Other suspension components

Mainly on cars used on bad quality roads and on the performance models with stiff suspension you can expect these worn suspension components before 200 000 km:

  • front upper strut bearings/mounts (symptoms: creaking noises when turning the steering to sides when car is stationary, or creaking noises on bad roads from the front) part number: 5Q0 412 249 F creak from front strut upper bearing video
  • tie rods (play in the front wheel like with bad wheel bearing-easy check on lifted car)
  • wheel bearings (humming noise during driving, wheel play-easy check on lifted car)
  • link rods (ticking/rattling from front)
  • the already mentioned creaking rubber bushing in the front control arm is gonna be worn
  • +the shocks can start to leak

As always before buying check for all those strange noises from the suspension like excessive knocking, creaking, or rattling.

+if you hear a specific creaking noise from the front during changing direction then this noise can be caused by loose subframe bolts – subframe creak video (keep in mind that after removing the subframe bolts-after changing the clutch or control arm bushings for example – you have to put new subframe bolts and torque them up properly)

Petrol engines

It looks like the petrol engines are overall more reliable than in the predecessor(-mainly because most of them have timing belt instead of a timing chain), but they do have a fair share of issues anyway:

1.6 (rare)

First I have to mention that in some countries this Golf was available with a simple 1.6 l naturally aspirated 4 cylinder petrol engine which has regular port injection. The main and only issue of this engine worth mentioning is the possibility of bigger or smaller oil consumption.


All the other engines are a bit more complex since they are equipped with direct injection and with a turbocharger.

1.0 TSI

-The 1.0 TSI is a hilarious and suspicious small engine, but currently this engine doesn’t have any major issues. What’s gonna be in the future? Who knows?

1.2 TSI, 1.4 TSI

The following engines are more prone to having issues with excessive oil consumption:

  • 1.2 TSI 63 kW (CJZB)
  • 1.2 TSI 77 kW (CJZA)
  • 1.4 TSI 90 kW (CMBA, CPVA)
  • 1.4 TSI 103kW (CHPA, CPTA)

Oil consumption

In many cases the oil consumption started at around 100 000 km and got worse after, but it can appear even later close to 200 000 km. So I’m not saying that all of these engines consume oil, but the chance of excessive oil consumption in these engines is simply higher. The oil consumption can be as low as 1L / 15 000 km, higher like 1L / 10 000 km but even very high like 1L / 1000 km. The main cause of oil consumption is the bad design of the oil scraper rings.

Long story short: in these engines the oil scraper rings have very small holes in them which can easily clog up with carbon thus leaving the oil on the cylinder walls – this is going to cause excessive oil consumption. The other petrol engines have better oil scraper rings with better design which are not that vulnerable for clogging.

Petrol engines 1.2 TSI and 1.4 TSI made to mid 2014 + 1.2 TSI 63 kW made to 2017 are MORE prone to oil consumption because of bad oil scraper ring design !

To fix this you have to replace the piston rings and the oil scraper rings with the updated versions + of course all the small parts like gaskets etc., the pistons themselves should be fine. (replacing piston rings + other necessary stuff approx. 2 000 € – 3 000 € at an independent mechanic)

Side contributor of oil consumption

However on some of these engines the oil consumption can be caused by the faulty valve guides in the cylinder head. VW acknowledged this and released a document about this, so this issue was a lot of times fixed under warranty. The possibly faulty valve guides don’t have markings on top of the valve springs, the unaffected/good updated valve guides have markings on top of valve springs. According to VW in this case you have to replace the whole cylinder head, but some say it’s enough to replace the valve guides.

Be ready that the main cause of the oil consumption in these engines are gonna be the oil scraper rings which VW never admitted.

All in all, I would just avoid these engines completely or keep at least 2 000 € or 3 000 € for the repair if you choose them. But the best is to choose the newer versions of these engines.

Cylinder deactivation

Certain 1.4 TSI and all 1.5 TSI engines are equipped with that „awesome“ cylinder deactivation feature. For now it seems to be working fine, but I don’t trust this thing so I expect some issues related to this in the future.

1.4 TGI, 1.5 TGI

-The 1.4 TGI and 1.5 TGI engines are working with petrol and with natural gas.

I have no idea if the 1.4 TGI has the bad design oil scraper rings and since nobody is paying me I’m not gonna investigate this (I suppose this engine made from 2015 has updated/better oil scraper rings, but again no money-no music, so I can’t verify this).

The 1.5 TGI seems fine.

1.8 TSI

-Then there are the more rare 1.8 l TSI engines. The 180 hp version doesn’t have unexpected issues and since it has dual port injection it’s not gonna have issues with significant carbon build up either.

On the other side the slightly less powerful version has direct injection only, so you have to be ready for carbon build up on the intake valves. But the biggest issue is, that if this engine is mated to a manual gearbox then there is a chance that it can have an interesting issue called – crank walk – which is gonna destroy the engine. But don’t worry I will explain this crank walk issue in a moment, meanwhile let’s move on.

GTE hybrid

-The GTE model is a plug in hybrid (so you can charge it and it is capable of using only electricity for a certain mileage – according to VW the electric range is 50 km, but in real life it’s more like 25-30km). This version is equipped with a 1.4 l TSI engine which has the good oil scraper rings, so it’s not that vulnerable to oil consumption.

So the engine itself is fine, but the car is also equipped with all those complex and very expensive hybrid related components, a battery pack under rear seats and a unique gearbox. These things are not gonna last forever and I imagine plenty of mechanics are gonna refuse to even work on this car. So long story short: this version can reach 200 000 km or even more without much issues and if it’s under warranty then it’s great. But without warranty I would not recommend it, it’s simply not worth it because of the big complexity which is made by VW. If you want a hybrid car out of warranty then buy a Toyota or a Lexus

If you are buying this GTE then definitely check if the car had done all the recalls since there were a couple of them and 1 pretty important which is related to the battery pack-water can enter the battery pack and ruin it, so check if your car is not affected.

GTI

All the GTI versions are equipped with the various variations of the latest generation 2.0l TSI 4 cylinder engine.

There are 2 main things you should know about these engines.

1. There is a higher chance of turbocharger failures on these engines made to 2014.

2. There is a chance of crankwalk in these engine.

The turbocharger was updated several times during production even after 2015, so be ready to replace it even in newer cars. Although the turbo failure in these newer cars is not that common. (a bad turbo can even cause a misfire on a cold engine)

GTI faulty turbo whining noise – video

If your turbocharger is “just dying” but working, then you are most probably not gonna end up with a destroyed engine-if you catch the fault early and replace the turbocharger. But if your crank start to walk, then the inside of your engine goes mashed bananas for 100% without remedy! So let’s check this out more closely.

Crank Walk

The 2.0 l TSI engines and rarely the 1.8 l TSI engines which are mated to a manual gearbox can have an interesting issue called crank walk. The thrust bearings in these engines are not full face axial bearings like in the older engines, so they are simply designed cheaper/weaker. Because of this there is a chance that they get worn prematurely or even fall off. In this case the crankshaft is gonna have bigger play and this will destroy the mechanical components around the crankshaft, which roughly translates to: a catastrophic engine failure – worn crankshaft/main bearings, worn rod bearings, damaged crankshaft, damaged cylinder walls and even damaged cylinder heads with camshafts, so basically the whole engine is gonna be trash because of this.

Symptoms of crank walk:

  • crank position sensor fault code
  • weird feeling in clutch pedal while shifting after a hard right turn (like the clutch pedal would stick to the floor, or even pulsating clutch when slightly pressed)
  • metal shavings in the oil
  • low oil pressure warning light – low oil pressure in engine and later a seized engine

This can happen even before 100 000 km.

But most of the crank walk cases happened in cars which had an aftermarket clutch with an aftermarket uprated performance pressure plate – so cars with these upgrades are more prone to this (the performance pressure plate puts more pressure on the crank → crank puts more pressure on the thrust bearings). However there are even some fully stock cars which had this issue! But obviously, an engine performance upgrade, an improper clutch use, or starting the engine with a depressed clutch is not gonna help either.

By the way, starting the engine with a depressed clutch can be an interesting contributor to this: since during the first start there is very little oil on the thrust bearings and when you start the engine with a depressed clutch, then the crank first touches these bearings and spins with almost with no oil between them → which is gonna over time contribute to the wear on the bearings.

All in all, this issue of course can happen. Not often, but it can happen. Should you worry about it? Not really, since you can’t prevent this issue for 100%. But if you want to be on the safe side then: keep extra money for another engine and try to minimize this issue by doing these things:

  • while in neutral after starting up the engine quickly release the clutch pedal, wait a bit and just after that you can go (the best would be to start the car without depressing the clutch but that’s not possible)
  • GET OFF THE CLUTCH WHEN YOU ARE STOPPED FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME (so don’t leave the car in gear with a depressed clutch pedal – if the car is stationary use neutral)
  • use the clutch as minimal as you can
  • while parking and engine off – don’t keep the gearbox in gear, use the parking brake

The thrust bearing is the weak point of the EA888 engines mated to the manual gearbox.

Lastly let’s check out the other issues which are related to all the petrol engines.

ISSUES RELATED TO ALL PETROL ENGINES

Carbon build up, faulty injectors

-Every 100 000 km it’s good to check the intake valves for carbon build up / eventually clean them. At this mileage there can be already a noticeable amount of carbon on the intake valves. But this of course depends on how the previous owner used the car and how often he changed the oil, so the carbon build up can be not that major even 160 000 km for example. Cold start misfires are usually the sign of a bigger carbon build up.

However some GTI versions and the 1.8 TSI with 180 hp are equipped with direct and also with port injection. This means that in these engines there is no problem with more noticeable carbon build up. However for the US market these dual injection engines were not available.

-Every 200 000 km it’s good to check the injectors. The injectors should be fine up to approx. 200 000 km, but at this mileage point it’s good to check them, test them, or replace them preventively. The injectors can get stuck in open or closed position or they can get clogged.

Coolant leaks

All of the petrol engines can have often issues with coolant leaks. Specifically the thermostat/water pump housing can often leak – the housing was revised several times so always buy the latest revision, and check the coolant level regularly.

Before buying its good to check for dried flaky residues on the bottom of the engine – for this you have to remove the bottom plastic engine cover + if there is a coolant leak then you most probably are gonna smell it in the engine compartment too! Sometimes before the test drive you can’t really smell it after opening the hood, so that’s why you should open the hood and check for the sweet coolant smell even after the test drive!

“replacing the thermostat/water pump assembly can cost approx. 450 € – 600 € at an independent mechanic”

the thermostat/water pump was often replaced under warranty, however if it’s not the latest revision then it will sooner or later leak again

Oil leaks

Then it’s definitely worth to check for oil leaks in all the petrol engines as well, since there are cases of:

  • rear main seal leak which is not the cheapest repair (mostly 1.8 TSI and 2.0 TSI)
  • upper timing chain cover leak (only 1.8 TSI and 2.0 TSI)

EA888 upper timing chain cover oil leak video

Plastic oil pan is shit but not entirely YET

The 1.8 TSI and 2.0 TSI engines have plastic oil pans. First of all, can someone explain me where the FUCK is the eco-friendly agenda in this shitty invention?? I mean holy shit! Isn’t there enough plastic garbage everywhere already?! FUCK THIS! Who is gonna recycle all this shit? The martians?

Anyway.

The plastic oil pans seem to be holding up fine YET. It’s important to add this YET word here, because from experience we all know that as the plastic gets older it also gets more brittle. So who knows how long this plastic piece of shit will last before it cracks, warps and leaks oil. Happy days! (by the way there is no oil drain screw on this oil pan, instead there is a plastic plug which you should replace after every oil change, very eco-friendly…)

Stuck Ignition coils

Another issue related to all of the petrol engines are the ignition coils. In many cases the ignition coils are like properly stuck so you won’t be able to remove them easily when changing the spark plugs. Because of this they can break into pieces during removing and then you will have to buy new coils. (before removing the coils slightly warm up the engine-this seems to help a lot)

Otherwise the ignition coil failures are not common, so the coils are usually fine for a long time mainly if you change the spark plugs in time.

Spark plugs

It’s also good to keep in mind that you should pay attention to the proper spark plug position in all of the EA211 engines (1.0 TSI, 1.2 TSI, 1.4 TSI, 1.5 TSI). This means that if the spark plug is gonna be overtightened or under-tightened then it’s gonna be positioned the wrong way: which is gonna cause that it can overheat and fail prematurely. So the best is to use a proper torque spec for the spark plugs during changing. If you follow the proper torque spec, then the spark plug is gonna be positioned the right way thus it’s not gonna overheat.

Last things

-Occasionally bigger or smaller oil consumption can appear in all tsi engines, but not often and definitely not that often as in the already mentioned more vulnerable engines.

-Occasionally turbocharger failures can occur in all the tsi engines but again that’s not like very common. Turbo failures can occur mostly on:

  • early cars
  • more abused eventually high mileage cars
  • on cars with long oil change intervals
  • on cars with performance upgrades
  • on cars used mostly for short distances

-The turbo wastegate actuators can fail more often mainly in the 1.2 TSI and 1.4 tsi engines – in this case you have to usually replace just the actuator, but if you are unlucky then the whole turbocharger. The actuator can be stuck, loose, or the wastegate on the turbocharger itself can be already loose-this is the worst case since in this case you have to replace or repair the turbocharger. Replacing the actuator only is not hard, but you will need to adapt it with the VW computer software.

Turbo wastegate actuator symptoms: turbo off, loss of power, check engine light, stored fault code – P2263, loss of power

+Vacuum leaks can occur on all the petrol engines. So on the oldest cars be ready for cracked plastic or rubber vacuum hoses and faulty PCV. (vacuum leaks symptoms: slight misfires, uneven engine running/rough idle, eventually check engine light + the faulty PCV can cause oil consumption, whistling noise from the engine cover or a rear main seal oil leak)

As you can see there are some issues, but with regular and proper maintenance most of the engines can reach 200 000 km or even 300 000 km without major issues.

E-GOLF

The fully electric E-golf is an interesting car. In many cases it is worth it, but in many cases it’s not worth it at all. But this is something you have to decide for yourself. Meanwhile let’s check out some of the issues of this car and what to check before buying this version.

-First of all there are 2 versions of this golf. I would rather choose the newer version and not only because it has bigger battery capacity, but also because the early models made to 2016 had some recalls and issues-mostly related to software. Issues and recalls examples:

  • sudden stop recall – in cars made to early 2016 the electric motor can suddenly shut off (to fix this they updated the software)
  • cases of faulty JX1 power control module (can occur in newer cars made after 2016 too)
  • software related issues (can occur in newer cars made after 2016 too)

The faulty JX1 power control module can cause issues with charging, but it can also cause a sudden power loss while driving !

Of course the recalls and issues should be already fixed on these older models and the newer cars can occasionally have some issues too, but still.

Battery pack can be scary as fuck

-The battery pack is obviously the scariest thing in these things. The bad thing is that a new battery pack costs around 27 000 € which is a lot. But the good thing is that the battery degradation in these cars doesn’t seem that major yet, however with years and mileage the battery obviously loses some of its capacity. Some say the degradation is from 1% to 5% / 1 year, some say that it’s a 1% degradation / 10 000 km, but of course nobody knows the exact figure. It’s also good to keep in mind that according to experience from other EVs – the battery degradation can be at the beginning slower, but as the age increases it becomes more and more noticeable. But who knows.

the battery age, the mileage, the climate, the charging style and the car using frequency – all of these things affect the battery condition in a used EV

So before buying it’s definitely good to at least kind of check the battery pack condition! You have 4 choices:

1. OBD scanner

-you can check the usable pack energy and the voltage of some of the cells thru an OBD scanner, but keep in mind that you can’t check all the individual cells !

2. OBD battery tester

-you can buy a special OBD battery tester

3. Battery degradation test

-you can do a battery degradation test, so charge the car and drive it until you use up the energy to get an estimate of battery pack health and range. If you have the possibility, then before buying charge the car up to 100% and drive it down to 20 or 10% to get an estimate of battery pack range/health

4. Find a damn expert in tha fields

-you can find someone who is at least kind of capable of kind of checking the condition of the battery pack

Listen I’m not a wizard! I don’t know everything, so you either learn all the informations about how to check the battery pack properly before buying or you simply find someone who is at least kind of capable of checking the condition of the battery pack. All I can say is that the battery pack failures are not common yet, there are even cars with more than 150 000 km with batteries in good condition + the battery pack is under an 8 year / 100 000 mi (160 000 km) warranty (so if the battery capacity goes below 70% then it should be replaced under warranty for free).

However there are also cases when some of the cells were faulty or weaker, but this should be at least kind of discovered during the battery pack checking process.

But again I’m not a wizard I can’t tell you everything, there are other experts in this field so let’s move on.

Check the underside !

The next thing you should definitely check before buying is the underside of the car. So check the underside of the car for dents and damage, because if something big hits the battery pack which is mounted under the car, then it can damage the cells in it which is not good at all !! Also if the car had been in a flood accident then obviously the water can damage the battery pack too !!

Check the charging !

The last thing you should check is the charging, since the charging port lock can act up. This lock keeps the charger plug locked via a metallic pin which slides out – if you plug in the charger. This pin acts as a lock, so if it’s engaged you can’t remove the charger plug/handle. This metallic pin can fail in two ways:

  • It can get stuck in the open position
  • It can get stuck in the closed/engaged position

When the pin gets stuck in the unlocked/not engaged position you can’t charge the car. On the other side if the pin gets stuck in the locked/engaged position while you are charging the car, then you won’t be able to remove charger plug since it’s gonna be locked/stuck. In both cases it’s often times enough to simply bang a bit with your hand in this area, eventually press the lock and unlock buttons on the key fob several times and the pin engages or disengages. The proper fix for this is to replace the charging port lock actuator, however some owners just regularly lubricate the pin which seems to help as well.

“when the charger is stuck you can try to hit it a bit to free it up according to this video

If you want to replace the locking pin actuator then you have to buy not only the actuator itself but also a repair/splice kit from VW. Why you need a splice kit? Well, because these hilarious VW engineers used a long wiring harness for the locking pin actuator. This wiring harness follows the route of the high voltage charging wiring harness which is not accessible easily. This means that to replace the pin actuator without cutting the wires you would have to remove the WHOLE fucking battery pack to access the end of the actuator pin wiring ! This procedure would cost at least $2 000 at the dealer ! So while cutting the wires in a fully electric car doesn’t sound very comforting, it’s the only reasonable way to replace the actuator. Don’t worry this procedure is approved by VW and that’s why there is a genuine splice kit for this, just make sure it’s done properly !

how to fix/replace charging port lock actuator video

official technical bulletin about this actuator issue

Other informations

-In a used E-Golf which is older than 3-4 years you obviously can’t expect the range of a new car so it’s gonna be lower than the manufacturer states:

  • the less powerful used E-Golf should have a useful range of at least 100-120 km with battery in good condition
  • the more powerful used E-Golf should have a useful range of at least 170-200km with battery in good condition

The range MAY VARY so don’t take these numbers for granted! These are just my quick calculations and I was really bad at math, so for useful range numbers it’s better to look at other sources and try to make an average!!

-The range drops significantly in winter cold weather, on the highway or in rain

-Cars used in hot climate areas are gonna have a shorter battery life/a bit faster degradation

-Generally speaking cars used regularly/more often are gonna have the battery pack in a better condition than cars which were not used regularly. However you don’t want a very high mileage EV, you just want an EV which was used regularly and had the battery cycled regularly. So for example if you got a 5 year old e-golf with 10 000 km and a 5 year old e-golf with 40 000 km then it’s better to buy the car with 40 000 km since it was used more often and it had the battery cycled regularly (but of course before buying you should still check the condition of the battery pack!!).

-It’s not a car for long distance driving but as a daily driver for the smaller or bigger cities it’s good.

-As in other EVs the brakes in this car can withstand a long time since most of the braking is done by recuperation. However this also means, that the brakes are often not used enough – so they can be rusty a lot. If the rust is gonna be major then you will have to replace the brakes, so check them before buying and occasionally use the brakes a bit harder to prevent brake rust.

-The newer models made from 2017 can be equipped with the fast charging feature (the fast charging was optional so not all of these cars have it)

To extend the lifetime of the battery:

  • don’t charge the car up to 100% so charge it up to 90-95%
  • don’t discharge the battery below 15%.
  • don’t use the fast charger a lot
  • use the car regularly

Diesel engines

The diesel engines can reach 300 000 km or even 400 000 km without major issues, but sadly, not always. So they can have some very interesting problems which can occur much earlier:

Oil consumption

-First thing first, all the diesel engines have the same bad oil scraper ring design like some of the already mentioned petrol engines. This means that oil consumption can be occasionally an issue in all the diesel engines. However I have to add that it’s still not common. Well, except maybe the most powerful 2.0l TDI (CUNA engine code) which is for some reason more prone to oil consumption. There are numerous cases of excessive oil consumption in these engines rarely even at around 100 000 km, but more often at or after 200 000 km. The oil consumption can be at 1L / 10 000 – 12 000 km, but in the worst case 1L / 1 000 km. But again, I’m not saying that all of these engines do have issues with this, they are just simply more vulnerable to clogged oil scraper rings causing oil consumption.

Cooling system

All of these engines have a more complex cooling system with additional electric coolant pumps + there is the main switchable water pump.

Even bleeding this system is not that easy, since you need a vacuum pump and also a computer to bleed it properly. Without these tools you are gonna have air bubbles in the system in a fully warmed up engine which is not ideal to say at least.

Why it’s better to bleed the system properly? If you bleed the system with vacuum and with the computer according to the manufacturers recommendation, then you are not gonna have air bubbles in the system. If you are NOT GONNA bleed it this way then after warming up the engine you can still have air bubbles in some parts of the coolant path – this is pretty shit since this will create local hot spots – in this case if you are unlucky then you can end up with a leaking head gasket or cracked cylinder head.

But the 2 main possible issues of this cooling system are related to the coolant itself and to the main water pump.

1.Water pump

The main water pump is a switchable water pump, so there is a cover on it which can slide up or down and this way the water pump can be turned off or on. The problem is that the cover can get stuck in closed position. In this case it’s not gonna help to circulate the coolant and the engine is gonna overheat. If the engine had been overheated a lot and damaged, then first its gonna have issues with starting – long cranking. Later the engine will loose compression which means that you will have to repair or replace the engine. So before buying it’s definitely worth to pay attention to engine start: if the engine has issues with starting then walk away!

the engine has to start immediately without delay

The water pump was updated, so mostly the early before facelift cars are more prone to this issue. However be ready that the pump can fail on newer cars too.

2.Coolant

Before buying it’s very important to also check the coolant. It has to be clean and it need to have this pink-ish or violet color. If the coolant is darker like this and if it has strange deposits and particles in it then you got an issue with coolant degradation. Long story short VW used not the best coolant from the factory, and because of this it can go bad prematurely. The degraded coolant deposits clog up the heater core and also parts of the coolant system which can even cause usually slight issues with overheating + it can also help to start the internal corrosion of the engine-which is pretty bad. Long story short if the coolant looks like this then run away from the car and for more informations about this visit my website.


Timing belt tensioner fail – engine K.O.

All of these diesel engines are equipped with a timing belt. The belt itself can withstand a lot but on some of these engines the belt tensioner can fail prematurely even before 150 000 km. If the belt tensioner fails then the belt gets damaged and jumps which will destroy the engine. So definitely check for strange hissing, chirping or squeaking noises from the timing belt pulley after cold start. These noises are caused by the failing tensioner pulley, however the water pump can make these noises as well since it can fail prematurely too – rarely even before 100 000 km, but more cases of premature failure or leak at around 150 000 km.

tensioner squeaking noise video

tensioner squeaking noise video 2


Classic diesel engine issues

-Be ready that the injectors can be faulty after 200 000 km, even though I have to add that they are more reliable than in the predecessor

-The high pressure fuel pump can fail in high mileage cars, even though I have to add that it’s more reliable than in the predecessor

-Older or high mileage cars equipped with the adblue emission system can have some issues with it. So it’s better to be ready for issues with:

  • adblue NOx sensor
  • adblue injector
  • adblue tank heating
  • incorrect adblue fluid level warning massages
  • slight adblue leaks

-Certain 2.0 TDI engines are equipped with a variable valve timing valve. This valve can be clogged which will cause long start/long cranking. Some owners fixed the issue by removing and cleaning the valve, but you can buy a new updated valve and fix the issue without trying.

The weakest 1.6 TDI with 66 kw is NOT WORTH IT since it’s not powerful and its often mated only to a 5 speed manual gearbox which is not suitable for highway driving.

Last funny thing

ALL the diesel engines can make a knocking / clattering noise from the lower part of the engine – from the oil pump area. video of the noise

The oil pump is combined with the vacuum pump and it can make this clattering rattling noise which can be mostly heard when the engine is cold. IT seems that this funny noise is not affecting anything and even owners who replaced the oil pump because of this got the noise back after some time. So it’s not worth to replace parts because of the noise or even pay attention to it.

Timing belt / chain

All of the engines are equipped with a timing belt except the 1.8 TSI and 2.0 TSI petrol engines which have a timing chain.

Timing belt

The timing belt of the diesel or petrol engines can usually withstand even a bit more than 200 000 km, but you should not risk it and in both cases it’s definitely good to replace it before 200 000 km.

In other words the safest and most optimal timing belt change interval is between 150 000 and 190 000 km or 5-6 years (even if the original manufacturers interval for replacing the timing belt on diesel engines is at 210 000 km). And if you want to be very thorough, then it’s definitely good to check the timing belt visually at 120 000 km or after buying, eventually replace it at this mileage point if you want to be safe as fuck.

If the car is more than 5-6 years old then the safest is to replace the timing belt regardless of mileage!

The petrol engines don’t have a timing belt change interval stated from the manufacturer – so it’s good for “lifetime” which is obviously bullshit, even though in some countries the dealer recommends an inspection at 120 000 km. Many petrol engine owners replace the timing belt at 120 000 km but at this mileage it’s usually still fine so there is no need to replace it at this mileage point.

“Change the timing belt with the water pump, all pulleys, tensioner, pulley screws, pulley studs (+ oil pump belt-diesel engines).”

Keep in mind that all the diesel engines have the oil pump driven by a rubber belt! This belt can withstand a lot but not an eternity, so I would highly recommend to replace it together with the timing belt ! By the way, in this case you have to replace the plastic cover in which the crankshaft seal is mounted, because if you don’t replace it then it will leak oil A LOT.

If you got a diesel engine, then be ready that replacing the timing belt is more expensive and more complicated than in the previous models. This is because you have to replace more things(if you want to do it properly + there is more shit around like more hoses & more sensors) + less space to work and also more chances to screw up. In other words – a bad mechanic can break some stuff like sensors or hoses which is gonna cause issues after replacing, or the job is gonna end up being more expensive. That’s why on the diesel engines it can cost even around 1 000 € to replace the timing belt with all the necessary stuff, but usually the timing belt change price is somewhere around 600 – 700 €. (obviously the price also depends on if genuine or aftermarket timing belt kit is used)

Timing chain

As I said the 1.8 TSI and 2.0 TSI engines have a timing chain mechanism which is usually fine at least up to 200 000 km (it can be good even after this mileage point). But definitely check for a rattling noise at cold start and at around 200 000 km or after buying remove the plug on the timing chain cover and check the chain tensioner. If the tensioner is pushed out too much – according to picture below, then you should replace the chain mechanism.

Transmissions

This VW can be equipped with the:

  • 5 or 6 speed manual gearbox
  • 6 or 7 speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmissions
  • regular 6 speed automatic transmission (US market only)

Manual gearbox

-The manual transmissions are usually fine just check them for strange noises and after 120 000 km it’s good to replace the oil in them.

Then check the clutch if it’s working properly and if it’s not slipping. It’s important to check this mainly in the more powerful GTI and R models since the stock clutch in these cars is not very durable. This means that if the previous owner used the car for more dynamic driving or if he operated the clutch badly or if the car has and engine performance upgrade then the stock clutch can fail even before 100 000 km.

So if you are buying a GTI then check the clutch properly if it’s not slipping (how to check clutch slipping: if you are in higher gear-so 4 or 5th eventually 6th at lower rpm then press the accelerator harder-you don’t have to floor it – if the revs will suddenly increase and then drop back even though you didn’t let your foot off the accelerator then you have a worn clutch !!!!

The Dual mass flywheel can be of course worn as well-if the car is equipped with it, but usually just around 200 000 km, even though this mostly depends on how the previous owner used the car.

Automatic gearbox

-From the automatic transmissions the regular 6 speed is the most reliable if you change the oil in it regularly. But this gearbox was mated only to the 1.8 l TSI petrol engine available only in the US.

-On the other side the DSG dual-clutch gearboxes are not the most reliable. Especially the 7 speed version with dry clutches can have often issues with the mechatronic and also the clutches can wear out in it. Both of these issues can occur before 150 000 km, sometimes even before 100 000 km so it’s good to keep extra money for the repairs.

The 6 speed and the 7 speed DSG with wet clutches are more reliable and with regular oil changes they can withstand more than 200 000 km, but it’s still good to keep extra money for the repair of these transmissions as well. + the DSG transmissions also have a dual mass flywheel which can be worn

Check the automatic gearbox properly before buying: it has to work smoothly without vibrations, shuddering, jerking, hesitation or metallic noises.

4Motion

If you are buying a model equipped with the 4motion 4wd system then make sure that the 4wd is working properly – since the haldex type pump mounted on the rear differential can fail and if it fails then the car is going to be just front wheel drive. Because of this it’s really important to change the oil in this haldex type rear differential every 30 000 km to prevent pump failure + keep in mind that during this you should also remove the pump and check eventually clean the tiny mesh on it. (unlike in the predecessor there is no filter just a mesh before the pump, so that’s why you should change the oil more often than in the Golf Mk6)

how to replace oil in the haldex type rear differential video

video example of a not working haldex pump-not working 4wd

To summarize things up:

  • avoid the 1.2 TSI and 1.4 TSI engines made to mid 2014 + the weakest 1.2 TSI made to 2017
  • the petrol engines with the dual port injection are a good choice
  • avoid the DSG gearbox unless you have additional 2 000 € / $2 000 to fix it
  • avoid cars with performance upgrades and with questionable maintenance history
  • avoid cars equipped with the single pane sunroof

+ keep at least 2 000 € / $2 000 for the maintenance and possible repairs

And as always if you have personal experience with this car or more information about it, then you can write it into comments!

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