The Volkswagen Atlas/Teramont is the largest VW SUV built on the VAG proprietary MQB platform. The Atlas is somewhat of a replacement for the VW Touareg because the 2016 Atlas is the now only large VW SUV offered in North America.
The Atlas is set to compete with the likes of the Mercedes GLE, BMW X5, Audi Q7, and all the rest of the mid-to-large size luxury SUVs. The Atlas utilizes the classic boxy large SUV shape and is available in many different trims. VW also refreshed the Atlas for the 2021 model year which means that it is fresh off the production line.
The VW Atlas seems to be all over the place when it comes to reliability, but this is often the case with large complex luxury SUVs. The most common VW Atlas issues are faulty fuel injectors, engine shutdown issues, coolant leaks, fuel pump issues, and faulty clocksprings.
Some VW Atlas issues can cost a few thousand dollars to fix while others are not as exaggerated. All in all, be careful if you are in the market for one of these because lackluster maintenance is known to make these extremely expensive to own in the long run.
VW Atlas – fuel injector issues
As the Atlas uses a plethora of direct injector engines, it needs properly functioning fuel injectors. However, the injectors found on the Atlas are prone to cracking or even leaking. When this happens, it completely messes up the oxygen to fuel ratio which can cause either minor or extremely severe engine damage.
Be sure to inspect the injectors both visually and with a high-grade diagnostic tool as it is often difficult which injector is the one causing all the issues. Either way, you need to act fast as prolonged issues with the injectors could potentially destroy the engine completely.
VW Atlas – Engine shutdown issues
Many VW Atlas owners have reported their cars suffering from grinding noises whenever you shut down the engine which is really concerning given the fact that the Atlas is a relatively new car. Many owners reached out to VW, but VW responded by saying that it is normal to hear these noises which most definitely is not true.
It turns out that the issue has been tracked to peculiar issues with the spring located in the torque converter. Some VW specialists state that this is not really an issue that could cause any sort of damage, but it is not something anyone wants to experience from a large, expensive, and relatively new car.
VW Atlas – Coolant leaks
Many VW Atlas owners have also reported their Atlas models suffering from coolant leaks. Coolant is an essential fluid tasked with making sure the engine always operates at the correct temperature. It also lubricates the engine and cleans it. If the coolant is leaking, all of these protective qualities are lost which puts the engine in great danger.
Some VW mechanics will tell you that this is normal, but the reality is that it is not. VW is known to fix this if your Atlas is covered by a warranty. As such, be sure to check if the coolant levels are constant. If not, take the car to a workshop asap.
VW Atlas – Fuel pump issues
The fuel pump is tasked with constantly providing the engine with the necessary fuel in order for the car to move. If the fuel pump starts causing issues, you will not be able to start the car up, or the car is likely to stall. Either way, a faulty fuel pump makes the car unroadworthy.
The fuel pump is not necessarily an expendable part in most cars out there which means that one should not fail on a car that is only a few years old.
VW Atlas – Clockspring issues
The clockspring issue is a relatively common issue on many VAG products in which the steering system starts suffering from creaking noises whenever you engage full steering wheel lock. The issue here is that if the clockspring indeed does fail, it is likely going to mess up all of your steering-related systems such as cruise control, airbags, and many more components.
It seems like a replacement clockspring costs around $600 which is not something anyone wants to spend on a relatively new car. As such, if your car is under warranty, be sure to inquire about replacing the clockspring under warranty. If they are not willing to do so, you should push them a bit before they do as this is not a normal occurrence.
Is the VW Atlas a good car?
It depends on who you asking. Some believe that the VW Atlas is a great car and that it offers great value, especially when compared to some of its more expensive German rivals. On the other hand, some say that the Atlas is not worth the money because it costs less than some of its German rivals, yet it costs more to maintain.
Either way, it’s impossible to say that the Atlas is a bad car because it is the VW flagship SUV. Issues with large SUVs are a common occurrence which means that the Atlas is no different from cars such as the X5, the GLE, or the Q7.
Is the VW Atlas high maintenance?
The VW Atlas is indeed high maintenance, but so are many cars from this segment. In order for a large luxury SUV to be fully functional even after decades of use, it needs constant and thorough maintenance. It is not easy to say how expensive the Atlas can be, but it is surely up there.
Nonetheless, you should maintain your Atlas early on in order not to spend vast amounts of money down the line. Cars such as these are high maintenance because they offer more than most cars.
Is the VW Atlas safe?
The VW Atlas is a 5-star rated car when it comes to safety. Virtually all modern-day software safety systems can be found in the Atlas, but many of them are part of expensive packages. The Atlas is more or less on par with all the other luxury SUVs which means that safety is not an issue at all.