The VW Tiguan carved a niche for itself in the bustling compact crossover SUV market ever since it came out in 2007. As time went on, small SUVs and crossovers were slowly becoming the world’s most popular cars, and the Tiguan has continually evolved and is now at the forefront of the market.
However, as with any machine, it has its weak spots—turbo issues unfortunately sit high on that list. From the mysterious loss of power to the aggravating turbo lag, and even unexpected noises or outright turbocharger failure, the Tiguan’s turbo system isn’t without its set of challenges, some of which can be really frustrating.
These problems, while not experienced by every owner, have proven to be more than isolated. If you’re considering buying a used or a new Volkswagen Tiguan, these turbo troubles are certainly worth factoring into your decision. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into these issues, giving you the full scope of what to potentially expect.
We are going to mention the potential causes, the symptoms, and the solutions you need to do to make sure you don’t experience turbocharger problems ever again.
Loss of Power/Slow Acceleration/Low Boost
Experiencing loss of power or slow acceleration can be really stressful for VW Tiguan owners. Symptoms generally include sluggish response when pressing the accelerator, an inability to reach higher speeds, or a noticeable decline in the vehicle’s overall performance, all of which will cause problems while trying to merge on a highway, overtaking, or entering a roundabout.
Potential causes range from the turbo bearing, leaky intake pipes, or even software issues in some cases. To address this, a diagnostic test is usually the first step in identifying the problem. Solutions may vary based on the diagnosis and could include cleaning or replacing fuel injectors, updating software, or in more serious instances, even a new turbo.
Turbo lag in a VW Tiguan is a noticeable delay or laziness between the moment you press the accelerator and when actually get all the power. It’s worth mentioning that turbo lag isn’t necessarily a problem if it’s intermittent or down to low RPMs, but if it happens often, no matter the RPM and speed, it can be a serious issue.
The lag may be caused by all kinds of problems such as inefficient turbo design, a worn wastegate, or even software issues affecting the turbocharger’s control unit. As the turbo system is complex and delicate, professional consultation and diagnostics are a must. So, if you are a DIY specialist, it’s best to leave it be if you are not experienced working on a turbo.
Strange Noises While Accelerating
Hearing strange hissing, rattling, squealing, or whooshing noises while accelerating could be a sign of an issue with the turbocharger in your VW Tiguan. The noise predominantly becomes more noticeable when the turbo is engaged during acceleration from first or second gear, a situation where the turbo works most intensely.
Causes for such sounds may include worn bearings, leaks, loose or damaged components, or issues with the turbo’s compressor wheel. In some cases, these noises could be an early warning sign of impending turbo failure. Either way, take your car to an experienced mechanic who has all the right tools and knowledge in order to properly diagnose the problem.
A turbocharger failure is indeed a very serious issue that requires immediate attention if you don’t want your car to experience more damage or even catch on fire. When the turbocharger fails, the vehicle will experience a dramatic loss of power, may produce excessive smoke from the exhaust, and could even go into a “limp mode,” restricting the speed to prevent further damage.
In most cases, warning lights will appear on the dashboard showing critical problems prompting you to stop driving the car immediately. If your turbocharger is indeed dead, the only way to fix it is to replace it with a new one. If your car is under warranty, always be sure to ask for a new turbocharger, and don’t settle for anything less than that.
What to Look Out for When Buying a VW Tiguan?
When considering purchasing a used or a new Volkswagen Tiguan, it’s vital to keep an eye on a few key factors. First, check for any recalls or technical service bulletins that might apply to the specific model year you’re interested in and see if the issues causing these have been resolved. Also pay close attention to the transmission and turbocharger, as these have been known areas of concern.
Test drive the vehicle to assess its performance, focusing on gear shifts, acceleration, and any unusual noises. Review maintenance records to ensure regular upkeep and consider having the vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic. Look for service records and always push to do a pre-purchase inspection that should show you if anything is wrong with the car.
Which Used VW Tiguan Model is Best?
When buying a used VW Tiguan, you sure are spoiled for choice as there are many models you can choose from. However, the best-used VW Tiguan models are likely those made in 2019/2020 as these are the latest VW Tiguan models with the very best engines and technology. Previous 2016/2017 models also aren’t bad but if you can stretch to a 2020 model, you will be indeed happy.
Older VW Tiguan models based on the Mk6 Golf simply aren’t up to the task while still costing a fair bit of money on the used market. If you want an economical diesel with enough power, go with the 2.0L TDI. On the other hand, the 2.0 TSI is likely the best gasoline model. Lastly, if you want three-row seating and more cargo space, the AllSpace model is the one to go for.
Should I Buy a VW Tiguan?
If you are in the market for a relatively affordable well-rounded family crossover compact SUV, the Tiguan should definitely be on your list. The Tiguan bridges the gap between more expensive German brands and the more affordable economy level.
As such, depending on the engine and the spec, the VW Tiguan can be a really good vehicle overall. It also offers lots of space, is really safe, and has all the modern technology you’d expect in 2023.