2018 Volkswagen Golf Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brake, electrical system, structure and suspension issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

People love the style of the 2018 VW Golf. This fun hatchback has been an American mainstay and showcases the vibrant side of culture. The newer models are labeled with the tagline “never a dull moment,” and owners agree. This car is regularly in the shop for electrical system faults, a defective suspension, terrible service brakes and a structure that leaks.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 Volkswagen Golf

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Power Train
Unknown Or Other
Fuel/propulsion System
Service Brakes
Vehicle Speed Control
Electrical System
Exterior Lighting
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking

Problems with the Electrical System

Problems with the electrical system can come in many forms. From the small inconveniences to the major malfunctions, car manufacturers must work hard to produce a reliable vehicle, which this Golf is not.

One NHTSA complaint states, “Over time, a build-up of silicate on the shift lever micro switch contacts can make it possible to remove the key from the ignition switch without the shift lever being in the P Park position. This makes the vehicle noncompliant with 49 CFR 571.114 Standard no. 114 Theft Protection and Rollaway Protection. If the ignition key is removed without the shift lever being in the P Park position, there is a risk that the vehicle may roll away, resulting in a crash that could injure people and damage property.”

That’s precisely the problem that NHTSA Campaign Number 19V615000 discusses. Almost 700,000 vehicles were recalled because the key can be removed when the shifter isn’t in Park. Of course, many owners probably aren’t too disappointed when this vehicle starts to roll away, especially if they have been dealing with some of the other issues that are so prevalent.

Problems with the Suspension

The Golf is meant to have a sporty ride, but that doesn’t mean that the suspension should be made with sub-par materials. Yet, that’s precisely what’s occurring.

One post on the Golf forums states ongoing problems with the suspension. “So the latest news on our Golf Estate is that VW now acknowledges that we have a ‘fault’ with the front lower suspension arms and are looking to replace them. This is news, as two weeks ago they had routinely declared our noise to be ‘normal.’ What’s changed is that I have shown them that this noise occurs at times other than when braking. That’s what I said all along, from literally 24 months ago.”

This owner seems to know more about the VW Golf than the automaker does. Eventually, NHTSA Campaign Number 19V188000 was issued, probably once Volkswagen realized they could no longer hide the problems. It turns out that 56,000 vehicles have rear coil springs that can prematurely fracture, leaving drivers at risk of an accident. Coil springs are such a basic part that has been perfected for many years. It’s unheard of for an automaker to coil springs that are fracturing. The automaker needed to live up to the reputation of not having dull moments, so it only makes sense to snap the springs in half. Anything else would have been too boring.

Problems with the Brakes

When a driver wants to stop, they apply the brakes. This automatic action often occurs without anyone thinking about it. When the pedal is depressed, the car should naturally slow down and stop, unless there’s a problem such as with the Golf.

One NHTSA comment states, “I had to brake hard as the person in front of me on the offramp stopped short. I think someone cut the driver in front of me off, or people were just having trouble merging. The anti-lock brakes did not work. The car fish-tailed from right to left. I let up on the brakes and the car straightened out and I didn’t get killed but it would have been a bad accident. Thankfully, the guy behind me was able to stop. This is a car I bought last week. There is something wrong with the brakes. Even my 10-year old car would have activated anti-lock.”

It turns out that there is yet another recall on the Golf, this time related to the braking system. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V369000 states that the brake caliper pistons have an insufficient coating that affects braking power. Aside from being a car that can roll away on its own, the car also struggles to stop. It’s as if the Golf just wants to keep going – like the little engine that could.

Problems with the Structure

The Golf is not supposed to be a cheaply made machine, yet looking at the complaints, one would think that a kid built it.

Here’s a short complaint left on the NHTSA website. “Water leak from the panoramic roof. Headliner and A-pillar is wet and will be replaced. Windshield fogged and had condensation.”

VW isn’t ashamed to talk about water leaks. Even Service Bulletin #TT 97 19 02 states that the A-pillar can leak and lead to other faults with the car. If owners wanted to buy a boat, that’s what they would have done. Instead, they spent money on a sporty compact car that is supposed to perform. Apparently it does, unless it’s raining.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes VW pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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