2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Problems and Top Complaints – Is your car a lemon?

Build quality, engine and seatbelt issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Even with a countless number of compact SUVs on the market, Volkswagen has managed to stay ahead of the competition with the Tiguan. Consumers love its modern styling and promise of “exceptional” German engineering. But Volkswagen, at least in recent times, has defaulted topoor reliability. Year after year, the Tiguan falls victim to its maker’s sub-standard build quality. For 2018, VW’s popular SUV has been completely redesigned. Sadly, it’s no better than previous models. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the most common problems with the latest Tiguan are structure, engine, and seatbelts.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Power Train
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System
Fuel/propulsion System
Vehicle Speed Control
Service Brakes
Exterior Lighting
Seat Belts

Problems with structure

A brand new car should be free from “nails-on-a-chalkboard” like sounds. The 2018 VW Tiguan, however,is plagued by an incessant clatter. Online, many owners complain of a rattling sound emanating from the SUV’s B-pillar (that’s the post right behind the driver that houses the seat belt).

An owner from Pueblo, CO, wrote into the NHTSA and said, “While driving at any speed and on any road surface, there is a constant rattling coming from the door and window pillars. It is very loud and noticeable at any speed. Going over rough roads and uneven surfaces makes the rattling worse. The vehicle is brand new and only four days old.”

On Edmunds.com, Tiguan driver Mathew Crawford wrote, “I bought a 2018 Tiguan SEL Premium Plus. I was very excited about the styling and the quality of the drive. The model that was delivered to me in the color combinations I wanted (Silk blue with stone interior) had several issues immediately. The rearview mirror, for example, wasn’t attached correctly. The lane-keeping aids only rarely showed green, rather than orange/yellow. Most irritating was a clicking sound that came from the B pillar.”

So far, Volkswagen has not offered a remedy for this issue. Owners are forced to turn up their stereos to drown out the aggravating B-pillar noise.

Problems with the engine

Hesitation from a vehicle while driving can be both scary and dangerous. The Tiguan has stuttered and stumbled for years, and apparently, the issues haven’t been solved in the 2018 model. Owners claim of a dangerous lack of acceleration that puts them in harm’s way.

One comments, “Hello. I have an ’18 Tiguan SEL. It’s less than a month old. It seems to me that it has a hesitation but only when cold. Has anyone else noticed this? I’ve tried sport mode, normal mode, manual shift, etc. but it’s still there. The dealer says it may be characteristic of the car.”

On the NHTSA website, another Tiguan driver complains, “Vehicle hesitates to start from a or dead stop. Will not accelerate as it should. Noticeable lag when shifting and accelerating. Engine misfiring at only 3,000 miles. Very dangerous when turning into traffic or merging onto highways.”

Right now, the jury is still out regarding the cause of the problem. Some guess it’s the electronic throttle body. Others point to the transmission. There has been no response from VW about the issues so far.

Problems with seatbelts

There doesn’t appear to be a separate issue with the Tiguan’s seatbelts. Rather, the complaints listed on the NHTSA website are just more accounts of the B-pillar noise. Understandable, since the seat belt retractor is mounted to the pillar.

One owner, from Brownwood, TX, explains on the NHTSA website, “ There is a rattle coming from the lower B-pillar, coming from the driver seat belt retractor.”

Volkswagen, once famous for building indestructible vehicles like the original Beetle, is now associated with poorly-constructed rattle-traps. Hopefully, the automaker will step up to the plate and address these issues soon.

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.

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  • Trisha Z

    We will be fighting VW for Lemon Law in MN due to my 2018 Tigan SE having a MAJOR oil consumption issue! I was at the dealership 11 times for the same issue. 11 times, yes, say it again. I have now a NEW ENGINE in my car and I was back at the dealership in less than 30 days to TOP OFF MY OIL in my NEW ENGINE. I’ve only put 2,500 on the new engine. Its a joke. The dealership and NO ONE IS OFFERING TO MAKE THINGS right so we will be bringing everyone to court. And no longer will be purchasing VW’s. I literally have been living there, I have had to take off work, use PTO, they just laugh and act like its not a problem. Clearly, we have an issue going on….Its been 3 years in October that I will be dealing with bulls**t.

  • Jane S

    I have a 2018 Tiguan. So far the catalytic converter, the fuel injectors, the fuel injector wiring harness, the ecu/tcm modules replaced, the emergency start, two wheel bearings and the waterpump cracked ruining the thermostat housing. I have never experienced a car with so many problems in my life.

  • Norberto R

    Almost every two or three days, on the VW Tiguan 2018, I hear a sound and it lights up an Alert that says “Abandon car …”. It turns on and off so fast that I cannot read the rest of the message. Took it to the VW service and they rode the car for a few days without detecting this issue. They could not tell me what the rest of the message says.

  • Lavonne b

    I just brought a tiguan sel with 38 000mile one day ago. The suv jerks.
    Everytime I stop at a red light and starts to accelerate it hesitate. They said that this crossover had no problems but it does. This is the second car I tried with them. CarMax charlotte nc. Alot of paper work for the bank and insurance and dealership. What do I do.

  • Pearl

    I bought a new vw all space tiguan in 2018 September.The car started stalling after 2 days from oil service at 70000kms.
    I took the car for a day and it was fine.the second day it started stalling again and putting me in harm’s way in busy rush hour traffic in the city.it kept on saying gear box,they gave a few warning lights.i managed to pull off a nearby stop and calle vw assist.Thisxwasvthe second time the car was doing the same thing in less than 2 days of collecting the car.The worst thing is that they will not even hivrvu a courtesy car.you just have to figure out the rest on your own.I would like VW to give me an option of a buy back to clear my loan at the bank as I am currently not enjoying the car and I fear it will put me and other road users in harm’s way.
    Do I have any options to tackle this matter before it is too late?
    Worried owner
    From Gaborone

  • Judy

    I purchased a New Tiguan in 2018. Almost immediately I began to have problems. Hesitation as I pulled out, windows not working, etc. Each time I took it back to the VW dealer and They always came up with a reason it was my fault. Other people in my family that drove the car swore they would never drive it again because they feared for their life. The hesitation was very dangerous. Now, I have taken the car to the dealer on 3 occasions because there is a miss or jerk in the engine if you can get up to speed on the highway. Each time I was told they could find nothing wrong. I knew we were going on a long trip so I had it checked again before we left….. same story. We were in Heavy traffic in the passing lane and the car almost shut down. It jerked continuously, It also came up with a warning that the car was going over 4000 RPM. It wasn’t, I couldn’t even get over 25 MPH. The tack said 1200 not 4000! We finally got to the side of the road after putting our life in jeopardy. I called our dealer where we just had the car and they said they couldn’t help. We could call roadside assistance. We were on our way to an important, life saving, appointment. We had stated that when we took the car in. He told us to try cutting the car off and turning it back on. We did and it started again. We had to do this for miles before we could get to a VW dealer. They were great to us and told us that this was a problem that VW had know about for a time. It turns out that we had to have a wiring harness. I cannot believe that Wallace VW in Bristol Tennessee turned us out like they did. I will never deal with them again. As soon as I can I will be purchasing a new car from something other than Volkswagen. I want to give 0 star rating but that is not an option.

  • Wanda S

    Hi!!! Tiquan 2018 S Thanks so much I’m reading you guys post and having some of the same problems. Ive had my car since November 20,2020. Ive starting noticing jerking feeling also a light came on saying transmission emergency mode. But Ive also been reading some post like my light only come on when its cold or should I say when the temperature changes but I work up the street from my house so my car is warm up enough I should say when I pull up to work the light go off. Ive took my car to dealership they saying its nothing wrong maybe its the codes or malfunction some foolishness this is crazy if you ask me I jus finance thus car I dont need no problems…

  • Gail D

    2018 Tiguan Naples VW 20 months old 24k miles when car was @ 5 months, bright dry day, on road with NO other vehicles simple two lane road, going about 35-40 the front impact assist SLAMMED on. VW took report brought in special tech to do diagnostic and reset program. When on interstate try to remember to turn front assist off. Now at 24k turn on car and electric throttle light comes on with warning light is on. Hard to drive, no acceleration or very slow, rough drive. Had towed to FM dealership but no light on when they started it. Really like the car but I am very concerned that there are fundamental software problems that could end of being a fatal accident.

  • Dan

    I have a 2018 Tiguan that I bought brand new. It has been full of problems since the beginning. There is a constant noise from the B side pillar that comes and goes as it pleases. The transmission is extremely jerky. It is so bad the first couple of shifts that I have to apologize to the people in the car with me and tell them that this is not the first time I have driven a vehicle. There are times that the vehicle feels like it wants to stall out when you have to pull out quickly. I have a bunch of stains on my ceiling that continues to get worse (I am not spilling anything on it). I constantly get errors while driving. Some errors say “only exit the vehicle in park” and “you are now in emergency transmission mode”. They go away when I restart the vehicle. The list goes on and on. Stay away from the Tiguan!

  • Jennifer S

    While driving on the highway and my 2018 Volkswagon Tiguan Lost power and warning light come on saying meeting your maximum 4000 RPMs I did not take a photo of it but it said it several times it was all I could do to get out the way of a semi behind me and other heavy traffic that light came on several times when I pulled off and checked car system through the settings it also display that exact thing under oil change needed it said 4000 RPMs exceeded so now I’m getting a call from the dealership saying do I have a picture of that for proof when I pulled that car into the dealership it’s still read that under the settings that shows you what’s causing problems with your vehicle they are pretty much calling me a liar and they’ve seen it they had to have it could’ve just disappeared I have talked to Volkswagon of America and they have made me a case number now the dealerships trying to say I’m lying that’s what I’m taking it from their text they want to photo why would I need a photo when it’s on the display David race that I’m sure so I’ve been almost killed twice in traffic on this issue

  • Jamie

    A/C stopped working. Took it in and they said nothing was wrong with it. Then it started blow extremely hot air and I had to take it back. They then found some codes to fix it.

    Leather is peeling under my kids carseat.

    Coolant was leaking and burning. They still can’t figure it out. The hood is always really hot, even hours after the car is off , even if only drove 15 minutes.

  • Ivelin H

    Well my Tiguan 2018 was at the shop for a few recalls. A week ago my car was flooded twice from the rain. I brought it to the dealership and they said that will fix the problem and will change the mats and the carpet .5-6 day later they called me and say that my car is ready so I went to pick it up. Surprise… surprise nothing was changed inside . The car was dirtied inside and when I opened the car smells like old dirty socks. I called the shop supervisor and he said that the mats are changed but I have to wait at least 6 weeks for the carpet. Nothing was changed everything was a lie, because The carpet was still little wet. They didn’t even vacuum and cleaned my car. It was dirty, smelly, dusty and some black marks on the ceiling. Ooo and my roof light wasn’t working. I can’t even drive the car because of my alergy it’s smells very bad

  • Tia A

    I have a 2018 Tiguan SEL and it started cutting off an dying while driving when ever I pause while using automatic shutoff feature. Is this a recall related issue?

  • Goran

    I have damage on the top of the trunk door of my Tiguan 2018. It happened during the
    automatic opening of the trunk. Ice formed in the gap between a body of the car and a
    trunk door, inside the trunk door. The ice was not visible from the outside of the car;
    therefore it was not possible to remove it prior to opening of the trunk. Now, the top
    of the trunk door is bended inside and I can’t open the trunk more than few inches.
    I had been to VW dealership on Des Sources in Dorval with the photos of the damage
    (they did not ask me to bring the car) and they told me to contact VW Canada,
    because this is not covered by the warranty. At the same dealership they told me there
    were four cases such as mine reported to them so far. It is obvious that there is a flaw
    in design/making the car

  • Paul L

    Engine noisy , should of purchased a Honda

  • Frank P

    I had a 2018 VW Tiguan. My comment on NHTSA website is posted here: “Creak/rattle from driver’s side B-pillar almost since new. Happens when driving over bumps in the road; happens most but not all of the time. Recently started same from passenger-side B-pillar, but less frequently. Most often noticed when driving a moderate speeds (35-55). This is a known issue with a TSB for early model year production. May involve poor/missing welds.” After going returning to the dealer three times, they decided to do a TSB repair. I requested a buy-back, but it was refused. After the TSB repair was completed, the noise was less prominent but was still noticeable. I had enough of VW and the Tiguan and traded it in. Not sure if I have any recourse since I no longer have the vehicle?

  • Amber S

    I have a 2018 Tiguan and it has already been to the dealership 3 times, for several issues. The last time it was there, it was there for just over a month. My car had defective lining that caused the inside of my car to have puddles of water on the carpet and they had to Replace the carpet and the lining in the entire vehicle. It was also there at that same time, for the second time, for my continued complaints of a possible transmission issue. The vehicle has a very hard time accelerating and does not match what my foot is doing on the gas pedal. The vehicle revs at high rpm and clearly has a hard time accelerating when the issue occurs. The dealership has told me that they cant find an issue even though I have videos of this happening. I have also seen complaints about my exact issues on Carcomplaints.com. While my car was at the dealership for the leak repair, they found a handful of recalls that included needing a new gas line. I’ve had a case open with VW corporate for almost 2 months and they have not made a decision about buying back my car.

  • Clarisse R

    Hello, I have a 2018 VW Tiguan that i do not feel safe driving. I have had issues with a leaking roof, Soaked carpets that took 2 trips to service to replace that were full of mold, rattling in the b pillars and the engine has no power and is burning oil. I would like out of my lease without penalties.

  • Dr. D

    I rented a 2019 Blue VW Tiguan suv from Sixt at SFO in June 2019. The suv only had a few thousand miles. We left SFO and headed up to Fr Bragg on the coastal HWY. It definitely was slow to respond and hesitated with acceleration. Then my adult daughter rolled down the window in passenger rear seat while in Yosemite and THE WINDOW GOT STUCK A FEW INCCHES FROM THE BOTTOM AND THEN THE GLASS JUST FELL DOWN INTO THE DOOR. I called Peter at Sixt and was told the closest Sixt was San Jose or SF ( we were in Oakhurst) so he told me to take the NEW CAR TO MICHAEL VW IN FRESNO FOR REPAIR UNDER WARRANTY THE NEXT MORNING. SATURDAY BUT THEY DIDNT HAVE A MECHANIC ON SAT. THERE, I got sent to CLOVIS VW. The counter lady at Clovis said IT IS A COMMON PROBLEM. IT IS COVERED 100% UNDER WARRANTY. OUR ONE MECHANIC ON DUTY IS SO BACKED UP IT WILL TAKE AT LEAST 4-5 Hours FOR HIM TO EVALUATE IT. The problem usually requires taking off TWO DOORS AND WE USUALLY HAVE TO ORDER THE PARTS. So we left with our taped up window( Really really noisy and had to leave SOMONE with suv when we stopped to take pics) and went to Kings Canyon and Sequoia and then exchanged the vehicle at SFO Sunday June 9,2019. Now on 9/2/19, Sixt EMAILED ME A BILL FOR $241. REALLY! Don’t rent from Sixt. Don’t buy a VW. WHY IS SIXT CHARGING ME FOR A PROBLEM THATS COVERED UNDER WARRANTY FROM VW?

  • Chris W

    Purchase 2019 R SEL 4 Motion Sunday.

    check engine light, 25 miles, tire pressure 30, miles, break boost 33 miles, auto start/stop malfunction 35 miles.

    On freeway 75 mph sudden stall decelerating no response from gas pedal almost in an accident.

    At shop now less than 100 miles second day of ownership.

    Case opened with VW North America

  • kevin s

    2018 Tiguan se, now 20k miles. At 15k miles needed new tires allready and dealing with vw now, the rotors are grooved so bad. waiting on corporate to see what thre going to do. vehicle has horrible throttle response. And jerky transmission.

  • GRamos

    Two recalls on the 2018 Tiguan so far (airbag and overhead led lights) and the other night it started leaking water from the overhead console. It has a sunroof but the next day the sunroof well was dry, yet the water that had obviously collected in the overhead was still leaking through. Had to get a ride to work today and it will be there all day. The service only shuttles you to your house. The other odd things are the sluggish response when accelerating (they have checked this before only to say that it is fine) and the windshield wiper fluid is constantly emptying and the alert light comes on often. I hardly use the windshield wiper fluid or at least no more than I have in any other vehicle I have driven. The service is looking into that issue again also. I have had many leases of VW vehicles. 3 Tiguans including this one, two Jettas, and one CC and none of the other vehicles have had these chronic problems. Early on my husband (a trained mechanic and experienced CDL licensed driver) and I experienced a strong hesitation and the car just stopped. He had them check it and again all clear as per the service, but seeing these other comments about hesitations and sudden stops is disconcerting.

  • Jon

    2018 Tiguan has been in the shop for 6 weeks, for the 2nd time since Jan…. Sunroof leaks. The dealer says they keep going back and forth with VW Corp for parts and recommendations. VW Corp has opened a case, any idea what they might do? The key fob also won’t work, replaced the battery twice. Lots of little ticky tack problems that should not come with a new car.

  • Tim M

    My 2018 Tiguan will randomly blast hot air from the driver’s side vents. It has been doing this from almost the first month of ownership. It has been to the dealer 5 or six times for this issue. It is there now.

  • Mo

    I have a vw tiguan r line 2018 and the gearbox is very jerky and it rattles alot when i put on to drive or reverse and while im driving when i deaccelerate theres a knocking sound and there is a rattle noise coming from inside the car at the back as for the gearbox issue it went to vw tec 3 times and they came back with the same anwser its normal thats how dsg ? Many1 have similar issues with theres

  • Traci

    Was carpooling today in 18 Tiguan SE, it was semi heavy traffic on the freeway. MPH was about 65 and slowed considerably, but I was aware and in control. . I had approximately a car and 1/2 length in front of me and all of a sudden the brake assist slams, throwing me and my passenger viciously forward, total whiplash. I was like Whoa, this is not good. It’s the 2nd time now. We also smelt major burnt rubber and as we continued back up to speed of traffic, the car at about 55 MPH made a ghostly wooooo sound , carpooler heard it to. Did it again about 3 minutes later.
    This amongst all the other issues I’m having, pillar noise, horrible acceleration, stalling, lunging at almost complete stop, I’M FED UP.
    Wondering if the lot of us have a safety issue/class action case here? How can that be coordinated?

  • Rahim D

    I have a 2018 Tiguan SE. The seat belt sign is coming on even it is plugged in. I wonder what is going happen if there is a crash?

  • KateC

    I just leased a 2019 VW Tiguan SEL and have had two instances where I was at a full stop before making a u-turn and the car jerked forward, stopped for 4-5 seconds with my foot pushing on the gas peddle and then lurched froward. The first time two oncoming cars had to stop short and swerve out from hitting me. VW of Naples said they cannot repeat the problem and car is fine. I won’t drive it, as I am petrified of driving this vehicle again. It only has 400 mile on it., Opened a case with VW corp, because the dealership will put me in another new vehicle or break my lease. VW Corp listens but says it is at the dealers discretion, while the dealer sates it is VW Crop’s decision. SAFETY SHOULD NEVER COME BEFORE MONEY.

  • Carlos N

    Engine noisy when accelerating in cold situation. It is better after warm up .

  • Arya

    I just leased a 2019 VW Tiguan, and the engine has had 2 major incidents of hesitating after I pressed on the gas. The car has about 200 miles on it. Any recourse?

  • Robert i

    My Tiguan is two months old what an awful ride it feel every little bump
    I wish we could return it

  • Harinder S

    My 8 months old VW Tiguan has displayed multiple safety error messages. The dealer has accepted the fact that the vehicle showed those messages. The dealer wanted me to keep driving.

  • Kelly K

    In February I bought a brand new VW Tiguan and by July it was in the shop along with many many more throughout the country. As of now they are unrepairable. VW has initiated a buy back. I also paid off the loan in July and now they are not wanting to cover the complete payoff from 2 months ago due to negative equity. Do I have any recourse?

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