2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system & brake issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Launched in 2020, the Volkswagen ID.4 is VW’s first fully-electric crossover SUV. It hit the market with multiple accolades and was voted the 2021 World Car of the Year by nearly 100 journalists from 28 countries. The company is advertising it as a car for “the millions, not the millionaires.”

This sounds great, especially with an electric car offering intelligent design (ID). But there are already 5 recalls for the new SUV, all of which relate to major safety issues that may result in accidents. And there are 60 complaints with the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These relate to problems across the board, some more serious than others.

Bearing in mind that the car is a global favorite, there are many more complaints other than those received by the U.S. NHTSA.

Click on another model year to view more problems: 2023   2022

Most Common Problems

In keeping with lots of other electric vehicles, the major complaint about the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is its electrical system. It is probably worth noting that only one of the recalls is related to the electrical system. Despite the fact that many complaints to the NHTSA and other platforms, this recall only potentially relates to 356 2021 VW ID.4s.

According to the recall issued in mid-March 2022, the malfunction of this particular malfunction is caused by the incorrect soldering of the car’s flexible printed circuit assembly (FPCA) inside the high-voltage (HV) battery. The possible result is an unreliable connection. Unfortunately, as a complaint filed with the NHTSA on July 5 points out, the part to do the recall repair is not available.

In terms of complaints, there are 60 in total to the NHTSA up to mid-September 2022. There are a whopping 28 complaints about the electrical system, 9 that are related to service brakes plus another one for service brakes (air), and 8 to forward collision avoidance. There are also 7 about vehicle speed control and 5 each about the powertrain, exterior lighting, steering, and the fuel/propulsion system. Most powertrain issues also involve electrical issues.

Additionally, there are 4 complaints about the engine, and 3 that relate to lane departure. There are 2 each about back-over prevention, equipment, latches/locks/linkages, and visibility/wiper. Finally, airbags, engine and engine cooling, seat belts, and tires, all have 1 complaint each.

There are a total of 9 “unknown or other” complaints. Most are combined with other components, including the electrical system. Only 4 aren’t combined with other components, and these relate to various technical issues as well as a rear window that shattered spontaneously.

So, it’s very varied.

Here is some more information about the most common problems reported to the NHTSA.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Complaint Summary

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

Electrical System Issues

It probably shouldn’t be a surprise to discover that electric vehicles have electrical system problems. Somehow, it is surprising to many consumers.

Electrical system issues mentioned in NHTSA complaints are, though very varied, so it’s difficult to pinpoint typical problem areas. For example, the first complaint on their system states that the infotainment panel shuts off sporadically. The concern is that this doesn’t just affect entertainment, but safety features as well including the backup camera and proximity sensors.

A particularly alarming recent complaint describes how the driver gets a warning message when depressing the brake when starting the car. The message says: “Electrical system not working properly, please service car immediately.” The owner has tried to do this several times but the VW technical team cannot replicate the issue “despite multiple images on multiple occasions of (the) same apparent problem.” Consequently, the owner has been told it is a software problem. But there is no resolution.

Another recent complaint is that the 12-volt battery ages very quickly. After just one year the voltage was dropping overnight, causing the internal systems to shutdown and report errors. The owner says: “If the car sits idle for 2-3 days, the voltage drops to the point where the car must reboot entirely, which includes an audio sweep calibration from the pedestrian warning speakers.”

Yet another complaint involves a driver pulling out of a parking garage slowly when the car shut down and lost all power. That happened twice. Other complaints report cars shutting down as well as fuel/propulsion issues.

The rear window defrost grid is another issue.

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Rear Window Defrost Problems

It is very likely that the rear window defrost problem was the reason for the shattered rear window mentioned above. Ironically, though, the dealership was unable to pinpoint the problem. Rather, according to the owner of the car: “The repair shop manager suggested it was a stray BB from a BB gun.”

The owner of this 2021 VW ID.4 states: “The rear defrost had been turned on as I drove to the store. I shopped for about 15 minutes and came out of the store and sat down on the front driver’s seat, which starts up things like the radio and I believe the defrost again. This is when I heard an explosion, got out of the car to see what had caused the vibration and sound, and looked to find that the glass was shattered inward and there was a hole as if a brick had been thrown through it.”

A rear-facing toddler car seat was impacted with small shards of tempered glass. But luckily there wasn’t a child in the seat at the time. While the owner’s insurance covered the repair, they didn’t believe the damage was from a BB gun!

Problems with the Brakes

Service brake issues are always a concern because a failure can result in a crash. A recent complaint describes a brake failure that resulted in a crash. To make matters worse, the airbags didn’t deploy. Luckily, nobody was injured, but the ID.4 is “a total loss.” The mileage on the clock was only 8,000!

Another complaint states that it felt as if the brake pedal was switched off. But the car accelerated and smashed into another car. But they state that VW isn’t accepting responsibility and is claiming the accelerator and not the brakes were applied.

One complainant whose car spontaneously accelerated and hit a parked car in front of her says:

“This has not just happened to me but to many others as well. I can send documentation for that if you need.”

Another very similar complaint states that when the car suddenly accelerated, “the steering wheel turned uncontrollably.” The driver wasn’t able to stop the car because the brakes didn’t respond.

Explaining what was “a terrifying experience,” the owner states: “The car was driving by itself, I couldn’t do anything to stop it, until I ran into two parked cars where it finally stopped; thank god no injuries. The car was undriveable, and was towed away.”

What to do if your 2021 VW ID.4 is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

It’s a tough call when you buy what you believe is a top car. But, the reality is that some are 100%, but amongst them, there will be lemons. It’s not for us to decide why or how it happens.

We want you to know what to look for, and if you think you’ve bought a lemon, contact us so that we can help you resolve your issues.

Lemberg Law is a specialist consumer law firm that specializes in lemon law cases. We can help you get a replacement vehicle, a cash settlement, a trade-in, or a buyback.

Call our Helpline today and we’ll see what we can do to help you. VW will have to pay the legal bills, not you.

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
  • Sam M

    Well here we still don’t have our 2021 ID4 Pro-S back from the dealer we went there they informed us that the new battery was installed along with the updates being completed. Now a warning light comes on stating that the battery cooler is not working. They stated that they contacted VW of America and was told to change the cooler which the dealer did not. The warning light does not come on but after a hour when they tested the car it came back on so they contacted VW again and VW has no idea how to correct the issue. The dealership contacted today and stated that they have been working on this issue for over 20 hours and have no solution as of yet and to check back with them in 2 days. The same story we have been hearing.
    I contacted VW of America and said they would turn the matter up to a review board and the process usually takes 45 days for a answer so here we go again. No car, No answers.
    Disgusted with this entire process.

  • Sam M

    We purchased a used 2021 ID 4 pro s with 8,000 miles from a Toyota dealer. No one informed us of any up dates needed. A month after driving the car for about 700 miles the info screen turned black and nothing worked. We made a service appointment with the VW dealer where the car was originally purchased new they informed us the car needed 6 software up dates but only 5 are available. We took the car in and they stated that they would need it a week and that we would need to return it when VW makes the 6th update available. After 8 days we did not hear anything back so we visited the dealership they said they started the 5 updates but could only complete three because the 12 VOLT battery is no good and the battery is on back order and it will most likely be another month. So here we are making car payments on a car that we wont have for over a month. We have no faith that it will even be corrected by then. Have you had or heard anyone else caught up in this nightmare. Thank You

  • Robert C

    Door opening on its own.

  • Wayne M

    I bought a 2021 ID 4 AWD yesterday. I was told by the salesperson that there was a “recall” and a software update was forthcoming (not sure when). I complained that the range on the car after being fully charged by the sales person was only 190 miles, when the advertising specs were a range of 255 miles. She told me that it was fine and would probably increase over the next few days. I thought that was strange but was excited about getting new vehicle. When I returned the next day to the dealer for some answers, the service department informed me that there was a safety recall on the vehicle. They handed me a piece of paper entitled “Volkswagen Dealer Communication.” It stated “Advance Notice – Safety Recall 97ZZ/ High-Voltage Battery Management Control Module Software.” The issue is: “The high voltage (HV) battery management control module may reset or, in rare events, the pulse inverter may be deactivated while driving. If the HV battery management control module resets while driving, the vehicle’s electric motor will not be supplied with power for the duration of the reset. This may lead to a loss of propulsion without pre-warning and may increase the risk of a crash.” Under precautions it says: “When this situation occurs, the deriver will receive an immediate waring in the instrument cluster. Customers experiencing this situation are advised to contact their authorized Volkswagen dealer with delay to schedule an appointment and have the vehicle diagnosed/repaired.” At the bottom of the page it states: “Pre-owned Vehicles in Dealer Inventory: Dealers should not deliver any pre-owned vehicles in their inventory which are involved in a safety or compliance recall until the defect has been remedied.”
    I was told that there was a recall, but not that it was a safety recall, that the recall was not yet available. Why would they sell a car that had a safety recall? It only has 3,000 miles on it. The salesperson could not be specific but told my wife and I that it was nothing important. I think this is important!!!
    One of the higher ups (Brandon) assured me that the recall would be repaired by the end of April. I would not have bought the car had I known that this was a SAFETY recall.
    What are my options?

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