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

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

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.

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Most Common Problems with the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4

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 VW ID.4 Electrical System Problems

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.

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!

2021 VW ID.4 Brake Problems

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.

Who are we? We are Lemberg Law, a Consumer Law Firm

Lemberg Law is a consumer law firm helping victims of bad manufacturing and run-arounds from auto companies. We are ranked A+ by the BBB. Call our Helpline today!  There is no charge unless we win.


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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 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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