Volkswagen Golf 7 Problems (2012-2020) – Reliability Report

Volkswagen Golf 7 Problems: Not many cars get to see their 7th generation come to life or better yet come on the roads. One such successful model is the Volkswagen Golf. In its 7th generation, the Volkswagen Golf called the Mark VII or simply “Golf 7”, delivered what everyone was expecting of him, the standard for all other hatchbacks on the market. With its amazing design, an attractive line-up of engines and high-quality interior, the Golf 7 was a hit from the beginning. For those seeking economy and reliability, diesel options were offered, for those looking for space and dynamics, Volkswagen offered the estate or wagon and for those seeking adrenaline, Volkswagen also offered the Golf 7 in a GTI and the R spec.

This article will cover all the common problems, issues and faults with the Volkswagen Golf 7. Here are the most common Volkswagen Golf 7 problems that we discovered by talking to owners, browsing 100s of forum threads and ConsumerReports.

Major Volkswagen Golf 7 Problems

Golf 7’s water pump and thermostat problems

As do other similar model year cars from VAG Group, like the Audi A4 B8 that we talked about before, the Volkswagen Golf 7 also uses a poorly designed water pump and thermostat unit. The housing that hosts both components is made out of plastic which is prone to leaks and cracks as heat cycles pile up and the plastic housing deteriorates. If you are buying a Golf MK7 make sure that the water pump and thermostat unit has been replaced.

2015 Golf 7 GTI turbo failures

Early models (2015) of the Golf 7 GTI were prone to early turbo failures. Volkswagen recognized the issue and replaced the majority of the faulty turbos under warranty. Updates to the turbochargers were made in order to prevent the issue in the future. If the car you are buying still has the problematic 06K 145 702N turbocharger, make sure it has been replaced or you might be in trouble. Turbochargers with the “722” part number ending are the ones you should look for. Most people took advantage of the failing turbo problems and decided to upgrade their performance with a bigger replacement turbo, sweet!

Coil pack failures on turbo engines

Owners of all turbo engines in the Golf 7 are reporting common ignition coil pack failure. While this is an easy and relatively inexpensive fix, the engine can still misfire and your coil packs usually fail at the same time which makes the repair costs pile up.

Carbon buildup on direct injection engines of the Golf 7

Even Volkswagen is not free of the dreaded carbon buildup in direct fuel injection engines. This means that one of the more common Volkswagen Golf 7 problems is engine carbon buildup. This is more common on vehicles that are driven in short distances, with vehicles that often run on low-quality fuel, vehicles that spend most of their time in stop-and-go traffic and vehicles that rarely experience high rpm ranges. While many owners claim that carbon buildup is much less of an issue in the Golf 7 as it was on the Golf 6, many still face problems such as loss of power and rough idling. We recommend that you have the engine regularly inspected for carbon buildup and choose one of the cleaning methods we described in our article on carbon buildup.

Suction pump failure on early Golf 7 GTI models

The failing suction pumps on the 2015 and 2016 Golf 7 GTI were a big issue and it forced Volkswagen to recall over 100,000 cars. Suction pumps’ job is to clean out fuel from the EVAP (evaporative emissions system). If the suction pump, which is located in the fuel tank, fails, fuel gets directly into the EVAP system which in return causes major troubles sooner or later. 

The big problem here is that this often goes unnoticed and you face the problem once the damage has been done. Some symptoms of a failed suction pump include: ignited check engine warning light, power loss in the higher RPMs, fuel smell in the interior and a clogged carbon charcoal canister.

volkswagen golf 7 estate wagon

DSG transmission problems (7 speed DQ200)

The infamous DQ200 Dry-Clutch DSG transmission was one of the common Volkswagen Golf 7 problems. The DQ200 direct-shift gearbox is known to have issues with premature failure of the dual clutch pack and jerky shifting. Certain problems with this gearbox are resolved by reinstalling the transmission software while many other owners had to replace entire clutch packs which is highly expensive. To see other DSG transmission problems, see our guide to DSG problems.

Turbo failures on diesel Golf 7 models

Not all but a number of 1.6 TDI diesel Golf 7’s were prone to early turbocharger failures, some even before the car reached 50,000 km or 30,000 miles. Most of the faulty turbos were replaced under warranty. This is only a concern if you are buying a super-low mileage 1.6 TDI Golf 7.

Minor Volkswagen Golf 7 Problems

Plastic oil pan and oil cap problems on the VW Golf 7

The Volkswagen Golf 7 features a plastic oil pan and plastic oil sump plugs. You can already imagine what the problem here was. Due to heat and exposure many of these oil sump pans were quickly damaged and needed replacement. The same goes for the plastic plugs. These need to be replaced at every service in order to avoid oil leaks. Aftermarket part manufacturers offer aluminum oil sump pans and plugs which are far superior to the plastic OEM part. Oil leaks in this area are easy to spot and not to be ignored!

Poor OEM clutch lifetime on the GTI and R versions of the Golf 7

Many owners of the stronger Golf 7 family members, the manual transmission Golf 7 GTI and Golf 7 R are reporting early clutch failures. While this failure is connected to the way the car is driven, Volkswagen could install higher performance clutches in these stronger versions of the Golf 7. Aftermarket manufacturers offer higher performance clutches that last longer.

Noisy subframe bolts

We already talked about subframe issues on our Volkswagen CC reliability report. The same issues are plaguing the Golf 7. Loose and stretched subframe bolts on the Golf 7 cause annoying clunking and thumping sounds when driving over speed bumps and potholes. This is known and easily resolved issue at this point.

Smearing windshield wipers on the Volkswagen Golf 7

This is a weird one, but if you take a look at forum threads about common Volkswagen Golf 7 problems, one of the more common issues you will see are complaints about poor windshield wiper problems. Replacing windshield wipers with higher quality ones that we mention here, can solve the problem.

2015 Golf 7 front wheel bearing housing problems

Early 2015 Golf 7 models are prone to complete failure or damage of the wheel bearing housing assembly. We recently wrote about how to recognize wheel bearing damage.

Golf 7 GTD models – increased oil consumption

Many owners of the strongest diesel Golf 7 model, the GTD, are reporting high oil consumption. Read more about the issue on this forum.

Air Conditioning condenser damage

This minor but common problem of the Golf 7 is again a clear design issue. The Air Conditioning condenser of the Golf 7 is prone to road damage and other issues because of its low positioning. When buying a Golf 7, inspect the condenser and always check if the air conditioning works as it should. 

Body and interior Volkswagen Golf 7 Problems

Golf 7 Hood cable and handle problems

Many owners post complaints about the hood cable and hood handle. Both problems are present because of two things: force and plastics. These things rarely go hand in hand. Hood cables that are responsible for opening the hood are joined with a metal ball that sits in a plastic cup. When there is pressure on the cables, the plastic cup which should hold down the metal ball of the joint hood cables, breaks and you can no longer open the hood. The same problem lies in the handle mechanism. The handle holds a metal ball end of the cable which is pulled when you pull the handle. The plastic part that holds the metal ball end is known to break which makes the hood handle unusable. 

Golf 7 sunroof water leaks problem

Golf 7 sunroof is a known source of trouble, mainly water-related issues. The first issue was actually brought upon the Golf in the factory. The plastic frame of the sunroof which also acts as a water drain was sometimes bolted down with too much force which led to cracks. This later caused water leaks in the interior of the car. 

The other issue of the sunroof is blocked water drains. As these tiny water drains fill up with dirt, the water starts leaking into the interior of the car. These are annoying small problems that you cannot ignore.

volkswagen golf 7 interior problems

Volkswagen Golf 7 rear boot lock problems

Many Golf 7 owners are reporting rear boot lock problems. In most cases, the boot lock needs replacing. This can be annoying if it happens while you are away from home and cant access the boot from the outside.

Infotainment system issues in colder weather

Another strange Volkswagen Golf 7 problem is that many owners are reporting slow and unresponsive functioning of the infotainment unit when temperatures are low. As the car heats up, these problems go away.

Golf 7 interior rattling problem

Many Golf 7 owners are reporting unusual and annoying interior rattles. Not something you would expect from a higher class hatchback.

Gas tank cover problems on the Golf 7

This is one of the more common Volkswagen Golf 7 problems, the gas tank cover gets stuck due to a faulty actuator, leaving you unable to access the fuel tank and refill. Replacing the actuator is both expensive and unpractical as many of these cars need to get towed to the dealership as they run out of fuel. You can read more about this issue here.

Electronic problems

Windshield washer fluid level sensor failure

Many owners face “low washer fluid” warning lights on their dashboard, even when their washer fluid is topped off. This signals a failure of the windshield washer fluid level sensor.

Golf 7 Radar cruise control problems

Golf 7 with radar cruise control is often subjected to problems. The radar component stops working, leaving you with just regular cruise control. The problems are often resolved with a software update.

Automatic parking brake issues on the Golf 7

The automatic parking brake option on the Golf 7 is commonly named as one of the electronic problems. “The automatic handbrake does not work on several and random occasions” are the words that owners use to describe the problem.

Golf 7 Start Stop problems

Many owners of Golf MK7 are reporting problems with the start and stop function. These problems usually start appearing when the life of the battery starts deteriorating. If the battery loses more power than it is able to regain while driving, the start and stop system, which is a big energy consumer, will not work.

Conclusion and recommendation

Although there are many Volkswagen Golf 7 problems, we still consider the MK7 Golf to be a reliable car. Volkswagen did a good job of catching any problems as soon as they appeared which is why many Golf MK7 on the used car market are considered to be worth purchasing. Make sure that the car has a full service history and that it had all of the recalls we mentioned taken care of. If you seek economy, diesel models, especially the 2.0TDI is fantastic. Good luck!

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