really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
72,365 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2009 Volkswagen GTI brakes problems

brakes problem

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2009 Volkswagen GTI Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #65

Jan 022017


  • 67,000 miles


Vehicle has failed ABS module, as diagnosed by mechanic. ABS light is on and brake light flashes, as to be expected. While in motion, on either city street or freeway, vehicle randomly downshifts to first gear and is unable to switch back. Only way to get car working again is to turn car off and on, a dangerous proposition when you're on the freeway. In addition, power steering goes out and engine fault workshop! comes on after a few minutes in motion. Speedometer also randomly stops working while tachometer goes out of control. What begins as a simple brake problem is now an undriveable car. Have had to push car to side of the road several times because of this. Completely unsafe conditions to drive in.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #64

Dec 082016


  • 93,000 miles
ABS module and pump is faulty, which seems to be the case with many other Volkswagen Gti specific to the 2009 year. This causes the ABS and traction control to not work, along with loss of power steering, no or faulty reading on speedometer and gas gauge at any speed in both city and highway driving. Cornering is very difficult as the power steering is turned off. Incredibly dangerous and should be addressed and fixed by VW of America.

- North Hollywood, CA, USA

problem #63

Oct 172016


  • 74,900 miles
2009 75,000 miles. ABS controll module failure for the past couple of weeks my car would intermittently throw up the ABS and traction lights but this would go away shortly afterwards. I get in my car about 30 minutes and start driving for maybe 1/16th of a mile and everything just freaks out. Speedometer is dropping to zero (while in motion doing about 15 mph) and fluctuates all over between 0 and 20 mph. Brake light is on. Traction light is on. ABS light is on. Steering light is on. Epc light is on. Check engine light is on. And the mfd is saying "engine fault workshop". as time has gone on it now tends to happen atleast 15+ times a day.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #62

Nov 202016


  • 128,000 miles


The ABS pump module fails on 2009 cars regularly. The ABS, stability control and traction control no longer functions and Volkswagen refuses to do anything about it. Took my car to the dealer when it was under warranty for them to look at and all they could say was is that they could not duplicate the problem. Now it is out of warranty and the issue is constant to the point where I do not drive the car due to the speedometer and steering being affected by this issue. The car was on the highway and when the brakes were hard pressed the car skidded.

- Smithville, TX, USA

problem #61

Nov 302016


  • 118,000 miles
ABS brakes and stability control failure, every time the ABS or stability control is activated the systems immediately fail and dash lights all turn on with three loud chimes. Other times the failure happens during normal driving. Power cycling the vehicle resets everything but the failure will soon occur again. This is a well known problem with 2009 models and in my opinion is dangerous -- ABS & stability control system are critical to safety during emergency braking. Some time ago I had to use the brakes to avoid an accident, my wheels all locked up and my vehicle began to skid sideways -- not what one would expect on a vehicle that comes with ABS brakes. I just now learned I can file a complaint. This issue has been ongoing for over approximately 18 months. I regularly turn the ignition off/on while driving to power cycle and reset the ABS module when it error fails - though I don't expect it to work when needed.

- Cranford, NJ, USA

problem #60

Nov 012015


  • 60,000 miles
Failed ABS module which makes speedometer, ABS, traction control not work intermittently.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #59

Aug 122016


  • 103,000 miles


Was traveling on the interstate around a curve during rush hour traffic and had to apply the brakes pretty hard on that curve. The ABS activated very shortly and then was followed by the ABS light and traction and brake light coming on with an audible chime and the tires then locked up, which then caused the car to start to spin sideways. Luckily was able to correct it before disaster. This has happened on many occasions, basically whenever the ABS is engaged, the system is disabled right in the middle of needing it, very dangerous. I do not have the $1,000+ to fix this problem.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #58

Nov 042016


  • 106,000 miles
First occurrence ABS and traction control lights on dash momentarily while on freeway. Second occurrence, city driving, ABS, traction control, steering dash lights, dash display "engine faulty workshop" along with beeping sound, speedo wildly fluctuating while driving straight at constant speed around 40 mph, then a couple of seconds later the lights go out and everything appears normal. Reading forums of similar issues indicated an expensive replacement of the ABS module. Car has approx 106K miles.

- Camarillo, CA, USA

problem #57

Sep 122016


  • miles
ABS control module is well known to go out, very dangerous and expensive fix for low miles, not able to see speed, no traction control, and causes brake lock up during wet weather

- Watertown, TN, USA

problem #56

Sep 152016


  • 105,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Volkswagen Gti. While driving 5 mph and turning the steering wheel, the power steering failed. Various warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the ABS module failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 105,000.

- Williamstown, NJ, USA

problem #55

Sep 092016


  • 115,160 miles


While driving the vehicle steering system became tight, ABS and brake light came on as well as check engine, steering system malfunction, epc and stability control lights lit up on dash. Also, fuel gauge would drop to empty and speedometer went to zero miles per hour while the car was in motion. This happened on a city street going straight or turning.

- Ocklawaha, FL, USA

problem #54

Mar 212016


  • 52,000 miles
I was driving on the freeway when I had to make a sudden stop. My brakes locked up and my ABS, brake, and ESC lights came on. I tried to regain control but ended up spinning out on the freeway and hitting the guard rail. Had to fix taillight and bumper is scratched. This problem is extremely dangerous because when I was braking I was braking under the impression that my ABS system was working correctly and I did not pump the brakes. I was only notified that my ABS, ESC, and brake were having issues after I was in the panic brake and it was too late to react and start pumping the brakes. The ABS, ESC, and brake lights turn off after the car is restarted but the problem is still there. I have tried braking hard on wet pavement afterwards to test the issue and the ABS, ESC, and brake lights turn on again when the ABS is supposed to engage. I restart the car and there is no warning that the ABS system is having trouble. I began searching for the issue recently and found on a couple forums that many people have been having the same issue. I believe the issue is with the ABS control module. This is extremely dangerous and Volkswagen needs to recall asap.

- Troy, MI, USA

problem #53

Jul 012016


  • miles
VW 2009 Gti 80K miles. Solid ABS, solid power steering light, solid check engine light, solid traction control, and flashing "brake" lights illuminate on the dashboard occasionally upon turning on the vehicle, accompanied by 3 audible beeps. Then, the ABS, traction control, brake, epc, steering, and check engine lights began to come on while driving. ABS and traction control stay illuminated, while the epc, steering, check engine, and brake lights come on intermittently, accompanied by 3 audible beeps. The message "engine fault - workshop!" also shows up on the message display center in the dash. Steering feels a bit stiff. Speedometer, odometer and fuel gauge affected. Dealer has indicated an internal fault in the ABS control module requiring complete replacement. VW corporate offices unwilling to provide extended warranty on these common failures. Expensive fix and very dangerous to drive.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #52

Aug 012016


  • 100,000 miles
ABS module failure after 100K miles. Three chimes, "engine fault workshop" warning comes up, warning lights for ABS, esp, steering, brakes, everything. Happens randomly, often on turns, goes back to normal after a while except for ABS and check engine lights. Apparently this is a standard problem for this year/model.

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #51

Jul 262016


  • 122,000 miles
While driving at speed, "engine workshop" error code followed by ABS, ESC, "brake" traction control, steering warning yelow, steering warning red, and multiple dings and alarms. Speedometer goes to zero, car is slugginsh... when stopped, the brakes seem soft unless "pumped up" I am concerned that the vehicle controls are not relaible.

- Granite Bay, CA, USA

problem #50

Jun 012016


  • miles
ABS control module failure developed after 100,000 miles.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #49

Jun 202016


  • 108,000 miles
2009 VW Gti. ABS, traction control, brake, epc, cel and steering wheel light come on. 3 beeps sound. Speedometer doesn't work. After searching, this appears to be a common issue with the ABS control module. Power steering seems to turn off and on unexpectedly and is quite dangerous while driving. ABS won't work and traction control turns off and on unexpectedly.

- Cedar Park, TX, USA

problem #48

Apr 272016


  • 73,500 miles
Beginning around 55K miles (car was approximately 6 years old) I occasionally would experience a chime followed by ABS light flashing when taking tight turns. It turned off when cycling the engine off/on. Also, sometimes there would be three chimes upon starting the car followed by ABS and ESC warning lights flashing. This could not be removed by cycling the engine off/on. It would stay on while driving and only go away randomly the next time I restarted it later; sometimes it would stay on for many consecutive stops/starts. The symptom of the three chimes upon startup got more frequent recently (70K miles). It would appear almost every day. I researched this on web chat forums and the symptoms appeared to be consistent with other 2009 VW Gti drivers experiencing ABS control module failure. I also consulted my local VW mechanic and he concurred my symptoms were 'early onset' failure and anecdotally he said the 2009 VW Gti control modules have a reputation of early failure. It is worth noting the condition renders the ESC and ABS non-functional. I took the car to the dealer at 73500 miles and he diagnosed ABS control module failure and said it was dangerous to drive. I asked for a goodwill warranty extension and got it; the unit was replaced which appears to have fixed the issue. Luckily, I did not ever encounter a situation that tested the driveability of the car with those systems disabled.

- Sunnyside, NY, USA

problem #47

Apr 202016


  • 120,000 miles
When driving the car, a lot of the warning lights flash out of nowhere. The ABS light, traction, power steering, epc lights all flash. I also lose power steering. On top of that, the speedometer does not work. This happens abruptly and sometimes at high speeds. It is extremely dangerous. From what I've read, it is the ABS module failing. This seems to be a common problem of 09 Gtis and needs to be recalled!

- Red Bank, NJ, USA

problem #46

Jun 062016


  • 66,666 miles
Solid light in dashboard / ABS in orange / brake in red with 3 beeps everytime I turn on the car sometimes gets complicated eith epc light and "take to the shop" engine mslfunction

- Homestead, FL, USA

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