fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
12,833 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.

2011 Volkswagen GTI drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2011 Volkswagen GTI Owner Comments

problem #10

Dec 222015


  • miles


Clutch makes a loud metallic groaning sound when engaging first gear or reverse. Loudest on cold days and when driving the car for the first time every day. Has been occurring for the past year. Many others have reported this issue online and VW has issued a technical service bulletin regarding the issue. They have admitted that this issue is due to a faulty clutch assembly/throwout bearing and have issued a redesigned part to fix the problem, but they are still very inconsistent in covering the cost of replacement for the defective part.

- Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

problem #9

Nov 062014


  • 43,000 miles
Came outside to a failed water pump. This is a common problem with various Volkswagen. Many shop techs are very familiar with this issue. It is unsafe for the driver and other cars. There is a chance the pump could fail while driving or a person may not notice the coolant on the ground. That can lead to the car overheating and causing expensive damage. You could also be left stranded on the side of the road. Any instance when a person or car are left on the side of the road is a road and health risk. Also when these pumps fail they often leak coolant. The coolant is not safe for the environment. When the pumps do get replaced the issue often comes back repeatedly. This is partly due to the poor design of the system. A revision of the waterpump should be made. Also an extension on the warranty of said part should be made for owners. This is a significant problem that needs to be taken care of. For personal and environmental risks.

- Shaw Afb, SC, USA

problem #8

Oct 042014

GTI 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
Engine will stall and die within 5-20 seconds after starting. Happens on a warm engine after it sits for 45-60 minutes. Happened multiple times, each after engine has reached operating temperature. This is potentially a deadly problem if the car dies on a street, as it won't steer or have propulsion! had it seen at VW dealer: They suspect it is the "in-tank fuel pump" but this part is not covered under drivetrain warranty? I called VW customer service but they said they can't help on this $834 repair. I'm perplexed how a fuel pump goes bad on a 2011 with only 45K miles, and that a vital component that will make the car stall & die is not covered under drivetrain warranty. This is a potentially deadly problem if it dies suddenly and cars following cannot swerve around. Very disappointed. This will be my last VW, ever. If you own a VW with 2.0 tsi you should look into this.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #7

Feb 092013

GTI 4-cyl

  • 19,000 miles


False neutral with dsg transmission: I was in manual mode when I downshifted as I came into a corner. Once around the corner I depressing the throttle, the engine began to rev freely as if in neutral for several seconds. I was able to regain power by allowing the RPM to drop to idle, then down shifting into second. This issue has only happened once in 19K miles slow reaction with dsg transmission: While moving and coming to a rolling stop and then accelerating to proceed, the transmission would not shift into a lower gear. This issue happens all the time.

- Santa Rosa, CA, USA

problem #6

Nov 172010


  • 3,000 miles
When accelerating after having slowed down for a turn, the clutch fails to engage and I get a false neutral. The RPM goes all the way to 5000, 6000, but the car doesn't speed up because it's in neutral, even when the gear selector is in D. this is difficult to replicate because it happens spontaneously. Volkswagen refuses to recognize problem because it cannot be immediately replicated at the dealership.

- Chino Hills, CA, USA

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problem #5

Oct 192011

GTI 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,920 miles
I was merging onto the 5 South freeway from the 110 South freeway, shifting the automatic transmission manually. After shifting into third gear and depressing the throttle, the engine began to rev freely as if in neutral for several seconds. Since the car was coasting and unresponsive, I began to lose speed while merging. I was able to regain power by shifting into neutral, then shifting back into drive and downshifting manually. This could have been an accident very easily if there was more traffic.

- South Pasadena, CA, USA

problem #4

Oct 212011

GTI 4-cyl

  • 11,958 miles


False neutral with dsg transmission: I had something scary happen this morning. Next to my house, where I pull out and make a left on to a 4 land road, traffic is coming around a mostly blind curve at 50mph. I have to pull out across traffic and go left onto this road (which has a median). This morning I pressed the gas for a very light acceleration, and it pulled out just a little bit and when it went to second it didn't engage... it went to neutral. I was only 1/2 way across the first lane of traffic. My car barely rolled out of the way of cross traffic. The engine would rev, but no gears were engaged. The stick was in D. once the car rolled down to about 2mph and I let the rpms drop down to idle, 1st gear engaged and I went about my business. It had literally *just* enough roll to get me out of the way of a car that was heading at my drivers side door at 50mph, and the driver was not expecting a car to pull out and stop in front of it (they weren't slowing down). If it didn't have that small amount of energy from 1st gear to roll out of the way, I can't imagine it would have been good. It was quite frightening.

- Apple Valley, MN, USA

problem #3

Sep 052011

GTI 4-cyl

  • miles
While moving and coming to a stop and then accelerating to proceed, the transmission would rev but the car would not move. The car was in drive only way to fix the situation at the time is to come to a complete stop and try to accelerate again.

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #2

Sep 262011

GTI 4-cyl

  • miles
I own a 2011 VW Gti 2-door dsg. I have experienced a "false neutral" about 10 times in the 2 months I have owned this car. Specifically, it happened twice on 08/27/2011, once on 9/25/2011, once on 9/26/2011. Each time I have been in manual mode...it occurs when I am coasting to either slow down or stop...then attempt to accelerate...though the car mfd tells me it is in gear (I.e. 3), the car is in neutral...the accelerator does nothing but rev the engine...the car remains coasting. I have to take the shifter out of manual mode, and place it into D...and wait about a second or two without touching the accelerator in order for a clutch to engage a gear and allow me to move. On 8/27, both times it happened when trying to complete a left hand turn on a green...a dangerous situation to find your car being in neutral. I have brought my car to the dealership, they refuse to help me because they were unable to replicate the issue on an approximate 5 mile test drive. I talked to VW of America, and they won't help unless a dealer can replicate it...they said it costs too much money. This is a terrible safety issue...and they are worried about the money. I offered to show them a video of it happening to someone else...it is posted on youtube...and they flat out refused. They said it wouldn't help in my case...and that it would prove nothing. Here is a link to the youtube video: www.youtube.com/watch?V=8tqodoilkyk - even if I could take a video of it happening to me in my car, they said that wouldn't help...as it would have to happen in front of a VW tech for it to be diagnosed. I have a second appointment with a different dealership next week, they will keep my car for a few days and try to replicate it. I don't know what else to do. Updated on 9/26/2011.

- Arlington Heights, IL, USA

problem #1

Sep 052010

GTI 4-cyl

  • 450 miles
From second day of ownership vehicle has had transmission (dsg automatic) problems. At well over 40 occurrences (in 30,000 miles) the transmission will slip into neutral when slowing to a rate of 10mph or less and then trying to accelerate, causing an extremely unsafe condition. One instance a collision was avoided by another motorist swerving onto the sidewalk to miss my vehicle and almost struck a pedestrian when my transmission went into neutral and I coasted into the intersection. Another symptom of the transmission is that the car will go into neutral at highway speed. At 65-70mph it will without warning or notice go into neutral and sometimes will not go back into gear until the vehicle has come to a complete stop. I have had the car into the dealer many times and it is the same story again and again, unless I can replicate the problem with a mechanic in the car they cant fix anything. I brought the issue to the dealers attention after the first incident the second day of ownership and they looked at it and said it is fine, and that I'm just not use to the car yet. After two accidents avoided I no longer feel safe driving the car and do not want it. Please do something about this issue before someone is seriously hurt!

- Lawrenceville, NJ, USA

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