definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
23,700 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 Golf drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2011 Volkswagen Golf Owner Comments

problem #13

Sep 172016


  • 65,000 miles


While in motion and under power, car suddenly loses drive; acts as if shifted into neutral. Sometimes a flashing wrench indicator is seen in place of the gear number in the instrument display. This is happening increasingly often. At least once per day.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #12

Aug 012015


  • 54,000 miles
While exiting the off ramp of the highway at 1100 at night the car died and I was lucky enough to make it to the side of the road as traffic behind me was locking up their brakes and swerving to avoid a collision. After an expensive tow and finally getting the vehicle to the dealer I was told the high pressure fuel pump had exploded in the tank sending metal into the whole fuel system. I am told the repair bill will cost around $6500 to fix. This car has 54000 miles and I had received a letter from VW stating my high pressure fuel pump had an extended warranty a month prior however VW will not pay for the repair costs. The VW dealer told me they did a fuel sample test and the fuel did not have enough lubrication in it which caused the fuel pump to fail. As I have researched VW has had more than 3500 reported cases of these fuel pump failures and refuses to stand behind the Bosch products they use. I also talked with the service station where I purchased the fuel to let them know the pump failure is being blamed on lack of lubrication in their fuel and they have not had one other complaint of fuel issues reported. On a side not I filled my Dodge diesel truck with the same pump and fuel and have had no problems. To me this is a serious problem that VW is not taking responsibility for and if there is not a recall on these fuel pumps it is only a matter of time before someone gets killed because a known bad part that is not getting replaced.

- Navarre, FL, USA

problem #11

Jan 272015


  • 114,550 miles
2011 VW Golf tdi (diesel engine). After driving from rainy weather into freezing and snow conditions, the car was parked for several hours in a 50 deg. Garage. When the car was next started, it would struggle to start and stall out. I have read of several issues with the Volkswagen Golf tdi engines and know about condensation in the intercooler freezing, then thawing, causing water to build up in the intercooler piping. I removed the intercooler to engine intake pipe and drained about a cup of water and intercooler. If this water was drawn into the engine, it could have destroyed the engine. This is a well documented issue on several Volkswagen forums. My vehicle is not under factory warranty and does not qualify for any Volkswagen factory updates without significant cost to me.

- Adrian, MI, USA

problem #10

Dec 222014


  • 28,000 miles


Vehicle was being driven at 15 mph around a parking lot at a body shop. No indicator lights or computer warning system identified any problem. The vehicle control system failed completely, turning off power steering, ABS brakes, shifting transmission to neutral, and preventing windows from opening. Struggled to bring car to a stop while turning. Car engine remained running during the entire event. Turned off ignition. Restarted car, no problem indicators or warnings shown. Car was driven to dealer who could not identify problem. Second dealer stated alternator problem, but car never warned of any electrical or alternator problem. Afraid to drive car as failure of vehicle control system would likely lead to death if driving on freeway. VW dealerships were useless and contradictory and VW of America not helpful in even acknowledging the seriousness of the problem. Car is inherently unsafe to operate, the vehicle's computer system will not warn of dangerous conditions when the car is started, and catastrophic failure of the entire vehicle control system may occur at any time without any type of warning whatsoever.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #9

Apr 092012

Golf 4-cyl Diesel

  • 8,475 miles
I was driving the car (Golf tdi) equipped with dsg transmission in manual mode in 4th gear at about 35mph and I had to slow down for a car to turn right in front of me. After the car turned right I changed the gearbox in 2rd gear and pushed the accelerator pedal and the car didn't accelerate (move), only the engine revved at about 3500-4000 RPM (like being in neutral mode, basically the transmission not engaging the engine). I had to move the gearshift selector in drive mode (automatic) and the car after a few seconds began to accelerate. This is a very dangerous situation if happens crossing from one side to the other side of the road or in heavy traffic.

- Sachse, TX, USA

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problem #8

Apr 092012


  • 8,500 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Volkswagen Golf. The contact stated that the accelerator pedal was depressed but the vehicle failed to accelerate. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer and the manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileages were 8,500.

- Sachse, TX, USA

problem #7

Jul 012011

Golf 4-cyl Diesel

  • 100 miles


When driving in manual mode, the car drops out of gear when slowing down and does not re-engage. The dash shows that the car is in 3rd, 4th, or 5th gear, but when you press the gas, it just revs up the engine as if it is in neutral. It happens every day. I dropped the car off at byers in columbus, Ohio today after showing the problem to the shop manager.

- Heath, OH, USA

problem #6

Oct 152011

Golf 4-cyl Diesel

  • 6,800 miles
Experiencing a false neutral on dsg equipped Volkswagen tdi. First occurred around 6800 miles, second occurrence (during a left turn across traffic) at 7171 miles and lastly at 7503 miles. Engine free revs as car coasts and has to be put into neutral then back into drive for car to move forward. Happens around 30 mph while slowing then getting back onto accelerator.

- Clarksville, MD, USA

problem #5

Nov 032011

Golf 4-cyl Diesel

  • 19,920 miles
Subsequent to slowing down due to traffic, vehicle's dsg transmission affected an unplanned shift to the neutral gear, noticed when driver attempted to increase speed. Transmission was in "manual/tiptronic" mode. Upon noticing transmission was in neutral, driver shifted gear lever into neutral and then into "D" mode (not "manual/tiptronic" mode). Driver remained in the "D" mode for the rest of the 1.5 hour drive. This is the second time where the vehicle's dsg transmission went into an unplanned shift into neutral gear. Driving conditions were the same as the first time; the first time occurring, Thursday 10/13/2011, driver was in "manual/tiptronic" mode, with vehicle being slowed to under 10 mph, when driver attempted to increase speed, after making a right hand turn, the dsg transmission went into neutral. Rpms rived up 3,000rpm, which alerted the driver that the transmission was not in gear. In both cases, driver had to turn on flashers to insure that there would be no crash from the rear, due to vehicle having no forward power. In both cases, driver shifted the gear shifting lever into neutral, and then into "D" (drive) mode. Driver did not return to the "manual/tiptronic" mode for the rest of the 1.5 hour drive. Note: First incident was on 10/13/2011 ODI # 10432753.

- Laguna Beach, CA, USA

problem #4

Oct 132011

Golf 4-cyl

  • miles
Subsequent to stopping, while turning right, vehicle's automatic transmission went into an unplanned shift into neutral gear. Engine revved to 3,000 rpms alerting driver to the disengaged. Driver applied brakes, shifted gear into neutral, and then into drive mode. Vehicle remained in drive mode through out the rest of the drive.

- Laguna Beach, CA, USA

problem #3

Sep 012010

Golf 5-cyl

  • 1,500 miles


Engine RPM surges/spikes 500-800 RPM's from idle when attempting to slowly accelerate from a stop or near stop causing the vehicle to lunge forward unexpectedly. This surge/spike occurs primarily when on slight uphill grades or inclines and after releasing the brakes and gently applying throttle pressure. This seems to occur when the hill assist system is activated. Examples: Surge/spike occurs when on a slight grade or incline from a stop or near stop such as pulling up a driveway, trying to inch forward in stop-and-go traffic, or when accelerating normally from a stop. It is as though you pumped the throttle for a second then released it. If the vehicle is on a very steep upgrade incline it is not as noticeable as the brakes are not immediately disengaged when the surge/spike occurs due to the hill assist system engaging the brakes. If the vehicle is on a down grade decline or level road the engine RPM usually accelerates and operates normally. The VW authorized service department has confirmed this to be not normal. They have been claiming to investigate the RPM surge/spike with no solution after several service appointments in the past year and over 15,000 miles.

- Victor, NY, USA

problem #2

Jun 032011


  • 50 miles
My brand new 2011 VW Golf tdi manual car stalls at launch much too easily. I have driven manual transmission cars for 40 years and have found it much worse than the Mazda miata which was poor. This is a problem with all of this model, as confirmed by my test drive, magazine reviews, and the salesperson. It may be do to the "hill climbing" feature which locks the brakes upon stopping so that you have to overcome the brakes to move. I am scared a car will hit me from behind.

- Litchfield, CT, USA

problem #1

Feb 152011

Golf 4-cyl

  • 1,200 miles
2011 Golf tdi (diesel) when down shifting into 2nd gear, the car often stalls. It sometimes happens when we slow down to make aleft turn, and the car stalls in fron of oncoming traffic. It has created a number a dangerous situation.

- Somerville, MA, USA

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