really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
62,909 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Volkswagen Golf Owner Comments

problem #11

Mar 102016


  • 130,000 miles


Check engine and glow plug light came on, the car eventually would only run at around 50% power. After driving for another 20 miles it eventually shut down. VW conducted a diagnostic and told me the hpfp was damaged and that debris made its way into the engine. Also the particulate filter and catalytic converter needed replacement. The car has 130K and has never had a gasoline incident. I expected the tdi to make it a lot longer than this.

- Grovetown, GA, USA

problem #10

Oct 092015


  • 93,000 miles
My Golf tdi suffered a catastrophic failure of the high pressure fuel pump (hpfp) causing my vehicle to stall in the middle of traffic. Luckily every warning light on my dash lit up about 30 seconds prior to complete failure allowing me to begin to merge from the left hand lane and coast with my hazards on to the right lane. From initial symptom to complete vehicle failure was less than 1 minute. Searching online this is a common failure, one that results in upwards of an $8000 repair.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #9

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 #8

Jun 072015


  • 44,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Volkswagen Golf. Moments after parking the vehicle, it caught fire. The fire department extinguished the fire. The contact indicated that the fire originated in the engine compartment; however, the cause of the fire was not determined. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 44,000.

- Port Charlotte, FL, USA

problem #7

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 #6

Nov 032014


  • 34,400 miles
After driving my 2011 Golf tdi for a couple of minutes in the morning, I was traveling around 25 mph and my engine suddenly stuttered and then died. I immediately pulled as far over as I could to let traffic go by. I tried to restart the engine several times, but to no avail. After about 5 minutes of sitting in traffic, I decided to just hold the key in the starter position until, after about 20 seconds, the engine was starting to catch and then it started again. The same day, in the evening, as I was driving home, I came across the same stuttering issue but I pushed the clutch in and just gave it more gas to keep the idle up; the stuttering then went away. I took it to the Volkswagen dealer 4 days later and explain the situation, but they were unable to find any reason it could have happened.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #5

Aug 072014

Golf 4-cyl

  • 28,000 miles


When driving car and accelerating, the engine simply stopped. The dash-board lights were on, but the engine lost power. Attempts to re-start the car were not immediately successful. In two of the three cases, the engine did re-start. However, the E-starts occurred over 4 hours after the initial loss of engine power. In one of the three cases, the car could not be re-started. In this last case, the car was towed to the dealer and as of today (10 November), the dealer has not determined the cause of failure. A near miss accident occurred in one of the cases. After the engine stopped, another car nearly rear-ended my disabled car. The other car skidded and served out of the way of my disabled car.

- Middleton, WI, USA

problem #4

Nov 012014


  • 29,000 miles
When driving the car and accelerating, the engine stopped. There was a loss of engine power; however, after engine lost power, the dash-board lights were on. The car would not re-start immediately after the engine stopping. This scenario occurred three times. In two of the three situations, the car did re-start later in the day (approximately 3 hours after the initial failure). In one of the three situations, the car could not be re-started and required towing to the car dealer. In one of the three situations, a near miss accident occurred. A second car nearly rear ended my car after the engine stopped working. No accident occurred, but it was a close call. The second car skidded and swerved around my car.

- Middleton, WI, USA

problem #3

Aug 052014

Golf 4-cyl

  • 78,500 miles
On the night of August 5 about 8:30pm, while driving at 45mph, my car lost power while driving. I was able to get out of the traffic flow and coast until I could get to a side road and then pushed it into a parking lot. I looked at the engine and saw the serpentine belt was damaged. I also noticed fuel sitting on top of surfaces in the engine compartment. I asked my son to verify if he smelled fuel which he did as I have little sense of smell. After seeing the damaged serpentine belt, I did not attempt to restart the engine. I had the vehicle towed. At the dealer, the service representative attempted to try to start the vehicle and move it and said it wouldn't start, possibly causing additional damage since the serpentine belt was shredded. After some investigation the dealer's service manager explained that their leading theory is that diesel fuel leaked from fuel filter gasket onto the serpentine belt. Then the shredded serpentine belt took out the timing belt and caused the engine to rotate out of time causing internal damage. Car had been maintained per manufacturer schedule by this dealer, and this failure occurred 6K miles after most recent service. Dealer was unsure why the diesel fuel leaked, but the high pressure fuel pump and fuel filter seemed viable problem points. After getting engine parts replaced at great expense and getting the engine running on Aug 30, 2014, dealer indicated that they couldn't detect a fuel leak and said serpentine belt condition showed no condition to indicate failure but failed anyway causing the cavalcade of engine damage. Many parts were replaced or removed and reinstalled during the repair, so it is questionable that there was no fuel leak.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #2

Sep 132013


  • 60,000 miles
I was entering an intersection at 10mph and halfway into the intersection, my car stalled and stopped. It slowly bumped the car in my rear. No injury or damage noted. I put the car in park, turned off the car and restarted it and drop it to the nearest parking lot. This is a VW Golf tdi 2011!

- San Lorenzo, CA, USA

problem #1

Aug 202012


  • 26,550 miles
Had driven car 20 miles that day. Went inside for 15 minutes, came back. Unable to start car. Unable to engage engine. Lights and shifters all working. 5 attempts by 3 different people over next hour and unable to start car. VW tow truck driver unable to start car. Next morning VW able to start car. VW dealer attributes problem to water/algae in fuel. Line cleaned and fuel replaced by dealer. Car picked up. Car driven 15 miles total after pick-up. Left car for 5 minutes, returned to car but unable to restart car. Multiple attempts failed. Tow truck driver able to start car after 5 minutes of constantly engaging engine. Being investigated by VW dealer now.

- Austin, TX, USA

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