really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
15 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,278 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 Routan drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2011 Volkswagen Routan Owner Comments

problem #8

Feb 202012


  • 3,723 miles


The transmission would cause the vehicle to abruptly lunge forward when the gear was shifted from reverse to drive. I am the driver of the van and my head, neck, upper shoulders, upper/mid/lower back hurts. It started hurting because of abrupt jerking of my head and neck caused by the van when I shifted the gear from "R" to "D". this would also happen to my 2 small children (now 4 and 6 years of age) while they sit in the back. The head of the passengers in the van would also jerk and lunge forward or backwards. I have almost hit pedestrians on 3-4 different occasions that decided to walk really close to the front of my van in the parking lot while I moved the shifter from "R" to "D" I have taken the van into dealer 2 times already and called them every year to check if there is a recall. The dealership only did an electronic reset. I am really frustrated and fed up so today, Oct 25, 2016, I called and scheduled another appt with the dealer because this issue is getting out of hand. I also checked and currently, there is no recall on this matter.

- Stockton, CA, USA

problem #7

Oct 092016

Routan 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
My complaint is a that my vehicle started out giving me problems getting started then got to the point the engine would just stop while driving and would not allow me to press the break to stop the vehicle. I found that Chrysler had recalled the tipm in their vehicles and VW Routans (made by the Chrysler group) were just no longer made and pushed under the rug...this is my primary mode of transportation and I am a single mother of five minor children...I don't have $1300 to invest in the repair and I reported the issue to VW and to no avail. I'm afraid for mine and my children's lives...the next time we may not be so lucky....I am in hopes that this reaches someone that can help. My children and I were in the vehicle and in a rural area on a straight-away when the engine shut off (without warning) and I could not engage the brakes. I was always advised that VW vehicles were the way to go because VW stood behind their brand...but I find that now that my family is in this situation they can care less. I did report the issue to them and was told they would not stand behind the vehicle.

- Lynchburg, SC, USA

problem #6

Sep 182016


  • 85,000 miles
Recently the van has given me trouble upon startup. The problem is intermittent. Sometimes, it would start fine. Other times, it would take multiple attempts to start the vehicle. Other times, the vehicle would start, then immediately turn itself off. Sometimes, it would be like there wasn't enough charge to turn the starter, and other times, when it would start then die, it felt like it was running out of gas. After much research, I discovered that the totally integrated power module is the culprit of these issues. Specifically, it is the fuel pump relay that can intermittently not turn on, or turn off randomly. It is a well-known issue with these vans and its Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler town N country cousins, upon which the VW Routan is based. Fca has stepped up to the plate, and issued a recall on many of its vehicles for faulty tipm's, but VW seems to want to forget that its customers chose their version over the others. It's a shame, because I like VW. My family drove only VW's during my youth, and that played into my decision to get the Routan. It looks like I won't be purchasing a VW product in the future. This doesn't even mention the other big issue that certain year Routans/Grand Caravan/T&C's can have, which is a complete failure of the front cylinder head. Again, in this case, Chrysler issued an extended warranty on that particular part, but VW made no effort to extend its warranty on those parts. I have called multiple VW service shops in the greater DC area, and none of them have heard of a warranty extension on the cylinder heads. If VW has issued an extension, then they haven't done a very good job of informing dealer service shops, or notifying their customers. It's a huge disappointment. Get your act together VW of America. For those with tipm issues, there is a $40 temporary workaround for sale at www.verticalvisions.com

- Bowie, MD, USA

problem #5

May 232016


  • 64,500 miles


Transmission slipping. My 2011 Volkswagen Routan sel had only about 64,800 when I started to get a check engine light which was diagnosed as a torque converter clutch solenoid error. I had this diagnosed by my local mechanic, autozone, advanced auto parts and aamco. I called my VW dealer who told me that because my vehicle was out of warranty of 60,000 miles, I had to pay $180 for a vehicle diagnosis on top of repair costs which could be up to $3,500 or more depending on their findings. I understand that although my vehicle has the VW emblem on it, it is essentially a Chrysler minivan on a Volkswagen shell. I really need to get this fixed as I am experiencing much lower mpg per fill up and degraded highway acceleration/speeds. I am reporting this in hopes that there are other reports of incidents similar to mine so we can get more favorable resolution from the manufacturer in the form of a recall or other fix that could help consumers like myself save hundreds to thousands of dollars.

- Nottingham, MD, USA

problem #4

Feb 142016


  • 50,000 miles
The van will shut off without warning. This most recent time I was driving at about 63 mph with cruise control on. I notice the van shake, the cruise control disengaged and the vehicle slowed to a stop. The same thing happend about 1 year ago. VW changed out some parts and said it was fixed. Judging from the threads I'm reading it's a prevalent problem that they have not properly addressed. The van is at the dealer this morning...I'm waiting for diagnostics results

- Houston, TX, USA

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problem #3

Aug 222014


  • 68,000 miles
I started my 2011 VW Routan this morning and as soon as the transmission was placed in reverse, the engine quit. I had all electrical power throughout this whole ordeal. I placed the vehicle in park and started it again though it was hesitant to start. It started after 3 seconds and I allowed it sit and idle (did not notice anything out of the ordinary while idling at smooth rpms). I placed the transmission into reverse and the engine immediately quit running again. After placing the transmission back into park, in deperation I attempted a third try to start the engine and engage the transmission. This time everything worked as normal. After seeing so many other complaints of very similar instances of engine shutdown, I am extremely concerned as to the safe operation of this minivan. The only key that has ever been on my key ring (after 2.5 yrs of ownership) is the key for my Routan; I always maintain a separate ring for house/office/etc. In the event that this occurs while driving down the road, I will ensure that it gets fixed so that I can attempt to get as much resale value as I can while promptly trading in for something other than GM or VW.

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #2

Mar 132014

Routan 6-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
My 2011 Routan suddenly lost power while I, with my kid on board, was driving on a highway in March 2014. Can you imagine a vehicle stopping in a flow of vehicles at 70+ mph? all lights were on. I managed to restart the engine and was able to drive but the check engine light was still on. The dealership from whom I bought the vehicle "repaired" it and told me that "everything is fine" by having a brand-new set of wiring. A month later, the same life-threatening issue happened again while I was driving. This time, the vehicle stalled and I could not rotate the steering wheel at all. Now the vehicle is again with the dealership for diagnosis. As a matter of fact, about half a year ago before these losses of power happened, I experienced another problem with the vehicle. The acceleration was not very responsive. That is, when I hit the gas pedal, the vehicle initially did not accelerate at all and after 2-3 seconds, it suddenly accelerated. This really frightened me as I tried to change lanes. Now I have no confidence with this vehicle at all. I am deeply worried that even if the vehicle is "repaired" this time, I and my family could get injured or killed by having a car that randomly shuts off in the midst a stream of fast-moving vehicles. This type of vehicle should be banned from the road for the safety of innocent people.

- Potomac, MD, USA

problem #1

Nov 102011

Routan 6-cyl

  • miles
My sister bought a VW Routan SE 2011 six months ago. Recently, we have experienced a "safety problem" with the vehicle especially when we are trying park it on a (steep downhill) between two cars in san francisco. When the transmission is put in reverse and the driver is backing up to park between the two cars on a steep downhill, the VW Routan moves forward approximately one foot prior to backing up and we feel abnormal vibrations in the transmission/engine. Plus, if you do not press any gas when the transmission is put in reverse, the car acts as if the transmission is put in neutral showing no resistance. This is a safety issue, I might hit the car in front of me so I brought it up to the attention of northern ca VW case manager as well I took it two different VW dealerships (VW oakland and VW serramonte). Both dealerships mechanics have admitted there is something wrong. However, the management of VW is claiming that it is normal since the other new 2011 VW Routan are performing the same under identical circumstances. The VW case manager stated that in the eyes of VW it is ok for the mini van to move about one foot forward when it's backing up on a steep downhill; it is how it was designed by the engineers. This absolutely an irresponsible way to treat your customer who bought a 2011 vehicle to have a peace of mind at least for the first couple of months of ownership. It puts the life of our citizens in danger. I have no control over the car when it's backing up on a steep downhill. There is no way I can stop it from moving forward about one foot before it starts backing up. Let's say someone was crossing the road at the same time I was backing up, who will be held responsible if he/she got hurt. As a government committee, I would like you to investigate this and take action.

- Daly City , CA, USA

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