2019 Tiguan repair bill comes to Rs 5 lakhs; VW refuses warranty claims

I steered clear of Audi, BMW and Mercedes cars just to avoid paying a fortune to get parts replaced. But fate / VW didn’t spare me.

BHPian barathi23 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I own a Volkswagen Tiguan 2019, purchased in December 2019. I have been driving the car for around 10,000 kilometres a year on average. I have driven it for around 49,000 km till June 2023. I have made less than 5 long drives (over 200 km) in the whole time I have owned the car. I mostly drive to and from my work and hit the highway for less than 100km on weekends. I have never serviced my vehicle anywhere other than the dealer in my town. One day in mid-June 2023, while driving back, after going about just 2 km the rear wheels started to misbehave, they acted like the brake was being applied, and I heard short screeching noise from the rear wheels. It felt like the brake was misbehaving and the brake being automatically applied when my foot was not even on the brake, slowly applied the brakes and the rear wheel began getting more and more locked up as I brought the vehicle to a stop along the side of the road. When I finally stopped the vehicle the rear wheel was completely locked up and when I tried to move the vehicle slowly the vehicle wouldn’t even move. All this happened in a maximum of 10 seconds. I was driving at 40kmph since I was inside the city. The drive selector was in normal mode. I don’t use the four-wheel drive unless I’m entering an underground parking of a building, I have never taken the vehicle off-roading.

Now coming back to the incident, I was worried and called the VW service centre person, the person who usually handles my service requests. He said the roadside assistance is not available at this time of the evening and I have to arrange my own means of towing it back to my place since the service centre closes by 6 pm. I told him how am I supposed to tow the vehicle if the rear wheels didn’t rotate. He told me it might be a problem with the brake pads or ABS sensor. I had just changed to brake pads 7000 km previously. He asked me to wait for a while and try starting the vehicle and see if the problem persists.

I waited 10 minutes started the vehicle and moved it. Hola it moved no sign of any issues. But anyway I went back to the office and parked my car. Got another car and went home. My home is 15km from the office. It was a Saturday evening. Then I had some work on Monday, dint use the vehicle on Monday. On Tuesday it took the car to the VW service centre, which is 25km from my office. On the way, I could feel the rear wheels gripping slightly on 2 occasions. I reached the service station and reported the same to them. 2 service engineers got in the car and asked me to get in the passenger seat and we drove for 2 kilometres, there were no issues. They said there was no issue and said let’s go back to the service centre, I asked them to drive further to see if the issue replicates. And as we drove 2 more kilometres the issue did not appear and we decided to go back to the service centre. As soon as we made a U-Turn I could slightly feel the slight gripping noise from the rear wheel. I told them that and they could sense the slight gripping noise as we drove further, but soon faded away and there was no noise or gripping. As we reached the service centre and made a turn to cross the road the wheel gripped totally and the wheels froze in the entryway in the service centre. We stopped the vehicle for 5 minutes and again started and moved the vehicle to the service floor. They said they inspected the vehicle and found out what the issue was.

2 days later they said the brake rotors and brake pads need replacement. it costs 50,000k including labour. I said okay do it. A few days later the parts arrived and they were replaced. But the issue still persisted. They said there could be a problem with the differential. However they don’t have the tools to open the differential, and it will take one more week to get the tools to open it.

1 more week later they said the differential was worn upon inspection, this could be due to the computer system malfunction. The computer system could have malfunctioned because the sensors of the vehicle could have malfunctioned due to any heat issue. They plugged the vehicle into the computer and said all sensors were working fine. But maybe they caused some malfunction while driving. The differential is gone, it needs to be replaced. It costs 5lakhs.

I asked them to claim it out of the warranty. They replaced the differential, which had to be ordered from Germany. It took 1 month to arrive and then replaced. Volkswagen company said they will not pay out of warranty, because it is wear and tear. I have to shell out 5lakhs to get the vehicle out of the service centre.

I can’t believe Volkswagen makes vehicles that are worth scrap after 5 years of use. Vehicles made in Europe don’t suit the Indian Roads. I made it a point never to buy Automatic 4-wheel drive vehicles. Not just that never buy expensive stuff. Vehicles are just for moving from point A to B and all these fancy features are just waste. Just get a car with decent convenience features like good interiors, a good music system, a good centre console, and powered seats. That’s it. All other features like automatic all-wheel drive, ADAS tech, sunroof, and DSG, are ways companies lure you to sell their cars. And after that, they don’t give a damn about how consumers live with this. I meant to buy a BMW X1 initially, but I heard from a friend of mine that the steering column after 20,000 km in 3 years time and he had to spend a fortune on getting it replaced. I steered clear of Audi, BMWs, and Mercs just to avoid paying a fortune to get parts replaced. But fate / VW didn’t spare me. Tiguan Service cost is not low either. I paid 50k for crown oil, and general service in the 4th year service. They told me more stuff has to replace the 5th year service and the estimate runs over 60k. But by the middle of 5th year, I got served this.

In my life, I’m never going for techy cars. I’m an engineer and I understand all moving parts have wear and tear, and there is no escaping these huge bills. Definitely, in less than 8 years, the differential will fail in Haldex/4Motion cars.

In case you are interested in all-wheel drive cars go for the Thar with manual all-wheel drive or other cars with manual all-wheel-drive. Automatic all-wheel drive cars rely on sensors and sensors will fail in time, waiting to serve you “big and well”.

Sorry for the long post. I cut out the parts when I tried negotiating fruitlessly to claim a warranty. But I don’t know big tech jargon about cars and they used them wisely to chuck my case.

Here’s what BHPian Guna had to say on the matter:

Sad to hear about the ordeal.

Differential is not a wear and tear item and it is not designed to be replaced in it’s lifetime due to wear and tear. It is like a gearbox, if it fails during the warranty, they need to replace it free.

Please write to VW and tell them you are approaching the consumer court.

Here’s what BHPian Akshay1234 had to say on the matter:

In this case, I think the Haldex AWD system is integrated into the rear differential. Hence these guys possibly didn’t know what or how to diagnose and ended up replacing the complete assembly. That being said, it certainly should be covered under warranty, as a Haldex shouldn’t fail this soon. When DSGs are covered under warranty, so should the Haldex. Please take it up with VW.

Here’s what BHPian ajmat had to say on the matter:

Another possibility leading to premature differential wear could be that the tread depth of the tyres differs by 4 mm or more. This leads to wrong inputs leading to even more wear.

Here’s what BHPian dhanushs had to say on the matter:

If your car is under warranty, there is no reason why the differentials shouldn’t be covered. If the diffs are wear and tear then the whole car is a wear and tear item and whatever warranty is, is a scam.

This is a red flag. I think they made a mistake in their showroom by not properly replacing the oil and hence you landed in this situation. That’s also why they are not claiming warranty on the same.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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