Volkswagen Suspension Issues Explained(+5 Troubleshooting Tips)

In this brief article, we are going to discuss the different suspension issues that occur in Volkswagen cars, what the causes are, and Troubleshooting Tips.

The Top 5 Most Common problems with Volkswagen Car Suspension are:

  • 2014  Recall due to Rear trailing arm in Jetta and Beetle
  • Creaking noise in the front suspension in Jetta and Passat
  • Rear Droning Noise with uneven Tire wear in Passat
  • Clunking Noise in Passat
  • Combination of Clunking, Popping and Rattling in Jetta

Most common Volkswagen suspension Problems

1. 2014 VW Recall of apprx 440000 vehicles due to a rear suspension issue

The reason for the recall was concerning the safety of the Rear suspension trailing arm that was reused after damage/impact. According to VW, if rear suspension trailing arms are damaged for any reason whatsoever owing to impact, and subsequently repaired and reused, the trailing arms had a very high chance of sudden fracture. A fractured rear trailing arm could cause loss of control and increase the possibility of a crash.

Although a majority of the Jetta’s and Beetle’s of that model period would have received a replacement trailing arm under warranty, some may have been left out.

If your car happened to be among the affected models, it would be highly recommended to check your car’s service history and replace the trailing arm even if it is currently not damaged.

VW Models affected by the 2014 recall were:

Jettas  2011 – 2013 and 

Beetles 2012 – 2013

2. VW Creaking noise issue

The creaking noise, in most cases, originates in the front suspension. SItuations that aggravate this problem are:

  • While approaching a steep road/driveway
  • While approaching large speed bumps

The most probable source of this Creaking noise is the forward inner control arm bushing.

VW Models reporting maximum number of Creaking Noise issues:

2006-09 Volkswagen Passat

2005-09 Volkswagen Jetta A5, 

2009 Jetta SportWagen 

2006-09 Volkswagen Rabbit, GTI, R32 

2007-09 Volkswagen Eos 

2009 Volkswagen CC 

Troubleshooting the VW Creaking noise

  • Raise the vehicle on a lift 
  • Remove the wheel from the side you suspect the sound to originate from
  • Dismantle the lower control arm ball joint
  • Now try to articulate the control arm upwards and downwards
  • If you notice the noise during this motion, then dismantle and replace the control arm bushing with an OEM replacement part

3. VW Passat Rear Droning Noise

The issue is found in the VW Passat B6 platform vehicles (2007 -2014 model years)

  • Loud Droning Noise coming from the rear during highway cruising
  • The sound is very similar to the Droning Noise when driving with a failed wheel bearing

Troubleshooting the Passat Rear Droning Noise

The most probable causes for this Noise issue would be:

  • The rear wheel bearings
  • The rear Tires
  • Rear Coil Springs

To identify the issue you need to follow these steps:

  • Remove the rear tires and inspect for uneven wear.
  • If you find that the wear pattern is ‘Cuppin’ or Uneven wear, then the issue is more likely to be related to the suspension than the Wheel bearings
  • Nevertheless, you should inspect the wheel bearings and rotate then to test for play, just to rule them out as a cause
  • Regrdless of the wheel bearings’ condition, Dismantle and inspect the Reear coil springs as well.
  • If you find any sort of breakage at the bottom-most coil, then you have found the root cause.

4. VW Passat Clunk Noise

  • A very common problem seen in the B5/5.5 Passat was front suspension “Clunk” noise while going over potholes on the road. 
  • It was also know from past experience that the bushings and Ball-joints were prone to failure in the B5/5.5 Passat and that this might be the source of the clunk noise problem

Troubleshooting the Clunking Noise in the Passat B5/5.5

 

  • The suspension of the Passat B5 platform (model year 1999–2005) is of the type ‘5 link’. There are 2 control arms each connected to the upper and lower side of the knuckle and a steering Tie-rod making a total of 5 links. 
  • The B5/5.5 Volkswagen Passat, historically, has had issues with the durability of the Upper and Lower Control Arms Bushings and Ball-joints.
  • Use a pry-bar and check all the ball-joints and bushings for looseness or play
  • If you find that the control-arms are not the issue then you could  check all the Anti-roll bar joints for play or looseness

5. Clunking, Popping, Rattling and other noises in Mk 5 Jetta Suspension

  • Noises from the suspension while going over bumps and potholes
  • Grinding noise while steering at a standstill
  • Predominantly seen in Jetta Mk 5 (2006–2010)

Troubleshooting Clunking, Popping and other noises the Jetta Suspension

  • For a 10+ year car VW’s are known to have broken springs. So that would be the first and easiest thing to suspect
  • Noise while steering at a standstill is a strong symptom of something wrong with the strut and spring
  • It is possible to diagnose if the spring is the problem even before removing the wheel. You need to park the vehicle on a really flat shop floor over 2 planks (LH and RH). Measure the fender bottom height from the plank on both sides, if the difference is more than ½ inch, then it is mostly a broken spring
  • For a more thorough look, remove the wheel on the lower height side and inspect the strut. If the spring is broken, it would be easily visible and breakage mostly appears very close to the spring bottom seating area.

Conclusion

In this brief article we have discussed the different suspension issues that occur in Volkswagen cars, what the causes are, and Troubleshooting Tips.

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