2019 Volkswagen Atlas Top Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brakes, Electrical and Engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners


When it comes to finding a seven-passenger midsize family SUV, many VW enthusiasts were excited to get behind the wheel of an Atlas. Considering the 2019 Volkswagen Atlas was marketed by the company as “I spy something big,” it made sense that growing families would look at this model. While the cargo space and passenger room might be large, so are the problems that come with it. From faulty brakes to a defective powertrain, there’s no end in sight to the malfunctions.

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Service Brakes

While the service brakes are important on any vehicle, there’s something unspoken about how they should perform when kids are in the car. After all, the automaker must take the lives of these innocent children seriously. With the VW Atlas, there are numerous complaints about trouble with the braking system.

Read this one review on Edmunds. “I would definitely NOT purchase this car again. I have about 9000 miles on my 2019 Atlas. About 1000 miles in, the brakes began squealing when backing out of the driveway. Dealer said it was due to cold weather. Then it was described as a “feature”. Metallic brakes that “clean themselves off”. Contacted VW America and only one solution was offered…”drive fast on a country road and slam on the brakes.” Unreal. Make sure you search for owner reviews online before purchasing.”

Despite having more than 150 communications, the automaker doesn’t address these special brake features anywhere. It’s also missing from the list of standard features – self-cleaning metallic brakes that squeak during operation. Frankly, it would be the first time that would be considered a perk in any vehicle. Furthermore, if it is such a benefit, why did the dealer advise her to fix it? It sounds like they are hoping the family gets neck injuries instead.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 VW Atlas Brake Problems:

AUTOMATIC COLLISION BRAKING SYSTEM ENGAGES IN SUDDEN AND UNEXPECTED BRAKING WHEN THERE IS NO OBSTACLE (OR CARS) NEAR VEHICLE. AUTOMATIC BRAKES HAVE STOPPED CAR TO A HALT WITHOUT WARNING WHEN DRIVING ON OR TURNING ON SLIGHT SLOPE CITY STREET THAT LEVELS OUT TO THE ROAD. THE SUDDEN BRAKING HAS ALMOST CAUSED COLLISIONS AS VEHICLE STOPS FOR NO REASON WITHOUT WARNING IN MIDDLE OF STREET/TRAFFIC. VERY CONCERNED AS NO WAY TO TURN OFF SYSTEM AND AFRAID TO DRIVE VEHICLE FOR FEAR IT WILL STOP AUTOMATICALLY FOR NO REASON IN HEAVIER TRAFFIC OR ON BRIDGE WHERE ANGLE OF ROAD/BRIDGE MAY SLOPE. THE SUDDEN BRAKING HAS OCCURRED TWICE THIS WEEK AT LOCATION I HAVE TO DRIVE TO EVERY DAY AND CANNOT BYPASS.

EMERGENCY BRAKE ACTIVATED WHEN THE VEHICLE WAS IN MOTION AND TURNING TOWARDS AN OPEN PARKING SPACE. NOTHING WAS IN FRONT OF THE VEHICLE AT THE TIME OF THE EMERGENCY BRAKE DEPLOYING. THIS LEFT THE VEHICLE STUCK IN THE MIDDLE OF PARKING LANE AND COULD HAVE BEEN HIT BY CROSS TRAFFIC.

AUTOMATIC BRAKING STOPS CAR WHEN EXITING PARKING LOT ONTO MAIN ROAD, COULD NOT PULL STRAIGHT OUT OF PARKING LOT. EMERGENCY BRAKING DEPLOYED 3 TIMES. ON COMING TRAFFIC HAD TO STOP BECAUSE CAR WOULD NOT MOVE UNIT I TURNED SYSTEM OFF. MULTIPLE CARS WERE BEHIND ME AND COULD NOT BACK UP ENOUGH TO NOT BLOCK TRAFFIC. NO OBSTRUCTIONS WHERE IN FRONT OF ME JUST SLIGHTLY STEEPER ANGLE EXITING PARKING LOT.

WAS DRIVING DOWN A ROAD GOING 35 MPH AND SUDDENLY THE AUTOMATIC BRAKING SYSTEM ENGAGED CAUSING THE VEHICLE TO SLAM ON ITS BRAKES ALMOST COMPLETELY STOPPING. THERE WAS NO ADVANCE WARNING THAT THIS WAS GOING TO OCCUR (E.G. SOUND OR DASHBOARD ALERT). FURTHER THERE WERE NO CARS IN FRONT OF ME, NO PEDESTRIANS, OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT COULD HAVE CAUSED THE FRONT COLLISION AUTOMATIC BRAKING TO ENGAGE. THANKFULLY THERE WAS NO VEHICLE IMMEDIATELY BEHIND ME OR THEY WOULD HAVE SURELY CRASHED INTO ME.

Powertrain

Underneath this large family vehicle, there must be a functional and durable powertrain. Otherwise, it becomes challenging to haul all of the children to soccer practice. Sadly, many owners are disappointed in the powertrain performance of the Atlas. Not only does it come across as a poorly constructed system, but it also appears to be defective.

Just read this NHTSA review, “This is a consistent issue and I’m worried powertrain damage is occurring. When accelerating from stopped or at low speed there is a very loud screeching/grinding sound coming from the powertrain/transmission – possibly the torque converter. It happens frequently and is very noticeable, usually when the vehicle starts to accelerate or increases acceleration at low speed then it usually goes away. I described the trouble to two VW dealership service departments and both said they hadn’t heard of that one. I was in for other service and was told they could not replicate the sound. However, it screeched when leaving the dealerships! The VW Atlas forums have many posts on this issue. And lots of folks like myself are not getting any information and are concerned about safety. I did not get any meaningful help from VW or their dealer service departments.”

Would it be surprising to find out that there are also no significant powertrain communications from VW? Again, they have taken the route of silence in hopes that customers will just stop complaining. This plan is backfiring in their faces as more people take to the internet to inform others. Talk about spying something big – how about a massive cover-up?

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 VW Atlas Transmission Problems:

ONE WEEK AFTER VEHICLE WAS PURCHASED NEW, IT BEGAN TO MAKE A GRINDING NOISE DURING THE FOLLOWING SCENARIOS: ACCELERATING FROM LOW SPEED / TAKING OFF FROM A STOP / AFTER VEHICLE TURNED OFF. VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO DEALER BUT THEY WERE UNABLE TO DUPLICATE SOUND ON FIRST ATTEMPT. VEHICLE HAS AGAIN BEEN DROPPED OFF AT DEALER AS GRINDING NOISE CONTINUES AND GETS LOUDER AT TIMES. HAVE SEARCHED IN DIFFERENT FORUMS AND SOME STATE THAT IT IS RELATED TO THE VEHICLE NOT BEING PROPERLY PROGRAMMED TO SHIFT FROM 3RD TO 2ND WHEN SLOWING DOWN. INSTEAD IT SKIPS 2ND GEAR (NOT A PROFESSIONAL OPINION AS I AM JUST QUOTING WHAT I’VE READ). SOME HAVE STATED IT COULD BE THE TORQUE CONVERTER. STILL NO SOLUTION.

Engine

When popping the hood of a 2019 Volkswagen Atlas, customers quickly see what appears to be a functional engine. Once driving this SUV, they notice something entirely different.

Just look at this brief and to the point NHTSA review. “Engine light came on. Strong gas smell inside car.Took to dealership. Has multiple gas leaks and dealership is replacing the gas tank and lines.”

This is the last thing any family wants to deal with, yet there was a recall related to this situation. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V614000 discusses how an improper weld causes a fuel leak. Not only can that lead to a fire, but the lack of fuel also causes the engine to stall. Hopefully, this doesn’t occur while on a busy road with the kids in the vehicle. It’s interesting that the company didn’t attempt to tell customers that leaking fuel is another feature. It can be called the self-cleaning fuel tank.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 VW Atlas Engine Problems:

THE GAS CONSUMPTION IS BELOW WHAT VOLKSWAGEN CLAIMS AND ADVERTISES. OUR CAR AVERAGES 14 MPG INSTEAD OF 19 MPG. ON USER FORUMS, OTHER ATLAS OWNERS HAVE COMPLAINED ABOUT AVERAGING 14 MPG.WHEN WE PUT THE CAR IN REVERSE, IT STARTS TO ROLL FORWARD. SINCE WE GOT THE CAR, THE CHECK ENGINE LIGHT HAS BEEN ON FOR AN EVAP LEAK. THE DEALERSHIP “FIXED” IT. HOWEVER, SEVERAL HOURS LATER, THE CHECK ENGINE LIGHT CAME BACK ON.

BOUGHT MY ATLAS ON 3/24/19, A FEW DAYS AFTER I GOT THE LOW COOLANT WARNING LIGHT WHILE DRIVING. TOOK IT IN TO THE DEALER AND THEY TOPPED IT OFF AND SAID, “OH THEY COME TO THE DEALER SOMETIMES A LITTLE LOW.” NOT SURE WHY THEY DON’T CHECK WHEN PREPPING THE CAR FOR DELIVERY. ON 4/3, LIGHT CAME ON AGAIN WHILE DRIVING. TOOK IT BACK TO THE DEALER 4/4, NO VISIBLE LEAK UNDERNEATH OR BY THE TANK. A POSSIBLE LEAK WAS FOUND BEHIND THE ENGINE NEAR THE FIREWALL, I CAN SEE SOME PINK POOLING ON SOMETHING SILVER (ENGINE OR TRANS WHATEVER IT IS). THEY DETERMINED THAT THE COOLANT HOSE HAS FAILED AND CLAIM TO HAVE NEVER SEEN THAT ISSUE BEFORE. THEY ORDERED THE WRONG PARTS AND COULDN’T FIT. THEY ARE ORDERING MORE PARTS AND IT COULD BE A FEW WEEKS BEFORE I GET IT BACK. I HAVE ALSO ENGAGED VW OF AMERICA. THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN ON A NEW CAR YET ALONE THE DEALER TAKE SO LONG TO FIX IT. THE CAR HAS ONLY 400 MILES ON IT. PLEASE INVESTIGATE. THANKS.

Other

Of course, mechanical problems aren’t the only issues this vehicle faces. Online complaint boards reveal a long list of other concerns from owners.

Just read this review on the NHTSA website, “On the tenth day of owning our brand new vehicle, we were driving down highway 74 at 70 miles per hour. It was the first time this vehicle was driven at highway speeds for more than an hour. The weather was sunny and in the low 90s. All of a sudden we heard a loud explosion sound and the front panel of our panoramic sunroof had exploded. The shade was open and the tempered glass fell on our entire family including two children aged 7 and 4. There was no impact from an outside object.”

Again, the VW camp is eerily quiet about any structural issues that would have caused this. Still, we see that the 2019 Volkswagen Atlas simply isn’t safe. Among the fuel line trouble, they have already encountered four other safety concerns that prompted a nationwide recall. One is related to headlights that aren’t adequately adjusted for visibility while another talks about how they installed the wrong side airbags into the SUV. There’s also the chance that the rear coil springs can fracture and damage a tire, leading to an out of control situation. Finally, the company recalled this vehicle for an electrical system malfunction that allows owners to leave the key in the ignition without warning. Maybe they are hoping someone will steal this big headache from the driveway? One thing is for sure – we all spy something big and it’s called a lemon.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 VW Atlas Problems:

VEHICLE AUTO LOCKS WITH RFID KEYS IN THE CAR WHICH LOCKED CHILD IN THE CAR. DRIVER ENTERED VEHICLE USING RFID KEY FOB (USING TOUCH SENSOR ON DOOR), PLACED 1.5 YEAR OLD CHILD IN THE REAR PASSENGER SIDE 2D ROW SEAT INTO AN APPROVED 5PT CAR SEAT AND SHUT THE DOOR. DRIVER PLACED PURSE WITH KEY FOB INTO PASSENGER SEAT AND SHUT THE DOOR. WALKED AROUND TO PLACE OLDER CHILD INTO DRIVER SIDE 2D ROW SEAT THE DOOR WAS LOCKED AND COULD NOT BE OPENED. ALL DOORS WERE LOCKED DUE TO A 45 SECOND TIMEOUT FEATURE. THE KEYS AND CHILD WERE LOCKED INTO THE CAR REQUIRING FIRST RESPONDERS TO BREAK THE DRIVER’S WINDOW TO UNLOCK THE CAR FROM THE INSIDE. THE ALARM SOUNDED UPON BREAKING THE GLASS, AND WHEN THE UNLOCK BUTTON ON THE DRIVER DOOR WAS PRESSED, THE DOORS UNLOCKED AND THE KEY FOB WAS RETRIEVED TO SILENCE THE ALARM. THE CHILD WAS IN THE VEHICLE FOR OVER 20 MINUTES IN A CA DESERT. THIS OCCURRED ON AN AIR FORCE BASE, WHERE FIRST RESPONDERS LOGGED AND REPORTED THE INCIDENT.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

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