Watchdog: Dealer can’t explain how VW Amarok ‘drove itself’

Pick-up ‘took control’ of throttle before engine failure; garage couldn’t say what happened

Should you accept that your faulty car is fixed if your dealer is unable to explain what caused the problem in the first place? That was the dilemma facing reader Dave Tassell, of Worcester, after his brand-new VW Amarok suffered a complete engine failure, just five months after delivery.

He said: “In the first week I noticed it was behaving strangely; revving and changing up and down the gears; basically powering itself, without any input from the throttle.”

Dave said supplying dealer Listers VW Van Centre, in nearby Droitwich, was unable to find a fault. Around 2,000 miles later in May, the problem got worse. “The vehicle took off at 60mph without the throttle being pressed,” Dave said. “I pressed the brakes, but the gearbox shifted down and overpowered them. Suddenly there was a big bang, the engine fell silent and I was left with no assisted brakes or steering.”

VW replaced the engine under warranty, but Dave argued he didn’t want the Amarok back because Listers still couldn’t explain the fault. He said: “The dealer doesn’t know what caused it, and cannot give me any assurance that it won’t happen again.”

Dave thought his pick-up had the same auto problem that we reported was affecting a Touareg recently. That car’s owner complained the box was shifting without any throttle input, too.

VW claimed the vehicles use different gearboxes, and the issues are unrelated. 
A spokeswoman for the company said the technical report on Dave’s car revealed “there was a turbo fault (caused by excessive ‘play’ in the turbo shaft). This led the turbo seal to fail and oil to be injected into the intake system. This caused the engine to over-rev and effectively destroy itself”.

She added that although the technicians were “as confident as they can be that the turbo issue was the cause of the fault”, it’s “sometimes impossible to be 100% certain”, and that’s probably why the dealer was “reluctant” to share the diagnosis.

Dave agreed to take his car back, and VW said it would “give the vehicle a further technical check” before returning it, and offered a one-year extended warranty on his Amarok, as a gesture of goodwill.

Recommended

Best tow cars
Skoda Kodiaq SUV driving
Best cars
18 Feb 2021

Best tow cars

Most Popular

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
13 Apr 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

2021 scrappage schemes: the complete guide
Scrappage schemes - Ford Focus
Tips and advice
20 Apr 2021

2021 scrappage schemes: the complete guide

Facelifted 2021 Volkswagen Polo arrives
2021 Volkswagen Polo - front 3/4
Volkswagen Polo
21 Apr 2021

Facelifted 2021 Volkswagen Polo arrives

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
13 Apr 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Tips and advice
10 Nov 2020

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?
Tips and Advice
23 Mar 2020

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
24 Feb 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Best car interiors
Best cars
10 Mar 2020

Best car interiors

Best electric cars
Best cars
24 Dec 2020

Best electric cars

Best cheap-to-run cars
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
1 Feb 2021

Best cheap-to-run cars

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Hot hatches
9 Apr 2020

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks