Where Your Author Learns More About Volkswagen Golf Water Leakage

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
where your author learns more about volkswagen golf water leakage

It’s time once again for an update in the Golf Sportwagen’s precipitation issue. Last we spoke, I’d noticed an initial musty smell in the Golf, and considerable headliner staining shortly thereafter.

After some delays in the service appointment process, my local VW dealer has a solution for me.

I’d booked an appointment via the dealer’s website for the morning of May 14th, but never received any sort of confirmation. To be safe I phoned them up on the 13th to verify my appointment, but was told they wouldn’t have a car for me as specified on my request. No one called to tell me this, I’d just have found out when I went to drop off the car. Surefire way to get me irritated, but I digress.

The associate relayed the next day loaners were available was Monday the 24th. So I pushed the appointment back another nine days. Meantime, a particularly soaking storm that following Monday revealed a drenched headliner at the rear driver’s side of the Golf, and water running down from the D-pillar into the cargo area. Not good, but not much I could do.

Upon return to the dealer on the 24th for my 10:00 AM appointment, I showed the service advisor the issues, made more extensive by the recent rain. By then the staining had made its way forward to the C-pillar. I was informed there were no loaner cars available, but they’d get a car from Enterprise for me if I’d wait a moment. Sure, fine. Meantime, another customer brought back a loaner which they quickly cleaned, and sent me on my way. It’s on expired tags since March, and you’ll be seeing a review of it shortly. Can you guess what it is?

Tuesday evening the service advisor called me with the prognosis: The rear valve flaps on the sunroof drains had become stuck, which backed up water into the headliner. Water also flowed onto the sunroof glass at some point, which also ruined the sun shade. There are four drains on the Golf, two at front and two at the rear, and each has a drain flap. There’s a TSB for the repair, and the fix is to remove not very necessary flaps altogether. They can apparently become stuck via dirt and debris, or just generally stop functioning. The service advisor said they were stuck, but did not mention the cause was debris. The car is not parked under any trees, by the way.

The fix is not a quick one since the headliner has to be replaced once more. Parts won’t arrive until Thursday, then there’s a long weekend with the Memorial Day holiday. I know from my last experience that the service department has exactly one technician who works on headliners, and once he gets to it it’s a two-day job. Current ETA is midway through the first week of June.

As I type this story it’s pouring rain in Cincinnati, but at least I know the roof drains are clear and that fresh rainwater is flowing freely onto the dealer’s service lot.

[Images: Corey Lewis / The Truth About Cars, VW]

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  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Jun 06, 2021

    I had the same issue with my 2nd gen Caddy CTS. It was bought used, so no "fun with dealers" story.... One day, I find water spots on the A pillars, and, oh, two inches of slushing water in the passenger side footwell. WTF ? To the Forums, Robin !!!! Turns out it's Sunroof drains, which makes sense since I park outside and we'd had a gully washer. GM runs the drains to the wheel wells...and terminates the hose in a fitting like yours, but instead the flap doesn't move, it's cut with a cross shape, so water can leak out but nothing can get in. Think a large phillips head. I removed the end bits and cleaned them. There was a very small amount of road grit (the stuff at the bottom of your car wash bucket when you dump it out) in each one, but enought to cause a clog. I cut two of the flaps out and never had a problem again.

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Jun 06, 2021

    Also, to be fair, the only VW I owned that was a POS was the one I thought would be best...my 2012 TDi, of infamous bought back fame...the diesel particulate filter cracked, there was a TSB, VW was running it hot to avoid adblue, and I was 2000 miles out of warranty. They paid half....subsequent events, however, made me whole so I'm not bitter. My base Jetta S with the 1.4 and a manual, is truly an Ace of Base, especially with some uprated tires and wheels...also, two prior Golf Diesels, a GTi,etc have all been OK, no stories...now, my Cadillac...what a horror...

  • Mncarguy I remember when the Golf came out and all the car magazines raved about it. I bought an early one in the mid level trim, brown with a beige vinyl interior and a stick. I must have blocked out a lot about that car, because the only thing I remember is one day with my wife and infant in the car, the brakes went out! I could use the parking brake and made it home. There must have been other issues (beside an awful dealer who felt like they were doing you a favor even letting you come in for service) because I swore I'd never buy a VW again. I did get a new Beetle and later a Passat. That's another story!
  • Oberkanone The Chrysler - Plymouth - Dodge Neon's racing successes - SCCA and elsewhere (allpar.com)Inexpensive racing.
  • Kwik_Shift My brother inherited his work travel 2013 Ford Escape 1.6L EcoBoost to be replaced with a 2019. It is now used as a beater vehicle primarily to take my mother out for shopping/appts, etc. Just right seat height for her to get in and out of.Right now it has 420,000 (HWY) kms still on original engine/turbo/transmission. Impressive, but doesn't mean I'd intentionally buy any Ford EB combination vehicle. I've heard lots of bad things as well.
  • Analoggrotto You forgot something.
  • MKizzy We can pretty much agree at this point that all Ford ecoboost engines regardless of displacement are of trash quality.