Gearbox problem - please help!


Registered User
I have a 4 year old VW, low mileage - 28K. I normally get it serviced in the main dealer but went to a private mechanic this year. The mechanic alerted me to a problem with the gearbox. He said the bearings may be worn down (cost to fix approx 1K) or at worst, the gearbox may need totally replaced (cost up to 5K).

He said this is highly unusual in a car of this age and with such low mileage (he normally sees it in cars with mileage of 100K plus). He suggested we take it back to the main dealer and argue our case. I know there's no point in doing that - as its out of warranty, they'll just wash their hands of it and we'll have to bear the cost anyway.

Has anyone heard of such a problem before ??? I feel sick that it may cost so much to repair, especially as its not old and has been well taken care of. Any advice would be much appreciated.
You don't mention which VW model it is, was it purchased new from the main dealer where it was serviced?

Unless there was a problem with gear-box lubrication, it is highly unusual to see a gear-box in this state at such low mileage. Do you have the service reports from the main-dealer? Check them and see if there is any mention of changing the gear-box oil, or not changing the gear-box at the specified interval or of changing the oil and not using the correct quantity or quality of oil.

See what information you can gather before approaching the main dealer You have nothing to lose by asking them, all they can say is no and they may do something for you as a gesture.

If all else fails, in the face of a huge repair bill, could your private mechanic source a gear-box from a breakers-yard or reconditioning outfit?
i,l agree with rs2k 5k is well rich. been realistic 1k would cover most vw gearbox repairs,.i would get a second opinion in case it may be something like a wheel bearing or the likes at 28k it should not need any attention.unless of coarse its been leaking
Thanks for the replies guys.

Its a VW Touran, and it was bought brand new in '04. It was serviced every year with the main dealer. I bought the car with the intention of keeping it forever and I just can't believe a problem like this as arisen so soon. It hasn't been leaking ..... my dh would have noticed that.

I'll dig out the service reports and see what info they have. The car had been making a grinding noise when changing gears - I just put that down to it needing its yearly service. The car has never been abused .... I literally just bring the kids to school in it / go to the shops etc. I would have expected it to run problem free for at least 8-10 years. To say I'm disapointed is an understatement!
...Its a VW Touran...
In the UK there are known problems with this model fitted with the DSG gearbox. Have a look here ... [broken link removed]

Repair and replacement costs seem to be around GBP3,000 so your mechanic's ballpark pricing was correct, if this is the box fitted to your car.

Sorry about the bad news and it is unlikely he will be able to source a DSG box outside of the VW dealer chain.
Other comment re: VW Touran from same source, :

"I intended to buy a Touran 1.9 TDI 105 as i drove it before and loved the practicality and the drive. However I made up my mind after I read the Quality and reliability test reports 2007 from AutoPlus (French) and AutoBild (German). The results are appalling: "If the amount of anger against the Touran was the barometer for the VW quality, the future would be bleak. One bright spot, however: The customer complaints is decreasing." (translation with Google)..."
Go back to VW ie write to a high level, you should be entitled to a new gear box, 28k miles is nothing. These are supposed to last way above 100k. Under european law an item must a normal expected life duration. 4 years and 28k is far from normal.

Had gearbox trouble myself recently but not with a VW mind.
But problem sounds similar to mine but 28k and 4 years is not acceptable.
Once out of warranty its hard to imagine they will do anything although the advice on chacking the service reports is good and check with your manual as well as they do outline a schedule of different oil changes etc.
All you can do is build up your case and approach them.

On the price - reconditioned gear box and new bearings jobs are usually around the 1k to 1.5k mark alright. The 5k price must be incorrect as even a brand new gearbox wouldn't cost. that.
The reason gearboxes are expensive to repair is because it takes so long to get the things out of the car and diagnose the problem and then put them back. You are talking at least 6 hours labour for the in and out process and then you have labour for the actual repair.

If no joy with the dealer make sure you go to one of the reputable gear boxe centres loads of them in the golden pages etc.
I would defintiely try my case with the main dealer. A friend of mine needed the gearbox replaced on his Mitsubish lancer which was about 6 months out of warranty. He had about 70k miles on it.

As a compromise, the dealer replaced the parts for free and all he had to cover was the labout cost. AFAIK it was a recoditioned one they put in it though!

It was a local dealer and he and all his family have bought cars there so that might have helped his case too!

But still, its worth a shot!

I would approach VW first and if no joy take a claim in the small claims court. The gearbox is not of merchantable quality if it needs bearings replaced after 28k miles. Just because its out of warranty doesnt mean you dont have a case.

My only reservation about your case is that it may be the syncro rings rather than bearings (if manual gearbox) that are gone and this can be caused by a clutch problem or bad driving (not saying you are bad driver). This makes a case much harder to argue. If you have an auto then this issue doesnt arise.
... The 5k price must be incorrect as even a brand new gearbox wouldn't cost. that....
Based on what information?

Pricing of "5k ballpark" is based on posted reports of GBP3k charges in a variety of forums from main VW dealers in the UK for replacing the DSG box, if that's whats fitted to OP's car.

DSG is a development of the S-Tronic or double-clutch "flappy-paddle" gear-box and they are horrendously heavy and expensive pieces of kit - brilliant when they work well; recent problems seem to be associated with fitting them to cars with higher torque engines.
I would put money on this Touran not having a DSG box based on the poster!

I'd probally say if it is diesel it's a dual mass fly wheel problem, if any-thing.

You won't get very far with it as regards "warranty" because it's not broken, if the problem had to be brought to the op's attention, it can't be much of a problem, also if the op's husband would notice an oil leak he would notice a problem in the gearbox.

There could be mositure in the box if it is a problem, 7k a year would leave the oil in the box like muck, have we changed the gear oil yet and test driven?

Also if the op parks the car in gear after a drive when it's hot and then later jumps in and bangs it out of gear you will do sever damage to the gears.

I drove a new car a few year ago, I was under pressure and doged a it about 25 miles down a twisty road using only 2nd-4th gear, got to the house, left the car there and left it in 2nd gear, another lad went to collect it and when he did, he couldn't get it out of gear, he had to jump it out of gear. So 28k can be more than enough to do damage to a gearbox.
id go too a breakers, i had a 04 golf had similar problem, with a secong hand gear box it cost me 800
I had similar problem with a well looked after VW polo, 34K on clock, and out of warranty by 3 months. Quoted 2000+ by VW dealer to sort it out. Got a reconditioned gear box for about €800 but not from VW. Disgusted at VW - you'd swear they were designed to just about make the warranty time limit?!
Hi guys, no news as yet. DH was away for a few days but hopes to get down to the garage on Monday. I'd prefer if he brought it down .... they won't be able to fob him
off as quick.

And no, Mr2, I never "bang" my car out of gear. I'm a careful lady driver :)
Hi just looking into faults with VW Touran gearboxes, my clutch & flywheel went 12 months ago thankfully covered by warranty but just 3 months out of warrantly my gearbox went!! Doom and gloom faced with a £2k bill for a new one, when recovered upto VW they looked at it and clutch and fly wheel have been damaged :0( a bill of £2.6k altogether, despite asking why they weren't covered under a 2 year warranty I am forced to pay they say VW only cover warranty work for the period of warranty!! On a positive note if you moan loud enough and having got a full VW service history and VW MOT they have paid 50% as a gesture of goodwill, but I am taking it up with VW direct. I have no fault with the dealership they have done nothing but help me but after 32k miles and a 3 and a bit year old car I don't expect to have to buy a new gearbox!! But gestures of goodwill are there you just gotta know about them!!