The VW and Audi DSG Transmission- Reliability, Longevity and more.

February 25, 2015
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The VW and Audi DSG Transmission has been around since 2004 when it was first rolled out in the 04 Beetle TDI Model. At first the transmission was only in a few models, and more recently it has become more widely used. As these transmission are becoming common place, more people shopping for used cars are stumbling upon them. This leads people to wondering “What concerns should I have with the DSG Transmission?”

 

It is very important to note that the DSG transmissions require regular fluid and filter changes. VW and Audi DSG transmission have a service interval of 40k miles (you can verify this in your owners manual). Performing this service is imperative to the life as well as the warranty on your DSG transmission

 

 

So lets first tackle reliability, the DSG transmission had a couple of issues during the first few years. They were almost all exclusively the same problem. The symptoms with the early DSG transmissions were delayed power then a bang causing the car to lurch forward. Generally this would happen when happen when starting from a stop. This issue was almost always fixed by the mechatronics unit. The issues with the early DSG transmissions has given many people pause, and understandably so. However most of the DSG Transmissions starting around 2008 had almost no issues at all. The early DSGs have mostly gotten a new Mechatronics unit, and the issues have been resolved. Once the bad ones are replaced they no longer seem to have issues.

 

 

Now on to longevity, the longevity of the DSG transmission is yet to be seen. Currently it appears as though the DSG transmissions have solid longevity. Since the transmission is built like a manual, it is mechanically strong. The weak points that will be likely to fail will be the DSG Clutch Packs or the mechatronics unit. These are both replaceable (but expensive) parts. Neither of these parts have shown to be an common issue. From what a few experts in the VW field have told us, they have not been seeing any DSG failures these days. This leads us to believe that the DSG transmission has and will continue to have strong reliability.

 

 

Here is a video from Jason at Engineering Explained. He paired with a great friend of ours Charles from HumbleMechanic.com to deliver this great video. The video is a little technical and it would be best to have a decent understanding of how a transmission works before watching. This video will show you how a DSG transmission works, why it shifts so fast, how it shifts so fast, and why people say the DSG is like a manual but an automatic

 

 

 

Here we have a DIY video that shows you how to perform a DSG service on your VW or Audi model. This DSG service should be performed at an interval of every 40k miles. Making sure you regularly service your DSG is important to retain any warranty or extended warranty on the transmission. If you ever have to file a claim with VW or a 3rd party warranty company they will almost certainly ask for records of the DSG Services. Be sure to note all the information about servicing your DSG Trans even if you are doing it yourself. If you decide to do this yourself you should keep a record of date the service was done, mileage, and a copy of the parts purchased. Making sure you purchase fluid that meets the spec required for your vehicle (all the DSG kits we offer meet this spec).

 

 

The last question you might have is, What does this DSG service cost?  The answer to that question will vary depending on labor rates, parts prices, and labor times charged.  As a general rule you should expect to pay $300-400 for this service.  If you do it yourself you should be able to save a significant amount of money.  Here are a few of our DSG Kits starting at $94.06 that fit most VW and Audi Models,  (Contact us if you don’t see your vehicle in the application info and we can get you the right parts for your car).
DSG Service Kits to be performed every 40k Miles

– Liquimoly DSG Service Kit (meets same spec as OEM DSG Fluid)

Liquimoly DSG Service Kit
– Liquimoly VW Audi DSG Service Kit with DSG Tool (meets same spec as OEM DSG Fluid)

Liquimoly DSG Service Kit with Special Tool

– OEM DSG Service Kit 

OEM DSG Service Kit
– OEM DSG Service Kit with DSG Tool

OEM VW Audi DSG Service Kit with Special Tool

Paul Barrett

About

CEO | Ex Dealer Technician | VW Audi Parts Savant | Father | Husband | Chipotle Enthusiast
Creating a VW and Audi Parts Company that Cares

74 Comments

on The VW and Audi DSG Transmission- Reliability, Longevity and more..
  1. Joe Gallatin Jr.
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    2013 Passat TDI SEL with DSG. Absolutely love this trans. Only 36K so far.

    • Paul Barrett
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      Awesome!!! Glad to hear. Sounds like you put on a bunch of miles.

  2. Patrick Wachira
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    Really helpful, was uncertain about going VW group DSG

    • Paul Barrett
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      Awesome so glad to hear it was helpful. Just out of curiosity. How did you come upon this article?

  3. |

    Very useful indeed, now I know how to do it. Thank you very much!

  4. darien
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    I’m about to purchase a 2012 GTI with 29k miles from carmax…really contemplating hard..so hard I get headaches…really looking hard into this DSG …is the GTI worth it? I really like it ..besides the sMell I have to get out of it …

    • Paul Barrett
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      We love the MK6 platform and I wouldnt worry about issues with the current DSGs. They are generally pretty solid. In the end you have to decide whats best for you.

  5. Mark
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    Arent you supposed to use a vag-com when doing the DSG fluid change? Or is it not necessary? I need to do this since im just over 40k

    thanks,
    -Mark

    • Paul Barrett
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      Mark there is a scan tool required for the checking of fluid level by the book. What we have shown here is how the large majority of VW and Audi shops would perform this service.

  6. Prakash Mathur
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    Thank you for the wonderfully informative article. Am writing from Mumbai and am also breaking my head on whether to purchase vento with DSG or not. Am absolutely in love with this car but hearing too many horror stories on the web (may be dated though!). From your article it seems that one should not be too worried about DSG these days? Thanks again and good day!

    • Paul Barrett
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      Many of the problems with the DSG with the early cars 06-07 in the US. I cant speak for the Vento as its not a US model but most of the issues with the DSGs have been resolved on the US models. Hope this helps

      • Walid
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        Paul, I have a 2013 Jetta Hybrid. The problem you described at the beginning “The symptoms with the early DSG transmissions were delayed power then a bang causing the car to lurch forward. “sound exactly like what I some of the issues I am/was encountering. The lurching forward generally from a stop but I also have the situation where I could be driving and it appears to lose power for a second and kick back in. The dealer has already replaced the Megatronic unit and the Dry Clutch pack (I am out of warranty by the way) and when we went for a test drive after the repair again at low speeds the car hesitated. I was glad they experienced it because the issue is intermittent and never produces any codes. The dealer mechanics are still scratching their heads trying to figure this one out. The frustration is the time and money wasted trying to resolve this issue and Volkswagen Canada’s lack of ownership in this issue. This issue was raised while it was well within the warranty period. To be fair to the dealer they have come through in the past with a very fair response but it appears to be coming at their expense. Any suggestion on what could be causing this hesitation / loss of power given both the megatronic unit and dry clutch have been replaced.

    • vishal
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      Hi Prakash,

      Go ahead and buy it. i too have vento 1.2 TSI. gem of a car. and DSG issues are thing of the past. even ford ecosport has the same transmission.

      • Mayur
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        Hi Vishal,
        I am planning to go for Vento TSI DSG but still not finalized whether to go with TDI or TSI. What is real time mileage you get?

        Thanks for your feedback!

        • Paul Barrett
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          Sorry we cant help. Thats not a US model.

        • Sochin
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          Go for it, I own TSI, city it varies. Dense slow mo traffics 8 impl otherwise 10-12 Kmpl. Highway it returns 18kmpl, by cruise control 80km sped.

          More than 2000 km per month travel, go for Tdi

  7. Alex Pope
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    I have 3 vehicles currently with DSG and they all work really well. They each have their unique characteristics (Passat TDI, JSW TDI, MKV R32) but overall they all work really well. I have a tune on the R32 and my JSW (Malone) which I am sure affects the way they work and behave. 75K each on my 2 TDI’s and 91K on my R so far and aside from the warranty replacement of the Mech unit in the R, all is good…

    • Paul Barrett
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      Thanks for the feedback. We appreciate it very much.

  8. Seth Taylor
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    We have 2013 Passat with the DSG and we need it serviced, I could do it our self but I have seen that in some they hook it up to a computer…do you have to do this??

    • Paul Barrett
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      What they are referring to is checking the fluid level. This is required if you want to double check the level. What we have depicted is how most shops would perform this service.

  9. Linda
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    You are so wrong that after 2008 there haven’t been any problems -I have a 2010 EOS with a DSG AND I just had my 40K mile service tune-up pardon the pun to the tune of $700+ to find out that I a) have a leaking rear main seal and b) for at least the last year I have been telling VW Autobarn in Countryside, IL that my car is “jerking” when I take off from a standstill…….the “supposedly” checked it and the tech said nothing was wrong…..3rd time; I made them take a ride with me to experience it and of course it was “jerking”.

    Now they want me to pay $1760 because it is out of warranty and I need a new Clutch Pak…at 1st they thought it was the Megatronics unit but during testing ruled that out.

    How can a car with 39K miles that has always been serviced on time at the Volkswagen dealer; have 2 MAJOR problems? Talk about a lemon!

    Of course the dealership is not taking responsibility and neither is VW at this point but I am not done fighting for them to pay what should be their problem.

    Anyone else having these problems? Any suggestions on how to get VW or Autobarn to step up?

    • Paul Barrett
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      Linda … Sorry to hear about your troubles. If you had a repair order opened when they could not find your issue, this could give you an opportunity to have this problem covered. That would give you some case to claim this was a pre existing issue. That is assuming that bad clutch now is causing a worse jerking. Give that a shot and hope it helps.

      In regards to the article not being correct. Keep in mind that all statements above are based on what is most prevalent in these years. This does not mean any model year cant have a failure. Please understand that all cars have potential for failure, even the most reliable. Once again I’m sorry to hear about your troubles. One other note, if you need to repair the vehicle we can help save you money on the parts you need.

  10. Danny
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    Hi Paul,

    I came on your artcile pretty fast by searching weak points on the DSG and it cleared up a few insecurities regarding to this transmission. But also i am a little worried about the DSG/S-tronic because i’m on the lookout for a Golf R or S3 with the potential to tickle it up to some 350 – 380 BHP. Altough the max power is ok, the torque is what i’m worried about. Are these awesome boxes up to the job? I do take a lot of care to my vehicles, so neglection is a nono for me.

    • Paul Barrett
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      Its tough to say but so far I have not heard of any issues with the DSG MQB cars holding us to the power. Glad we could help clear some things up for you.

  11. Yugguy
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    I know a few people with DSG equipped cars, VWs and Audis. None have had problems. I haven’t owned but I have driven several and the DSG unit is just superb to drive, and no slush like a normal auto. When I change cars DSG will be top of my list.

    Just service it as it should be serviced.

    Research ANY car on the internet and you’ll get horror stories. Hell, you’d never buy any car at all if you just went off the internet.

    • Paul Barrett
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      Completely agreed. You can find horror stories about every model.

  12. sanjeev
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    In 2014 VW had publicly apologised in China for their DSG issues ( DQ200, 7 gear ) Even in Malaysia they had problems and then later claimed to have resolved it. So contrary to this article issues happened in 2014 at the least. Any one knows if issues happened with this DSG for kits manufactured in 2015? Maybe too early to tell since these occur after several thousand miles. Any one has more recent updates?

    • Paul Barrett
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      We cant speak to all cars all over the world. This info is for the US market as that it where we are and what our experience with. Thanks for the feedback.

  13. Rus Gustavson
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    It looks like the car is on Jack stands in the front only, and therefore not level. So, if I understand this method correctly, the majority of VW shops would just replace the amount of fluid drained out, and not bother checking the level when warm with a scan tool (VAG-COM). This would make changing the DSG fluid very easy indeed.

    By the way, I really trust and enjoy the Humble Mechanic’s YouTube channel.

  14. Frederic Li
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    Hi all
    I am new to this forum.
    I am in Mauritius (A small island in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar) A very small tiny Dot actually on the world Map LOL.
    I am in the project of purchasing a used 2012 Golf 6 1.2 Tsi DSG 7 speed imported from Japan by a car dealer. After reading stories on the net conserning issues with DSG (DQ200 model which is actually in the car I want to buy), I would like to know if I am not making a mistake of purchasing that car.
    I really love this model Golf 6
    Thanks for all

    • Paul Barrett
      |

      We cant speak specifically about that model as it is different than a US model, but the US models are much less problematic in the later year so it should be fine.

  15. Simon
    |

    I have a 2010 VW Touran (a European model) equipped with the 1.4TSI and DSG 7, which is a dry dual clutch gearbox. Whilst the car is great to drive with the DSG 7 box, I had to have the clutch repair kit fitted once after about 40,000 km, luckily this was under warranty. Now though the same problem and a repair kit has to be fitted again, and this is a €1,300 repair. I think this is poor on a car with only 85,000km. I will be writing to VW to make a complaint.

    It is possible that the DSG6, which is a wet clutch unit, is more reliable, but I would not buy another VW with the DSG7 based on this experience.

    • Paul Barrett
      |

      Thanks for the feedback. Being that this is not a US model or transmission we dont have much insight on this.

  16. Mo Mehio
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    Thanks for the informative article! I’ve been thinking for a while about switching over from automatic/cvt to something more high performance, and that’s how I was first informed by dual-clutches. I think what I enjoyed the most when test driving the Mercedes CLA250 was how quick and jerky the shifts were, and it really made me want to look more into them since then. I’ve been hearing so much abouthow the 2015 A3 offered one that was better and much faster, and as I haven’t driven one yet, I wanted to ask you how it feels to accelerate and downshift with the A3, and how it performs in comparison to the CLA250, if you’ve driven it before. Thanks for any input you can provide!

    • Paul Barrett
      |

      Im sorry I have not driven a CLA so its tough to compare. You should get out there and test drive them both to see which one is to your liking. My vote is Audi ; )

  17. Christine
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    I wouldn’t call them reliable at all. I have a 2010 2.0 TDI Passat with a 6 speed DSG that I have owned since new. It has just had the mechatronics unit replaced and now we’re told it’s the clutch that’s the issue. We also have a 2009 Subaru Forester which cost less to purchase and less to run and it’s still as good as new.

  18. Jude
    |

    Hey hows it going? thanks for this informative article. Do you reckon once the mechatronic has been replaced, it wont have any more problem? I’m thinking of buying a used VW Golf TSI wagon 2011, saw in the service history that the mechatronics was replaced already. What is your honest opinion on longevity of these cars? Thanks in advance!

    • Paul Barrett
      |

      Yes its likely if the mechatronics has been replaced its less likely to have future issues.

  19. |

    We purchased a 2013 GTI a year and a half ago w/ 30k miles on it. We put approx. 30k miles on it since. It just went into the shop for transmission slip, 680 miles out of warranty. They replaced the mechatronic unit and split the cost with us. Hopefully the problem is fixed.

    I can’t say that this transmission is reliable since I’ve never had an issue with my mk1 Ford Focus automatic transmission with 200k miles on either of Two that I’ve had, and I’ve Never had any issue with a manual transmission other than a clutch replacement. THAT is reliability.

    • Paul Barrett
      |

      We completely understand but keep in mind that what we are referring to is more at a higher level interms of failures. This means as a whole they are not prone to failure on the later models but there may be some people who experience failures. Im sure that isn’t any constellation to you as yours did fail but I wanted to make sure I’m clear about what my thought process was about.

      In terms of manual transmissions, without a doubt manual transmissions are the most reliable option you can go with.

      Again sorry to hear about your troubles. Thanks for sharing.

  20. AlexB
    |

    Hello, nice article, but you to finish the story.
    Meaning DSG it’s good either we talk about Audi / VW / etc (VAG group), the most problematic gear box it’s DSG7 dry cluch (with syntetic oil, which it comes standard), this only for cars with 270 nm (used on engines 1.2 tsi, 1.4 tsi, 1.8 tsi, some 2.0 tdi). Most of these cars have problems with this gear box and need to go in service on warranty / own cost to change mechatronics and syntetic oil with mineral oil.
    I wanted to buy a Polo GTI 1.8 tsi (192 hp), DSG7 dry cluch (which doesn’s requaire srvice) and everybody i know, also forums adviced me to go for manual or for DSG7 wet cluch (which requaire service, because it’s oil cooled).
    I have a friend with Polo GTI 1.4 tsi (179 hp), DSG7 dry cluch, who changed the engine because of this gearbox.
    So take care and use wisely.

    AlexB

    • Paul Barrett
      |

      Thanks for the feedback. We only recently got this trans in the US so we can shed much light on that particular version as its still too new.

  21. |

    Hi Paul,

    Love your website! Great content!

    I Came across your website while researching a ‘O8 R32 that I may buy. Drove it yesterday love the handling and acceleration! However the car has a 104k miles on it. I have owned many VW’s before and remember that they can be costly to repair. Do you have any comments or things to look for before purchasing? Any reply would be appreciated!

    • Paul Barrett
      |

      The best advice I can offer is to have the vehicle inspected by a VW specialist before purchasing.

  22. Peter
    |

    Hi Paul,

    First off, Great video. You have a wonderfully laid-out website. I just had a few questions to ask:
    1. I have a 2016 MK7 Gti DSG and it has the triptonic. Is there any difference for changing the dsg fluid with mk7?
    2. Does the car need to be level when it is off the ground for this dsg fluid change?
    3. I have seen some videos of people filling the transmission from the top (keeping the drain plugs in and filling the casing from the top where the DSG filter sits). Which do you think is the better method?

    Thanks again,
    Peter

    • Paul Barrett
      |

      First thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it very much.
      1. The MK7 DSG should be the same as the DSG shown in our video
      2. In our video we show how most VW and Audi Shops would perform this service based on their experience. Their is a level checking procedure to confirm the level of the fluid.
      3. Either should work. Filling from the top often take a really long time to get the fluid in.

      Hope this helps

  23. Paul
    |

    Great website, plenty of knowledge and information given in understandable way.
    Currently I am considering a purchase of used Skoda Superb II with DSG. However the milleage of the car exceed 250000 in this moment. Although all of the maintenance procedures were done on time oil replace etc, I am still concern how to check DSG condition.
    Could you recommend what to check using VCDS software in DSG, if it is possible?

    • Paul Barrett
      |

      There is not really much you can do to check the condition of the DSG trans. We cant offer much advice on that specific model as its not a US model so we are not familiar.

  24. Tom
    |

    Would you recommend shorter transmission fluid intervals for a DSG of the car if it is driven hard? I am thinking every 30,000 miles to be on the safer side?

    • Paul Barrett
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      We havent done any testing bit if you think being hard on the car merits early fluid changes it may not be a bad idea. Keep in mind changing it more frequently cant possibly be a bad thing.

  25. Tumelo
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    Thank you very much for the clear instructions. I was able to do it on my golf v gti. The DGS is really a wonderful gearbox with smooth gear gifts. I’m a little bit concerned though, my golf does all the shifting very well but when it shifts down from 3 to 2 it makes a click or bang sound which is not so bad. Should I be worried?

    • Paul Barrett
      |

      If you are potentially concerned you might consider having someone take a look to be sure.

  26. Jose Eduardo Soares
    |

    Hi Paul,

    First, thanks for your website. Great content!

    I have a 2013 Jetta MK6 2.0 TSI (DSG6) in Brazil, and here in my country VW recommends service every 10K km (6.2K miles) or 6 months. I don’t know if they recommend these time based services instead of just distance based ones in other countries. For the 6th service (60K km/37.3K miles or 3 years) they recommend the DSG service. My car is 3 years old now, but it only has 18K km (11.2K miles) on the odometer.

    In your opinion, is it really necessary to service the DSG with such a low mileage?

    Thanks again,
    Jose

    • Paul Barrett
      |

      I dont know why they would recommend that so they are really the only ones who can answer that. Does it say that in the owners manual?

      • Jose Eduardo Soares
        |

        Yes. The owners manual and the brazilian VW website say that the 6th service includes the DSG service and they also say that the service interval should be 10K km (6.2K miles) or 6 months whichever comes first.

        Since I’m the 2nd owner and I don’t know how the previous owner used the car, I chose to service the DSG now to avoid any risk. I’ll do it next week.

        Thanks for your reply

  27. Josiah
    |

    I have a 2009 mkv gti with 62k miles. I’ve noticed from a stand still the car seems to surge power almost like its catching then slipping. this is only in the lower RPMs. This goes the same for reverse. I also have noticed parked on any type on incline I have a harder than normal time putting it into gear. Im thinking its the mechatronics unit but I’m not sure if its covered under warranty or not. Any advise would be much appreciated

  28. Azim Sayani
    |

    I got vw touran 2013 auto dsg gears only done 29000 miles and oil leaking from gearbox only had it 3 weeks..please advise what to do…dealers dont want to know.i paid 11k for touran help…

    • Paul Barrett
      |

      Sorry we cant diagnose the car over the internet. You really need to bring it to a VW specialist to diagnose.

  29. Paul
    |

    Hi Paul . I have just recently purchased 2007 VW r32 . I knew little or NOTHING about the DSG gearbox . I noticed while in Drive and on an up-hill incline the car would start to slowly run or slip backwards ( with my foot off the brake) this caused me concern so I took it to a transmission specialist, and I’m SO GLAD I DID !!! He told me that a lot of cars with DSG gearboxs from the city of Auckland had a lot of clutch problems . Auckland has a lot of hills whereas Tauranga doesn’t. He told me the main reason for the excessive wear was because people would sit in DRIVE while waiting for the lights to change WITHOUT having their foot on the BRAKE! While waiting in first gear, 2nd gear is already waiting to go . By keeping ones foot on the brake puts No pressure on the 2nd Clutch . He told me that this is IMPERATIVE to the life of the clutches . I have been guilty of this but thankfully I have only had this car for 4’weeks and have changed my driving style. Again THANKFULLY, he gave my car ‘ HEAPS ‘ through the gears while test driving it and stated the gearbox is in good condition. Another thing I’ve learnt , it is ALSO imperative to have the oil changed when the service manual says to. This is a BIG a plus when trying to sell the car. Hope this helps . Paul N, Tauranga New Zealand

    • Janie
      |

      So interested to see this advice re clutch.
      I have a 2012 passat 118tsi, bought as demo in 2013 from vw dealership 4013km on clock.
      2014, after two visits to dealer re jerking problem, they finally kept it for a few days to experience it themselves.
      they replaced gearbox under warranty. Drove like a dream until…
      2015, required towing due to fuel pump failure. Warranty 6 weeks over, they replaced it on goodwill.
      2016, crunching sound from gearbox – required clutch pack replacement.
      Hubby went wild at dealer who managed to get a replacement under warranty.
      Price quoted at $14k per gearbox replacement so without the warranty/goodwill this car would be a complete dud.
      Weighing up whether to trade in now with 60k on the clock or try Paul.s brake pressure in traffic… Might just be able to keep car which in every other way I love

  30. Peter Phiri
    |

    I have a DSG VW Golf5 2008 model,at 40,000km serviced with touching DSG service ,by 46,110km m/unit got damaged resulting failure to engage gears,I replaced unit but it jerking what could be the problem.please assist,may I also know whether I can could have it fixed under warrant by local de lear as I bought from Japan but am in Zambia

    • Paul Barrett
      |

      Sounds like you need to bring to a local VW specialist in your area

  31. |

    I have a DSG VW Golf5 2008 model,at 40,000km serviced without touching DSG service ,by 46,110km DSG /unit got damaged resulting failure to engage gears,I replaced new1 unit but it jerking and jumping from gear 2 to 4 then get stuck what could be the problem.please assist,may I also know whether I can could have it fixed under warrant by local de lear as I bought from Japan but am in Zambia ,And when I read through regular oil is it synthetic or just ordinary gear box oil for manual or automatic transmission

  32. Louis
    |

    Hi Paul

    Will a EOS DSG Gearbox KBD, work on a 1.9TDI Jetta?

    Regards
    Louis

  33. Peter Phiri
    |

    Hi
    Would like to know my problem,I notice some Hydraulic oil links down,trying to check its like coming out through one of clutch piston on DSG unit,would like to know what can I do to stop this,if I need to replace the same Piston let me know possible delear as our local told me can only supply me the all Mechatronic unit which I replaced few weeks drive it just a day then notice oil links.

  34. Yoni
    |

    I understand that you are explaining here the DSG6 wet… Issues are existing in DSG7 DQ 200 dry.
    Please explain .it issues are still exist for DQ 200

    • Paul Barrett
      |

      Im sorry they have not been around the US long enough to know for sure.

  35. Mike
    |

    Hi,
    I got my GTI at Carmax with 38k miles, took it in at 41 for an oil change and transmission fluid flush but they told me I’m not able to do the transmission flush until 90k miles. Why’s that when I read online to get it flushed at 40k miles?
    Keep in mind, I took my GTI back to Carmax to get serviced

    • Paul Barrett
      |

      If you have a DSG it should be done every 40k. Carmax is wrong. You should take it to a shop capable of assisting you.

  36. Jochem
    |

    Unfortunately…. yesterday ‘kicked’ out of the gear and now I am not allowed to drive until assessment is done by the garage.
    VW Passat 1.4TSI DSG in NL froM 2011.

    Oil leak was found.
    Hope the damage is not that big…

    Jochem

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