Volkswagen Sharan (1995–2010)

What's good

19-2-2011: Want to buy one? This model VW Sharan had optional built in child seats and the Taxi firm Addison Lee is currently defleeting its Sharan diesel automatics fitted with these seats. Addison Lee corner of Hampstead Road and Granby Terrace, just South of Greater London House, London, tel 0207 3889799.

Owner's helpsite

Discounted Spare Parts:

What to watch out for

VW 2.0 litre 8v petrol engines not as good as Ford's 2.0 and 2.3 litre twin-cams.

Began to suffer from oversupply in 1998. Below average 'customer satisfaction'.

Came second bottom in 'P' reg J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Survey, but by 'R' reg had improved. S and T platers 18th from bottom in 2001 Top Gear / J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Survey. Joint 16th from Bottom in 144 car 2002 JD Power / What Car? Customer Satisfaction Survey of V and W reg cars. Rock bottom out of 137 models in 2003 Top Gear survey.

Three-Star performer in NCAP crash tests (6 points front impact; 15 points side impact).

VWs generally had below average warranty repair costs in 2003 Warranty Direct Reliability index (index 76.83 v/s lowest 31.93). Link:-

RHD imports not to UK spec, missing important items such as air conditioning, rear seat heating, etc.

Beware of wipers that will not switch off. Water gets into wiper motors, corroding them. New motors £500. First symptom they will not turn off.

Aircon condenser vulnerable to front-end shunts and was relocated in later models. Vital to check that the aircon works properly as this is a common failure and fixing it can be very expensive.

On early models water can enter car via ventilation, soak the underfloor and get into the ECU which controls the electric windows and alarm system. On later models, this ECU has been moved.

TDIs can blow turbos and catalytic converters. Black smole first sign of turbo bearing oil seal failure.

Have also been 5-speed manual gearbox problems with TDIs. On 6-speed twin shaft manuals the gearchange from 1st to 2nd can become still. First stage dealer cure is to replace the transmission oil. If that fails, it needs a synchro ring replacing. So if your box stiffens up, make sure it is attended to before the warranty expires.

Pre 1999MY key-lock immobiliser models suffer same security design fault as Passats, A4s and early Golf Mk IVs. Thieves can pop out the lock barrel then use the same screwdriver to turn lock so all the windows open and alarm sensors are disabled.

Problems emerging of stretched timing chains on VR6s and chains actually breaking at around 90,000 miles.

Air mass meters on TDI 110s can suffer failure through corrosion.

1.8T 20v engines are snapping their timing belts at 70,000 - 80,000 miles and the extensive damage this causes is not repairable. The car will need a replacement engine. 1.8 20Vs also suffering problems with air mass sensors which cost around £200 to replace.

All 1.8 20V turbos built from around August 2001 to October 2002 can suffer from failure of one or more of the four ignition coils, which lead to a dispute butween VAG and a supplier and a severe shortage of coils from November 2002 to January 2003.

Brake servo pipes of TDI 90 and 110s can fail leading to lack of servo assistance.

Intermittent power loss on TDI 90s and 110s may be due to one of the following:- sticking turbo due to dirty oil; dirty or faulty mass airflow sensor; exhaust gas recirculation solenoid valve sticking open; wastegate valve actuator rod sticking; faulty throttle switches; faulty temperature sensor; loose or leaking brake servo pipe or turbo boost pipe from fuel pump to turbo; faulty ECU.

Reports of Tiptronic valve box failures on Sharan TDI 5-speed automatics.

JATCO advises owners not to carry out AUTOMATIC transmission fluid changes hemselves because it's difficult to ensure the correct amount is added (the gearbox needs to be run to a specific temperature - This requires diagnostic equipment) and probably they will use the wrong oil, e.g. Land Rover Discovery ATF is different from a Land Rover Freelander, and Jaguar X-Type (Jatco) uses different ATF to a Land Rover Freelander (Jatco).

Reconditioned JATCO automatic transmissions around £1,000 from Factory exchange JATCO automatic transmissions (more expensive) from

On TDIs, EGR valve should open to allow carbon dioxide, which acts as a cooling gas) into the combustion chambers when the engine is under load (>30% boost). This allows the combustion chamber temperature to drop and thus the temperature of the exhaust gases. If it sticks in the closed position the exhaust gas temperature will rise causing a) the turbo bearings to fail and b) engine oil into the induction system. This can cause the engine to run on its crankcase oil until it is either stalled or goes bang. Problems with EGR valves in TDI engines are often the cause of rough running when the valve is stuck in the open position as well. In several cases turbos have blown but the EGR valve has not been replaced. Inevitably the new turbo unit will not last long.

Another problem of 2.0TDI PD 140s and 170s is failure of the oil pump. The oil pump is driven from a balancre shaft via a short hexagonal shaft. The peaks of this hexagonal shaft locate in six corresponding but minute grooves machined within the otherwise circular-bored oil pump drive shaft. Thus, the oil pump drive relies entirely on an interference fit of little more than 0.010" along the peaks of the hexagonal shaft. After about 50,000 miles, the shaft can round off, resulting in a totally destroyed engine and turbo, plus a bill of up to £9,000. If the danger is known and the oil pump is removed by the garage in good time, a new replacement pump will cost over £500, plus the labour etc to remove and refit it. However, it is also possible to save the old pump and modify the drive at a fraction of the cost of a new one. Many local machine shop already have numbers of these pumps in for such rectification, the drive shaft of each having been on the point of rounding off.

Failing DMFs on 6-speed diesel manuals can generate so much heat in the transmission housing that they cause a fire.

Note Haynes manual is generic Alhambra/Sharan manual to August 2000.


1997: (built Jan '96-Apr '97): problems with optional child seats.

1997 (built Dec '95-July '96): brake pads may overheat.

1998: (Aug '96-Feb '98 build): loss of power due to wiring loom failure.

13/1/2000: 80,000 Galaxys, Alhambras and Sharans VIN TV000001 to YV509825 recalled to check for contamination of brake fluid through master cylinder vent. Brake master cylinders of older cars to be replaced.

20/5/2002: 228 Sharans VINs ending 019567 to 033866 recalled because software fault may lead to failure of wiper motor.

3-3-05 on LUPO, POLO, GOLF, BORA, TOURAN, NEW BEETLE, PASSAT AND SHARAN (WITH 2 PUMP INJECTOR ENGINE) built 1-3-04 to 31-8-04 bolts on tandem fuel pump may break.

31-12-2011: Apparently, all VAG models with the 2.0TDI engine from around 2005 fitted with Siemens peizo injectors are subject to a recall which involves replacing all the injectors FOC. Job takes around 3 hours. A short circuit within the injectors causes the fuel system to shut down and engine cuts out.

28-1-2012: Manufacturer recall to replace Siemens Piezoelectric injectors of 2006 - 2009 2.0 TDI BMN engines. All the injectors from the the 2.0 TDI PD engines that use piezoelectric Siemens injectors and Siemens ECUs are affected by this problem. The most problems are on the Passat BKD 2.0 TDI 140HP. No problem from 2009 and the introduction of the common rail 2.0 TDI engine (CEGA).

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