Brett Cooper 0

VW Touareg 3 Tow Bar Problems

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UPDATE 5 March 2012

There may be good news coming. Check with your VW dealer. I understand that the wiring harness should be available soon.


VW has no after market tow bar kit available for the new Touareg. Please sign this petition if you would like VW to get off of its a*** and do something about fixing a fundamental design flaw affecting owners globally. If, like me, you have bought one of the 2010 onwards Touaregs - referred to variously as a Touareg 3, Mark 2 or '7P' to use VW jargon - and need a tow bar to be fitted after market, get ready for the nightmare to begin. I bought my demo Sept’11 V6 TDi in Feb’11. It had no tow bar fitted - no problem I thought - actually, yes it is a huge problem! The VW dealer advised that the folding factory unit could not be retro fitted and that the OEM detachable unit would cost £1,000+. Independent tow bar specialists quoted prices from £730. As the non OEM kit was more expensive than anticipated, I called VW and was delighted at the £750 quoted to fit the OEM kit. Bargain. Booked the car in and relaxed ... for about 45 minutes! Then the dealer called to advise that they could not do the work as VW had withdrawn the harness (7P0 055 204) for “technical review”. They would get back in touch with me as soon as the part became available. At this point, I was still thinking ‘no problem’. I can wait a month or so…. it has been under review since June 2011 and there is not even a glimmer of light at the tunnel end! Over the past 6 years and now 3 Touaregs I have got to know the local, one time VW Touareg specialist, dealer pretty well and called in to see a guy who usually knows, or can find out the answers. 2 hours and a call to VW Luxury Car Customer Service – a tag that increasingly is sounding like the winning candidate for the most oxymorons in a 5 word phrase – here is where I am. Tom at VW UK, we are getting to know each other quite well, called me back and left a somewhat garbled message on my voicemail: ‘I’ve come to the solution …. well it’s not really a solution actually, but it is something that I would like to discuss with you …. Would you please give me a call back so that I can tell you how we help.’ It certainly was not really a solution. And how he thought the conversation helped is beyond human reasoning. Tom advised that the product remains under ‘technical review’ but that there is “no work planned”. VW cannot fit a tow bar to this car. I can, if I choose, have a tow bar fitted by an independent but this would invalidate any warranty claim where the fault could be linked to the hardware or electrical installation of the tow bar. Very helpful and customer facing. So, what VW are saying is that the only way that you can tow with this car and protect the manufacturer warranty is to have a tow bar fitted at the factory when the car is in build. Unfortunately, they forget to mention that in the sales brochures or on the website. More significantly the dealer network is unaware of the issue. Here is the good and the bad. VW clearly know something about how the tow bar wiring harness interfaces with the car and that this has the potential to cause a problem. I have asked, but at this point ‘Tom’ – I don’t think we have a long and happy future together head of us - has been unable to provide an answer to the ‘what, exactly, is the issue?’ question. Maybe later this week he will! Apparently when you hook something up to the tow bar, the car’s systems start to make decisions on gear shifts, cooling, ABS, ESP and a plethora of other functions including, of course, lights and parking sensors. If the issue is safety, fitting any tow bar is a non option. I cannot make that decision because VW has not disclosed the nature of the problem. If it is to do with the car systems – could be something as absolutely basic as bulb fault warning lights – I might be able to live with that …. if I know what the problem is! 90% of my tow bar use is for a hitch mounted bike rack. Occasionally I might tow a light trailer. Do the car systems ‘sense’ the weight of what is being towed and adjust settings accordingly, or do they assume that I am always towing a 30’ Airstream!?!? The bar and harness sold, and in the case of the latter, now not sold, by VW - even though they are still in the brochure and on the website – are the exact same items sold and readily fitted by Westfalia installers here in the UK. They say, it works fine, the car actually will recognise the Westfalia unit as the OEM kit and just requires coding with VAGCOM. No known issues and a lot of people saying that they have the kit and it works. My car was 5 months old when I bought it. Had I ordered it new I would have opted for the factory fit tow bar. It never crossed my mind that getting one fitted would be an issue. The call to action is this: 1. In the first instance VW tell us what is wrong with our cars so that we can make informed decisions in the short term to circumvent your lack of resolution 2. More importantly get some “work planned” and make this vehicle fit or purpose. If you are in the same boat and want VW to behave like they actual care about customers who buy their £40k plus flagship SUV – even if your Touareg is just for school runs – please sign this e-petition. A 4X4 that cannot tow is even more ironic than one that never leaves tarmac!


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