By The Lenspeed Team

News has been spreading among VW enthusiasts in Singapore when it was announced that Volkswagen will be recalling 6,000 cars with a potentially faulty DSG gearbox.

Not that there was any surprise there. The seven-speed dry clutch Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) has been a noted issue on online forums, not only in Singapore but across the world too. It is not merely a power loss issue, with some DSG units suffering from ‘mechatronic failures’, a juddering first gear on move-off and gear engagement issues. Notably, it is always the newer seven-speed DSG that always ran into trouble, rather than the older and more reliable six-speed DSG fitted into the Mk5 GTI, for instance.

It seems, if I may speculate, that heavy city driving associated with Singapore roads and high tropical temperatures have led to above average problems for DSG. Although no official recalls have been made until today, it is not uncommon to hear of VW cars being towed back to the workshop due to a DSG failure. It is also known that many VW owners, frustrated with the lack of a solution for the DSG problems, sold their cars on and moved to other brands.

I’m really glad that VW is finally acknowledging the issue officially, removing much of the grievances of VW owners that have had to suffer in quiet for perhaps a tad too long. It would have been wise, however, for VW to have admitted this earlier – as I know many VW loyalists who have abandoned the brand because of this, and never to come back again. It is not a matter of months either; it was years before VW took any affirmative action.

This is an insight into a wider issue too: are DSG-type gearboxes really all they are cracked out to be? Merging the benefits of an automatic and a manual gearbox, has anything been traded away, such as reliability? I guess time has told for the seven-speed DSG. That said, there are many problem-free dual clutch gearboxes out there as well, like the seemingly fault-free Porsche Doppelkupplung. So there is nothing conclusive to say at this stage.

So for all of you driving VWs with the 7-speed DSG – please get your gearboxes serviced at VW!

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