Feds to probe reports of VW Tiguan headlight failure

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it's gotten 60,000 complaints

Federal safety investigators are taking a close look at late model Volkswagen Tiguans, responding to more than 60,000 consumer complaints about the headlights going out.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said the complaints center on 2009 to 2011 models, with drivers complaining the exterior lights – mostly headlights – have failed. The agency said it received a handful of complaints from drivers who said they lost power in all their exterior lights.

The agency said the initial reports indicate that the problem gets progressively worse. When troubleshooting the problem, mechanics have reported finding melted fuses in the fuse box located in the engine compartment.

Other VW complaints

Consumers posting at ConsumerAffairs.com in recent months have also reported lighting issues on other Volkswagen models.

L.H., a reader in Capetown, South Africa, reports a number of issues with his new VW Beetle, starting with a fault in the sunroof.

“Now the headlights don't work either, and I am unable to drive after dark or in bad weather,” L.H. wrote in a ConsumerAffairs post.

Doreen, of Chicago, says she has a 2007 Passat she bought used, with only 35,000 miles, in 2010. Since then, she reports a number of issues – some expensive, like an air conditioner compressor – and some minor, like windshield wipers that quit working.

'Headlights constantly need replacing'

“Obviously, I have an electrical problem because my headlights constantly need replacing and magically work after several days or hours,” she writes.

Kate, of Raleigh, N.C., sent us a list of reasons she “hates her 2007 Beetle.” Number four on her list mentions headlights.

“At least one headlight burns out every six months,” she writes. “The cost to have it replaced ranges from $60 to $80. The whole headlight assembly has to be removed to replace the light. Recently, both headlights burned out within two weeks. I realized it when I drove onto the interstate at night and couldn't see a thing. Scary.”

It's worth pointing out that these complaints come from Beetle and Passat drivers. To date, we haven't heard from any Tiguan owners reporting a problem with headlights. NHTSA said it is just beginning its probe and couldn't say whether it might lead to a recall.

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