2013 VW Routan Engine Failed & New Engine Already Has Issues

I bought a very lightly used 2013 Routan as a VW certified pre-owned vehicle about 4 months ago. The check engine light went on, and it turned out that there was catastrophic engine failure (the 4th for the same make and model the Dealer had seen). The dealer just replaced the engine completely at no cost, and the check engine light is going on again. I’ve been reading online about the issues with the engine - it’s a Chrysler Pentastar 3.6, and the issues are well documented (I know, I should have done better research BEFORE buying…) I feel like it’s really clear that I purchased a lemon, but since I bought a used vehicle, lemon laws don’t really apply. Does anyone have any advice on how I should proceed?

I feel like it's really clear that I purchased a lemon, but since I bought a used vehicle, lemon laws don't really apply.

Check with your state. Some states - Lemon laws are for new and used vehicles.

Check engine light does NOT mean the engine is bad. Get the code read to determine what the problem is. Could be as simple as a loose gas-cap.

Thanks, @MikeInNH - the dealer is looking into the check engine light issue now, will also look deeper into lemon laws. Appreciate the quick response!

In addition to a loose gas cap, there is a strong possibility that the technician who worked on your car failed to properly connect an electrical connector under the hood. Put the burden on the dealership to resolve this problem before you go into panic mode.

While I wouldn’t want a VW Routan (or the mechanically identical Chrysler van), the presence of a lit-up CEL is not sufficient reason to dump a 2 year old vehicle that now has a new engine.

@VDCdriver thanks for the feedback. The technician is still working on the issue and is stumped, I haven’t picked up the vehicle from the dealer yet, will definitely not pick it up until the issue is resolved. Chrysler pays for 12 hours of labor, and the technician is on hour 17. I agree that the best outcome is to keep the car with the brand new engine if they can figure out the issues and there isn’t one or multiple recurring issues with the vehicle.

We need better info to be able to help you. Like going to the doctor, we need “presenting symptoms” with as much info as possible to try to figure out what the cause is. Saying “catastrophic engine failure” lets us know (something) bad happened, but doesn’t pin the cause down, any more than saying “I was in the ICU” lets us what was wrong with you. Similarly, a CEL could be anything from a loose gas cap to an engine about ready to catch fire.

So, we need to know:

  1. Exactly how the prior engine failed.
  2. What code the CEL is illuminating for. It will come in the form of “P1234,” with the letter P followed by a distinct 4-digit code (that corresponds to a specific fault detected). There may be more than one code; that’s more than one fault. Please let us know the actual code(s) (as opposed to your mechanic’s interpretation).
  3. What state you live in and/or purchased the vehicle, for advice re: Lemon Law possibilities. (Be forewarned that few states apply Lemon Law to used vehicle purchases.)

With that info, you are much more likely to get useful advice from us.

I’m thinking this is some kind of engine software compatibility problem, the cause being the difference between the revision number of the car vs the replacement engine. It can almost certainly be solved, but may take expertise beyond what is available at the dealership. If I’m right, it is more a computer configuration problem than a car problem.

So why did the engine fail and how many miles on the car? LIghtly used means nothing if the previous owner never changed the oil and the word “Lemon” does not apply in a case like that.

Buying stuff from a bankrupt company, especially a car company…Chrysler, Benz, VW, Fiat…Good luck with that one…

Chrysler, Benz, VW, Fiat are bankrupt ??

No, but they have been taking turns managing and looting the bones of Chrysler…You buy a VW van and surprise, it’s powered by an engine with a very uncertain pedigree, completely strange to a VW line mechanic…

I had a similar situation back in 1991 when I bought a used 1990 Ford Aerostar. I bought it from an established used car dealer and it had the balance of the Ford Warranty. During the warranty period the engine had to be replaced and the transmission was rebuilt. The mechanic forgot to put the overdrive band in the transmission, so he had to tear it down a second time. I had no more problems after that in the 9 years and 150,000 miles I kept the Aerostar. My guess is that after you get the CEL taken care of, you will be o.k.

@triedaq thank you for the response, I sure appreciate your sharing a positive outcome with me. The mechanic is still unable to figure out the CEL issue, and the Routan is still in the shop. Hope that I have as good as results as you did!

@meanjoe75fan the problem with this engine is that there are 2 oil pumps, a high speed and a low speed oil pump. The high speed oil pump failed, which caused the engine to fail. The engine is a Chrysler Pentastar engine, and I’ve read countless issues with this engine online. Here’s an example. Currently, after replacing the original engine with a new engine, the dealer is unable to solve for the CEL issue. They don’t know whether the 2nd engine also failed, whether there is an issue with the electrical system, or something else. I am not the mechanic, so I don’t have any information on the error codes the mechanic is dealing with.