Oil Pressure Warning - 2012 VW Tiguan 2.0 TSI

Good Morning,

I recently purchased a 2012 Tiguan and I am completely in love with it. This is my first VW, and I think, for the price, it was a great purchase.

However, I seem to be having an intermittent issue with the “Oil Pressure Low! Turn Engine Off” notification. While driving under load, (uphill, A/C on) this blinks off then on right away. When I crest the hill, its fine. And it only seems to happen while running the A/C.

Has anyone else ever run into this? Oil was just changed prior to purchase. It is full with a full synthetic blend (according to the garage) 5/30w. I am not experiencing ANY leaks or burn off at all. Engine is NOT making any abnormal sounds, and the exhaust looks normal.

There is only two things that can be wrong… 1) The oil level IS actually low. How you can check this is in your owners manual. There is a sensor that can be read with the key ON and engine OFF from your multi-media display. You should know how to do this and not depend on the garage for this.

If you don’t have an owners manual…they are available online, from VW, for free, as a PDF.

or 2) The other thing that could be wrong is the oil sensor itself may have a problem and is giving you a bad reading. It could be intermittent.

This should be checked NOW. Low oil can destroy an engine quickly you need to KNOW which it is.

Just a point of reference, you COULD be burning oil and not know that you are as there may not be any signs. Modern catalyst equipped vehicles can burn a LOT of oil and not show any smoke.

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It really does not matter if anyone else has this problem . First of all you do and the other people who do may never see your post. If you are not able to solve this yourself put this thing in a shop and find out what is wrong before your destroy your engine.



I did check the oil, and the oil level is perfect - right where its recommended to be.
It has not budged since I purchased the vehicle.

The sensor may still be an issue - I’m also kicking around the possibility of an issue with the screen in the pickup tube…there may be some sludge in the oil pan. I saw this on another site.

Id worry more about it if it was all the time, but the issue ONLY happens when I run the A/C. Otherwise, the car runs and drives fine.

It should not happen at all and your AC runs even when you don’t turn it on to keep the windsheild clear . Of course the vehicles runs fine and it will until it doesn’t.

That would be my prime suspect. More than likely, the previous owner(s) may have gone far too long between oil changes, or they didn’t use the proper spec oil–or both. I strongly suggest that you remove the valve cover to see if there is a visible sludge build-up.

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Thanks, Ill do so as soon as I get off of work.

Is 5W-30 the proper oil?

IF the oil level is fine sheer guess and a cheap one is the oil pressure sensor is simply failing especially given the vehicle is 10 years+ old.

Good luck.


SAE 5w-30 or 5w-40
As I read, there is a brand out there SPECIFICALLY for Euro imports. I think, though, the dealer I bought the car from user normal 5w-30 Pennzoil Synthetic based off of evidence I found in the car.

It’s not a brand so much as the specification. Your engine calls for oil that complies with VW’s 502.00 specification
or higher (you can also use spec 504.00, for instance). There are several brands that qualify (Castrol & MOBIL-1 come to mind, but there are probably others), but you have to check the label on the back of the container to be sure.

I read that a brand called Moli thats supposed to be one of the better brands to use. Ive never heard of it, though.

This really shouldn’t be difficult.
Many/most larger retailers should have Mobil-1 of the proper specification.
This is what Mobil’s website recommends for your make and model:

Oil filter recommendation for my car | Mobil Motor Oils.

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Yes and no. Your AC compressor isn’t going to be working as hard just keeping the windshield clear as it will when you’re trying to cool the whole interior. The power for that comes from the engine, which us supposed to compensate for the extra drag. I suspect yours isn’t and you can confirm or debunk it by noting the idle speed when you’re using the AC. If it drops when the compressor kicks in the engine isn’t compensating. Between oil pressure or a sensor that’s already marginal and lower RPMs, you’d reach a point when the light comes on. So if I’m right you now have two problems. Sorry.

Given this statement…

Your overall oil pressure may be low because the bearings are worn out… or close to it. A mechanical pressure gauge on the engine will confirm or deny this as the problem. You don’t say how many miles on this Tiguan, but at 9 years old, it could easily be over 100K.


Hey Mustangman - it currently sits at 126K

Im going to check that as its always a possibility, but I dont feel like it is a strong one.
When you say bearings, are you referring to the engine bearing or the bearings in the oil pump?

With that many miles, bad maintenance on the part of the previous owner(s) could have led to accelerated wear of the engine’s main bearings, and to other internal parts, thus reducing the oil pressure.

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Engine bearings. As they wear, the clearances open up and the pressure drops. The oil pump also wears internally but since it is always bathed in oil, it is less likely. Depending on the maintenance this vehicle has had, it could very well be worn out bearings. It could also be a worn out pressure sender as they are less reliable than engine bearings… and far cheaper!

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Thanks for the direction! Ill dig into it after work…if we dont get storms…again.

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Or there is an oil sludging problem which has caked up half the screen on the oil pickup tube and since this happens on an uphill maybe due to oil slosh to the rear of the pan there is not enough screen clear to pull enough oil through.

Guy running a Grand National at the drag trip was having shifting problems with the 200R4 in that car. It was due to the stock transmission pan and fluid slosh to the rear (think uphill…) on hard launches. Deeper pan with a baffle fixed that issue. Just using this as kind of an analogy.