The most common problems with the Volkswagen Direct Shift Gearbox transmission system are related to the transmission shifting into neutral or losing power unexpectedly during operation. These issues may arise due to problems with the software or temperature sensors of the transmission system, though loss of power issues may also occur due to buildups of sulfur deposits in the transmission. Volkswagen issued recalls for many vehicles fitted with DSG transmissions in 2009 and 2013 to address the issues.
The Volkswagen DSG transmission consists of a pair of standard manual gearboxes with computer-actuated clutches that engage and disengage nearly simultaneously when shifting gears. During a shift, one clutch engages one gearbox to the drive wheels while the other releases from the current gear, allowing the DSG transmission to execute gearshifts much more quickly than is possible with a standard automatic transmission using a torque converter. However, the DSG system's reliance on computer control makes the DSG transmission potentially vulnerable to software errors or defective sensor issues, such as the ones addressed by the Volkswagen recalls of 2009.
The 2013 worldwide recall of cars with certain DSG gearboxes was intended to address issues with sulfur deposition that could cause sudden loss of power due to short-circuiting electronics in the gearbox. These deposits resulted from the synthetic gearbox oil initially used in the affected transmission. Volkswagen replaced the synthetic oil with mineral oil during the recall to address this issue.