Common VW 2.0T TSI Engine Problems

by | Oct 10, 2022 | Audi, VW | 0 comments

A variety of Vw and Audi models utilised the 2.0L Turbocharged TSI (2.0T TSI) engine, which debuted in the middle of 2008. This engine was produced and sold until 2014. The Volkswagen  CC, GTI, Passat, Eos, Beetle, Jetta and Tiguan, as well as the Audi MK2 TT and A3, all used the 2.0T TSI engine.

While we’d want to state that, with good maintenance, any engine should be dependable, the 2.0T TSI has a long list of issues that have been reported by owners. While this may seem like a long list of problems, we’ve found that many of them affect all German turbocharged automobiles, not just Audi and VW. Please check the fitment of the items for your car before purchasing them using the links below.

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2.0t TSI Common Problems Affect:

Volkswagen / VW:

  • MK6 Jetta 2011-2014
  • Tiguan 2009-2015
  • CC 2009-2015
  • B6 Passat 2008.5-2010
  • Beetle 2012-2015
  • Eos 2008.5-2014
  • MK6 GTI 2010-2014
  • MK5 Jetta 2008.5-2010
  • MK5 GTI 2008.5-2009


  • TT (MK2) 2008.5-2014
  • A3 2008.5-2014

These Are the 7 Most Frequent Problems With Volkswagen 2.0t TSI Motors

  • Clogged / Leaking Fuel Injectors
  • Failure of the Water Pump
  • Problems with the ignition system, such as faulty spark plugs or ignition coils, may cause the engine to stall.
  • Tensioner for the Chain that Controls the Clock’s Ticking
  • PCV Damaged Valves
  • Boosting Diverter Valve
  • Increasingly Stifling Conditions Damaged Fuel Pump

1 Fuel Injectors that are clogged or leaking in a 2.0T TSI engine

Direct injection is used in the 2.0T TSI engine, spraying gasoline directly into the cylinders rather than the intake ports. Direct injection has several advantages over traditional fuel injection systems, such as increased efficiency, less emissions, cooler operating temperatures, etc. Fuel injectors’ tendency to malfunction over time is a drawback, however.

The fuel injectors dispense the gas into the cylinders in the form of a fine spray. Separate fuel injectors are used for each of the four cylinders in the 2.0T TSI engine. These fuel injectors spray gas at pressures of approximately 1,500 PSI, making them extraordinarily high-pressure (thus the necessity for an HPFP; this is an issue we’ll get to in a moment).

The injectors in a fuel system are subjected to extreme conditions, including high temperatures and pressure. Fuel injector leaks are a common consequence of fuel injection systems being subjected to high temperatures and pressures over time. In addition, they might get blocked or gunked up. Fuel injector failure may occur if one of these conditions persists.

What to look for if you suspect faulty fuel injectors in a 2.0T TSI

Injectors may malfunction in two different ways: opening and closing. If they crack open, too much gasoline will be sprayed into the cylinder. The cylinder will be sprayed with zero gas if the valve fails to shut. The outcome is either excessive or insufficient gasoline spraying into the cylinder of the engine. Misfiring cylinders will be the most glaring symptom of this problem.

Fortunately, fuel injectors often fail individually rather than simultaneously.

Common indicators of failure include:

  • Misfires!
  • Weak performance in all areas, especially idle and acceleration.
  • Power drain, speed up
  • Leaking fuel from the engine
  • Diagnostic Trouble Codes for an Idling Engine

Diagnostic Trouble Codes for a 2.0-liter TSI Engine That Is Misfiring

P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304

Faulty Fuel Injectors: Diagnosis and Replacement

Issues with injectors are notoriously difficult to diagnose. Carbon buildup, faulty spark plugs, or ignition coils are some other possible causes of the aforementioned issues. These problems are much simpler to detect than those involving the injectors, so check the spark plugs and coils first. This topic is discussed in further detail below, in connection with the ignition coils and spark plugs.

Injector replacement is not a job for a weekend mechanic since it entails removing the intake manifold. Despite the fact that they often only fail individually, we nonetheless advise having them all replaced at once due to their relative difficulty of repair. All four of the injectors should be replaced immediately since they only cost around $70 apiece if you get genuine ones.

2. Water Pump Failure on 2.0T TSI Engine

To circulate coolant (water) thru the motor and radiator, water pumps are used. They experience the same high pressure and high temperatures as fuel injectors.

The factory-installed water pump on the 2.0T TSI motor is made entirely of plastic. You may probably guess that high pressure, high heat, and plastic don’t get along very well. Leaks may develop in the water pump as a result of natural wear and tear and the cumulative effects of the heat.

There are two common causes of water pump leaks: gasket degradation and housing cracks. Water pumps on some Volkswagens have a failure rate of around once per 50,000 miles. Due to the prevalence and regularity of failure across all VW engines, several lawsuits and recalls have been filed in connection with this issue.

What to Look for in a Failing Water Pump on a 2.0-liter TSI Engine

  • Indicator for low coolant level in engine
  • Overheated engine entering limp mode
  • The water pump was leaking around the seal.
  • There’s antifreeze on the floor of your garage.
  • Codes for the engine (P3081, P2181, P0087, P00B7, etc.)

Some of the most obvious indications of a failing water pump are engine overheating and low coolant levels that persist even after the coolant has been replaced. These failures usually occur suddenly rather than gradually, so you will probably notice right away.

Water pump failure: what to do

Eventually, while you’re driving, your water pump will break. If you’re fortunate, it’ll be idling in the driveway when you pull up, but that’s not the norm. If your car’s water pump malfunctions, you should not keep driving it. Heat is quite damaging to an engine. Warping internals and eventually killing an engine are the results of overheating it. It’s time to call for help if your vehicle is overheating due to a broken water pump. If the nearest repair shop is less than a mile away, you may drive slowly to it. A tow would be necessary otherwise.

Replace the Water Pump on Your 2.0T TSI

To begin, check whether your water pump has been recalled by entering the vehicle identification number. If it doesn’t work, you may inquire about an extended warranty by phoning the dealer. In light of the litigation, Volkswagen and Audi extended their warranty coverage for some models.

DIY or shop replacement is your only option in the absence of a warranty or recall. Consider replacing your current water pump with an aluminum-encased model. Any problems caused by the OEM pump’s plastic housing may be avoided by upgrading to an aluminum one. And the cost is comparable between the two.

3. Faulty Ignition Coils & Misfires in 2.0T TSI

Forced induction cars often have misfires. Oxygen, a spark plug, and fuel are the three essentials for cylinder operation. A failure may occur due to any of these three factors. Still, a lack of spark is the most typical reason for misfires on the 2.0T TSI engine. When a cylinder lacks a spark, it is unable to generate any power because it cannot produce combustion. As the gasoline accumulates, it may overheat and catch fire at an erratic interval from the remainder of the cylinder.

Ignition coils are responsible for supplying power to spark plugs, which in turn creates an ignitable mixture to initiate combustion. A defective ignition coil prevents electricity from reaching the spark plug. Misfires, sluggish performance, excessive idling, etc., are the ultimate consequence.

Once you reach 40,000 to 60,000 miles, you should change your spark plugs & ignition coils.

Warning Signs of Faulty 2.0T TSI Ignition Coils

  • The engine has a misfire
  • Idling roughly
  • Weak starting off, power loss, uncontrollability, etc.
  • Misfire Error Messages (P0300 through P0304)

The Signs of a Faulty Ignition Coil

Misfires might originate in the ignition coils, fuel injectors, spark plugs, or the gasoline itself, as we discussed previously. The easiest place to start checking for problems is with the coils and plugs.

To provide an example, if you see the error number P0302, that signifies that cylinder 2 is misfiring. The idea is to switch the ignition coils in cylinders 2 and 3, say. Changes to the P0303 misfire code indicate a faulty ignition coil. Cylinder 2 misfires (P0302) rule out ignition coil as the source of the problem.

Then, if it isn’t the ignition coil, you may use the spark plugs within these cylinders by following the same technique. Try switching them around and seeing if it makes a difference. If that’s the case, the spark plugs are to blame.

Switching out the ignition coils and spark plugs on a 2.0-liter TSI engine

Inexpensiveness characterizes both plugs and coils. Injectors and these tend to break down one at a time. It’s safe to assume that if one has failed, the others won’t be far behind. It’s best to replace them all at once, in a group. You may save money by doing it yourself, allowing you to replace all of them at once instead of just one.

4. Failure of the timing chain tensioner (2.0T TSI)

The camshafts in your engine’s intake and exhaust systems rely on timing chains to rotate at the correct speeds. The tensioner’s job is to impart force on the rail, which in turn maintains a constant force on the chain.

The tensioner often failed on 2.0T TSI engines manufactured before 2013. It was suggested that the chain be changed every 120,000 miles, however the tensioner has a history of failing far more often and unexpectedly. The chain will get slack when the tensioner fails. The piston might contact the valves and deform them if the timing chain is too slack.

It’s easy to oversimplify the consequences of chain jumping: your engine will die and you’ll have to spend at least three or four grand to replace it.

Due to a tensioner design defect, the vehicle fails to hold its tension. This problem was addressed by Audi and VW in 2013. Even on motors with less than 20,000 miles on them, they have indeed been known to fail.

Identifying the Signs of a Faulty Timing Chain Tensioner

Things like these tend to break unexpectedly, and you’ll be able to predict when it will happen. Warning signs are uncommon in this area. However, sometimes you can be fortunate and hear a rattling sound coming from the engine’s passenger side as a warning indication.

  • Engine failure
  • The motor won’t turn over or start
  • Sounds of motor rattling heard from the front passenger seat (only warning sign)

Changing the Tensioner for the Timing Chain

The widespread nature of the issue and its root cause in poor design led to a class action lawsuit, which was eventually resolved in late 2019. All impacted models were recalled. Click here to see whether you’re affected by the recall:

The issue may be fixed by exchanging the old tensioner with a modern one. If you haven’t already done so, you should replace the 2.0T TSI in every vehicle. In spite of the fact that you’ve only traveled 20,000 miles thus far. It is strongly advised to replace the old tensioner as preventive maintenance since its failure might result in expensive repairs.

If you aren’t protected by the recall or warranty, upgrading the tensioner will set you back over a thousand dollars (the components alone will cost roughly $600, and the labor will take around five hours).

5. Failed PCV Valve

As its name implies, a positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve is located in the engine’s crankcase and is used to recycle exhaust gases back into the intake system for combustion. Valves like this are crucial for cutting down on pollution since they collect oil vapors and unburned fuel gases.

Hydrocarbons, water, carbon monoxide, sulfur, acid, plus a few other compounds found in unburned gases may corrode metal and lead to “sludge” buildup, all of which are detrimental to your engine’s health and performance. The PCV valve is there to recirculate and reburn the gases that might otherwise be harmful to the engine.

Not only is it terrible for the environment if your PCV valve isn’t working properly, but it may also cause serious problems with your engine’s performance and other aspects. Misfires, oil leaks, high fuel and oil use, low air-fuel ratios, and other similar issues are all possibilities.

Signs of a Malfunctioning 2.0T TSI PCV Valve

  • Problematic error messages (P0300 to P0304)
  • Noisy, inefficient idle
  • Whining sound heard at intake
  • Mixtures of air and fuel known as air-to-fuel ratios (AFRs) that are too low
  • Malfunction code P0171 (Bank 1 too lean)
  • Error code P0507 (Idle air control system)

Replacing the Pressure-Control Valve-Override for a 2.0-liter TSI Engine

Replacement of the PCV valve is required in the event of failure or stalled operation. The cost of the item itself is under $150, and anybody with some basic DIY skills can install it without too much trouble.

6. Boost Diverter Valve for the 2.0T TSI

Boosted air, also known as “charge air,” is recycled into the engine through a diverter valve that regulates the amount of boost applied. Unlike a blow-off valve, which vents the charge air to the outside, a diverter valve recycles it back into the intake system.

When the engine is running at full speed, the diverter valve will shut, allowing all of the charge air to enter the engine. As soon as you remove your foot off the accelerator, a gap is created that allows air to flow back into the intake system. The diverter valve is broken if it does not open all the way or shut completely. Not only does this cause a decrease in performance, but it also puts extra stress on your turbocharger because of the boost leak.

Rubber diaphragms, like the one I described, were utilized in earlier versions and were prone to failure. A piston-style diverter valve replaced the older diaphragm design, eliminating leaks. Modified Audis and Volkswagens with increased boost pressure or psi are more prone to breakdowns.

What to Look for in a Faulty Boost Diverter Valve

  • When accelerating, boost pressure (in psi) falls below the desired level
  • Decreased efficiency, slow acceleration, weaker overall output, etc.
  • Error P0234: Over-boost, excessive pressure-boosting.
  • Under-boost, too low of PSI, error code P0299.
  • Sounds of increased intake may be heard during acceleration.

Swapping Out the Diverter Valve

The diverter valve, however, only costs about $60 and can be installed by anybody who is prepared to climb beneath their vehicle. The topic of updated diverter valves was also covered in the discussion I’ve linked to below. Stock diverter valves will wear out faster for folks who use tunes, chips, etc. Even if the diverter valve is otherwise in good shape, excessive boost pressure might cause it to leak.

For this reason, it’s worth considering whether or not a high-performance diverter valve would be a good investment. A blow-off valve is another option, albeit this is a matter of personal preference. A DV and a BOV both achieve the same result, but they do it in different ways.

7. High-Pressure Fuel Pump (HPFP) failure

Do you recall early on in this manual when we spoke about gasoline injectors? You may blame those elements, sure.

An engine’s fuel injectors are responsible for delivering gasoline under very high pressure. For this reason, the HPFP is tasked with producing the high-pressure fuel that the injectors spray into the engine. Additionally, a low-pressure fuel pump (LPFP) transfers gasoline from the fuel tank to the high-pressure fuel pump (HPFP) in all of these engines.

For the most part, problems with the HPFP may be traced either to the solenoid that operates it or to a faulty component inside the pump itself (most notably the “pintle”). If your HPFP is malfunctioning, you will be left with low-pressure fuel.

A multitude of issues might arise if the injectors aren’t supplied with adequate fuel pressure to do their job. Very low pressures (less than a few psi) may prevent the automobile from starting, but normal pressures are sufficient for this task. Misfires, power loss, poor idling, and other issues (depending on how terrible the HPFP is) are more the norm, however.

Warning Signs of a Broken HPFP

  • Fault code and low fuel pressure warning light
  • Valve for the fuel pressure regulator is the P2293 failure code
  • Fuel rail/system too low, error code P0087
  • Misfires
  • Performance issues, such as sluggish acceleration, poor overall performance, slow idling, etc.
  • Prolonged effort required to turn the crank or start the engine

Changing out your High-Pressure Fuel Pump

Fuel pressures with a factory, high-quality HPFP should be about 40 bar. Single-digit or low-double-digit readings are typical on a poor HPFP. Checking the fuel pressures is the only way to be sure the fuel system is malfunctioning if no check-engine light is coming on. By connecting it to a low-pressure fuel gauge, the LPFP is first tested to ensure it is working correctly.

Conclusion Of Common VW 2.0T TSI Engine Problems

If you’re experiencing any of these problems with your VW 2.0T TSI engine, it’s important to get it checked out by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible to avoid further damage. VW engines are durable and built to last, but like all engines, they require regular maintenance and tune-ups to keep them running smoothly.

Dmitry Petrov

Dmitry Petrov is an engineer who specializes in materials science, and has a deep passion for all things related to automotive technology. He is a true motorhead at heart, and spends much of his free time tinkering with engines and studying vehicular dynamics.


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