Volkswagen CC Problems

The 6 Most Common Volkswagen CC Engine Problems

Chandler Stark

Meet Trey

Trey is an automotive enthusiast and has a huge passion for Volkswagen and Audi vehicles of all kinds. His enthusiasm started with the MK5 GTI, and he has massively expanded his knowledge over the years. When Trey is not delivering high-quality and in-depth content, we can usually find him working in his garage on his modified Genesis coupe. Trey created VW Tuning several years ago, and he is the primary visionary behind the content.

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The Volkswagen CC was first revealed in 2007 at the North American Intl Auto Show in Detroit. Production began in 2008 and ran to 2016. Needless to say, the CC was short-lived and certainly was not a best seller for Volkswagen, totaling just 88,197 sales over 8 years. Originally called the Volkswagen Passat CC on its release, the CC is a variant of the Passat. It traded headroom and trunk space to be more sporty than the Passat. Volkswagen announced a facelifted CC in 2012 which featured a new front end, back end, and numerous technology and safety upgrades. In 2016, Volkswagen announced they were discontinuing the CC and replacing it with the Volkswagen Arteon.

First Generation Volkswagen CC Engines

Since its inception, the CC has had 5 different engine variations. Starting off with a 1.4L TSI engine that put down 158hp and 177lb-ft of torque which became available in 2011. Next is a 1.8L TSI engine that put down 158hp and 184lb-ft of torque which was available when the vehicle was announced. There were two versions of the 2.0L TSI’s: the first put down 197hp and 207lb-ft of torque and was available in 2008, while the second put down 208hp and 207lb-ft of torque and was available in 2011. There were also two versions of a 2.0TDI: the first put down 138hp and 236lb-ft of torque, while the second put down 168hp and 258lb-ft of torque. Lastly, there was a 3.6L Vr6 V6 4Motion that put down 295hp and 258lb-ft of torque. The transmissions available were a 6-speed manual, 6-speed DSG, and a 7-speed DSG.

Second Generation (Facelift) Volkswagen CC Engines

In Volkswagen’s facelifted CC, there were also 5 different engines available. To start off, the 1.4L TSI, the 1.8L TSI, and the 2.0TSI were the same engine as the first generation. There were 4 different 2.0TDI CR engines: 2 of them being EA189’s and the other 2 being EA288’s. The 2 EA189’s put down anywhere from 168hp – 175hp & 258lb-ft – 280lb-ft of torque, while the 2 EA288’s put down anywhere from 158hp – 181hp & 251lb-ft – 280lb-ft of torque. Lastly, there was a 3.6L VR6 V6 4motion that matched the first generation. 6-speed manual, 6-speed DSG, and 7-speed DSG are the available transmissions.

Common Volkswagen CC Engine Problems

  1. Ignition coil or spark plug failure
  2. Intake manifold failure
  3. High-Pressure Fuel Pump (HPFP) failure
  4. N80 valve failure
  5. Carbon Buildup
  6. VW subframe clunk

1. Ignition Coil or Spark Plug Failure

Ignition coil and spark plug failure is a common problem with many VW engines. Spark plugs create a spark in the combustion chamber which initiates engine combustion. However, the spark plugs need high voltage electricity to do so. Ignition coils transform low voltage electricity from the battery and turn it into the high voltage electricity the spark plugs need to do their job.

The main reason either of these fail is due to normal wear and tear or modifying an engine. When modifying an engine to produce more power, the factory coils and plugs will likely fail. Without proper functioning spark plugs or ignition coils, engine misfires and sluggish engine performance will occur. If multiple coils have gone bad, the engine may not even start. A good rule of thumb is to change out both coils and spark plugs every 60,000 miles.

Symptoms of Ignition Coil or Spark Plug Failure:

  • CEL or MIL illuminating
  • Engine misfires with P0300 – P0306 fault codes
  • Sluggish engine performance
  • Rough idle
  • Engine surges or stalls
  • Difficulty starting the engine

Ignition Coil or Spark Plug Replacement Options:

When a vehicle is experiencing a misfire in a cylinder due to a failing coil, we recommend replacing all of the coils and spark plugs to avoid headaches in the future. If you happen to have modified the engine, we would advise getting colder spark plugs and aftermarket coils. Replacing either the coils or spark plugs is not a very hard DIY if you have the proper tools and know where they are located.  A mechanic or dealer will likely charge around $500 to replace both sets of plugs and coils.

Buy Here: VW CC Ignition Coil Replacement
Buy Here: VW CC Spark Plug Replacement
DIY Difficulty:

2. Intake Manifold Failure

The intake manifold on 2.0T TSI engines has been a pretty common problem. So much so, Volkswagen extended the warranty on most 2.0T TSI intake manifolds to 120,000 miles. An intake manifold supplies the air breathed into the engine evenly to all of the cylinders.

The main reasons these specific intake manifolds fail are due to the manifold flap position sensor failing or the runner flap staying open or closed. When the part fails, AFRs will be thrown off, the engine will more than likely receive a P2015 fault code, and could cause vacuum or boost leaks. An intake manifold should not fail in a vehicle’s lifecycle, but are very prone to failure on the 2.0T TSI engines.

Symptoms of Intake Manifold Failure:

  • Engine misfires
  • Rough idle
  • P2015 fault code
  • Sluggish engine performance
  • Lean or rich AFR conditions

Intake Manifold Replacement Options:

Unfortunately, if the sensor or the runner flaps are stuck open or closed, the whole intake manifold will have to be replaced. The DIY is pretty straightforward and will save you money on labor costs. There are many video tutorials out there to assist in this DIY. If you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself, a mechanic or dealer would charge around $450 mainly due to labor costs.

Buy Here: VW CC Intake Manifold Replacement
DIY Difficulty:

3. High-Pressure Fuel Pump (HPFP) Failure

An HPFP is another very common component that prematurely fails on Volkswagen engines. A high-pressure fuel pump is used in direct injection engines and it pumps highly pressurized fuel directly into the direct injection system. It is located on the driver side of the cylinder head and is driven by the cam. Without the highly pressurized fuel, there will be fuel pressure issues in the engine which will cause rough engine performance.

Unlike the 2.0T FSI’s which had cam follower wear issues that caused the HPFP to fail, the TSI engine HPFP typically fails due to normal wear and tear. When it does fail, expect to see fault codes related to fuel pressure (P2293 or P0087), and AFRs will be thrown off. A typical fuel pump will likely have to be replaced every 100,000 miles.

Symptoms of HPFP Failure:

  • CEL or MIL illuminating
  • P2293 or P0087 fault code
  • Limp mode
  • High engine temps
  • Low fuel pressure
  • Engine stutters

HPFP Replacement Options:

When the HPFP fails, the only thing to do is to get it replaced. When replacing the HPFP, we would advise getting a kit that includes an HPFP, the O-Ring, and the cam follower. There are many DIY videos online to assist in a DIY project. It is not terribly difficult, it is just very tedious. A mechanic will likely charge around $500 to just change the HPFP.

Buy Here: VW CC HPFP Replacement
DIY Difficulty:

4. N80 Valve Failure

An N80 valve, or often referred to as an EVAP purge valve, is common to fail in many Volkswagen vehicles. Essentially, it is a component in the EVAP system that controls the fuel vapors that go back into the intake manifold to get burned off. Without a functioning N80 valve, too little or too much fuel vapor in the engine can throw a CEL.

The main reasons these fail are being defective out of the factory or normal wear and tear. When they do fail it can be quite alarming because some customers have reported that there is a popping noise coming from the trunk after fueling up. This happens because the valve is stuck open which causes the fuel tank to pressurize. An N80 valve should last the lifecycle of a vehicle.

Symptoms of N80 Valve Failure:

  • CEL or MIL illuminating
  • Popping noise from the trunk after fueling
  • P0441, P0442, P0171 or P0172 fault codes
  • Rough engine performance
  • Decreased fuel efficiency

N80 Valve Replacement Options:

When an N80 valve goes bad or is stuck in the open position, the only option is to replace it. It’s a cheap part and a simple DIY if you know the location of said valve, so do not ignore any of the fault codes above because the engine will run rough until it is fixed. A mechanic would likely charge around $250 to replace the valve.

Buy Here: VW CC N80 Valve Replacement
DIY Difficulty:

5. Carbon Buildup

Unfortunately, carbon buildup is hard to avoid, especially in the age of direct injection vehicles. However, this is overly common in 2.0T TSI’s. Carbon buildup occurs when soot and other fuel particles clog the intake valves over time. This is not something that will happen over night, it is something that will take 40,000 miles or more. When carbon starts to clog the valves and ports, the engine will have a difficult time “breathing”. Believe it or not, this has a massive impact on an engine’s performance.

Buildup can occur much quicker on vehicles that only drive short commutes on an everyday basis because the engine doesn’t get hot enough to burn off the excess soot clogged in the valves. So, naturally, a vehicle that is warmed up properly, ran hard normally, and goes on longer commutes regularly, will have less carbon buildup.

Symptoms of Carbon Buildup:

  • Cold start misfires
  • Engine knocks
  • Rough engine performance
  • Decreased fuel economy

Ways to Prevent Carbon Buildup:

  • Replace your ignition coils and spark plugs regularly
  • Use the highest quality fuel possible (93+ Octane)
  • Manually clean the intake valves every 30,000 miles
  • Run the engine hard regularly
  • Get the intake valves walnut blasted every 70,000 miles
  • Use an oil catch can (Not recommended)
  • Use a chemical manifold service

6. VW Subframe Clunk

The infamous “VW subframe clunk” returns on the Volkswagen CC’s. As it sounds, subframe clunk is a clunking noise that can be heard when the subframe becomes loose because the bolts holding it to the engine bay become stretched. When the bolts stretch, it allows the subframe to be in motion while a car is accelerating resulting in the clunking noise underneath the driver’s side of the vehicle. The subframe is a structure that rests underneath the frame of a vehicle and supports the axle, powertrain, and suspension.

Volkswagen is aware of this issue and has issued a correction to the bolts and spacers holding the subframe in place. When the bolts do happen to stretch, it is not a major issue at the beginning, but if the sound is ignored, it could cause major issues. This is just more of an annoyance everytime you are accelerating or turning. Without it having to be said, “subframe clunk” is not normal and shouldn’t occur in a vehicle’s lifecycle.

Symptoms of Subframe Clunk:

  • Clunking noise while accelerating or downshifting
  • Squeaks or groans while turning
  • Wheel alignment off

Replacement Options:

There is only one solution to remediate this issue and it is to replace the bolts and spacers with new ones. If you are in the market for a Volkswagen CC, we advise obtaining maintenance records to see if they have been replaced. If not, go ahead a get it done because it only costs $100 for the parts and a couple hundred bucks in labor. Some customers have gotten this covered under VW, while others claimed they haven’t. So it’s a hit or miss for a dealership to cover the cost.

Buy Here: VW CC Subframe Locking Kit
DIY Difficulty:

Volkswagen CC Reliability

The Volkswagen CC received a reliability rating of 3.7/5 which puts it at number 12 out of 32 like vehicles, which is pretty solid compared to many other Volkswagen vehicles. The average annual cost of maintenance is $880. The 2.0 TSI’s will be less reliable because there are many common problems with this specific EA888 engine. However, as long as vehicle maintenance is upheld, your CC should last up to 150,000 miles. Something worth mentioning as the last point is that the value of these cars diminishes very quickly.

If you want to read up on more Volkswagen content, here’s our write-up on “The 7 Most Common VW 2.0T TSI Engine Problems.”

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  1. Hi. My vw cc 2012 cannot start affer the mechanic switched terminals when powering, what should i expect and what could be your advise

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