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The Mk3 Audi TT, the successor of the Audi TT MK2 and often referred to as just the 8S TT, was first introduced in 2014 at the Geneva Motor show and was released to the public shortly after. It is still being produced today and it is built on Volkswagen’s MQB platform. However, word is, Audi is discontinuing the TT after the 2022 model year and is being replaced by an EV after. There are rumors that the EV will carry over the TT name, so it may not be the end of an era. The current MK3 comes in many trims: TT, TTS, and TTS Competition Plus. It came as a coupe or roadster and in 2018, Audi provided a facelift version that looked more aggressive and sporty.
MK3 Audi TT engines
Since there are many different trims that are available, there are many different engines that are available. When the MK3 Audi TT first came out, the TT coupe was introduced with a 1.8 TFSI that puts down 180hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, a 2.0 TFSI that puts down 230hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, and a 2.0 TDI engine that puts down 184hp and 280lb-ft of torque. At its release, the Audi TTS was announced with an upgraded 2.0 TFSI engine that put down 310hp and 280lb-ft of torque.
After the facelift in 2018’s, the exterior was not the only thing that got improved. The TT coupe features an upgraded less powerful 2.0TFSI that puts down 197hp and 236 lb-ft of torque and a more powerful 2.0 TFSI that puts down 245hp and 273lb-ft of torque. The facelifted TTS features a 2.0 TFSI quattro® engine the puts down 306hp and 295lb-ft of torque. In 2020, the TTS Competition Plus was released with a 2.0 TFSI that puts down 320hp and 295lb-ft of torque.
Common MK3 Audi TT Engine Problems
Before getting into the common problems for the MK3 Audi TT, any of the replacement parts we have listed below is for the 2.0 Quattro®. Please make sure the parts fit your vehicle before ordering. If you need assistance in parts for other engines, leave a comment below and we’ll help in any way we can!
- Ignition coil pack failure
- Water pump failure
- Clogged fuel injectors
- Faulty fuel tank heat shield bracket
- Control arm and sway bar failure
- Squeaking front brake pads
- Seat latch failure
1. Ignition Coil Pack Failure
Ignition coil and coil pack failure are very common in a majority of Audi vehicles. Spark plugs need electricity to create a spark in the combustion chamber. That electricity comes from ignition coils. Ignition coils get low voltage electricity from the battery and transforms it to a higher voltage needed by the spark plugs. Without a single functioning coil, the engine will experience misfires. However, with multiple bad coils, the engine may not even start.
The main reasons ignition coils or coil packs fail is due to normal wear and tear (heat) or modified engines. When an engine is modified, typically the coils will fail because factory coils and spark plugs are not built for more power than the factory engine. Ignition coils and spark plugs should be changed or at least looked at every 60,000 miles.
Symptoms of Coil Pack Failure:
- CEL or MIL illuminating
- Engine misfires with P0300 – P0304 fault codes
- Sluggish engine performance
- Engine stalls or surges
- Engine issues with starting
When coil packs go out, whether it is just one or multiple, we highly recommend changing all the coils at once to reduce any future headaches. Changing ignition coils is not a very hard DIY, but we highly suggest replacing the spark plugs as well because they are in the same place and tend to go out at the same time. A local dealer or mechanic will likely charge around $400 to replace both coils and plugs.
2. Water Pump Failure
Water pumps are also very prone to failure in many Audi and Volkswagen engines because of the components they are made out of. A water pump recirculates coolant from the radiator into the coolant system, through the engine, and back to the radiator. It is a crucial component in the cooling system of the engine to ensure it doesn’t overheat.
The main reasons water pumps fail are due to normal wear and tear, lack of maintenance, or gasket leaks. When a water pump fails, coolant will start to leak causing the engine to go into limp mode and eventually overheat. Depending on maintenance, water pumps should last anywhere from 60,000 – 100,000 miles. Therefore, a vehicle should go through only one water pump in its lifecycle.
Symptoms of Water Pump Failure:
- Low engine coolant indicator illuminating
- Engine overheating
- Limp mode activated
- Sweet smell coming from a coolant leak
- Coolant on the ground
- CEL or MIL illuminating with P0381, P2181, P0087 or more
Just like when ignition coils go out, we advise changing the spark plugs as well. When you go to replace the water pump, we suggest replacing the thermostat and belt because they tend to go out at the same time and fail for the same reasons. Replacing all of these is not an easy DIY, especially if you are putting on the timing belt on your own. A mechanic or dealer will likely charge around $1,000 to replace all of the listed components.
3. Clogged Fuel Injectors
Clogged fuel injectors or failing fuel injectors are the third most common problems with the MK3 Audi TT. Fuel injectors, as they sound, inject fuel directly into the cylinder of an engine which activates combustion. Without functioning fuel injectors, the AFRs will be thrown off since working injectors pump the optimal amount of fuel into the cylinders. When one is clogged or leaking, AFRs will be out of whack which will cause sluggish engine performance and idling issues.
Fuel injectors can fail in many ways: they can clog, they can leak due to gasket failure, or they can fail due to normal wear and tear. Most of the time they fail due to the first two. If vehicle maintenance is followed to a tee and high-quality fuel is used, the likelihood of injectors failing is low, unless they are defective from the factory. A vehicle will likely only go through one set of fuel injectors.
Symptoms of Clogged Fuel Injectors Failure:
- Engine misfires
- Sporadic idling
- Oil leaks or oil pressure indicator illuminating
- Sluggish engine performance
- Issues starting the engine
- Lean or rich AFR readings
When it comes to fuel injector failure, there are really two options: if they are just simply clogged, you can get them professionally cleaned or you can clean them your self or if a gasket fails in which we would advise getting new injectors. However, with fuel injectors, unlike ignition coils, you don’t HAVE to replace them all when one goes out or fails. When it comes to DIYing fuel injectors, whether it is cleaning or replacing, they are a little more difficult to get to. So if you know your way around an engine, this can be a rather straightforward DIY depending on what you plan on doing, cleaning, or replacing. A mechanic will likely charge around $1,000 mainly due to the cost of replacement injectors.
Fuel Injector Replacement: Purchase Here
DIY Difficulty: Intermediate
4. Faulty Fuel Tank Heat Shield Bracket
This is a recall and it pertains to the fuel tank heat shield bracket. In this case, leaking fuel is very hazardous and can cause vehicle fires if a crash occurs. This recall affected more than 10,700 2016 – 2019 TT’s in the US and Canada. This recall is labeled under reference number 20BX so if you are wanting to get more information on the recall, you can reach out to Audi. So essentially what could happen is the fuel tank could leak fuel because of the heat shield bracket.
Why is this on the list of common problems? Well, if you are in the market for an MK3 Audi TT, we want you to be on the lookout if the bracket has been resolved to avoid any downfalls in the future. The recall was announced on February 12th, 2020, and was expected to begin on April 10th, 2020. The dealer will install a protective cap on the fuel tank heat shield bracket, free of charge and it should resolve this issue.
5. Control Arm and Sway Bar Failure
We’ve seen a handful of bad control arms and sway bars on some Audi vehicles. Control arms allow the vehicle to steer and guide the wheels up or down depending on the road. Sway bars are part of your vehicle’s suspension which assist in the vehicle handling turns and prevent body lean. If either the control arms or sway bars are failing, steering could wander and or make a lot of noises. If you notice more body lean than normal while taking a turn, odds are the sway bars need to be replaced.
The main reasons either of these fails is due to normal wear and tear or defective out of the factory. The latter seems to be the most common reason these fail. Factory sway bars and control arms should last throughout the lifecycle of a vehicle unless they are defective or poorly made. If you are looking to turn your MK3 Audi TT into a track monster, we would even advise upgrading the sway bars and control arms to hug those corners.
Symptoms of Control Arm and Sway Bar Failure:
- Suspension squeaking while driving
- Lack of driving stability
- Clunking, rattling, or banging noise while going over bumps on the road
- Wandering steering
- Poor vehicle handling
There are really only two options when it comes to control arm or sway bar failure and that is replacing them with OEM units or aftermarket units. We advise going the aftermarket route not only because they are cheaper, but they typically will last longer than the OEM units. Replacing the control arms is not an easy DIY, however, replacing sway bars is not terribly difficult if you know where to find them. A front or rear sway bar replacement will run you about $400 mainly due to product costs, and control arm replacements will be around $1,000 depending on what parts you go with.
6. Squeaking Front Brake Pads
The next two are not engine problems, however, they are common enough annoyances to include on this list. This may seem like a minute issue because many vehicles nowadays have squeaking brakes. However, when brakes start to squeak, that is a sign that they should be checked out. This is most common on the TTS models. If you didn’t know a vehicle’s brakes stop the car prior to the application of the brake pedal.
When the brakes squeal, there are many things that could be the cause: brake pads are worn, failing anti-rattle clips, brake pads are glazing, or worn or glazing rotors. Although it may be tough to nail down exactly what is causing the brakes to squeal, this is a pretty solid list to go off. The majority of the time, the factory pads prematurely wear. We would say on average a vehicle will have to replace rotors and pads at least once in a vehicle’s lifecycle.
Squeaking front brake pads are rather annoying, so when you run into this issue, we would advise just replacing all the brake pads. When they do happen to go bad or squeak, we would advise changing the factory discs and pads with aftermarket discs and pads just because they will last longer than the OEM units. However, replacing the discs and pads is not the easiest DIY, but it could save you hundreds in labor costs from a mechanic or dealer.
Brake Pad Set Replacement: Purchase Here
DIY Difficulty: Difficult
7. Seat Latch Failure
Seat latch failure was actually one of the first problems found on the MK3 Audi TT’s. Essentially what was happening was when customers folded their interior seats down flat, the seat back latch wouldn’t release causing the seats to be stuck. What ends up happening is the release cable is too long and slips off the pulley. This is a quick and easy fix that will only take 10 minutes. There are many DIYs on youtube that you can follow to repair this. We understand it could be an annoyance, but it just seems like a design flaw out of the factory and we promise you aren’t alone if you are experiencing this.
MK3 Audi TT Reliability
The MK3 Audi TT is told to be one of the most reliable TT’s Audi has released. There may be interior faults, such as faulty seat latches or side bolsters, but the engines are pretty bulletproof. In fact, Consumer Reports ranked the MK3 TT’s reliability as ‘above average’ and CarComplaints reports very few or no owner issues. These do have a stigma of hardly lasting past 100,000 miles without any major engine problems. However, we have seen multiple MK3’s last till 150,000 or more without major engine damage. It is worth noting however, these were built 7 years ago and there could be more problems that arise later down the road.
If you enjoyed this content or it helped you out and you are interested in reading up on more Audi content, here is our write-up on “The 7 Most Common Audi TT MK2 Engine Problems.”