VW/Audi 2.0 TDI Engine
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The 6 Most Common VW/Audi 2.0 TDI 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.

Article Updated: January 26, 2023

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we receive a commission.

For starters, there are many different VW/Audi 2.0 TDI versions ranging from 2003 – present. The 2.0 is the successor of the infamous 1.9 TDI engines, and is viewed as more modern, but less reliable. In 2003, the Volkswagen Group introduced what is known as the EA188 PD, or “Pumpe Duse” direct injection, with a Garett turbo. This engine put down anywhere from 140hp – 170hp and 236lb-ft – 258lb-ft of torque. In late 2007, the Volkswagen group came out with the EA189 CR, or “Common Rail” direct injection, that put down 140hp and 236lb-ft of torque.

Now if there are any Volkswagen enthusiasts reading this, you would know that the EA189 was the center of the infamous “VW Emissions Scandal“. As a short synopsis of this scandal, Volkswagen allegedly input “defeat devices” into the EA189 engine to beat emissions testing and meet EPA’s emission standards. Volkswagen was hit by a $14.7 billion settlement, where they had to inform all EA189 vehicle owners about the buyback program. Moving on from the scandal, the Volkswagen Group introduced the EA288 in 2015, which is what is used in VW and Audi cars nowadays. The EA288 puts down anywhere from 74hp – 236hp and 166lb-ft – 369lb-ft of torque.

See below for all the vehicles this engine has been in and is in today.




Common VW/Audi 2.0 TDI Engine Problems

Before getting into the common problems for this engine, we will try to specify which engine the problem is most associated with. Also, the replacement parts listed will be for an MK5 Jetta, so if you happen to need assistance with parts for another vehicle, reach out in the comments and we will help in any way we can.

  1. Fuel injector failure
  2. Premature oil pump drive shaft failure
  3. Clogged diesel particulate filter
  4. Timing belt tensioner failure
  5. Cracked cylinder head
  6. Dual mass flywheel failure

1. 2.0 TDI Fuel Injector Failure

Fuel injector failure is common on early PD TDI engines. They pump fuel into the cylinders of an engine activating combustion. Without a functioning fuel injector, the AFRs will be thrown off and cause rough engine idles and performance.

The main reasons why fuel injectors fail are they clog, a gasket breaks, or they fail completely. When they do fail, you will be able to tell because the engine will run rough due to AFRs being thrown out of optimal levels. Typically, if maintenance is kept up with and high-quality fuel is used, a vehicle will go through one set of injectors throughout the lifecycle of a vehicle. We advise if you are modding your engine, to get aftermarket injectors because the factory ones may not inject enough fuel with the increased power.

Symptoms of Fuel Injector Failure:

  • Engine misfires
  • Irregular idling
  • Oil leaks
  • Poor engine performance
  • Lean or rich AFR engine conditions
  • Issues starting the engine

Fuel Injector Replacement Options:

There are only a couple of options when it comes to fixing fuel injectors: if they are clogged, clean them, if a gasket fails, you can replace the gasket, but we would advise replacing the whole injector. Unlike ignition coils or spark plugs, you won’t need to replace all of the injectors if one goes bad. Replacing or cleaning fuel injectors is not the easiest DIY because you will need a specific tool to remove them. But if you happen to have the right tools, it would save quite a bit on labor costs. A mechanic would likely charge around $1,000.

Buy Here: VW 2.0 TDI Fuel Injector Replacement
DIY Difficulty:

2. 2.0 TDI Premature Oil Pump Drive Shaft Failure

The main reason longitudinal PD 2.0 TDI’s oil pumps fail is due to the balance shaft modules. An oil pump circulates engine oil to the bearings, pistons and camshaft. When an oil pump fails, it can kill an engine and blow a motor.

The main reasons an oil pump fails are because the pump is made out of poor quality materials or tensioner failure. An oil pump, just like fuel injectors shouldn’t fail if maintenance is followed religiously. However, the early PD’s were made of poor quality components which causes premature oil pump failure.

Symptoms of Premature Oil Pump Drive Shaft Failure:

  • Low oil pressure indicator illuminating
  • Increased engine temperatures
  • Hydraulic lifter noise from the engine
  • Noise from the oil pump

Oil Pump Replacement Options:

When it comes to running into this problem, we advise replacing the oil pump, the hex or balance shaft, and the associated gears. Although this is an expensive route, simply replacing the oil pump will not resolve this problem. Depending on the vehicle, this can be an extremely difficult repair because the subframe has to be removed. Unless you know your way around the engine, we highly advise sending it to a shop. And it will run you up more than $3,000.

Buy Here: VW 2.0 TDI Oil Pump Replacement
DIY Difficulty:

3. Clogged Diesel Particulate Filter

Clogged diesel particulate filters (often referred to as just DPFs) are common in many diesel engines on the road today, not just these engines. A DPF controls emissions by trapping diesel particulate within the filter. It removes soot from the exhaust by passing the gases through the filter.

The main reason DPFs fail is due to clogging or the sensors failing. When they clog, the DPF indicator will come on and the vehicle could go into limp mode since the engine will not be able to “breathe” properly. A DPF will not normally fail, but a DPF can clog more than once in a vehicle’s lifecycle. To prevent clogging, avoid short distance trips or if you can’t avoid them, then take long-distance trips at high RPMs to burn off the excess soot.

Symptoms of A Clogged Diesel Particulate Filter:

  • DPF engine light illuminating
  • Limp mode
  • Sluggish engine performance
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • More black smoke emitting than normal

Diesel Particulate Filter Replacement Options:

When a DPF fails or is clogged, there are only two options to fix the problem: you can try to clean it or you have to replace it. If you go for the replacement route, we advise replacing the sensors as well. And if you go the cleaning route, monitor it carefully to ensure it is fully cleaned. A mechanic or dealer will likely charge around $1,500 to replace the DPF and EGR filter. To get the DPF professionally cleaned, you would be looking at anywhere between $350 – $500.

Buy Here: VW 2.0 TDI Diesel Particulate Filter Replacement
Buy Here: VW 2.0 TDI DPF Cleaning Kit
DIY Difficulty:

4. Timing Belt Tensioner Failure

Timing belt tensioners are a downfall in many Volkswagen and Audi engines. The timing belt tensioner is a components that helps the timing belt maintain the optimal tension to function properly. If a tensioner happens to fail and the timing belt comes off, this could cause major engine damage because the pistons and valves could collide. The timing belt links the cylinder head, camshafts, injector pump, and crankshaft.

The tensioners fail due to prematurely breaking because of the components they are made of. Unfortunately, timing belt tensioners fail commonly on Volkswagen and Audi vehicles and should be monitored every 80,000 miles.

Symptoms of Timing Belt Tensioner Failure:

  • Ticking noise coming from the engine
  • Engine misfires
  • Decreased oil pressure
  • Engine not turning over
  • Engine timing off
  • Smoke emitting from under the hood

Timing Belt Tensioner Replacement Options:

When the timing belt fails, we highly advise purchasing a timing belt kit because not only will it come with updated tensioners and idlers, but also a new timing belt, water pump, and coolant. The reason we suggest this is because all of these parts are in the same spot and installation will be easier. Also, these parts tend to go out around the same time, so you might as well avoid future headaches with the belt, tensioners, water pump, etc. Replacing all of these is not the easiest DIY, but can be done if you have the proper tools and locations of the components down. A mechanic will likely bill the water pump and timing belt service together, so you’ll likely pay around $1,200.

Buy Here: VW 2.0 TDI Timing Belt Kit Replacement
DIY Difficulty:

5. 2.0 TDI Cracked Cylinder Head

Cracking cylinder heads is only a real problem in early PD’s. A cylinder head is located on top of the engine block and it houses the intake and exhaust valves, springs, lifters, and the combustion chamber. On the right of the cylinder head, there will be a reference number underneath the fuel lines. “03G 103 351 B” or a similar reference number. If this happens to end with an A, it is almost certain your vehicle will suffer a cracked cylinder head. If it ends with B, these are a little stronger.

The main reason the cylinder head cracks is engine overheating, which causes the head to expand and then contract when the engine cools. An engine cylinder head shouldn’t crack in a vehicle’s lifecycle. However, the cylinder heads aren’t made with durable components and do crack.

Symptoms of A Cracked Cylinder Head:

  • Coolant indicator illuminating
  • Engine overheating
  • Poor engine performance
  • Gases in the cooling system
  • Steam emitting from the exhaust

Cylinder Head Replacement Options:

When a cylinder head cracks, there is only one option to repair it and that is to replace it. Replacing the cylinder head is not the easiest DIY. A mechanic or dealer will charge around $1,250.

DIY Difficulty: Difficult

6. Dual Mass Flywheel Failure

Although not too common on VW or Audi’s, it is common for the DMF to fail on manual transmissions because they tend to have more torque than regular petrol engines. A dual mass flywheel (DMF) is found at the bottom of the crankshaft and serves three main purposes: it ensures a smooth driving experience when starting the vehicle, idling the vehicle, or shifting gears in the vehicle.

A DMF will rattle under the driver’s floorboard when it starts to go out because of a spring falling out of the DMF. Once it starts to rattle, it will need to be taken care of immediately because it can cause major engine damage if it completely fails. Another reason it can fail is when the engine is modified for more power. When more torque is added, the A DMF is more likely to fail because it is out of the factory engine levels. On a normal VW/Audi engine, it is not likely to fail and should last the full lifecycle of a vehicle. However, on this engine, it will fail at least once in a vehicle’s lifecycle.

Symptoms of Dual Mass Flywheel Failure:

  • Excessive vibration while shutting down the engine
  • Clutch slippage
  • Banging or rattling noise in the bellhousing
  • Hard clutch
  • Rough shifting

Dual Mass Flywheel Replacement Options:

Whenever any of the above symptoms are being experienced, it is very important not to ignore that the DMF could be the issue. If ignored, it could cause major engine damage. When a DMF fails, you can’t really repair it, you’ll have to replace with an OEM unit or an aftermarket unit. If you are planning to modify your engine, we advise going with an aftermarket DMF. This certainly is not an easy DIY and would likely cost $600 – $800 at a shop.

Buy Here: VW 2.0 TDI Aftermarket Dual Mass Flywheel Replacement
DIY Difficulty:

VW/Audi 2.0 TDI Reliability

The VW/Audi 2.0 TDI gets mixed reviews when it comes to the reliability of the engines, mainly because of the oil pump and turbo failures. And of course the VW emissions scandal. However, overall these engines are solid and we have seen many last over 200,000 miles without any major engine damage. Heck, we’ve even seen some running at 400,000 miles as if they were brand new. The thing with any Volkswagen or Audi engine is the consumer MUST stay on top of all maintenance and use high-quality fuel.

If you want to read up on more Volkswagen/Audi TDI content, here is our write-up on “The 6 Most Common 1.9 TDI Engine Problems”.

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  1. Add blue bottle light on dash, with fifteen miles to stop. Been looked at by three, two side street one main agent no code told nothing wrong. been standing a while due to injury started it today now have a code P2543 generic pending. Particulate filter pressure sensor. A circuirt range performance

  2. Hi, Thank you for fascinating comments above. I have a 2.0TDI Audi A3 2006 at 144k.
    It has intermittent loss of power, only happened twice, no warning lights. Could this be DPF? It doesnt go into safe mode and only lasts a fews minutes (crossed fingers)

  3. My audi a4 b8 2.0tdi Cag engine have a hard start when engine is warm/hot but when you start it when engine is cold it’s start right way & we diagnosed it it’s stated low fuel pressure rail we calibrated injectors,changed intake fuel pump,high pressure fuel pump,coolant temp switch & fuel rail sensors but stil have a hard start when engine is warm it fail to restart

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