9 Common Audi/VW 1.4 TFSI Engine Problems & Solutions

If you’re in the market for a modern Audi or Volkswagen with a petrol engine then the 1.4 TFSI turbo petrol engine might be on your radar. It’s a widely spread engine and that’s exactly why we’re taking a closer look today.

Thorough research before purchasing your future car is always the right way to go. You just don’t want to end up with a car that has poor reliability and endless problems that keep popping up. And this is why we are here to help pinpoint these problems for you.

First, we are going to cover the specs of this engine, then we shall cover all of the Audi/VW 1.4 TFSI engine problems and then we are also going to learn more about the applications of this engine. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

Basic Audi/VW 1.4 TFSI Engine Specs

The VW/Audi 1.4 TFSI engine was introduced in 2005. This engine was based on the EA111 engine which was a really good engine design.

This engine debuted on the Golf Mk5 using a Twincharger setup. What is interesting about this setup is that it combines both supercharging and turbocharging in order to create more power and be more efficient.

When it comes to the forced induction setup, there are two engines, one is only turbocharged, while the other is both turbocharged and supercharged.

This downsizing boosted the fuel economy. In contrast, this engine is creating 14% more power than the bigger 2.0L FSI engine and spends 5% less fuel to achieve this.

So, when it first came out, it was a pretty revolutionary engine design.

This 1.4 TFSI engine got a lot of awards but was replaced with the EA211 engine series from 2011 onward. Both of these engines are very similar and share a lot of the specs that we are going to cover next.

  • Configuration: Inline-4
  • Displacement: 1.4L
  • Cylinder Bore: 76.5 mm
  • Piston Stroke: 75.6 mm
  • Block Material: Cast Iron
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Head Design: DOHC with 4 valves per cylinder
  • Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
  • Forced Induction: turbocharged or turbo + supercharged
  • Horsepower: 121 – 182 hp
  • Torque: 145 – 186 lb-ft (210 – 250 N-m)

Common Audi/VW 1.4 TFSI Engine Problems

Common problems with the Audi 1.4 TFSI engine include:

  • Timing Chain Tensioner Failures
  • Carbon Buildup
  • Engine Does Not Warm Up
  • High Oil Consumption
  • Fuel Injector Failures
  • Wastegate Sticking Problems
  • Coil & Spark Plug Failures
  • O2 Sensor Failures
  • Cam Follower Failures

We’re sure you’re not satisfied with a short list of problems, so we feel obliged to elaborate on each of these problems in detail and disclose when and why they appear. We are going to cover the symptoms that they create, as well as the level of concern you need to take for each one of these issues.

Timing Chain Tensioner Failures

The biggest and most serious problem with this engine is the timing chain tensioner failure. The timing chain tensioners were not one of the strongest points on the early 1.4 TFSI engines.

This happened most often on the twincharger engine variants. These were the engines that use both supercharging and turbocharging combined.

These engines are using timing chains, while the newer EA211 version of the 1.4 TFSI is using a timing belt.

So, if you intend to get an EA111 twincharged version, you need to worry about this problem and do a checkup before you decide to make a purchase. The timing chain can get loose once this tensioner fails and the chain will jump, ending up causing catastrophic engine damage.

If you notice that the chain starts to rattle and create noises, it is important to act quickly and sort out the problem while it’s time. This noise is most noticable in the first 1–5 seconds on a cold startup.

This repair is expensive, but it has to be done in order for you to keep the engine alive and in good condition. That’s why you should never ignore these rattling noises.

Carbon Buildup

Carbon buildup is also a major headache for these engines. TFSI engines are using something known as direct fuel injection. So, what is direct fuel injection?

Direct injection is a modern way of injecting fuel into the combustion chamber. This system uses a special high-pressure fuel injector to inject fuel, unlike the old-school MPI which injects fuel through the intake ports.

So, the intake ports on these cars are not cleaned. This allows carbon deposits to build up on the intake ports and basically ruin the intake valves. The carbon can be so much that can prevent the intake valves from opening and closing correctly.

This will eventually result in issues like engine misfires, low compression, and other running issues. The solution to this problem is to do a walnut blast every 60,000 miles (ca. 96,561 km) or so to clean off the intake ports.

Engine Does Not Warm Up

This engine also has trouble warming up. This problem is well known in the VW community a, andnd it is a pain for a lot of owners.

The engine simply doesn’t like to warm up in cold weather. It can take up to 10 minutes, so the coolant starts to warm up, and you get warm air from the heater.

This can be a problem and can affect the engine’s performance, as well as the engine life since engines should reach optimal operation temperature in a timely manner to prevent long-term damage.

But this isn’t a very big issue, according to a lot of owners, you simply get used to it. The only thing you shouldn’t do is press hard on the gas while the car warms up. Give it time and don’t force the engine if it isn’t warmed up completely.

High Oil Consumption

High oil consumption is also noted on these 1.4 TFSI engines, what is worth noting is that these engines are very common to develop high oil consumption.

If you go to the dealership to complain, they will just tell you that everything is up to the normal limit. At least that’s what numerous owners reported.

Some engines consume a quart of oil every 10,000 miles (ca. 16,093 km), while some of them consume more. So, when dealing with these engines, it is important that you have a quart with yourself all the time and top off the engine oil whenever the level drops.

This way you will be sure that the engine does not run dry and engine damage occurs.

Fuel Injector Failures

Fuel injector failures were also noted on this engine. This engine, as we noted previously, is using direct injection.

Direct injection uses very complex injectors that are very sensitive to low quality fuel, and they also last for shorter periods of time.

So, if the engine has higher mileages, you will most likely have to replace these injectors with new ones. They can leak fuel or can end up clogged. Whenever this is the case, the engine will not be happy and will likely trigger the check engine warning light.

If needed, replacing all 4 fuel injectors isn’t exactly cheap.

Wastegate Sticking Problems

These gasoline turbo engines are using something known as a turbo wastegate. In simple words, the wastegate is a valve that controls the flow of exhaust gasses to the turbine.

These wastegates are regulated by an actuator. In this case with the 1.4 TSI/TFSI, the actuator is prone to sticking or developing rattling noises.

When it rattles, it delivers a poor boost, which can damage the performance. But when it is stuck, it can deliver excessive boost which can damage the turbo.

This is why if you notice problems with the boost of your car, it is important to react quickly and sort out this problematic turbo wastegate.

Coil & Spark Plug Failures

Ignition coil and spark plug failures were also noted on this 1.4 TFSI engine, these are basically the components that deliver spark to the cylinder and ignite the fuel.

They are also very prone to fail on VW engines. Especially the coils that can be somewhat expensive to replace.

Symptoms associated with this problem include check engine light, engine misfires, rough idle, and poor engine work.

O2 Sensor Failures

O2 sensors are also prone to fail on these engines more often compared to other engines. The O2 sensor is the sensor that regulates the air-to-fuel ratio and the operation of the catalytic converter.

Whenever this component fails, there will be either lean or rich air to fuel mixture, it’s also likely that the check engine light will turn on and that you’ll experience poor fuel economy. The only way around this problem is to replace this component with a new one.

Cam Follower Failures

And last but not least is the cam follower failure. This cam follower is a problem on the early TSI engines.

This component is located between the high-pressure fuel pump and the cylinder head. It basically follows the camshaft.

If not replaced, it can damage the camshaft beyond repair. It is important to replace it on time before it destroys the camshaft.

Which Models Have The 1.4 TFSI Engine?

The 1.4 TFSI engine was included in the following models:

  • VW Golf Mk5 & Mk6
  • VW Touran
  • VW Scirocco
  • VW Tiguan
  • Audi A3
  • Seat Leon
  • Skoda Octavia


What Are The Common Problems With The 1.4 TFSI?

Common problems with this engine include high oil consumption, turbo wastegate sticking, carbon buildup, spark plug & coil failures, and timing chain tensioner failures on earlier twincharged engines.

Is The 1.4 TFSI Engine Reliable?

Yes, the 1.4 TFSI engine is a pretty reliable engine, but we advise avoiding the twincharged engine since this engine has more issues with the timing chain that can be expensive to fix.

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