AudiAudi 2.0 TFSI Engine Problems: Common Issues Explained

Audi 2.0 TFSI Engine Problems: Common Issues Explained


In this article we will highlight some of the most common Audi 2.0 TFSI engine problems. The Audi 2.0 TFSI engine is available in most of the Audi range and is widely used in the A3, A4, A5, A6  and TT models. It is a turbocharged, fuel injected petrol engine. Capable of delivering between 150 to 250 hp depending on the model. Hopefully we can go some way in addressing your existing Audi 2.0 TFSI engine problems, or highlight issues before you buy.

TFSI stands for “Turbo Fuel Stratified Injection”. It shares many similarities with other fuel injected petrol engines. The FSI designation describes the location of fuel injection. It is the only designation Audi and VW use to denote the petrol engine versions of their cars. 

Specifically, it is injected as a ‘stratified charge’ meaning the mixture is richer at lower RPMs. This also means less fuel comes into contact with the cylinder walls and is instead directed at the spark plug. The result is an increase in fuel efficiency, and power. 

Is the Audi 2.0 TFSI Engine Reliable?

Audi A5 Gearbox Problems
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Overall we would say, yes! The 2.0 TFSI engine has been used in many different models in multiple continents and for many years, it’s clear it must be at least somewhat reliable. 

However, whether it is reliable when compared to its competition is another matter. The Warranty index takes its data from over 50,000 warranty direct policies and collates the data. 

The current top 100 list contains only 2 cars made by Audi. Both of these are available with the 2.0 TFSI engine but no specifics are given. Not only this but the highest placing Audi is the TT, which comes in at 44th most reliable.

The 2.0 TFSI engine is generally offered in the medium to large vehicles in the Audi range, such as the A3, A4, A5 and A6.  These cars are in direct competition with vehicles such as the Mercedes C & E Class and the BMW saloon range.

Is the Audi 2.0 TFSI a Good Engine?

Engine Maintenance
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Audi has been developing engines for over 50 years. They are one of the most technologically advanced manufacturers on the market. They are innovators as well, with many firsts including making the first 4WD rally car, the Audi Quattro. 

It’s safe to say then that they know how to develop an engine, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the engines they make are the best on the market. There are some engines that are famed for reliability. But some are infamous for their poor design or build quality.

The Audi 2.0 TFSI cannot be placed in either of these groups, with cars reaching well over 150,000 miles with basic maintenance, the engine cannot be considered bad!

It may be possible to buy a superior engine, however. If the performance and efficiency gains of the turbocharged engine is not the most critical features, there are better options. 

In terms of other Audi options, their range of diesel engines is often regarded as superior. The 2.0 TDI is a relative of the 1.9 PD engine that is legendary for reliability. That said, modern diesel engines are just as complicated as the turbocharged petrol engines.

The petrol cars do have the advantage over the diesels for certain uses, such as lower mileage and short journeys. Diesels can easily suffer from DPF blocking issues if certain conditions are not met when driving, such as engine operating temperature.

Can the TFSI engine be troublesome?

Audi Interior
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As is often the case with German manufacturers, the Audi TFSI engines are very technologically advanced. The FSI injection system yielded new improvements in the efficiency and power that can be achieved from a relatively small petrol engine.

The problem with extremely advanced technology is that it often requires high maintenance. This can be an issue if the drivers or owners do not keep up with regular servicing. Neglect can lead to problems with complex systems such as within oil driven mechanisms such as hydraulic valve lifters. 

Other Audi 2.0 TFSI engine problems include timing chain failures, engine oil consumption and Turbo seal and bearing issues. We will discuss these later on in the article.

Whilst these issue do not necessarily mean the engine is bad. But it could be considered more high maintenance and therefore more susceptible to failure than other engines. This said, it does offer lots of benefits over less advanced engines in power and fuel efficiency. 

How Long do Audi 2.0 Turbos Last?

Turbochargers force air into the engine, enabling a more efficient mixture of fuel and air to be ignited. They are also used to increase the overall fuel and air intake, increasing the power output. 

Turbos have a turbine wheel and a compressor. The turbine is spun using the hot exhaust gasses. This is then used to compress the intake air on the compressor side. Due to the nature of the high heat and pressures, and the extremely high RPM of the turbine, the seals and bearings are under extreme load. 

Some drivers have reported premature turbo failure, mainly through failed turbo seals. Turbos can often be reconditioned, if the failure is recognised early. If not though, the seals can cause the entire turbine housing to need replacement. In some extreme cases, the turbo can fail catastrophically and deposit shrapnel into the engine, virtually destroying it. 

Turbo seal failure is most recognisable by an increase in oil consumption, and a tell-tale blue smoke from the exhaust. This is indicative of many sources of oil-burning including turbo seals, worn piston rings and worn valve seats. 

Generally, when buying a turbo car, it is best to seek out all the service history. Good quality oil, and frequent oil changes will help the turbo seals and bearings to last longer. Poor service history is a sign that the car has not been well looked after, and oil changes are an easy thing to overlook for many owners.

Audi 2.0 TFSI Timing Chain Issues

Engine block and timing chain
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Timing chains are used to synchronise the timing of the camshafts to the engine crankshaft. Timing chains are generally considered to be the far superior alternative to timing belts. Many manufacturers state they will last the entire lifetime of the car.

This has not been the case however with owners of some Audi 2.0 TFSI cars. From 2008 through to 2012, there  have been multiple recalls a year for timing chain issues. Some have caused catastrophic damage to the engine. In these cases, an entire engine replacement is most likely. 

If this work is not being done under warranty, expect to pay between £7,000 and £10,000 for a new engine fitted. 

Whilst Audi have recognised this issue, and recalled and fixed vehicles affected by it, there are still vehicle owners that do not feel the manufacturer has satisfactorily addressed the issues.

One instance is of owners of 2013 onwards cars, that have seen the exact same issues as the previous engines, but had no offer of resolution.

Do Audi TFSI Engines Burn Oil?

Another common issue reported by Audi owners is excessive oil consumption. This is something not formally addressed by Audi themselves, but is reported on many online forums.

The main culprit for oil consumption is worn or damaged piston rings. Piston Rings seal the pistons to the cylinder walls. This is both to contain the pressure of ignition and to prevent oil from entering the combustion chamber from the crankcase.

Worn piston rings can be caused by either damaged cylinder walls, or the use of substandard quality piston rings from the factory. Piston rings do not need to be damaged heavily to allow oil past and into the combustion chamber. 

How to Tell if my 2.0 TFSI Engine is Burning Oil

When accelerating, blue smoke will be present from the exhaust, if the piston rings are worn. Vehicle owners should be very aware of the issues this can cause, namely the engine running out of oil. 

There are not really any easy fixes for worn piston rings, the only real solution is to replace them. This involves disassembling most of the engine, including removing the head and sump. The bottom caps on the connection rods can then be removed, and the pistons lifted out of the top of the engine. 


Audi 2.0 TFSI Engine TT
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Many of the issues discussed above are not formally addressed by Audi as causes for recall. This will mean difficulty in getting the manufacturer to repair, unless under warranty. When buying an Audi 2.0 TFSI car, it is imperative to check service history, especially frequent oil changes and oil filter changes. 

When viewing used vehicles, check for blue smoke from the exhaust, especially during acceleration. It is unlikely the seller will disclose if the car is using oil excessively, so a check of the dipstick is as much as can be done.

Thank you for reading our article on Audi 2.0 TFSI engine problems. If you have found it useful please share or drop us a comment.

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