VW 2.0 TDI Engine Problems: Common Issues & Solutions

In this article, you will find the most common VW 2.0 TDI engine problems & the best solutions to get your vehicle running smoothly again. The VW 2.0 TDI engine was released as a replacement for the popular 1.9 TDI, and though the 2.0 has become popular, it is not quite as durable as its predecessor. While the 2.0 matches the 1.9 TDI in terms of economy, it is not known to be as durable.

The 2.0 TDI was first introduced in the 2003 VW Touran and has continued to feature in most Volkswagen models. Including The Golf, Transporter, Passat, Toureg, Tiguan, Arteon T-Roc and many others. This unit is more powerful than the smaller 1.6 TDI and is generally employed in larger vehicles.

Since its introduction, the diesel engine has witnessed different issues, and while it has been recalled several times, not all the issues have been fully resolved. Most of these problems are attributed to material savings and technical errors.

VW TDI Steering Wheel
Image Credit Unsplash

The 2.0 TDI is a powerful engine that generates between 136hp and 170hp, depending on the model. The engine comes in different versions, determining how much power it can dispense. For example, while 8-valve versions can do between 136-140 hp, versions with 16 valves can generate engine power between 140 to 170 hp.

Since the engine’s introduction in the 2003 Touran, Volkswagen has made tremendous efforts to improve it, leading to increased reliability. However, this still didn’t solve all the problems. While newer versions mean improved features, owners still complain about old issues and sometimes new ones.

However, it is worth commending the 2.0 TDI engine for its performance. Though it doesn’t promise the same reliability as the 1.9 TDI, it is praised for low fuel consumption and high MPG.

Now, let’s get down to the common problems with the TDI engine and the possible solutions.

This article provides you with the most common VW 2.0 TDI engine problems, so you know what to expect if your dream vehicle comes with the engine. You will also find possible solutions to fix the problems, so you can prevent more severe damage to your engine:

VW TDI Engine
Image Credit: Pixabay

1. Fuel Injector Failure

Fuel injector failure is a common issue in 2.0 TDI engines. The function of the fuel injector is to pump fuel into the cylinders of an engine’s activating combustion. A failed fuel injector will throw the AFRs off and cut back on engine idles and performance.

Though different causes play culprits to fuel injector failure, clogging is a major cause of this problem. Failed fuel injector can also occur due to gasket failure. This failure quickly tells on the engine performance since the AFRs are thrown out of optimal levels.

The best way to prevent fuel injector failure is to use high-quality fuel and not compromise on maintenance routines. With these conditions met, your engine might never experience fuel injector failure throughout its lifetime.

Amazon can be one of the easiest places to stock up on your motor oil. Order some good quality oil now to ensure you are not caught slacking with your car maintenance regime.

Also, it is worth investing in aftermarket injectors when replacing your TDI engine’s injectors, as factory options are not always the best quality.

For the DIY mechanics reading, get your required parts from DIY Car Service Parts. Simply enter your registration to get suitable part recommendations for your specific car make & model.

Signs of Fuel Injector Failure

You know your engine has developed failed fuel injector when it starts to smoke or misfire. Poor engine performance is another common symptom of a failed fuel injector you want to look out for.


The best solution to a failed fuel injector depends on the cause of the issue. For example, you may cure clogged injectors simply by cleaning them with a fuel additive. For more prolonged issues, a replacement is advised.

2. Failed Diesel Particulate Filter

Another commonly reported problem with the 2.0 TDI engine is the diesel particulate filter failure. The filter has been reported to fail due to clogging. Though this is a common issue with most diesel engines, it is very common in the VW 2.0 TDI.

Diesel particulate filters, also known as DPFs, filter the exhaust emissions in modern diesel engines. It achieves this by trapping diesel particulate within the filter.

After a continuous engine running, the TDI’s DPF can fail due to clogging or sensor failure. The DPF clogging prevents the engine from breathing properly and turning the amber warning light on as a sign of a fault.

A way to prevent clogging is to avoid short trips. Taking long-distance trips at high RPMs will help burn shoots that can clog the system.

Image Credit Pixabay

Signs of a Failed Diesel Particulate Filter

Black smoke from the exhaust pipe is an obvious sign of a failed particulate filter. You can also recognize this issue by checking for low engine performance and excessive oil consumption.


Since a failed DPF usually result from clogging, the best solution is to clean it by removing the soot. Cleaning the shoot will help restore the DPF to its original state without taking much from your pocket. An alternative is a replacement, which is fairly expensive.

While you can spend between £150 and £300 on cleaning a DPF. A replacement can cost £900+.

3. Timing Belt Tensioner Failure

The timing belt needs adequate tension to function properly. The tensioner ensures the timing belt maintains optimal tension. The timing belt links different components such as the injector pump, the alternator and the crankshaft.

When the tensioner fails, the timing belt comes off, and the pistons and valves can collide, resulting in major engine damage.

Tensioner failure is usually attributed to premature breaking due to their materials.

The only way to prevent this common issue with the 2.0 TDI engine is to inspect the tensioner every 80,000 miles and have it replaced if necessary.

2.0 TDI Timing Belt
Image Credit: Unsplash

Signs of Timing Belt Tensioner Failure

A ticking noise from the engine coupled with the engine misfiring can mean a failed timing belt tensioner. Other signs you want to look out for include decreased oil pressure and engine timing abnormalities.


When the timing belt tensioner fails, the best way out is to invest in another tensioner. However, while it might be economical to only replace the tensioner, it is best to purchase a timing belt kit. Besides a timing belt tensioner, this kit comes with a coolant, water pump, and timing belt.

A new timing belt kit is ideal since these parts work together, and you can install them at a go. This will prevent the future headache of dealing with another failed part in the timing belt section of the engine. Get an instant quote for a job like this on the Fixter website.

4. Dual Mass Flywheel Failure

It is common for the dual-mass flywheel to fail in the 2.0 TDI, which is attributed to more torque than a regular petrol engine. The dual-mass flywheel (DMF) enhances a smooth driving experience, especially when starting the vehicle. The DMF, located at the bottom of the crankshaft, also ensures the engine runs smoothly when shifting gears and idling the vehicle.

A DMF doesn’t fail at once but happens gradually. The issue usually starts with a falling spring, making the DMF rattle under the driver’s floorboard. With this sign, it is best to attend to the issue immediately. If left unchecked, a failing DMF can degenerate into a more severe issue, which can be detrimental to the engine.

Modifying the engine for more torque is another cause of the DMF failure. Adding more torque means taking the engine out of factory engine levels. Though a regular VW engine may not experience this issue throughout its lifecycle, a 2.0 TDI engine will experience this at least once in its lifecycle.

VW Dual Mass Flywheel
Image Credit: Pixabay

Signs of a Dual-Mass Flywheel Failure

Rattling noise in the bell housing, clutch slippage, and rough shifting are common symptoms of a failed dual-mass flywheel. You also want to pay attention to hard clutching and excessive vibration while turning off the engine.


It is almost impossible to repair a failed DMF, and the only solution remains to replace it with a new OEM unit. Also, when modifying your 2.0 TDI engine, invest in an OEM unit to prevent the risk of the engine experiencing this failure.

Note that it is important to attend to any sign of a failed DMF since the issue can cause more severe problems in the engine.

5. Premature Oil Pump Failure

Oil pump failure is another common problem owners have reported in the TDI engine. The problem is usually attributed to balance shaft modules. The oil pump circulates oil to the pistons, camshaft, and bearings, and a failed pump prevents oil circulation to these parts. Plus, a failed fuel pump can damage the engine.

A failed tensioner and poor quality materials are other major causes of a failed oil pump. Unfortunately, oil pumps in 2.0 TDI engines have relatively low durability, resulting in premature oil pump failure in the engine.

However, proper maintenance and keeping up with your service schedule can help prevent the risk of premature oil pump failure.

2.0 TDI Fuel Filter
Image by dearcompany from Pixabay

Signs of a Failing Oil Pump

Increased engine temperature and noise from the oil pump are good signs for identifying a failing oil pump drive shaft. Low oil pressure indicator illuminating is another sign you don’t want to neglect.


The best way to solve this is to replace the oil pump and associated parts at your earliest convenience.

6. Cracked Cylinder Head

Another common issue owners have reported with the 2.0 TDI engine is a cracked cylinder head.

A cylinder head is a major section of every vehicle engine, as it houses the springs, exhaust valves, lifters, and combustion chamber. The likelihood of experiencing this issue varies from engine to engine, and the reference number at the right of the cylinder head gives an idea.

For example, if the number ends with A, the engine is more likely to experience a cracked cylinder head than an engine with the number ending with “B”.

The major cause behind a cracking cylinder head is overheating in the engine. An overheating engine causes the engine head to expand and contract when it cools.

A cylinder head should normally be strong enough to resist cracking, but cylinder heads in 2.0 TDI engines are not made with durable components, resulting in cracking.

Engine block and timing chain
Image Credit: Pixabay

Signs of a Cracked Cylinder Head

You know your cylinder head is cracked when your coolant indicator illuminates or the engine overheats. Poor engine performance might also signify a cracked cylinder head.


There is no other option to fix a cracked cylinder head other than to replace it entirely.

Is the VW 2.0 TDI Reliable?

The VW 2.0 TDI engine has garnered mixed reviews from owners. While some owners gave it decent scores, critics down-voted the engine for different issues, such as oil pump failure and cracked cylinder head.

However, engine reliability depends on maintenance. If properly maintained and a few issues are paid attention to, the 2.0 TDI engine will serve longer with less risk of developing problems.

TDI Start Button
Image Credit: Unsplash

What Oil Should the VW 2.0 TDI Engine Use?

The type of oil to use for the Volkswagen 2.0 TDI engine usually depends on the specific model it is used in. Most owner manuals recommend 5W-30 synthetic engine oil for this engine but do check your vehicle handbook or with a mechanic before topping up yourself.

Are 2.0 TDI Engine Problems Solved In 2022?

Since its introduction, the TDI engine has been reported for different issues, and since then, Volkswagen has been working on solving the issues in consequent versions. However, though the automaker has addressed some of these issues in newer versions, owners have still reported many of them.

For example, cracked cylinder head and timing belt tensioner failure are common problems in newer versions of the VW 2.0 TDI engine. Hence, it is safe to conclude that some of the issues with the 2.0 TDI engine have not been totally solved.

However, it is also worth noting that proper maintenance will keep many of these problems at bay.

If you are currently having issues with your vehicle an On-board Diagnostic (OBD) scanner will help you diagnose the issue for as little as £25. We have put together a list of The 4 Best OBD-II Scanners for 2023 to help you decide which one best fits your needs.

We hope you have found this article on VW 2.0 TDI engine problems useful in diagnosing and solving any issues you may have. If you have suffered your own problems with this engine feel free to leave a comment below.


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