Common Problems With the Volkswagen MK6 GTI

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So, you are out car shopping and you have found yourself looking at hatchbacks and found that the Volkswagen MK6 GTI (model years 2010-2014) is appealing to you.  Being the good consumer that you are you ask yourself what are the common problems with the MK6 GTI that you should be aware of.  You are in luck!  Below is a list of what issues we have seen with these vehicles.

Don’t fret based on this list though.  These cars have been solid performers when taken care of.  As long as you go in with your eyes wide open you will be happy with your decision.

Timing Chain Tensioner

The timing chain tensioner fails resulting in the chain jumping teeth and causing engine damage

An updated part is available and was released in 2013.  You can verify if your vehicle has the old or new tensioner through an inspection port located on the lower timing cover.  Which you can see to the left of the crank pulley in the image below.

Carbon Buildup on Valves

This is a common issue with direct injection engines.  This will cause drivability issues, fuel economy and can lead to a check engine light.  Unfortunately, this buildup is inevitable but it can be remedied with a walnut shell blasting.  We have written about it in more detail here.

Intake Manifold

TSI Intake Manifold

The intake manifold runner flap will break or the position sensor will fail.  This will cause intake manifold runner flap position codes.  Entire intake manifold will need to be replaced if the runner flap breaks.  The sensor is available separately.

Ignition Coils

The ignition coils will fail causing an engine misfire.  If you find one coil is misfiring it is generally a good idea to replace all four of them instead of just the failed coil.


Coolant Temperature Sensor

The coolant temperature sensor will fail causing a performance malfunction in cooling system fault.  It is a cheap fix, but we recommend sourcing your sensor from the dealer.  For whatever reason, we have found these to be more durable than the ones sourced from aftermarket sources.

Wastegate Rattle

The rod on the wastegate can have excessive play causing a rattle noise.  If caught early enough VW does have a clip that can be installed to eliminate the rattle.  However, this is usually not very successful and turbo replacement is ultimately required.

High Pressure Fuel Pump

While not as common as the FSI engines, the high pressure fuel pump still can fail on the TSI engines found in the MK6 GTI.  Typically you will see fuel pressure faults indicating a potential failure.

PCV Valve

TSI PCV Valve

The diaphragm fails in the PCV valve which can cause a squealing noise and/or check engine light from an idle air control too high or a lean code.  This valve sits on top of the valve cover and is a relatively easy fix.  If left too long it can also causes premature failure of the rear main seal described below.

Rear Main Seal Failure

The rear main seal will start to leak oil and can also lead to misfire or lean codes causing a check engine light.  It seems that these primarily fail due to excessive crankcase pressure caused by failed PCV valves as described above.  It is required to remove the transmission to replace, so if you find it on a pre-purchase inspection keep this in mind.

Diverter Valve

TSI Diverter Valve

The diverter valve or air recirculation valve fails.  The early model version utilized a diaphragm that would tear and cause under-boost codes.  There is an updated piston-style diverter valve that does not tear.  Of course, there are always aftermarket options as well if you are so inclined.

Water Pump

Water pump fails with a higher than normal rate resulting in leaking coolant and overheating. 

Evap Purge Valve

The evap purge valve (N80 valve if you are looking at the VW description) is a solenoid valve that controls the amount of fuel vapor directed back to the engine to be burned.  The valve will stick open and cause a free flow of air.  When the car performs its tank pressurization test it will throw a code because it thinks there is a leak in the system due to the open valve.

Fuel Pump Control Module

The fuel pump control module sits underneath the rear seat above the fuel pump.  This module can overheat and cause the car to cut out.  They can actually get hot enough to actually melt the plastic casing causing a fire hazard.  Generally, not a good idea when it is so close to a tank of gasoline.  There is a revised part from VW to address the problem.

When you are in need of expert Volkswagen repair or performance tuning for your new GTI give Alex’s Autohaus a call at (801) 566-6115 and we would love to help you get the most out of your vehicle.

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