7 Common Problems of the Volkswagen EA888 Engines

Most Volkswagen models are known for reliability issues. So, if you are looking for a reliable Volkswagen engine, the EA888 is ideal with proper maintenance. Here are seven common problems of the Volkswagen EA888 engine and the signs that would help you spot them.

Table of ContentSeven common issues to watch out for with the EA888 engineWrapping up

Seven common issues to watch out for with the EA888 engine

Ignition coil breakdown

This is a common problem with most turbocharged engines. One of the integral components of every combustion engine is the ignition coil or coil pack. It alters the voltage from the battery to generate a spark in the spark plugs, which ignites the gasoline, resulting in combustion.

If an EA888 engine begins to misfire, the ignition coil could be faulty. And some reasons for this failure are;

Inappropriate spark plug gapWorn-out spark plug ignition cableValve covers leakageMoisture intrusion

Signs of a malfunctioning ignition coil

Vehicle unable to startIllumination or flashing of the motor’s check engine light (engine management light)MisfireThe quivering of the turbocharger at mid to high RPMsStalling of engineWarm/cold rough idleGas smell

Excessive use of oil

7 Common Problems of the Volkswagen EA888 Engines

This issue usually affects the Gen 2 EA888 1.8 and 2.0 engines. It is the reason for the widespread negative reception of the EA888 engine. Excessive use of oil refers to the engine consuming more oil than the average operating range during normal conditions. If the issue is not fixed immediately, it may become frustrating and costly.

The cause of this problem is the thin piston rings Volkswagen manufactured for the engine. Here are signs to look out for:

Effects of excessive oil use

Build up of oil in the engine or spark plugExhaust releasing blue smokePieces of metal in the oil panPCV valve failureLess oil in the engine compared to the period of driving

If these signs occur, take immediate action irrespective of the generation. Failure to do so can cause oil deposits, causing the engine to put more pressure on the remaining oil.

It is recommended to replace your PCV valve and see if it resolves the problem. If not, run a consumption test to confirm if the piston rings are the problem.

Leakage in the housing thermostat

Sadly, this is typical with EA888 engines, and the thermostat housing helps to control coolant flow.

Reasons for thermostat failure

Faulty partsTypical wear and tearOverheatingSludge

Signs of a leaking thermostat housing

Sudden stoppage of the engine due to a coolant leakOverheating of the engineFluctuation of engine temperature readingsLow coolant temperature lightingLeakage of coolant through the weep hole

Fortunately, it’s easy to replace the housing thermostat. But it’s crucial to run a pressure test to confirm the problem.

Water pump malfunction

The failure of a vehicle’s water pump is a common problem in modern transportation. A car owner may experience the breakdown of at least one of the water pumps during its lifespan. The health of a car depends on how well its water pump circulates water from the radiator throughout the cooling system and back to the radiator.

Symptoms of a malfunctioning water pump

Overheating of the engineIntense engine noiseLeaking of coolant (low coolant lighting)Release of a plume of steam from the radiatorBuild up of gunk on the water pump

Further, if the water pump fails, it’s best to replace it.

Intake valve carbon buildup

Most recent direct injection vehicles have a reoccurring problem with carbon buildup. When an engine consumes fuel, there’s usually carbon on the intake valves. And it restricts airflow.

Signs of intake valve carbon buildup

Inefficiency in the use of fuelKnocking of engineUnable to start when cold

How to prevent intake valve carbon buildup

Maintain a high RPM over a long period (25-23 minutes at 3000+ RPM)Use premium gasoline (93+ octane)Clean the valves often manually

If your vehicle has done 45,000+ miles check the intake valves. If there’s a build-up, clean the valves.

Strained timing chain

7 Common Problems of the Volkswagen EA888 Engines

One of the prominent problems of the 2.0t Volkswagen EA888 Gen1 and Gen2 engines is the stretched-out timing chain. A timing chain links the crankshaft to the camshaft and ensures it rotates at the same rate as the engine. So if it breaks down, the vehicle won’t start.

Signs of a strained timing chain

The vehicle’s check engine (engine management light) turns onError codes P0506, POOOA, P0341, P0542A, P0011, or P0016.Engine starts to skip a gearThe timing chain goes above the maximum range of 126mm (5 in.)Vehicle unable to startPieces of metals in the engine oil

Powerless positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve

The PCV valves for Volkswagen are typically unreliable. And this issue is most common in turbocharged engines. This component helps to regulate a vehicle’s transmission, and it has other names, like a crankcase ventilation valve, a breather valve, or an oil separator.

Signs of a weak PCV valve

Misfires due to air leaksLean system code P0171Leakage of oil/more oil useSlow powerineffective regulation codeThe engine starts to make a loud whining noise

A PCV replacement is not difficult for a DIYers that know their way around engines. While at it, we recommend buying the kit.

Wrapping up

The common problems of the Volkswagen EA888 engine is avoidable if serviced properly at the right time. While at it, use premium fuel and oil to boost the engine performance. With all these in place, an EA888 engine can run up to 200,000 miles without fault.