Magazine uncovers reason for Audi engines' high oil consumption
Some models of Audi and other Volkswagen group cars, such as Skoda have reported to have unusually high oil consumption. This has been often up to over 3 liters of motor oil over a 1000 kilometer distance. Finnish magazine Tekniikan Maailma did some investigative reporting and found out the reason for the behaviour of the EA888 petrol engines.
The publication took a 2009 Audi A4 TFSI car with 171,000 kilometers to a workshop to examine the reason and resolve the issue. The reporters then went on to interview multiple parties from importers to owners of cars as well as the manufacturer itself.
According to the results this is a very common issue in TFSI engines in Audi manufactured from 2009 to 2011. The EA888 engines, marketed as TSI in VW/Skoda, come in 1.8 and 2.0 litre configurations and often show this behaviour with less than 50,000 kilometres on the clock.
In their inspection of the engine the reporters found clear design flaws in the engine that cause extended damage to spark plugs, cylinder valves as well as the catalytic converter.
In addition to oil unusually consumption the problem with Audi TFSI engines can be detected if excessive residue is collected in the exhaust of the car.
High oil consumption caused by design flaw in engine
The magazine found out that the root cause for this are piston rings that have too small oil holes. This blocks the flow of oil as it gets used in during the 30,000 km change period. In addition changes to the breather valve system as well as engine control unit (ECU) have been applied by official Audi service stations.
VAG, the group behind all cars with the compromised designed engine does not acknowledge this as an issue, and will not pay for the full cost of the repair. According to owners the official Audi repair shops have taken full price for the repair work, but have discounted parts between 30-70%.
This cost of the repair at official service stations comes to some 6,000-7,000 Euros, where as Tekniikan Maailma had the engine repaired in an independent workshop, Tammer Diesel, for 3,500 Euros. Granted that the Tammer Diesel repair did not include new pistons, as only the faulty piston rings were replaced.
Faulty engines likely to experience the flaw in lifetime
This issue with the EA888 engine is widely acknowledged in the market. This translates to significant reductions in price for used Audi/Skoda/VW cars. According to interviewed aftermarket car dealers the common price drop with a faulty engine is around 9,000 Euros. If the car has been repaired by official service stations the price drop is alleviated, but at a high cost of repair this is not of much consolation.
All cars with the faulty units will likely show symptoms of the high oil consumption. According to the manufacturer some 0,5 liters of oil per 1000 kilometres is considered within normal limits. Owners are advised to keep track of high oil consumption with TFSI/TSI engines, and it is recommended to change motor oil every 15,000 kilometres rather than the official 30,000 km period.
Owners can naturally simply keep using cars with the flaw by keeping oil levels with regular refills. This is however not recommended, as the clogged piston rings and caused oil leakage will further damage the engine. Effects to the catalytic converter, cylinder valves and ignition system will paralyze the engine over time.
With the VAG group still recovering from the Dieselgate scandal and widely known issues with engine timing belts as well as DSG dual clutch transmissions, it is clear that the group has been too ambitious when it comes to engine technology. It remains to be seen how the perception of Volkswagen, Audi and other brands from the group will change over time with lackluster technical designs and straight up cheating will be as time goes on.