Volkswagen Polo (2005–2009)

What's good

Discounted Spare Parts:

21-3-2011: '4th Most Reliable European badged 3 - 7 year old car' in 2011 Warranty Direct Reliability Survey, with only a 18% incident rate and a £190.48 average cost of repair. More at:

What to watch out for

Blander look, but in the eye of the beholder.

Many did not like cheeky look of 2002 Polo.

Word got around about £35pa tax status of 1.4 diesel and used values of Polo Twist 1.4TDIs shot up.

Headlight top brackets are weak and prone to breaking.

Beware of 1.4 engine failures. Report of bore ovalisation on a 1.4 happening twice after 7,000 and 15,000 miles, necessitating two new engines. (Probably due to a duff injector, if they were not replaced at the same time.) Further reports of this from other readers. May also suffer from cracked exhaust valves costing £1,600 to repair.

If a front wing is replaced and the last bolt closest to the scuttle is either omitted or not tightened properly this will lead to water ingress to the car.

These faults with 1.2 3 cylinder engine carried over from entry for 2002-2005 Polo (some may have been cured):

Lumpy running of early 1.2 Polos can be due to timing chain stretching and jumping a tooth. Unexplained problems with fuel systems of 1.2 petrol models that seem to overfuel sporadically for no apparent reason might be due to stretched timing chains. Reports of severe carbon deposits damaging the valves of 1.2 3-cylinder engines.

Timing chains of 3-cylinder chain cam petrol engines are snapping, possibly because they need cleaner oil than VW anticipated with its service regime, or possibly because the wrong oil has been used. Timing chain tensioner problems on 2002-2003 1.2s, usually caused by not changing the oil and filter often enough. Cured on later engines by a more substantial tensioner. Total engine failures of 1.2s not unknown after as little as 5 years and 38,000 miles. (VAG changed the tensioner from 2003.) VITAL TO CHANGE THE OIL OF THIS ENGINE AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR.

Coils of 02 build that had not previously failed were starting to fail by 2007.

Has been a spate of auxiliary drivebelt failures on 1.2 engine.

Reports of repeated trouble with the EGR valves of 1.2 3-cylinder engines.

Exhaust valves of 1.2 3 cylinder engines can burn out.

26-9-2011: Apparently the reason for exhaust valves of 1.2 litre 3-cylinder petrol engines burning out is that they need 97-99 Ron Super petrol in order to run slightly cooler.

(Interestingly, VW's new for 2010 1.2 TSI engine is 4-cylinder and chain cam, losing the benefit of 25% less friction of a 3-cylinder compared with a 4-cylinder.)

9-5-2012: Another 1.4 16v engine failure. Polo Match 1.4 first reg. 11-10-2008. Mileage 29,000. Serviced regularly by Rotherfield Motor Company, Midhurst. In mid April 2012 the engine was rough running and the car was taken to VW White Rose Centre, Petersfield, on Friday, 27th April. First report was low compressiion on one of the cylinders requiring removal of the cylinder head for further examination. Reader then told that a new cylinder head was required and the repair bill would be £l,976.28.

6-4-2013: "Genuine manufacturer replacement starter motors" may merely be badly reconditioned to a poor standard. " I dismantled the whole motor. It was interesting to see what influence the high price of copper has had on starter motor manufacture. It has no field windings, these have been replaced with rare earth permanent magnets, and the rotor is only half the size that you expect with half the copper. It is now a low torque high rev motor, running through an epicyclical gear reduction to give high torque and lowered output operating RPM. No faults were found in the motor. Before I fitted the new solenoid, I noticed that the new one was put together with a sealer where it was crimped/ pressed together and the genuine replacement was not. I fitted the new solenoid to the motor and fitted it all back to the engine and it works as expected. The mileage is now 3,750. I was now left with a scrap supposedly non repairable solenoid, which had a badly bent return spring which interfered with the operation. I opened up the solenoid with a one millimetre angle grinder disc. What I found was interesting and shameful. The moving copper contact bar was not new, it was a well worn out contact bar and had been turned over to the unworn side which looked like it was not even cleaned before refitting. This is the sort of thing you might expect from a disreputable back street garage."

16-5-2013: Another 50k mile 2007 1.4 TDI engine failed due to fuel contaminating the lube oil.

16-7-2013: Turbo failure reported on 56k mile 2007 1.4 TDI. Reader quoted £1,465 by dealer to replace.

20-9-2013: Front wheel arch liner can rub against the metal, taking off the paint and eventual;ly leading to rust perforation of the wheel arch. In September 2013 VW would still contribute 50% 'goodwill' towards the repair even if the car had not been regularly serviced by VW dealers.

9-12-2013: Excess but even across the tread nearside front tyre wear reported on 2008 Polo 1.2.

21-1-2014: Engine of 2006 Polo 1.2 3-cylinder failed at 44k miles with burned valves, stretched timing chain, ets. Unrepairable. VW agreed to fit an exchange engine at cost of £1,600, then reduced the final bill to £1,380. Apparently the reason for exhaust valves of 1.2 litre 3-cylinder petrol engines burning out is that they need 97-99 Ron Super petrol in order to run slightly cooler.

19-2-2014: 2006 Polo 1.2 3-cylinder engine failed in September 2013 at 43k miles, requiring a new cylinder head at a cost of £2,346, plus £143 for diagnosis.

20-2-2014: Another report of head gasket trouble with 2008/58 Polo 1.2 3-cylinder engine.

29-8-2014: Oil pump chain failed on 2007 Polo 1.4 TDI Bluemotion, losing oil pressure and destroying engine.

3-9-2014: 2008 Polo 1.4 TDI Match cut out and failed to restart, recovered to garage initial tests identified fault as G28 engine speed sensor fault Volkswagen dealer recommended a replacement ECU. Original unit removed and tested and found not faulty. Forecasted cost £1,500 plus. Subsequently suggested replacing the reluctor wheel. The teeth are apparently bent over on reluctor wheel, this requires engine removing and stripping to replace reluctor wheel then retest for non start Forecasted cost £2,500.

12-8-2016: Another report of oil pump chain snapping on 64k mile 2008 VW Polo 1.4TDI and main crankshaft bearing cylinder scored. Estimated repairs are a new engine £3,500 plus, effectively writing off the car. (See 29-8-2014.)

20-12-2017: Report of intermittend failure of power steering on 2007 VW Polo.

18-2-2018: Report of 2008 VW Polo 1.4TDI throwing a con rod at 68k miles. Could dbe due to oil pump drive failure.

21-3-2018: Report of 2007 VW Polo 1.4TDI BlueMotion needing a new DPF and associated sensors at 127,000 miles. Cost £1,641.43.

19-4-2018: Report of bonded brake linings coming off the shoes in rear brake drums of a 2007 VW Polo 1.4TDI after 43,000 miles.


28-1-2012: Manufacturer recall to replace Siemens Piezoelectric injectors of 2006 - 2009 2.0 TDI BMN engines. All the injectors from the the 2.0 TDI PD engines that use piezoelectric Siemens injectors and Siemens ECUs are affected by this problem. The most problems are on the Passat BKD 2.0 TDI 140HP. No problem from 2009 and the introduction of the common rail 2.0 TDI engine (CEGA).

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