Is the Carbon Build Up on Your 2.0T Engine a Design Error from VW and Audi?

November 13, 2014

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The most common symptom related to excessive carbon build up on your VW or Audi’s intake valves is cold start misfires. This means upon initial startup the vehicle will run rough and the check engine light may even flash, but after sometime the idle will smooth out.

When this happens and you bring your vehicle to VW or Audi specialist they will likely have to check a few things, and might recommend a few repairs to try first before jumping to the conclusion you have carbon build up. Depending on mileage and how recently your spark plugs and ignition coils have been replaced they might start there. Once they have exhausted the options and they determine it must be a carbon issue they will offer you the cost to do so.


The procedure of removing the intake manifold on a 2.0T engine and cleaning the valves would generally cost in the $500 – $700 range. This will vary depending on labor rate and how the valves are cleaned.


Is this a VW and Audi issue only?
No this problem is not exclusive to the VW and Audi brands. This issue is a problem with direct injection engines. Direct injection is used as it is much more efficient than port injection, but it is clearly isn’t free from its own flaws. While many VW and Audi engines seem to have issues around 60k miles or more, we have heard of other manufacturers have carbon issues as low as 30K miles. Take a look at our video below to learn more about carbon build up on direct injection engines.
Why carbon build up happens on direct injection engines

Paul Barrett


CEO | Ex Dealer Technician | VW Audi Parts Savant | Father | Husband | Chipotle Enthusiast
Creating a VW and Audi Parts Company that Cares


on Is the Carbon Build Up on Your 2.0T Engine a Design Error from VW and Audi?.
  1. Kuma Moore

    Love your form and also found your carbon intake cleaning on youtube very detailed. If I had the proper equipment, I believe I could do it myself. However, I do not , but would like to know your advice. I am located in Norcross, GA 30071, about 10 minutes north of Atlanta,GA. The VW dealer said it would be about $700 and that’s basically labor. My questions is, I replaced the spark plugs, coils, and crank case valve and still have the symptoms of misfires/cold starts. The light flashes then stays on (check engine). Do you know a better way besides checking every dealer online where I can have the work done at a reasonable cost below $700. I changed the spark plugs, coil, and crank case vale, which were all easy and that would have cost me hundreds at the dealer…..I would greatly appreciate your advice on the next step.. Should I have the fuel injectors checked next? The code before came out as misfired on 1,2, and 3. After replacing the coil packs and crank case, it said misfire (random) on 0302. Now, I have no idea….Help….Thanks you, Kuma

    • Paul Barrett

      If this is happening and you have a higher mileage engine cleaning the carbon sounds like the best bet. Yes call shops for a quote is the best way to compare pricing for this or really any other automotive repair.

  2. Doland Strump

    My wife’s 09 Mini Cooper S had to have the intake and heads walnut blasted every 40K miles for $700. It’s a design flaw that even VW is now working around in Europe. USA not yet.

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