If you are looking for a fun, stylish and fairly robust second-hand sports car you really can’t go wrong the Audi TT Mk2 (also known as the Type 8J). The Mk2 is not only more modern than the previous generation, but it is also a better all-rounder and will be perfect for both daily use and weekend fun drives.
In this Audi TT Mk2 buyer’s guide you will learn everything you need to know about purchasing one of these cars from common issues that occur on them to how to get the best deal. We have also included information on the history and specifications of the Mk2 Audi TT.
How To Use This Audi TT Mk2 Buyer’s Guide
We will be covering a lot of information in this article, so make sure you use the table of contents below to skip to the section you want to read (or just read it all). To start we will cover the history and specifications of the Audi TT Mk2 and then we will get into the buying advice section of the article. Following that we will end the article with more general car purchasing advice.
The History of the Audi TT Mk2
Audi first began working on the TT nameplate as far back as 1994, with the first concept displayed at the 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show. The “TT” name was taken from the British Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) motorcycle race, however, it has also been linked to the phrase “Technology & Tradition”.
Buyers could get their hands on the first generation in September 1998 with a roadster version following the next year. Motoring journalists and enthusiasts heaped praise on the little German Sports car with Car and Driver putting it on their Ten Best list for 2000 and 2001.
By the end of the TT Mk1’s production in 2006, the car proved to be a roaring success. Over 270,000 of them had been produced and the vehicle was becoming extremely popular with used car buyers as well.
The Audi TT Mk2
While the Mk1 was a massive hit with buyers, Audi knew they needed to step it up a notch for the next TT model. In August 2004 they announced that the car would be manufactured using aluminium and would go into production in 2007.
The first glimpse of the second-generation TT came at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2005 in the form of the Audi Shooting Brake concept. Despite looking radically different to the final Mk2 model, the Shooting Brake featured much of the same technologies that would appear in the new car.
Following the reveal of the Shooting Brake, Audi would introduce the proper Mk2 TT on the 6 April 2006. Engineers at the German car manufacturer based the new TT on the Volkswagen Group A5 (PQ35) platform and gave it an internal designation of Type 8J.
The Design of the Audi TT Mk2
As stated in 2004, aluminium was for most of the second-generation car’s body panels, however, steel was used at the rear to enhance the front-to-rear weight distribution. As with the previous generation, the new TT came with either front-wheel drive or ‘quattro’ four-wheel drive layouts depending on the model selected.
Overall size was increased, with the TT Mk2 being around 127 mm (5 inches) long and 75 mm (3 inches) wider. The 2+2 coupé was once again the standard arrangement, but a two-seater roadster was available as well.
Powering the New TT
Initially, the second-generation TT was only available with a couple of different petrol engine offerings; the 2.0-litre TFSI with around 197 bhp (147 kW) and 280 Nm (207 lb ft) of torque, and the VR6 3.2-litre V6 engine with 247 bhp (184 kW) and 320 Nm (236 lb ft) of torque.
More engines would follow with a 1.8-litre TFSI being introduced in 2007, along with a new more powerful 2.0-litre TFSI and a 2.0-litre TDI diesel the next year. We have put together a list of the different engine configurations and their respective models below:
|Year Introduced||Model||Size||Configuration & Code||Power||Torque||Drivetrain|
|2006||2.0 TFSI||1,984 cc||Inline-4 16v DOHC – Turbo (AXX, BWA, BPY)||147 kW (197 bhp)||280 Nm (207 lb ft)||FWD,|
|2006||3.2 V6 quattro||3,189 cc||VR6 24v DOHC||184 kW (247 bhp)||320 Nm (236 lb ft)||quattro 4WD|
|2007||1.8 TFSI||1,798 cc||Inline-4 16v DOHC – Turbo (EA888)||118 kW (158 bhp)||250 Nm (184 lb ft)||FWD|
|2008||2.0 TFSI||1,984 cc||Inline-4 16v DOHC – Turbo||155 kW (208 bhp)||280 Nm (207 lb ft)||FWD,|
|1,984 cc||Inline-4 16v DOHC – Turbo (EA113: CDL)||200 kW (268 bhp)||350 Nm (258 lb ft)||quattro 4WD|
|2008||2.0 TDI quattro (Diesel)||1,968 cc||Inline-4 16v DOHC|
Turbocharged Direct Injection
|125 kW (168 bhp)||350 Nm (258 lb ft)||quattro 4WD|
|2009||2.5 R5 TFSI|
|2,480 cc||Inline-5 20v DOHC – Turbo (CEPA)||250 kW (335 bhp)||450 Nm (332 lb ft)||quattro 4WD|
|1,984 cc||Inline-4 16v DOHC – Turbo (EA888)||155 kW (208 bhp)||350 Nm (258 lb ft)||FWD,|
|2012||2.5 R5 TFSI|
(TT RS plus)
|2,480 cc||Inline-5 20v DOHC – Turbo (CEPB)||265 kW (355 bhp)||465 Nm (343 lb ft)||quattro 4WD|
Not all engine options were available in all locations when they were first introduced. For example, the 1.8-litre TFSI EA888 was only available in Germany when it first launched, but was made available in other locations from 2009 onwards.
The FSI part of TFSI stands for Fuel Stratified Injection and the technology was first seen on Audi’s Le Mans endurance race cars. It offers improved fuel efficiency and power, along with cleaner emissions.
More Design Features & Updates
Like all vehicles built on the PQ35 platform, the second-generation TT was given multi-link fully independent rear suspension to complement the independent suspension at the front. Drivers could enhance the new suspension setup with Audi’s active suspension technology, “Audi Magnetic Ride”, which was available as an optional extra.
The Magnetic Ride system can essentially automatically adjust the damping properties of the suspension depending on the road conditions at the time and how the car is being driven.
Another major addition to the Mk2 TT was a revised spoiler that automatically deploys at speeds greater than 125 km/h (78 mph) to improve downforce. The spoiler retracts at speeds under 80 km/h (50 mph) to maintain the clean aesthetics at the rear of the vehicle.
Manual control of the spoiler was also made possible via the use of a switch on the lower section of the centre console. However, manual control is disabled if the vehicle speed rises passed the 125 km/h limit.
Audi Introduces the 2.0 TDI quattro
At the 2008 Geneva Motor Show, Audi introduced the first ever diesel version of the TT, the 2.0 TDI quattro. As the name suggests, the new diesel car was only available as a quattro model, however, it did come in both coupé and roadster variants.
Power for the diesel quattro comes from a 2.0-litre Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI) engine that was rated at launch at 168 bhp and 350 Nm of torque at 1,750 to 2,500 rpm (see the table earlier in this article for more). Audi mated the engine to a six-speed manual transmission and in Coupé form 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) is achieved in 7.5 seconds, while the top speed is 226 km/h (140.4 mph). In convertible trim the 0 – 100 km/h time is reduced to 7.7 seconds and the top speed is slightly lower at 223 km/h (138.6 mph).
TTS Makes a Splash
Along with introducing the diesel quattro in 2008, Audi also launched the first “S” model if the TT range at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The TTS quattro was given a heavily revised 2.0 TFSI engine that featured a modified cylinder head, cylinder block and fuel injectors. These changes lead to a power increase to 268 hp and 350 Nm (258 lb ft) of torque.
With an increase in power came an increase in performance. Acceleration was boosted with a 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) time as low as 5.2 seconds for the coupé and around four-tenths slower for the roadster, while the top speed was limited to 250 km/h (155 mph).
Official performance figures include a 0–62 mph (0–100 km/h) acceleration time of 5.2 seconds, with the Roadster four-tenths slower at 5.6 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph (249 km/h).
Audi’s customers could either purchase this new TTS model with either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed “S tronic” one. In the United States, the S tronic transmission was the only available option.
Like all “S” model Audis the car only came as a quattro. The suspension was lowered by around 10 mm (0.4 inches) over the base model and the “Magnetic Ride” system was included as standard. A new two-stage sports Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) also made an appearance and new ventilated front disc brakes with TTS branded gloss black calipers were fitted.
One of the biggest visual changes was arguably the 9Jx18″ ‘5-parallel-spoke’ design alloy wheels that were wrapped in 45/40 ZR18 high-performance tyres. Audi also offered 19-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels as an optional upgrade for those who wanted them.
The exterior body also received some attention with TTS specific styling such as a redesigned front with larger air intakes, a redesigned rear bumper, extended side sills, and sporty looking quad exhaust tailpipes.
Audi Launches the TT RS for Who Want More
Despite the TTS being an already very capable machine, Audi launched a model in 2009 that would take the nameplate to new heights. This model was the TT RS and it was unveiled at the 2009 Geneva Auto Show in all its performance glory.
The car was the first of Audi’s compact sports cars to be given the RS treatment and like the TTS it was available in both coupé and roadster forms.
At its heart, the TT RS was given an all-new 2.5-litre inline-5 cylinder turbocharged engine that was rated at 335 bhp and 450 Nm (332 lb ft) of torque at 1,600 – 5,300 rpm. With so much power on tap, the TT RS was tested to hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in as little as 4.5 seconds (4.7 for the roadster) and it would keep on pulling until the electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). For those who felt this wasn’t enough, there was a factory option to de-restrict the top speed so that the car could hit 280 km/h (174 mph).
Audi matched the powerful new engine with a short-shift close-ratio six-speed manual transmission and their quattro four-wheel drive system. The quattro system on the TT RS featured a few extra additions over the system found on other TT models. These additions included a constant velocity joint before the cardan propeller shaft, and a compact rear-axle differential that was upgraded to be able to withstand the increased torque from the new power unit.
Much like the TTS, the RS model’s ride height was reduced by 10 mm (0.4 inches) and the “Magnetic Ride” system was included as standard. Additionally, 18-inch wheels with 245/45 ZR18 tyres were included as part of the deal, with the option to upgrade to 19 or even 20-inch wheels as well.
Upgrades were also made to the brakes with 370 mm (14.6 inch) two-piece cross-drilled ventilated discs in the front. These were complimented by gloss black four-piston calipers that feature the RS logo. The rear of the car received 310 mm (12.2 inch) ventilated discs.
On the inside a black interior with heated Alcantara/leather sports seats came as standard, and Recaro “RS” bucket seats were available as an option. A ‘Sport’ button was also installed that sharpens the car’s throttle response and deepens the exhaust note. Audi also gave the body a slight makeover with additions such as a fixed rear spoiler (retractable was an option).
Prior to the introduction of the TT RS, all “RS” models were assembled at the quattro GmbH factory in Neckarsulm. This changed for the TT RS which was completely assembled at the Audi factory in Győr, Hungary, where the base TT was also built.
2010 TT RS Updates & USA Model
With the new 5-cylinder engine simply being too powerful for the 6-speed “S-tronic” gearbox in the TTS, the RS would have to make do just the manual transmission option. This changed for the 2010 model year when Audi introduced the 7-speed DSG automatic transmission (went on sale in March 2009) that was capable of withstanding the full 450 Nm of torque from the RS’s engine.
Another big piece of news during this period was the confirmation that the TT-RS was coming to the United States market. This decision was largely influenced by a petition to bring the TT-RS to the US, which garnered well over 11,000 signatures. The car would eventually be introduced in Q3 of 2011 as a 2012 model.
2012 TT RS Plus
An update to the TT RS came in 2012 in the form of the TT RS Plus. This new model was given an uprated version of the 5-cylinder turbocharged unit with as much as 355 hp and 465 Nm (343 lb ft) of torque at 1,650 rpm.
As a result, the 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) time dropped to as little as 4.3 seconds for the manual version and an impressive 4.1 seconds for the DSG S-tronic gearbox model. Additionally, the top speed was increased to a limited 280 m/h (174 mph) as standard.
Audi TT Mk2 Specifications
|Year of production||2006 – 2014|
|Layout||Front-engined, front-wheel drive or quattro four-wheel drive|
|Engine/Engines||See the engine table in the history section for the different engines installed into the TT RS|
|Power||118 – 265 kW (158 – 355 bhp)|
|Torque||250 – 465 Nm (184 – 343 lb ft)|
7-speed S-tronic (RS only)
|Suspension Front||McPherson struts. Coil springs|
|Suspension Rear||Coil springs|
|Brakes Front||Vented discs 312 – 370 mm in size|
|Brakes Rear||Vented discs 286 – 310 mm in size|
|Weight||1,260 – 1,490 kg (2,778 – 3,285 lb)|
|Top speed||223 – 280 km/h (138.6 – 174 mph)|
|0 – 100 km/h (62 mph)||4.1 – 7.7 seconds|
Audi TT Mk2 Buyer’s Guide
With the history and specifications of the second-generation Audi TT covered we are going to move onto what you need to know about buying one of these fantastic sports cars.
While some do claim that Audi’s cars have a bit of a reliability problem, the Mk2 TT is actually quite reliable and was named iSeeCars’ 2019 longest-lasting sports car that is most likely to exceed 150,000 miles (240,000 km).
The real problem with a used TT Mk2 is not its build quality, but how it has been maintained. If these cars are not maintained properly, they will absolutely prove to be a wallet draining nightmare, which is probably where some get the idea that they are unreliable.
A well maintained second-generation TT should provide plenty of miles of trouble free motoring, however, more and more of these cars are winding up in the hands of people who do not look after them.
Arranging an Inspection of an Audi TT Mk2
Setting up an inspection is an important part of the used car buying process. When you arrange on inspection of a second-generation TT, try to consider the following:
- Try to meet at the seller’s house or place of business (dealer, etc.) – By doing this you can get a rough idea of how the TT Mk2 is store and what sort of area it is regularly driven in (for example, rough roads may mean that the suspension has taken a battering).
- Try to go look at the car in the morning – While this largely depends on you and the seller’s schedule, it is always a good idea to try and look at a car as early in the morning as possible. This is because the seller probably won’t have warmed up the TT Mk2 prior to your arrival (unless they have driven somewhere or moved the car). Preheating a car is a great way to hide several engine issues, so keep this in mind.
- Bring along a helper – It is always a good idea to bring somebody along who can help you with an inspection, especially if they are mechanically inclined. They will be able to give you their thoughts on the Mk2 TT you are looking at and they may be able to spot something you missed.
- Avoid going to look at a second-generation TT in the rain – Water on the bodywork can hide numerous issues with the paint and other exterior parts/panels.
- Be cautious of a TT Mk2 that has been freshly washed, especially if it still has water on the bodywork – this is largely for the same reason as above, but some owners will also wash the underside/engine bay to hide a nasty looking leak.
How Much is a Used Audi TT Mk2 Worth?
This is a difficult question to answer as it really depends on several different factors from how the car has been maintained to its mileage, specs and more. For example, a late model TT RS Plus in excellent condition is going to be worth a lot more than an early model 2.0 TFSI TT Mk2 that looks like it belongs on a junkyard.
With the above in mind, we recommend that you jump on your local auction/classifieds websites or dealer websites to get a rough idea of what you need to pay for a TT Mk2 in the condition/spec level you want.
Is the Audi TT Mk2 Expensive to Maintain & Run?
Once again this largely depends on how the car is maintained. If you purchase a TT Mk2 in poor condition you are going to spend a lot of money to keep it on the road, whereas a good condition one shouldn’t be too much different than many other cars in the TT’s market segment. Getting a dealer to fix any issues or to buy and parts will also make a TT much more expensive to run.
Will the Audi TT Mk2 be a Future Classic?
This is almost impossible to predict, however, the first-generation Audi TT is starting to become somewhat of a modern classic, so the second-generation may follow the same route. If you are looking for a future classic we suggest that you try to purchase one of the top end RS models as they are the most desirable versions of the TT Mk2.
Front-Wheel Drive vs Quattro TT Mk2?
If possible, try to go for a quattro model over a front-wheel drive second-generation TT. The overall performance and handling capabilities are higher with a quattro and they will be worth more in the future. However, quattro models tend to chew through their tyres quicker than FWD TTs.
Checking the VIN
The VIN or Vehicle Identification Number is a series of characters and numbers that manufacturers such as Audi assign to a vehicle at production. You can discover quite a bit of information about a car from the VIN, such as the model year, place of manufacturer and the vehicle’s engine size.
In addition to the above, the VIN can also be entered into a VIN checkup/decoder website that may contain information such as whether or not the TT Mk2 you are inspecting has any money owing on it or if it has been written off at any point. Most of these VIN checkup websites/services are region limited, so keep that in mind.
Where Can I Find the VIN on an Audi TT Mk2
The VIN can actually be found in many different places on a second-generation TT (most Mk2’s you come across should have them on all body panels), with the easiest ones to find being in the engine bay. There should be one behind the engine and one on the left side of the engine. Additionally, you should be able to find a VIN sticker in the trunk/boot.
Try to find as many VINs as possible during your search and make sure that they all match. If they don’t it may indicate that the car has been in an accident or had some other sort of problem. Scratched off VINs or missing stickers may be a sign that the Mk2 TT you are looking at has been stolen at some point.
Inspecting the Engine
The second-generation Audi TT was fitted with a range of different power units with some being more reliable than others. The most reliable engine is arguable the 3.2-litre V6 power unit as it was well established by the time the Mk2 TT went into production and it was not turbocharged like the other engines in the range.
We are going to be looking at all of the different engines in the section below and much of the information for one relates to the other ones as well.
When you first open the bonnet/hood (make sure it stays up and check that the lever is in good working order) of a second-generation Audi TT you should check for the following:
- Broken or damaged components – This is a big thing to watch out for as it instantly tells you that the TT Mk2 you are looking at probably hasn’t been maintained well or that it may have an issue. If the owner doesn’t mention anything about it or tries to brush of an obviously serious issue as minor, you should be very cautious.
- Cleanliness – A really clean engine bay is usually a good sign, however, it may also mean that the car has been washed to hide an issue such as a big oil leak. If the engine bay and underside of the Mk2 TT is still wet when you go to inspect it, there is a good chance that it may have some sort of problem that the seller is trying to cover up.
- Modifications – Are there any modifications you can see? While mods are perfectly fine if they are installed correctly and are suitable for the TT Mk2, poorly installed ones or those of bad quality can cause issues. Power modifications can also lead to increased wear, especially if the power increase is significant.
Checking the Fluid Levels
Following a quick general inspection of the engine bay, move onto checking the heights of the different fluids. It is important to make sure that the fuel levels are correct as if they are not it suggests that the TT you are looking at has not been maintained properly.
We recommend that you check the fluid levels both before and after a test drive to make sure they stay roughly the same height (a slight change is to be expected).
Service Intervals for the Oil & Oil Filter on a TT Mk2
Remember to ask the owner about their service schedule for their Audi TT Mk2 (make sure you have a look at the service history as well). If you find that the oil and oil filter have not been replaced regularly than it is a major red flag. This is because overtime the oil in a car’s engine can breakdown and become contaminated, leading to reduced engine performance and possibly even damage.
It is recommended that you replace the engine oil every 16,000 km (10,000 miles) or every 12 months, although for some models it is 30,000 km (19,000 miles) or every 24 months (we feel this is a bit too far even with modern synthetic oils). Some owners like to replace the engine oil a bit more frequently than this, however, most good quality oils should easily be able to last this distance. For those want to change the oil a bit more frequently a good target to aim for is around 12,000 km (7,500 miles).
Changes every 8,000 km (5,000 miles) aren’t really necessary with modern engines and modern synthetic oils, however, if the owner of the TT Mk2 you are looking at does replace the oil this early it is a sign that the vehicle has probably been well maintained.
What Is the Best Oil for an Audi TT Mk2
In truth, there is no best oil, however, Audi does state that 504/507 spec oils need to be used in a second-generation Audi TT. Additionally, most owners tend to run 5W-30 fully synthetic oils in their TT Mk2s, but something like a 5W-40 is also okay for hotter climates/operating temperatures. A 0W-30 engine oil is also another option that some owners and dealers like to use.
A couple of good options include Castrol Edge’s 5W-30 LL engine oil or Mobil 1 5W-30 ESP Full Synthetic. Plenty of other oil brands such as Shell and Motul will work as well, just make sure the oil meets the 504/507 Volkswagen spec.
It is recommended that you use an OEM filter in a TT Mk2 and change it with every oil change. Other brands such as Mann (they actually make most of the OEM filters for Audi) or Bosch will work as well, just make sure you check that an aftermarket oil filter will fit properly before installing.
Checking the Oil Condition
When you are inspecting the oil level, make sure you check its condition as well. Metallic particles or grit on the dipstick are a major warning sign and if you see this you are better off moving onto another second-gen TT.
Another thing to watch out for is any foam or froth on the dipstick, which may indicate that the Mk2 TT you are looking at has overheated and/or blown a head gasket.
Does the TT Mk2 Burn/Consume a Lot of Oil?
Audi states that oil consumption of around 1-litre per (1.057 quarts) per 1,050 km (650 miles) is acceptable. Some owners complain of oil burning/consumption, while others state that their TT Mk2’s hardly use a drop of oil at all. Oil consumption isn’t usually a major issue unless it is an abnormal amount or a car that doesn’t usually consume a lot of oil starts doing so suddenly. The 2.0 TFSI is probably the worst offender when it comes to oil consumption, so keep that in mind.
We recommend you ask the owner how much oil the car uses as you won’t be able to tell if the TT Mk2 you are looking at consumes a lot of oil during a short test drive/inspection. Oil consumption issues can often be attributed to something like a bad PCV valve or even the weight of the oil that is being used in the car. Switching to a thicker oil will often reduce oil consumption issues.
What About Oil Leaks on a TT Mk2?
Finding the source of a leak can often be a very challenging task and even after taking the car apart you still may not find where the problem is coming from. Some common places include: around the oil filter area, the cam cover gasket, the transmission and much more.
As it can be so difficult to pinpoint the source of a leak, you are going to have to try and work out its severity when conducting a test drive. If the second-gen TT you are looking at is leaving puddles of oil on the ground underneath it or you notice frequent drippage, move onto another car. Additionally, make sure that you check for leaks both before and after a test drive.
Small leaks can be fine, but you need to weigh up the cost of fixing them, which can often be prohibitive if they are in a hard-to-reach area.
Timing Belt/Cambelt & Timing Chain
Depending on the model you are looking at it, it may have either a timing belt or timing chain. Below you can see which models have a timing chain or belt:
- TFSI Pre-facelift – engine codes AXX, BWA, BPY, EA113 – some post facelift TTS models featured the older EA113 engine. An easy way to tell if the engine is an older unit is if it does not have the oil filter on top with the dipstick to its left.
- 8 TFSI
- 2 VR6
- 0 TDI
- 0 TFSI – engine code EA888 – some pre-facelift models featured this engine.
- 5 TFSI
If the TT Mk2 you are looking at has a timing belt it needs to be replaced every 120,000 km (75,000 miles) or every 5 years, whichever comes first. If the belt is not replaced and it snaps it may lead to the valves hitting the pistons, essentially destroying the engine.
Naturally, getting the engine rebuilt is going to be a very costly affair and it may not even be worth it. For this reason, many owners like the change the belt even earlier than the recommended service schedule.
If the 2.0 TFSI TT you are looking at hasn’t had its timing belt changed and it is passed the service schedule be very cautious. Not only could the belt snap just after purchase, but it is also a sign of poor maintenance and you should think to yourself what other areas of the car have not been maintained properly.
For those interested in purchasing a 2.0 TFSI TT Mk2 that is getting close to needing the timing belt replaced or is past the service interval make sure you get a hefty discount and get the work done immediately. Alternatively, get the owner to replace the belt for you prior to purchase at their own expensive (make sure you see receipts for work, etc.).
Some owners change the timing belt themselves and while this is perfectly fine if they know what they are doing, many home mechanics have more ambition than skill. If by chance the owner has changed the timing belt themselves ask them about the process and their past mechanical experience.
While the timing chain and chain tensioner do not have a specified service interval and Audi claims they will last the lifetime of the engine, more than a few owners have had to replace them. Most of the problems that owners seem to face here are with the chain tensioners that can wear and not the chain itself. However, some owners have experienced timing chain stretch.
If there is a problem with the timing chain or timing chain tensioners you may hear a bit of a rattle from the engine. Quite a few owners have reported issues around the 160,000 km (100,000 mile) mark, but other cars with much higher mileage seem to have no problem at all. If the timing chain is making quite a severe noise and the engine is throwing out codes/CEL then the chain and tensioners should be replaced as soon as possible.
Spark Plugs (Petrol/Gasoline Mk2’s Only)
If you can, try to get a look at the spark plugs on a Mk2 TT prior to purchase (this is usually not possible during a short inspection, but worth trying if you have more time). The condition of the spark plugs in a car’s engine can tell you quite a bit about how it is running. We recommend that you check out this guide for more information on spark plug analysis.
When Should the Spark Plugs be Replaced on an Audi TT Mk2?
The recommended service interval for the spark plugs in an Audi TT Mk2 is every 60,000 km (40,000 miles) or every 3 years. If in the unlikely chance that the car has been run on leaded fuel the spark plugs should be replaced every 16,000 km (10,000 miles). Remember to check that the TT Mk2 you are looking at has had its plugs changed at the recommended service intervals as if it has not it is a sign of poor maintenance.
What About Diesel TTs?
The TDI engine in a diesel Audi TT Mk2 uses glow plugs instead of spark plugs. It is usually recommended that the glow plugs be replaced around the 96,000 km (60,000 mile) mark.
What are the Signs of Bad Spark or Glow Plugs?
- Reduced fuel efficiency
- Reduced acceleration
- Engine misfires
- Rough idling
- Harsh starts
Note: the problems above can also be caused by a several other issues as well such as a failed O2 sensor.
Checking the Cooling System
Thankfully, overheating problems don’t seem to be as common on the second-generation Audi TT as some other cars out there. However, it is still important to check as much of the cooling system as possible, as a problem here could lead to total engine failure and a very expensive repair bill. Below you can find the main components of a TT Mk2’s cooling system:
- Radiator – removes heat from the water/coolant
- Thermostat – sends water/coolant that is hotter than the target temperature to the radiator to be cooled
- Water Pump – belt that is driven from a pulley. Pushes water/coolant through the engine (should be replaced with the timing belt).
- Overflow or Expansion bottle – removes air from the system and provides a filling point
- Coolant Lines – hoses that allow water/coolant to remain contained as it moves through the engine/cooling system
It is a good idea to check the cooling system both before and after a test drive to make sure it is working properly and there are no leaks. Additionally, watch out for any drastic changes in coolant height as this indicates a problem (a slight change is to be expected). If the coolant looks brown or muddy it should be replaced.
What are the Signs of Overheating or a Head Gasket Failure?
Head gasket failure is not a common issue on these cars but it can happen, so it is important to know the warning signs of the problem and of overheating. If you notice any of the following signs of overheating or head gasket failure, we recommend that you move onto another Audi TT Mk2.
- Bubbles in the radiator or coolant overflow tank
- Oil that is white and milky
- Fouled spark plugs (if you can get to see them)
- Low cooling system integrity
- Engine oil that smells of coolant
- Sweet exhaust smell
- Coolant leaking externally from below the exhaust manifold
- White smoke from the exhaust pipe (especially if you see lots of it)
Remember to check what the temperature gauge does during a test drive. If it sits on the higher end or behaves erratically it may signal there is a problem with the cooling system and the car is overheating. Alternatively, if it sits on the low side it may be a sign that there is an issue with the thermostat.
Taking a Look at the Exhaust
While there are no common issues with the exhaust system fitted to any of the TT Mk2 models, they can take a beating. Exhausts can be expensive to repair or replace if there is a major problem, so keep an eye out for the following:
- Black sooty stains – This is a sign of a leak and depending on the severity of the problem a simple reweld may fix the issue or if the issue is bigger a replacement may be necessary.
- Corrosion – This is going to be more of an issue in countries that experience harsh winters and salt their roads. Eventually the exhaust system will succumb to the elements and need to be replaced. If the car is stored outside on the road this problem will only be accelerated.
- Cracks or accident damage – dents, cracks and other damage to the exhaust system may be a result of careless driving. Damage may lead to leaks, corrosion or other issues that need to be dealt with as soon as possible.
- Bad repairs – A repaired exhaust is perfectly fine, but watch out for bodge jobs
- Aftermarket systems – It is quite common to replace the original exhaust system with a stainless steel one. A good quality aftermarket exhaust will almost certainly last longer than the original one. Try to find out who supplied and installed the aftermarket exhaust to see if it is a good quality one.
Along with looking for the above, don’t forget to listen out for any hissing, chugging or rattling noises that may indicate there is a problem with the exhaust system.
- Hissing – usually indicates that there is a crack or leak
- Chugging – could be a sign that there is a blockage in the exhaust
- Rattling – exhaust system may be misaligned or may have some other sort of problem
Turning on a TT Mk2 for the First Time
We always recommend that you get the seller or owner of the second-generation TT to start the car for you (remember to start the vehicle yourself at a later point). There are a couple of reasons for this:
- So, you can see what comes out the back (smoke, vapour, etc.)
- To see if the owner revs the car hard when it is still cold (if they do that move onto another TT Mk2)
If the Mk2 TT you are looking at won’t start or struggles to start it may be suffering from several different problems from a flat battery to worn out spark plugs and more.
What Should the Idle Speed Be on a Mk2 TT
When the car is first started expect an idle speed of around 1,000 to 1,200 rpm, but this should drop to the 700 to 800 rpm range once the vehicle is warmed up. Remember to turn on all of the electronics, AC, etc. and see what the idle speed is. A slight increase is to be expected, but if the TT suddenly starts to chug or stalls there is an issue.
Common culprits for poor idle include a dirty throttle body, bad spark plugs, a dirty air filter and intake system, and a bad PCV valve. If the engine behaviour doesn’t change with the dipstick removed and the car is using a lot of oil it is probably the PCV valve. Alternatively, another cause of bad idle may be the MAF sensor.
It will probably be difficult to work out what is causing the problem during a short test drive, so be cautious. Keep in mind that if the issue was a simple fix the owner probably would have got it done before putting the car on the market.
Ignition Coil Pack Issues
Failed coil packs are a relatively common issue on these cars with the main symptoms being as follows:
- Engine management light coming on
- Emission light goes on and off
The above symptoms may also be a sign of problems with the injectors as well so keep that in mind as well.
Smoke from a Second-Gen Audi TT
Lots of smoke or vapour is almost certainly a sign of some major trouble and expense, so if the TT Mk2 you are looking at has a smoking issue you should probably move onto another car.
A little bit of vapour from the exhaust, especially during cold weather, is perfectly normal and is usually caused by condensation in the exhaust system. If the vapour does not disappear after a short time or it seems like a significant amount there may be an issue. Below we have put together some info on what the different colours of smoke mean:
White smoke – This is usually caused by water in the cylinders and could indicate a blown head gasket. If the smoke smells sweet, it is probably coolant.
Blue/Grey smoke – Can be caused by wear to the pistons, piston rings, and/or worn valve seals. Oil leaking into the cylinders will burn, leading to a blueish smoke (can occur on startup). To check for blue smoke, ask a friend to follow you while drive the vehicle and take it through the rev range. Alternatively, get the owner to drive the car for a bit and watch out the back.
Blue or grey smoke on start-up and overrun could be a sign that the vehicle has been thrashed. Alternatively, if you see a bit of smoke on engine start-up it may be a sign of an oil burning issue, so we suggest you ask the seller about the car’s oil consumption. Another cause of this problem may be an issue with the turbocharger (if the VR6 models will not have this problem).
Black smoke – Usually occurs when the engine is running too rich (burning too much fuel). The first things you should check is the air-filter and other intake components.
Signs of a Failing Turbo on an Audi TT Mk2 (V6 not included)
Nothing lasts forever and that is certainly true for turbochargers. At some point the turbo on a Mk2 Audi TT will probably fail and when it does it will need to be replaced. Buying a new turbo and getting it installed will be an expensive experience and you need to watch out for places that will replace the turbo with a third part refurbished one.
If the turbo does need to be replaced, you should try and source a new one rather than a refurbished one if possible. Additionally, the replacement will probably take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours, however, some places will quote as much as 10 hours.
Most of the time a failure is caused by a bearing in the turbo. The turbo wheel gets wobbly and then self-destructs. You may hear a weird whistling, rumbling or high-pitched metallic sound if the turbo is failing, but by this point it is too late. Here are some other signs of a bad/failing turbocharger:
- Distinctive blue/grey smoke – This usually indicates that the seals are worn, however, it can also be a sign of a cracked turbo housing (pretty unlikely). If the seals have failed a blue/grey coloured smoke will exit the exhaust.
- Burning lots of oil – Like we mentioned earlier this may be down to various different issues with one of them being a failed/failing turbocharger
- Slow acceleration – Does the car feel particularly slow? If so it may be a sign that the turbocharger has failed or is failing. This is why it is a good idea to test as many different TT Mk2s as possible to get an idea of how fast they should be (remember to compare like for like, eg. TT RS to TT RS).
- If the boost pressure comes on late – Boost pressure that comes at higher than normal rpms could indicate either a worn or unbalanced turbocharger.
- Check Engine Warning Light – The check engine light (CEL) can be displayed for a number of reasons, from major to minor. One of these reasons may be due to a failing/failed turbocharger. If the light is on and you notice some of the other symptoms we have listed above, then it is a good sign that the turbo has failed.
How to Extend the Life of a Turbo in a TT Mk2
While you can’t do anything about the past, you can do some things to make sure that the life of the turbocharger will be extended once you purchase the vehicle. The most important thing to do is to make sure that oil changes are at or before the recommended service interval. Oil starvation and contamination is the leading cause of turbo failure, so if the Mk2 TT you are looking at has not been maintained well it could have some nasty consequences for the turbocharger.
Buying an Audi TT Mk2 With a Rebuilt Engine
As these cars age, more and more of them with rebuilt engines will be popping up on the market. There is nothing wrong with an Audi TT Mk2 with a rebuilt engine, however, the rebuild should be carried out by a competent Audi/Volkswagen specialist or mechanic. It is not uncommon to find rebuilds that have been done on the cheap for a quick sale. A TT Mk2 with a poorly rebuilt engine will be a money pit, so watch out.
When looking at a second-generation TT with a rebuilt engine make sure you check for any receipts for parts or labour. Look up the reviews of the place that carried out the rebuild to make sure they seem competent. Home mechanic rebuilds should generally be avoided, unless the person who did the work is extremely experienced with Audi cars, particularly the TT.
It is a good idea to avoid any TT Mk2 with a freshly rebuilt engine as they are a bit of an unknown. A rebuilt engine with 5,000 – 10,000 km on it is a much safer bet.
Engine swaps are often carried out for the same reason as a rebuild. The old engine gets tired and the owner swaps in another unit that is in working order. Spending the money on a good rebuild is generally better than swapping a new engine in as you know the history of the old engine.
Some owners also like to swap engines from higher end TT models into their lower end or older TT Mk2s. This is fine as long as the swap has been done correctly by a competent mechanic or specialist.
Swaps with non-stock TT engines are pretty uncommon but there are a few out in the wild. We suggest that you avoid any TT with a non-stock engine as more often than not they will be an unfinished money pit.
Like with cars with rebuilt engines, you should probably avoid anything that only has a few miles on an engine swap. A freshly swapped engine is a complete unknown and could cause you a lot of issues, especially if it is a non-stock one.
With both engine swaps and rebuilds be cautious of buying somebody else’s unfinished project.
Compression Testing an Audi TT Mk2
A compression test is certainly not necessary when purchasing a second-generation Audi TT, but it is a good way to work out the health of an engine. However, remember that a compression test will only tell you that a problem exists and not necessarily what the issue is.
The most important thing with a compression test is not necessarily the readings from the cylinders, but that they are within around 10% of each other. If one or more cylinders gives a reading that is vastly different to the other cylinders there is a problem.
Depending on the TT Mk2 model you are looking at, it may be fitted with either a 6-speed manual, a 6-speed S-tronic DSG transmission or a 7-speed S-tronic (only fitted to TT RS versions). If you notice that there is something wrong with the transmission be very cautious as gearbox issues can be very expensive to fix on these cars (particularly with the DSG transmissions).
There really isn’t too much to worry about when it comes to the 6-speed manual gearbox, apart from the usual transmission related issues. The gearbox can be a bit jerky if you are not a smooth shifter, so keep that in mind, especially in stop-start traffic.
When you are test driving a manual second-generation Audi TT make sure you shift through all of the gears at both low and high speeds, and see how the gearbox feels when the car is stationary. Shifts will probably be a bit stiff when the transmission is cold (especially the lower gears), however, they should loosen up a bit once the car warms. If you find it a real struggle to change gears than there may be an issue that needs investigating.
Graunching, grinding or whining sounds are a sign of incoming expenditure, so make sure you listen out for those noises. Synchro wear doesn’t seem to be that common on these cars, but hard driving and poor gear changes will make it more likely to occur. Thicker gearbox oil can often eliminate crunching sounds/ light synchro issues, so that is a good place to start. If the synchro issues or strange transmission noises seem serious, move onto another second-generation TT.
If the transmission jumps out of gear it could be anything from a clutch problem to issues with the shift fork and shifter bushings. You probably aren’t going to find out what is causing the problem during a short test drive, so it may be best to move onto another Audi TT
Audi claims that the manual transmission is a sealed for life unit, but most owners and specialists know that is rubbish and recommend that you check the transmission oil every second service (32,000 km / 20,000 miles). Manual transmission oil changes are often recommended every 65,000 km (40,000 miles) or every 4 years.
The life of a clutch in a second-gen TT will largely depend on how the car has been driven and treated, but a normal life is usually in the realm of 48,000 – 96,000 km (30,000 – 60,000 miles). If the clutch pedal feels excessively heavy or you feel shuddering when you take of the clutch is probably on its way out.
Below we have listed some methods that will help you determine the condition of the clutch in the Audi TT Mk2 you are inspecting/test driving:
Clutch Engagement – The first step is to make sure the engagement is good. To do this put the Forester into gear on a level surface and let the clutch out slowly. It should engage around 7 to 10 cm (2.5 to 4 inches) from the floor. Engagement that is too early or too late indicates a problem.
Clutch Slippage – The way to check for this is to shift into a gear that is too high for the speed you are going. Once you have done this, plant your foot on the throttle and watch the revs. If the engine speed goes up but the car doesn’t accelerate the clutch is slipping. Here are some things that can cause slippage
- Worn clutch
- Clutch covered in oil
- Clutch cable is too tight and is not releasing properly
Clutch Drag – Get the Mk2 on a flat surface and press the clutch pedal to the floor (do this while you are stationary). Rev the car hard (once it is warm) and see If it moves. If the car does move, the clutch is not disengaging when you shift and parts will wear prematurely.
If the clutch needs replacing and you still want to purchase the TT, make sure you get a heavy discount on the vehicle. Clutch replacement kits are quite expensive, and labour can add up quickly if you get somebody to do it for you.
DSG S-tronic Transmissions
Mk2 TTs with either a 6-speed or 7-speed DSG transmission can be a bit more trouble. Fixing problems with these two transmissions can be extremely expensive, so it is important to make sure they are in good operating condition.
An incorrect temperature reading for the clutch by the car’s ECU can cause the clutch to unexpectedly disengage, resulting in a loss of drive. Audi did conduct a recall for this problem between August and September 2009. Check that this recall was actioned upon and if it wasn’t and you are still interested in the vehicle, talk to Audi or Volkswagen to see if the work can still be done for free.
Stuttering, stalling and jerkiness can be a problem, especially at lower speeds. If this is the case on the second-generation Audi TT you are looking at the Mechatronic control unit has probably gone bad. The Mechatronic unit is already expensive to replace on its own, but the problem could even be worse as in some cases a whole new transmission may be needed, which could set you back more than what you paid for the vehicle.
A cheaper way to get the Mechatronic control unit fixed is to get it refurbished by a specialist. However, there is no guarantee this will be possible on the TT Mk2 you are interested in.
Another thing to watch out for is the clutch. If you notice clutch slippage (explained in the manual transmission section above) or weak engagement in lower gears, there may be a problem with the clutch. Other signs of clutch issues may include hesitation during acceleration and intermittent changes.
Replacing the clutch in a DSG transmission is very expensive, so keep this in mind. Sometimes clutch issues may be the result of incorrect DSG fluid levels, but you probably won’t know unless you take the car to an Audi specialist to get it looked at.
It is incredibly important that the DSG transmission in an Audi TT Mk2 is serviced regularly. If the owner/seller does not have the complete service history for this work be very cautious of the car. The service schedule (both oil and filter) for the DSG transmission is every 65,000 km (40,000 miles) or every 4 years.
Once again, do not purchase a second-generation TT if the DSG transmission seems to be playing up, unless you can get it for an excellent price and know exactly how much it will cost to repair.
Suspension & Steering
Worn out suspension and steering componentry is always going to be a problem, especially on higher mileage cars and those that have been driven on rough roads. If the TT Mk2 you are looking at is sitting around the 100,000 – 160,000 km (62,000 – 100,000 mile) mark and the suspension componentry hasn’t received some attention, expect to see some problems.
Below we have listed some things to watch out for that indicate worn suspension and steering componentry:
- Dipping and swerving when the brakes are applied
- Excessive Rear-end squat during acceleration
- Tipping during cornering
- High speed instability
- Excessive vibration coming through the steering wheel (could indicate alignment issues or failed ball joints)
- Delayed or longer stopping distances
- Uneven tyre wear
- Excessive bounce after hitting a bump or when pushing down on the suspension
- Leaking fluid on the exterior of the shock/strut
- Sagging or uneven suspension– common issue when the air suspension goes on these cars
- Knocking, clunking or creaking sounds during a test drive (this may be caused by something else, but bad suspension and steering componentry is a common issue).
- Rattles (usually caused by worn steering rack mounts or track control arms.
Remember to visually inspect as much of the suspension and steering componentry as possible. Use a torch/flashlight and a mirror to get a good view of hard to see areas. Watch out for any rust or damage as well (could indicate that the vehicle has been in an accident).
Brake components won’t last forever and will need to be replaced at some point. How long the pads, discs, etc. last will really depend on the car has been driven and looked after. If the brakes on the TT Mk2 you are looking at are in a particularly bad way (caliper issues, etc.), you are probably better off moving onto another car. Additionally, remember to check that the model you are looking at has the correct brakes (eg. RS labelled for RS models).
The most common modification to the brakes is aftermarket pads. Some owners will upgrade the braking system with aftermarket ones or put RS brakes on a lower end model. If the brakes on the TT you are looking at are not original check to see if they are from a good brand.
When you take a look at the brakes, check for the following:
- Condition of the pads (OEM ones are quite expensive)
- Pitted, scored or grooved discs
- Any leaks in the brake lines (get a helper to press on the brake pedal while you inspect the lines)
- Fluid level in the brake fluid reservoir
- Brake fluid changes every 12 – 24 months (check the service history and with the owner for this)
During a Test Drive
The brakes fitted to all of the versions of the Audi TT Mk2 will be more than adequate for road use, so if they feel weak or spongy there may be a problem.
Remember to test the brakes under both light and hard braking conditions to make sure they work well in all scenarios. Erratic braking such as pulling to one side is usually caused by a sticking/seized caliper. This usually happens if the car has been left unused for a long period of time. Another sign of this problem is a loud thud when you pull away for the first time.
Watch out for shaking or juddering through the steering wheel of the second-gen TT you are test driving as this suggests that the discs are warped (when the brakes are in use). This issue usually becomes first apparent under high-speed braking.
A common issue with the brakes is a squealing sound (especially from the front), that is most apparent during light braking when the car is cold. This isn’t an issue on all second-generation TTs but a large number of them seem to suffer from the issue. Lots of owners have had new discs and pads fitted under warranty to fix the issue. Another solution is to apply copper grease to the back of the brake pads, which is a much cheaper alternative than replaced the discs and pads.
Other than the above, keep an ear out for any loud bangs, knocks, grinding or other strange sounds when the brakes are applied.
2009 Brake Recall
Audi recalled all second-generation TT models in 2009 due to a problem with the vacuum pipe on the brake servo. It was found that damage could occur to the vacuum pipe, which would result in a loss of braking. TT Mk2s produced between May and July 2009 were affected, so remember to check to see if the recall was actioned upon if you are looking at one of these cars produced during this period.
Wheels & Tyres
While you are having a look at the suspension and brake componentry, make sure you take a good look at the wheels and tyres. Look out for any damage to the wheels (especially 19-inch ones) as they can be expensive to fix or replace. If there is lots of curb damage on the wheels it indicates that the owner is probably a bit of a careless driver.
Some owners like to fit aftermarket wheels to their Mk2 TTs. If the car you are looking at does have aftermarket wheels, check with the owner to see if they have the originals. Having the originals will add value to the car if you decide to sell it in the future. If they don’t have the originals try to use it is a bargaining point to get a discount (even if you like the aftermarket wheels).
While you are inspecting the rims take a good look at the tyres and check for the following:
- Amount of tread (quattro cars can wear out their tyres very quickly)
- Uneven wear (Can be a sign of alignment or suspension issues)
- Brand (they should be from a good or well-reviewed brand)
- Same tyre in terms of tyre make, type and tread pattern on each axle (preferably on all four wheels) – mismatched tyres can lead to poor handling performance and may even be dangerous
Checking the Wheel Alignment
Find yourself a nice flat, straight section of road to check the wheel alignment. If you find that the TT Mk2 you are test driving doesn’t run straight with minimal or no driver inputs then the wheel alignment is probably out. You should also check the tyres for uneven wear as that is indicative of bad wheel alignment or some sort of other suspension/steering issue.
Body & Exterior
Bodywork problems and damage can be a nightmare to deal with and fix, so take your time inspecting the exterior of one of these cars. Some of the body panels on the second-gen Audi TT are aluminium, which makes them more prone to damage (dents, etc.) and more expensive to fix. In some cases, bodywork problems are irreparable or so expensive to fix it is not worth it.
Accident damage is going to be your biggest worry when it comes to the exterior and overall structure of a Mk2 TT. A lot of the time crash damage is much more serious than it first appears and many sellers will lie about the severity of an incident. Some sellers will even claim a vehicle hasn’t been in a crash when it clearly has. Assume the worst when it comes to accident damage and hope for the best.
Below we have listed some signs that indicate that the Audi TT Mk2 you are looking at may have been in an accident:
- Bent or broken parts underneath the car – Check to see if everything is straight underneath the vehicle and watch out for any replaced parts. Take a good look at all the suspension, steering and exhaust components for damage.
- Rust in strange locations – May be a sign that the Audi TT Mk2 you are inspecting has been in a crash or has some other sort of problem.
- Paint runs or overspray – While this could be a factory issue, Audi’s quality control for this sort of thing is top notch, so a respray due to accident damage is the more likely scenario.
- Missing badges or trim – Could be due to repair work (body shop couldn’t find replacements) or a number of other things (stolen, etc.).
- Misaligned panels or large panel gaps – Check that the bonnet lines up correctly and fits as it should. Additionally, check the bonnet catches as if they look new the car has probably been in an accident. You should also check the doors and the lights for any damage or signs of past damage. There is a slim chance that uneven panels are a factory issue, but as we mentioned just above, Audi’s quality control is pretty good, so the issue is probably caused by accident damage.
- Doors that drop or don’t close properly – If the doors drop or don’t open/close properly the Audi TT Mk2 you are inspecting may have been in an accident.
- Inconsistencies such as waving, rippling or different coloured panels – Indicates a respray which may have been conducted as a result of accident damage or rust.
- If the bonnet/hood looks like it is popped when it is not – This may indicate that the second generation TT you are inspecting at has been crashed into something (even a light knock can cause this problem).
While accident damage is a serious issue it shouldn’t be an instant dismissal. If the damage was minor to moderate and it was repaired by a skilled panel beater/body shop it should be perfectly fine (use it to get a discount).
Serious damage that affects the car’s structure is a major concern and we recommend that you find a different TT Mk2 to purchase if this is the case. Additionally, if the repair job is clearly not up to scratch you should probably pass on the vehicle (remember to check reviews).
If the owner/seller tries to cover up or lie about the accident it suggests that the problem is worse than first appears. Alternatively, if the owner can’t tell you much about the accident/damage it may have happened when a previous person owner the vehicle.
The second-generation Audi TT is not known to rust, but it is still worth checking for the problem. Take a good look at the underside of the vehicle and check around the wheel arches, sills, etc.
If you do happen to come across rust during your inspection try to get a gauge on how bad the issue is. While corroded body panels & parts can be fixed, the problem is usually much more serious than it first appears on the surface. If the TT Mk2 you are inspecting is suffering from significant amounts of rust you should move onto another car.
Things That Can Make Rust More Likely to Occur
- Vehicle has spent time in countries or areas with salted roads (United Kingdom for example)
- The vehicle has been driven in wet conditions a lot
- Car has spent time in countries or areas with very harsh winters
- Vehicle is often parked/stored by the sea for significant periods of time
- If the TT Mk2 you are looking at has always been kept outside (never garaged)
- Accident damage (stone chips or more significant damage) – this will be the primary cause of rust on a Mk2 Audi TT
Looking for Rust Repairs
It is not only important to look for present rust, but you should also keep an eye out for signs of past rust repair. Watch out for any areas that may have been resprayed or cut out and replaced. You should also check the service history and with the owner (however, don’t trust what the owner says completely as they may be trying to hide something from you).
Use a magnet on steel sections of the car or a coating gauge thickness tool such as this one to find any areas that may have been repaired.
Check the Spoiler
Make sure the retractable rear spoiler works as intended. It should deploy at speeds greater than 125 km/h (78 mph) and retract at speeds under 80 km/h (50 mph). The spoiler can also be manually operated so check that the button works.
A fixed rear spoiler was also available and was standard on RS models (RS also had the option of the retractable spoiler).
If you are looking at a roadster make sure you thoroughly inspect the fabric top. Look for any rips or tears in the material as getting the roof replaced will be expensive. Additionally, make sure you check for any leaks.
The fabric hood is electrically operated and should operate quickly. If the roof is left in the lowered position for an extended period of time it can become slow to operate. As these cars age, more and more are having issues with the motors and sensors that control the roof, so make sure everything works properly. Make sure you check that the roof is properly concealed when it is down as if it is not it indicates a motor or sensor issue.
Correct Bumpers & Exterior Trim
Make sure the model you are looking at has the right bumpers and exterior trim. For example, the TTS and RS models have different bumpers with larger intakes, different side skirts, and altered rear bumpers.
The interior is overall pretty robust, but expect to see some wear, especially on higher mileage models. Check to see what sort of condition the seats are in as material wear and sag is a very common problem. Additionally, make sure that the seats have not collapsed and that the side bolsters are firm. If the seats move under braking or acceleration it is a major safety problem and will be a WOF/MOT failure.
Excessive amounts of wear on the seats, steering wheel, carpets, shifter and pedals for the mileage may be an indication that the vehicle has had a hard life. Remember to check the rest of the interior for wear or any broken trim pieces (the bonnet/hood lever is a common issue). The boot cover mounts often break, so check that those are in good condition.
One of the most important things to do is to check the boot for any dampness. Lift up the floor and check around where the spare tyre should be (it is not fitted to all models) and where the battery is. If you notice dampness here it could lead to a whole host of electrical problems. Remember to check the rest of the cabin for dampness and look at the underside of the floor mats. If there is water on the bottom side of the floor mats it may indicate that there is/has been a leak.
Another thing to check is the headlining above the driver’s seat as if it is a different colour to the rest of the headlining it indicates that the TT Mk2 you are looking at was owned by a smoker at some point. A smell test will also help you determine whether this was the case as well.
Crackling or feedback noises from the speakers are quite a common issue. This problem is usually caused by water making its way into the boot/trunk area and into the amplifier system. Replacing the amplifier is quite expensive, so keep this in mind.
Another thing to watch out for is the rear lights. The socket can burn out which will cause the lights to stop functioning correctly and a warning light may appear on the dash. Repairs are possible, but surprisingly expensive when done by an Audi dealer.
Along with making sure the rear lights work properly, make sure you test the front headlights and all of the other electronics such as the Sat Nav system, the windows, etc.
Check to see if the owner has the original master keys as getting replacements from Audi is expensive. A common issue owners have is if they only have one key and accidently leave it in the car when using the boot unlock/lock button. If the boot is closed it will automatically lock, leaving the owner helpless if they don’t have a spare key.
If the air conditioning/climate control doesn’t work don’t let the owner convince you it just needs a re-gas. While a re-gas may simple be what is needed, it may also be a much more serious issue such as a compressor failure.
It is important to check for any warning lights on the dash both during start-up and while the car is running. If you don’t notice any warning lights during start-up they may have been disconnected to hide an issue. If you are really serious about getting a good TT Mk2 it may be a good idea to take the car to an Audi dealer to get the codes read.
General Car Buying Advice for an Audi TT Mk2
How to Get the Best Deal on One a Second-Gen TT
This information applies to both dealers and private sealers. Knowledge is power and it can save you a lot of money when purchasing a vehicle.
- Research heavily – Prior to starting your search for a TT Mk2, figure out what specs and condition you are happy with. Do you want a low mileage example RS model or are you happy with a car that has travelled far? Are modifications okay or do you want a stock model.
- Shop around – It is always best to shop around a bit before you make a purchase. There are loads of different second-gen TTs out there in different levels of condition and spec, so don’t limit yourself to one seller, dealer, area or auction platform.
- Go look at and test drive multiple Audi TT Mk2s – It is a good idea to test drive a many cars as possible, so you know what makes a good and what makes a bad second-generation TT.
- Adjust your attitude – Never rush into a purchase. If you are desperate to buy a car you are more likely to get ripped off. Take your time when looking for a TT Mk2 and only go for promising looking cars.
- Use any issues with the car to your advantage – Take a mental note of any issues you find with the vehicle. When it comes to discussing the price, use these problems to try and drive down the price. For example, if the car needs new tyres or brake pads make a point of it and try to get the seller to reduce the price.
- Don’t trust the owner – While some owners/sellers are honest about their cars, many will lie to get a quick sale. Take in what the owner has to say but back it up with a thorough inspection.
- Go between sellers/dealers – If you are looking at multiple cars, let the owner/seller know. This way they will know that you have other options and they may try to undercut the price.
- Be prepared to walk away – If you are not happy with the deal, simply walk away. You may miss out on the car or the seller may get back to you with a better offer.
Mileage vs Condition
Mileage vs condition is always a hot topic for debate, but we feel that it is always better to buy on condition and then on mileage. Lots of owners make the mistake of believing that they are preserving their car by not driving it. In reality, this is completely false and not driving a vehicle can actually do more damage than good.
Short distance trips do not allow the engine to warm up properly, which can lead to increased component wear and reduced engine life.
Rubber seals and plastic parts will fail regardless of mileage and can even deteriorate quicker on cars that don’t get used often. Letting a car sit will not prevent rust or stop the electronics from failing.
Mileage will never decrease with age, so go out and drive your car!
Service History and Other Documentation
It is incredibly important to check any vehicle’s service history and any additional paperwork that goes along with it. While the servicing doesn’t need to be done at a dealer, it should be carried out by a competent Audi or Volkswagen specialist or mechanic (especially for major repair work).
The service history will give you a good idea of how the Audi TT you are inspecting has been maintained. In addition to this, receipts and paperwork for modifications (if the car has any) can help you determine whether they have been done by an experienced tuner or a bad one.
If the owner can’t or won’t let you see the service history, you should probably pass on the vehicle. A complete service history will only add value to any vehicle your purchase and will make it easier to sell the car in the future.
Additionally, you can check websites such as CarFax (USA) and CarJam (NZ) for more information about the car you are thinking of purchasing. These sort of websites can be incredibly useful, but there is usually a cost associated with them.
Questions That You Should Ask the Seller/Owner
- How often do you drive the car?
- When was the last service and who was it serviced by?
- When was the timing belt last replaced (if it has one)?
- Has the timing chain been replaced
- How much oil does it use?
- What oil do you use in the car?
- What parts have been replaced?
- When were the coils, spark plugs, leads changed?
- What’s the compression like?
- What modifications have been made to the vehicle?
- Has the vehicle overheated at any point or has the head gasket failed?
- Has the car been in any major or minor accidents? Is so, what repairs were made?
- Is there any money owing on the car?
- Have you got any information on the previous owners and how they treated the vehicle?
- How are the speakers? Do they crackle?
- Is there any rust?
- Has rust been removed at any point?
- When were the brake pads replaced and have the calipers seized at any point in time?
- Where do you store/park the car usually?
There are loads more questions you can ask the seller, but we feel these are some of the most important.
Things That Would Make Us Walk Away from an Audi TT Mk2
Here are some things that would make as walk away from one of these cars. While you may be happy with a vehicle with these problems, we are not.
- Overheating problems or blown head gasket
- Significant Crash Damage
- Money owing on the car
- Modifications with no paperwork or carried out by a poorly reviewed tuner
- Excessive amounts of power
- Bad compression
- Bad resprays
- Significant rust problems
- Engine swaps with non-standard engines
- Significant track use
- Major engine or transmission issues
- Owner who is not forthcoming with information (could be trying to hide something)
Notes on the Owner
The owner is one of the most important things to think about when viewing any vehicle. You need to ask them plenty of questions when inspecting their second-generation Audi TT (however, don’t trust their answers completely). Remember, it is your problem if you wind up buying an absolute lemon. Here are some things to watch out for.
- How long have they owned the vehicle? If it is less than 6 months it tends to suggest that the car needs major work done to it that they can’t afford. It also could be a sign that they deal cars as well.
- Do they thrash the car when it is cold or continually launch the vehicle? If so, you are better to walk away.
- Why are they selling the vehicle? Could be a genuine reason or they may be trying to offload their problem onto an unsuspecting buyer.
- What sort of area do they live in? Is it a good area or a complete dump?
- How do they respond when you ask them simple questions?
- Do they know anything about the Audi TT Mk2 and the model they are selling (eg. Do they know the differences between an RS and a standard model?
- What can they tell you about previous owners?
- Do they have lots of cars on their drive? If they do it may mean they are a dealer.
- What is their reaction when you ask them about money owing on the car? Tell them you are going to do a check and see how they respond.
- What is their reaction to you asking for details for HPi check?
- How do they react if you ask to do a compression test on the vehicle?
- How do they respond when you ask them to show you the service history and paperwork for the car?
If you get a bad feeling about the owner, you are better off moving onto another second-gen TT.