5th Feb 2010, 13:26

Yeah, great info, why didn't I read this before buying a 53 Polo. Checked with my local VW dealer about problems with this model, specifically mentioned timing chain as belt had just gone on my Citroen at 150,000... oh no they said, it's a chain, no problems there!! Right, bang, rattle one morning and the chain jumps at 45,000. Looks from the comments that it's a costly fix.

14th Aug 2010, 01:11

My VW 02 Polo in a nutshell has been an absolute NIGHTMARE!

I have owned it for almost 2 years, and in that short time, I've forked out at least £2500 on repairs and keeping the damn thing on the road.

For the entire time I've owned this car (apart from the first 2 weeks), the engine management light has remained on, and no mechanic since has managed to get rid!

In short, I simply can't be bothered to list all the problems, most of which have already been documented on this forum. My advice would be to avoid at all costs, any Polo from around the 02 era. In my experience, and from hearing about other peoples experiences, it seems that this particular model should be AVOIDED. AVOID, AVOID, AVOID.

16th Oct 2010, 06:24

I have a Polo 1.2 6v 52 plate. I've only had one problem, and that was the front suspension broke and cost about £600 to cost. This was at a local garage, as I didn't want to find out how much a VW dealer costs.

There are also niggly faults, like the suspension squeaks like hell over a bump or round corners, but the garage can't find a fault, and there is no difference in handling.

My main concern now is that the cheap little engine struggles to start on cold damp mornings, and the exhaust gas lamp has come on, but with no effect on the performance or sound of the engine.

2nd Jan 2011, 07:40

My daughter's 2005 1.2 VW Polo has covered 40k, and has just acquired a very serious misfire and loss of compression. More checks are required to find the cause. Probably cylinder head from what I have read so far.

4th Mar 2011, 09:41

I've just bought an 04 Polo 1.2e. I'm in the trade, didn't help me though, it ticked over too slowly, but drove fine on the road. In the glove box were bills for 2 separate dates to have the tickover low sorted, was a coil each time, £25 trade, so I thought OK. Paid and took it home, quick test, swapped over the coils, the problem stayed the same, no. 3 doing not much. I did a compression test, 2 at 200psi, one at 60psi. I rang a VW tech I know, says quite a few do it, it's the valve seats on the cylinder head no (3), they say get a new head. I say go to an engineering company, get them recut, still £500.00 ish... Annoying really, won't get rich with this one.

Regards E Kirk.

May 2011: it was 3 exhaust valves, chain had jumped 3/4 teeth, so new modified timing chain kit, 3 new valves, all good now, £550.00.

20th May 2011, 13:51

May 2011, the misfire, low tickover was 3 burnt out exh valves.. the chain had jumped 3 teeth, so new modified timing chain kit, 3 valves, all good now. Don't buy a Polo with a low tickover and misfire, without doing a compression check..

29th Jul 2011, 16:59

Just bought a 2002 Polo TDI. After about a week or so, the anti-theft light (image of a car with a key inside it) would intermittently appear and prevent us from starting the car. We would wait a few minutes until the light stopped flashing and the car would start normally. Over the next couple of weeks, the light appeared more frequently and would take longer to go away. It reached the point where we couldn't start the car for several hours.

Took the Polo to VW. They changed the ignition mechanism for 400 Euros. The car worked fine for about a month, and now the light has started flashing again and is preventing us from starting the car. Took the car to a regular mechanic who did a diagnostic and corrected a malfunction that had something to do with a weak signal from the key. They think maybe the problem is related to the fact that the keys do not have a remote function (probably a previous owner lost it), which for some reason causes the malfunction. Previous owner says they never had the problem we are experiencing, although sometimes the heater wouldn't turn off or lights would appear for no reason. Actually, sometimes the AC blows hot air instead of cold, which seems to be a common problem judging from the postings I've read.

We are convinced the problem is not going to go away, despite the latest software repair. I would very much like to know what could be causing the problem. Any ideas? We would greatly appreciate any and all input. Thanks.

14th Sep 2011, 14:53

The same thing happened to me. I sell Polos for a living, but I won't touch one with a low tick over or misfire. If it's not the chain, it's the EGR, or it's the throttle valve, etc, etc. These cars have too many sensors for their own good.

14th Oct 2012, 14:26

I am in the middle of fixing a 2004 1.2 6V Polo after doing a compression test that revealed low pressure on number 3 cylinder.

On taking the head off, the problem was not obvious; the valves seemed OK, so I was concerned I had not carried out the compression test properly.

Anyway I took the head to Manx Engines near Derby, who put a vacuum on it - bingo - number 3 exhaust valve not seating!

Seems the valve guides wear, and the valves then fail to seat properly; they showed me some valves from other similar engines, large bits missing from some of them. The technician who repaired mine advised regular oil servicing, oil and plugs of good quality (to avoid prolonged combustion).

3 new guides, one new exhaust valve and the seats checked/ground in. £120.

12th May 2013, 14:40

What Polo should I buy? A lot of cars seem to be around 70-80k for around £1000. Should I be concerned about mileage?

I'm looking at buying another Polo. My 1.0 Polo 51 plate was great and had no issues. I want to buy a 2002 Polo newer shape. Any ideas?

Are these bad to buy? There's a lot for sale, any common faults etc?

10th Feb 2015, 22:29

The 51 plate in 4 cylinder is way better than the 02 onward 3 cylinder models. I have a 51 plate 1.0e 4 cylinder and it has been serviced every year from new. Changed timing belt and water pump twice at 5 year intervals. It has 50k miles and I love it.

Sunroof, 5 doors, I have given it to my son as his first car, and he and his friends love it too.

Go for 4 cylinders every time :))

11th Feb 2015, 22:17

The 4 cylinder older Polo 1.0E beats newer 3 cylinder 1.2L ones every time.

Brilliant cars and great for new drivers.

The insurance jump from the 1.0, 4 cylinder to the 1.2, 3 cylinder is substantial also.

If you can get a 1.0E with low miles and service history, you won't go far wrong.

2nd Jul 2015, 22:04

For the suspension squeaks, try the anti roll bar bushes. Happened with my Polo 54 plate. Been OK since. Just engine problems now.

4th Dec 2016, 18:10

Hi, my mate has a Polo 1.2 12v 53 plate. It was running when he parked it up, and when he went to it the next day, it's not starting. What could be the problem?


22nd Jan 2017, 21:26

Don't buy a Polo at all. These suffer many problems, and one leads to another.

22nd Jan 2017, 21:31

If there's a misfire and low compression, it's the valves that need replacing. And while you're doing that, change the piston rings also as 3 cylinders are notorious for this.

22nd Jan 2017, 21:43

I know you have paid for all that to be done, but the issue isn't with the engine, but the poor electrical charging system. Had the same problem, and narrowed it down to the alternator not providing enough power.