Volkswagen Bora – Common Problems

Volkswagen logoThinking of purchasing a VW Bora as a second hand car? These compact city cars are available as 4 door saloons and hatchbacks and are great for both fuel economy and space. Replacing the popular Vento in 1998, the vehicle has now been superseded by the Jetta in 2005.

As with many models of VW, this car was certainly built to last and is a good investment for anyone looking to maximise their investment in a second hand purchase. However, there are a number of common faults, which you should be aware of before handing over your money.

Window dropping issue

Before you take the car out on the road, have a play around with the electric windows. Watch for the pane of glass suddenly dropping into the door and then failing to rise again. This is due to a problem with the window regulator clips and can be solved with a replacement kit.

Timing belt

Thinking of buying a 1.6 or 1.8 litre Bora? Watch out for rattling noises in the front of the car and a slow start on ignition as this could be down to an issue with the timing belt, known to show when the car has completed over 70,000 miles. Beware of this problem as it will require you to replace the whole engine – not only the belt.


With the 1.9TDL Bora there is a known fault that causes a loss of power and troublesome starts. This is down to a sticking turbocharger that causes a large amount of smoke to come from the engine under full acceleration. If you are thinking of buying one of these models, make sure you get a chance to take it out onto the open road where you can push the car further than on city streets.

Exhaust valves

Take care to observe the motion and feel of your potential purchase on idling. If the Bora is giving you difficulties with rough idling then the culprit could well be the exhaust valves, which are known to be problematic in many models of this range of cars.

Water pump

There are extensive reports of problems with the Bora’s water pump, which can cause steam from the radiator and coolant leaks on the front of the car. This part needs regular replacement, so keep one eye out for these problems and if you do have issues with the pump, ask for a reduction in price as it is a fairly simple fix that you could do yourself in a home garage.

Misfiring engine

When you start the VW Bora you’re looking at buying are there problems with the engine misfiring and stalling frequently on starts? If so then a well-known problem with the ignition coil could well be the problem. It’s worth considering looking at an alternative purchase if this fault comes up.

Ultimately the Bora is a good city round around that will keep you going for a number of years if it’s looked after well and cared for with regular oil changes and services. You are looking at reliable German engineering that’s built to last.

For affordable replacement gearboxes, engines and more, check out our new and used VR Bora parts page.

This entry was posted in Cars on by Justin Smith.

About Justin Smith

As the man at the helm of BreakerLink, it is no surprise that its Director, Justin Smith, has always had a keen interest in cars, bikes and most things wheeled. Having spent over two decades in the car parts industry, Justin combines his passion that since 2002, has successfully united those looking for new and used car parts with the breaker that supplies them. Follow Justin on LinkedIn.

Disclaimer: These articles are for guidance purposes only. If you have any questions regarding any matter relating to your vehicle we would recommend that you seek the advice of an appropriate professional. We accept no responsibility or liability should you suffer financial or personal damages in relation to the advice stated on this website.