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Question regarding buying used GTI

I didn’t know if it would be better to post this under General Discussion or here, so I chose this one because I thought I’d get more answers here.

I’m looking at buying a used '06 VW GTI (the newer version) with 96,000 miles on it. Since the car was not located close to me, I arranged for an inspection before proceeding with the purchase, and when I got back the results, I was mostly pleased, except for two things. One, was that the power door locks and key fob were not working. The other was, and I quote from the inspection report: “The engine had a loud ticking on start up that went away after a few seconds. The oil level and condition appeared ok. The engine seemed to run well with no check engine light or diagnostic codes in memory.” I looked online briefly and from what I heard, it might be the hydraulic lifters. This was not an inspection where they put the car on a lift and take things off, so there’s no help there, and it was also cold that day, if that has an effect on anything.

My questions are:

  1. The power door locks may be as simple as a fuse, but if something more complicated, how much will that cost?
  2. What could be the culprit behind the noise in the engine and how serious is it? What are the estimated costs for repairing the problem? Should that be a dealbreaker, because I like everything else about it, but if that is a sign of something serious, then I’ll keep looking.

The inspection service doesn’t allow for customers to speak with the inspectors as they are busy, so I won’t be able to get any help there. Can anyone offer their insight/opinion. I am fairly knowledgeable about cars, but I’m not sure what to make of this.


Run away from this car. ANY unusual engine noise is a HUGE red flag. Who knows how poorly the car was treated. I’d drop it just because of the electrical problem, anyway.

the ticking noise is a lifter that has gottingg dirty or time I wonder how often it got its oil changed. this car is turbo charged so oil changes are very importand

People tend to beat anything they believe is a little sporty, like the GTI. Cool car but I would be careful and look for signs of abuse. The ticking would scare me off at only 96k. I retired an '89 Accord this year with almost 600,000 and it DID NOT TICK at all. Oil changes and valve adjustments is all besides regular maintenance. The electrical gremlins also could be the beginning of something bad, lots of posts about VW electrical problems on this site. But the biggest reason for me would be “the car was not located close to me”. I would pass because of that. Rocketman
. Rocketman

GTIs are not bought by little old ladies! In addition to not having the greatest genes to start with, these cars are expensive ot maintain and repair.

Run away as fast as you can!


I agree with the others

Whoever had this car before probably did burnouts, peelouts, figure 8s and donuts every day that they had the car.

And it’s got 96K . . . of very hard driving, no doubt

And it’s got engine noise

I’m going to assume the engine is ticking, because the valve train is all gummed up, because the previous owner probably didn’t do enough oil changes, probably used the wrong oil, never checked his oil level, didn’t do the oil changes on time . . . or all of the above

The reason the previous owner probably didn’t do his oil changes correctly is because he was a cheapskate. This car almost surely calls for full synthetic 0w40 oil, which is pretty expensive. And the oil filter itself is probably very expensive, because it’s a VW.

I strongly advise you to stay away from this car

It was probably ridden hard and put up wet . . . time and time again

If you must have a hell on wheels car, buy a new one. That way, you’ve got a fresh start

If you want a GTI you should try and find one much closer to where you live, and get a local VW specialist to look over the car for you. These are often driven in a spirited manner (my brother drives a 2009 5dr) but some owners actually take care of their cars.

That ticking on startup, that stops after a few seconds, can be as simple as an aftermarket oil filter that allows the oil to drain back to the crankcase. When you start it, it ticks a lot for a couple of seconds. My Miata does that, because I don’t drive it every day. No big deal. The hydraulic lifters need to pump up.

The door locks could be a fuse, the remote could be a battery, or both could be a bigger pain in the butt… No way to know.

Knock $500 off the price, settle for $300 off. Yes, you are taking a risk with this car, but you are taking a risk with any used GTI. They are cars that invite a beating.

hmmm … well, its true hydraulic lifters can be a cause of clicking noises upon first start-up, and that if the lifters are the source, isn’t generally much of a problem. First off, if you decide to continue, are you sure this engine used hydraulic lifters? Maybe do some research. I had a VW Rabbit years ago, and that car’s engine didn’t use hydraulic lifters.

And clicking noises on start-up can be caused by other things, accessories for example, like the alternator. My Corolla has had a clicking alternator for 8 years or more and continues to get me where I’m going. A mechanic would use a mechanic’s stethoscope to isolate where the noise is coming from. At the very least, definitely have that test done before committing to a purchase.

It is hard to say how expensive the door lock fix will be. But it could cost $500 or more to bring it to new condition. There may be less expensive work-arounds.

Are you sure you want a GTI? That is probably a high compression engine, and, well, think about a bike that uses tires with 35 pound inflation vs 95 pound inflation. Which is more likely to leak?

Is this one of those eBay deals involving an inspection service? Based on the ticking noise which is likely a valve lifter you need to back away from this car very quickly.

If this is an eBay car then you should be aware that eBay can be a dumping ground for problem cars and their “Buyer Protection Program” is near worthless.