Car Mechanics (UK)

Sur­vival Guide: Skoda Oc­tavia II

Sourc­ing qual­ity spares.

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The cur­rent pop­u­lar­ity for SUVS and com­pact peo­ple car­ri­ers has un­doubt­edly hit de­mand for cars such as the Skoda Oc­tavia MKII, so they’re a bar­gain for those want­ing a roomy and so­phis­ti­cated mile-cruncher with a real qual­ity feel. Even the big­gest fam­i­lies will strug­gle to find enough stuff to fill the cav­ernous boot, es­pe­cially with the rear seats folded, and be­ing a hatch­back it’s sur­pris­ingly prac­ti­cal. More­over, with a wide range of strong en­gines, gen­er­ous spec and ex­cel­lent build qual­ity, it’s a value-packed of­fer­ing that lots of buy­ers will find hard to ig­nore.

The MKII was launched in 2004, while the even hand­ier es­tate ver­sion ap­peared a year later. From 2005 there was a 4x4, as well as the VRS, the lat­ter pow­ered by a 2.0-litre TFSI petrol

en­gine, with a 2.0-litre TDI avail­able from 2006. The hard-as-nails 4x4 Scout ver­sion was the equiv­a­lent of Audi’s All­road and featured ex­tra body pro­tec­tion and raised ride height.

Spec started with the Clas­sic and S which were a bit ba­sic, so the Am­bi­ente (SE from 2009) with its al­loys, cli­mate con­trol and re­mote cen­tral lock­ing is a bet­ter bet. Mean­while, the range-top­ping El­e­gance got cruise con­trol and niceties such as rear park­ing sen­sors.

There was a facelift in 2009, when the for­mer 1.6- and 2.0-litre FSI en­gines were re­placed by a more ef­fi­cient 1.4 TSI, with a 1.2 TSI join­ing the range in 2010. And there were two spe­cial edi­tions in 2012 prior to the ar­rival of the MKIII: the gen­er­ously-equipped SE Con­nect and the VRS Black­line, the lat­ter com­ing with black Nep­tune al­loys, full leather an Amund­sen sat-nav with DAB ra­dio as stan­dard, and your choice of Race Blue, Black or White paint.

As for val­ues, an early, low-specced, sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Oc­tavia with plenty of miles un­der its belt can be found for as little as £850. Ditto all those high-mile 1.9 tur­bod­iesels, which still rep­re­sent a good, eco­nom­i­cal and gen­er­ally very re­li­able pur­chase. Post-facelift mod­els are bet­ter in most re­spects.

En­gines

Less is of­ten more when it comes to en­gines, which is why those in search of a no-non­sense fuel-sip­ping Oc­tavia will stick to one with the 1.9 PD BKC en­gine with­out the added po­ten­tial is­sues of a diesel par­tic­u­late fil­ter (DPF). Just be sure to lis­ten out for whistling tur­bos.

The PD170 in the VRS suf­fered is­sues with the Siemens in­jec­tors and DPF, so is best avoided un­less there’s evidence of reg­u­lar ser­vic­ing/in­jec­tor re­place­ment.

The 140PD is a good bet, but the post-2009 ver­sion with the common-rail diesel has bet­ter power de­liv­ery.

The ma­jor­ity of Oc­tavias from this era have a tim­ing belt that needs re­plac­ing ev­ery 130,000 miles or four years, although the TSI (and some ear­lier MPI petrol en­gines) em­ployed a tim­ing chain.

Be sure to use VW507.00 spec oil on diesel Oc­tavias with a DPF, and a good qual­ity VW 504.01 brew in the petrol mod­els. Try to stick to a fixed 10,000-mile or an­nual fil­ter/fresh oil regime.

Dual mass fly­wheels can wear pre­ma­turely, so be­ware if you hear a clat­ter. En­gine com­po­nent prices

OIL FIL­TER

Main dealer £10.54 In­de­pen­dent from £6.09

WATER PUMP

Main dealer £62.54 In­de­pen­dent from £34.49

DUAL MASS FLY­WHEEL

Main dealer £694.10 In­de­pen­dent from £464.99

Brakes

There’s nothing bad to re­port re­gard­ing Oc­tavia brakes and, as you can see below, re­place­ment parts are re­as­sur­ingly cheap. That said, an ABS warning light on the dash should set alarm bells ring­ing – chances are it will be the ABS con­trol unit which has failed and re­place­ments are costly from a Skoda dealer.

Brake com­po­nent prices FRONT BRAKE DISCS (PAIR)

Main dealer £133.40 In­de­pen­dent from £90.98

FRONT BRAKE PADS

Main dealer £77.02 In­de­pen­dent from £42.99 ABS CON­TROL UNIT Main dealer £691.82 Se­cond­hand from £50.00

Sus­pen­sion/steer­ing

The Oc­tavia’s gen­er­ous pro­por­tions mean that you can ex­pect to re­place sus­pen­sion com­po­nents on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. Front con­sole bushes go first –they split – although they’re in­ex­pen­sive to re­place. Then it will be the usual anti-roll bar bushes, front balljoints and droplinks. Some own­ers re­ported un­even tyre wear early on, so if you in­herit a car with ob­vi­ous track­ing is­sues, get a laser four-wheel align­ment check.

Like other cars in the VAG family, rear springs even­tu­ally snap with age, so it’s worth giv­ing them a quick in­spec­tion when the car is next on a work­shop lift.

Sus­pen­sion com­po­nent prices FRONT CON­SOLE BUSH (PAIR)

Main dealer £151.34 In­de­pen­dent from £47.90

REAR SPRINGS (PAIR)

Main dealer £170.98 In­de­pen­dent from £147.98

Other is­sues

Air-con­di­tion­ing woes in the Oc­tavia seem to be rel­a­tively common, so worry if there’s warm air blow­ing from the vents when the set­ting is set for cold. The most fre­quent causes are com­pres­sor fail­ure or holed con­densers, the lat­ter be­ing par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble to stone dam­age.

These mi­nor glitches aside, as long as you stay clear of worn-out for­mer taxis, we’d sug­gest you can buy a Oc­tavia MKII with to­tal con­fi­dence.

Other com­po­nent prices AIR-CON­DI­TION­ING COM­PRES­SOR

Main dealer £573.30 In­de­pen­dent from £339.99

AIR-CON­DI­TION­ING CON­DENSER

Main dealer £336.62 In­de­pen­dent from £114.99

 ??  ?? There have been re­ports of en­gine fail­ure on the 1.8- and 2.0-litre TSI en­gines, with a jumped tim­ing chain the most likely cause. Be­ware if you see a car ad­ver­tised as a non-run­ner or one that has trou­ble start­ing or idling prop­erly.
There have been re­ports of en­gine fail­ure on the 1.8- and 2.0-litre TSI en­gines, with a jumped tim­ing chain the most likely cause. Be­ware if you see a car ad­ver­tised as a non-run­ner or one that has trou­ble start­ing or idling prop­erly.
 ??  ?? Petrol TSI is punchy and smooth, but some drink oil, so check your lev­els reg­u­larly.
Petrol TSI is punchy and smooth, but some drink oil, so check your lev­els reg­u­larly.
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? There’s 560 litres of boot space with the seats up and a gen­er­ous 1455 litres with them down.
There’s 560 litres of boot space with the seats up and a gen­er­ous 1455 litres with them down.
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