SEAT Leon (2005 - Present) Fault Guide


Year Change or development

Bodywork and External Checks

Area What to look for What it means What to do
Exhaust: (1.6 petrol FSi) When test driving the vehicle, lower the window and listen carefully to the noise from the exhaust, particularly at the rear of the car. You are listening for a rasping, metallic sound from the back of the exhaust system. This can mean that the back box of the exhaust system needs to be replaced. If the car is under warranty (3 years or 60,000 miles) and at a main dealer have the fault rectified by the dealer as part of the deal. Otherwise try to negotiate a £260.00 discount from the price of the vehicle.

Engine Checks

Area What to look for What it means What to do
Engine: (2.0 Tdi) Check the service history to make sure the car is not due an expensive service. With the 2.0 TDi powerplant the servicing runs at small (12 months or 10,000/30,000/50,000 miles) and major level (24 months or 20,000/40,000/60,000miles) – the small service is £150.00 at a main dealer and the major service is £265.00 at a main dealer. Also check for the fuel filter and air filter service which are both due on the 2.0 TDi at 40,000 miles at a cost of around £100.00 for both at a main dealer. If the car is close to any of the services or then try to negotiate that amount off of the price of the car. If the car is at a main dealer then try to have the service carried out as part of the deal.
Cam belts Check the paperwork to see if the cam belt has been changed on schedule. The 1.6 FSI petrol engine requires a cambelt change at 40,000 miles, 2.0TDi is at 95,000 miles or 4 years and 2.0 FSI petrol needs inspecting at 40,000 and changing at 80,000. If the cam belt and associated parts (such as water pump and tensioner) have not been changed, and the mileage is over these boundaries, the cam belt is likely to fail soon. Usually the engine has to be replaced or at least re-built after a cam belt failure. Ensure that the cam belt is changed before the car is driven anywhere if it is coming close to its interval. Changing the belt will cost £200. It will cost £1,000+ to have the engine repaired if the belt fails.
Engine: (2.0 TDi) Check the mileage and service history to make sure the cambelt service is not due. The cambelt must be changed at 95,000 miles or at 4 years. If the car has passed 95,000 miles or four years without the cambelt service having been done than there is a chance of it snapping and damage being done to the rest of the engine. If the car is a main dealer insist on the service being done as part of the deal. If not then try to negotiate a reduction of £390.00 off of the price of the car and have the service carried out straight away.
Engine: (2.0 TDi 140 and 170) Check the DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) warning light on the dash comes on when the car is started and goes off when it’s running. Check carefully that the engine management warning light is not on at the same time as the DPF warning light. Test drive the car and keep the car in 4th gear at about 2500 to 3000 rpm for about 5/10 miles – this should cause the DPF light to go out. The DPF is there to remove harmful particulates from the exhaust when the car is running. The DPF is not really suited to small runs and town driving/school runs in particular as the filter does not get hot enough to burn the particulates off and it gets clogged up. Running the car at 2500 rpm for about 5/10 miles in 4th gear should allow the DPF to get hot enough to burn off the particulates clogged up inside. If doing this does not cause the DPF warning light to go out and/or the engine management is on at the same time as the DPF light it means either that the sensors on the DPF need to be replaced or the DPF itself needs to be replaced. If this fault is left unchecked it can cause major damage to the exhaust system. If you drive the car at 2500/3000 rpm for 5/10 miles and the DPF warning light goes out then the car should be fine. If either the DPF warning light or engine management warning light stay on (or the car goes into Limp Home mode) then have car inspected by a qualified mechanic before sale.
Engine: (FR 2.0 petrol Turbo) Test drive the car and look for loss of power/sluggishness or a very loud whistling or sound from the top of the engine whilst it is running. All turbos whistle to some degree but you are looking for a very loud, ragged whine. Open the bonnet and listen to the top of the engine whilst it is under power to spot this. The car should feel very strong throughout the rev range. Check carefully for power trailing away after 4000rpm. The turbo is blown. This can cost up to £1200.00/£1500.00 at main dealers and £950.00 at a specialist. It will be fixed under warranty if the car is less than three years old (last year of warranty has a 60,000 mile limit). If there is any suspicion of the turbo being blown then it would be advisable to have the vehicle professionally inspected at the vendor’s expense. Otherwise try to negotiate at least £1000.00 off of the asking price or have the repair carried out as part of the deal. Make sure the EGR (Exhaust Gas Re-circulation) valve is replaced at the same time. This part can often be the cause of turbo problems on these engines.
Engine: (FR 2.0 petrol Turbo) Check the paperwork to see when the car was last inspected The FR needs a yearly inspection irrespective of mileage – this needs to be done by a qualified mechanic. Have the car inspected as required.
Servicing options: The Leon has the option of two servicing programmes - the initial choice of which is up to the first owner but a buyer of a second hand Leon can swap from one to the other. The first option is “LongLife” servicing programme. One this option the servicing is up to 20,000 (petrol) or up to 30,000 miles (diesel). The other servicing option is “Time and Distance” servicing which is every 10,000 miles or every 12 months. If the car has been on "long life" servicing then it is crucial to check the the factory specifications for oil have been maintained. Check the mileage/servicing option to make sure there is no service due. Be aware that the “LongLife” servicing is mainly for high mileage users and the “Time and Distance” for lower mileage users. This can give an indication as to how the car has been used. It is crucial that the correct oil has been used because the sensor for the service indicator uses engine oil to dertermine when a service is due. The wrong oil can cause that sensor to malfunction. If there is a service due then negotiate £150.00/250.00 off of the price unless the car is on “LongLife” servicing and close to 60,000 miles – in this case try to bring the price down by £600.

Interior Checks

Area What to look for What it means What to do
Air Bag warning Light Start the car – check that the airbag warning light on the dashboard comes on with the ignition and goes off a few seconds later. If the light stays on, it can be related to a fault with the electrical systems under the driver’s seat and was a common fault on these cars, often fixed under warranty. The light being on does not necessarily mean there is a fault with the airbag itself. If the airbag warning light comes on then try to negotiate £150.00 off the asking price. To have the repair carried out at a main dealer will cost around £60.00 to £85.00 depending on location, one hours labour.
Footwells Check the front footwells. You are looking for a damp smell or any sign of previous water ingress such as stains or damp marks. If you find evidence of water leaking into the car it could be a fault with the front door car seals – water is able to get into the car due to the deal between the front edge of the door and the A’ pillar not sealing properly. If you find this fault try to negotiate £150.00 off of the price of the car. If the car is a main dealer and in warranty, try to get them to rectify the fault and replace the carpets as part of the deal.

Wheels, Brakes and Suspension Checks

Area What to look for What it means What to do
Tyres/Brakes; (FR 2.0 petrol and 2.0 140/170 TDi) Check for uneven tyre wear in a sawtooth pattern on all tyres. The legal minimum for depth of tread in the UK is 1.6mm. The higher power FR petrol and diesel models are very heavy on tyres and have problems with de-alignment often caused by the stiffer sports suspension fitted to these cars which can cause problems with the tyres on uneven British roads. If you find uneven wear in on any tyre remember that you will need to replace it’s pair on the other side of the vehicle. Try to reduce the price of the vehicle by £120.00 per tyre if the car is on 17 inch wheels and £130.00 if the vehicle rides on 18”s.


Date Model Recall
02 Feb 2005 Tension cracks may occur on the vacuum pipe to the brake servo in the area of the connections, due to a manufacturing fault. Should a vacuum pipe leak, the brake servo will loose it's function. This will result in an increase of force which must be applied to the brake pedal. But will not result in a total failure of the braking system.
18 Feb 2005 Built: 01/03/2004 - 31/08/2004 It is advised that, on some vehicles fitted with a 3 and 4 cylinder pump injector engine, the bolts of the tandem fuel pump cover may break due to a bolt production fault. As a result, the pump housing will not be tight, and a diesel fuel leak may occur.
05 Apr 2006 Built: 01/02/2004 - 30/06/2005 The two mass flywheel can become damaged because of a non-optimally designed through-flow restrictor in the clutch pressure pipe. This can lead to a total failure of the flywheel and under unfavourable circumstances to a vehicle fire. VIN: VSSZZZ5PZ5R000026 to VSSZZZ5PZ5R103620, VSSZZZ1PZ6R000004 to VSSZZZ1PZ6R001610, VSSZZZ5PZ5R000026 to VSSZZZ5PZ5R103620, VSSZZZ5PZ4R000048 to VSSZZZ5PZ4R017390, VSSZZZ5PZ6R000009 to VSSZZZ5PZ6R001638, VSSZZZ5PZ6R000009 to VSSZZZ5PZ6R001638, VSSZZZ5PZ6R000009 to VSSZZZ5PZ6R001638, VSSZZZ5PZ5R000026 to VSSZZZ5PZ5R103620, VSSZZZ5PZ4R000048 to VSSZZZ5PZ4R017390, VSSZZZ5PZ4R000048 to VSSZZZ5PZ4R017390, VSSZZZ1PZ6R000004 to VSSZZZ1PZ6R001610, VSSZZZ1PZ6R000004 to VSSZZZ1PZ6R001610
30 Nov 2009 Built: 01/09/2008 - 31/08/2009 In rare cases an incorrect interpretation of the clutch temperature can occur which results in the clutch opening unexpectedly with loss of drive. VIN: VSSZZZ1PZAR000015 to VSSZZZ1PZAR010596, VSSZZZ1PZ9R032629 to VSSZZZ1PZ9R512426, VSSZZZ5PZAR000013 to VSSZZZ5PZAR004248, VSSZZZ5PZ9R016567 to VSSZZZ5PZ9R508545,

Recommended Garages

Name Phone Address Website
MOT ANGEL (Nationwide) 0800 131 0030 3 The Minster, Portman Road, Reading, RG30 1EA.