SKODA Octavia (1998 - 2004) Fault Guide


Year Change or development
1998 Front drive hatchbacks: 1.6 LXi (75bhp), 1.6 GLXi (101bhp), 1.8 20v SLXi, 1.9 TDi GLX (90bhp), and 1.9 TDi SLX (110bhp). PAS, ABS (except 1.6 Lxi). Estates launched. 1.6 GLXi, 1.8i 20v SLXi, 1.9 TDi GLX (90bhp) and 1.9 TDi SLX (110bhp). Revisions to hatchbacks: uprated radio with removable front panel. GLX swaps sunroof for air-con. SLX has centre armrests, rear reading lights.
1999 1.9 SDi LX diesel (68bhp), 1.8T SLXi (150bhp) models launched.
2000 Revised range with new badging. Classic, Ambiente and Elegance.
2001 1.8 Turbo vRS (180bhp) launched.

Bodywork and External Checks

Area What to look for What it means What to do
Central locking Check that the central locking opens and locks correctly. If the central locking fails to work, the car needs a new motor. Negotiate a £60 discount or have the repair completed.

Engine Checks

Area What to look for What it means What to do
Cam belt Check the paperwork to see if the cam belt has been changed on schedule. On most engines the cam belt must be changed within 60,000 miles (some diesels can last up to 70,000 miles). 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 £250.
Servo hose Open the bonnet and look for a black nylon hose at the back of the engine and in front of the bulkhead. The nylon servo hose on Octavias can split, which will cause the car to fail its M.O.T. Negotiate a £50 discount or have the repair completed.
Servicing: (post 2001 cars) The Octavia 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 Octavia 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
Front footwell leak Feel the front carpets to check they are dry rather than wet and smell for damp. A small drain on the bulk head can get blocked by leaves and causes water to flow into the cabin. The drain needs unblocking. Negotiate a £30 discount or have the repair completed.
Windows Check that all the side windows (front and back) rise and fall correctly. They should be easy to operate. If the windows do not operate correctly, the mechanism cable usually needs replacing. Negotiate a £100 discount or have the repair completed.
Boot leak Open the boot and lift up the carpet. Feel around the carpet and floor for water or dampness - in particular, look around the CD player (if fitted). The rear washer pipe is leaking and needs fixing. Negotiate a £20 discount or have the repair completed.

Wheels, Brakes and Suspension Checks

Area What to look for What it means What to do
Front tyres The Octavia can be hard on front tyres. Many only last 25,000 miles. Check the car's mileage and ask when they were last changed to estimate how much longer they might last. You need to budget to replace tyres at 25,000 miles. If tyres are worn, negotiate a discount to cover the cost of replacements.


Date Model Recall
14 May 1999 Built: 01/05/1998 - 31/01/1999 On Skoda Octavia LX vehicles which are not equipped with ABS, brake servo units designed only for ABS vehicles have been installed. Due to the different performance of the brake servo units, a risk exists that the brakes could lock under severe driving conditions (ice snow). VINs: TMB zzz 1U..2115295 to TMB zzz 1U..2193893.
25 Jun 2001 Built: 01/03/2001 - 31/03/2001 Fuel tank may leak.
10 May 2002 Octavia with ABS (but without ASR/TCS, EDL or ESP). Built: 01/03/2001 - 30/09/2001 There is a risk that an electrical fault in the anti lock brake control unit (ABS) can cause overheating of related electrical components. This may lead to fire damage and cause the service brake to revert to a non-anti lock mode of operation. VINs: TMB...1U.12 484950 to TMB...1U.12 518701, TMB...1U.22 530011 to TMB...1U.22 551894, TMB...1U.18 452120 to TMB...1U.18 460786, TMB...1U.28 530019 to TMB...1U.28 542484.
26 Mar 2003 Built: 01/09/1998 - 30/06/1999 On Octavia vehicles within the affected chassis number range tension cracks may occur on the vacuum pipe to the brake servo in the area of the pipe connections, due to a manufacturing fault. If a vacuum pipe leaks, the brake servo loses it's function. Without servo assistance a lot more force must be used on the pedal. But this will not lead to total failure of the brake system. VINs: TMB***1U*X2148718 TMB***1UY2285279 to TMB***1U*X2227663 TMB***IUY2294866.
31 Mar 2003 Octavia Limousine The rear window wiper may loosen during high speed driving. This may cause the wiper to break off. VINs: TMB***1U*32665031 to TMB***1U*32675256, TMB***1U*38665036 to TMB***1U*38667146.
26 Aug 2004 The wires for the Air Bag Unit block connector were incorrectly located for the side airbags which could result in the opposite side air bag being ignited. VINs: TMB0001Z048008496 to TMB0001Z05801809.

Recommended Garages

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