Common Audi Problems

Common Audi Problems

Oil Leaks (ie. Valve cover gasket, camshaft seals)

If your vehicle has a history of irregular oil changes, being in extreme climates, or low RPM driving, there is a higher chance your engine will start leaking. Condensation and moisture can form in the engine and cause sludge to build up, creating the possibility of a leak. In addition, the crankcase breather system can also become clogged, preventing the engine from ventilating properly and causing a buildup of pressure. Oil then leaks from the weakest parts of the system.

Other parts that are often leak culprits are the valve cover gaskets, camshaft seals and plugs, front and rear crankshaft seals, and cam chain tensioner gasket and seals; this last one is especially possible if you notice a burning oil smell.

Coolant leaks (i.e. Coolant flange, radiator, coolant hoses, water pump)

In Audi vehicles, coolant often leaks from the reservoir or from the hoses that move the coolant through the engine, most commonly where they connect to the engine itself. It is important not to ignore any warning lights, smells of coolant, or coolant dripping from inside or outside the vehicle.Small leaks that are ignored for too long can cause more serious problems, such as engine overheating.

Fuel pressure concerns (ie. High pressure fuel system, or low pressure fuel concerns)

The high pressure fuel pump (HPFP) is a common issue among vehicles with Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI) engines. As the cam follower begins to wear, the end of the HPFP rests on the lobe of the intake camshaft, and both the pump and shaft become damaged. As your vehicle gets more mileage, an issue with the electronic fuel pressure regulator valve becomes more likely.

Fuel pressure problems with Turbocharged Stratified Injection (TSI) engines differ from issues with FSI engines, as they often involve the HPFP or the electronic fuel pressure valve, but the cam follower is most likely not at fault since these engines use roller type cam followers.

Replacement of timing belt, water pump, tensioner, and rollers

All of these parts should be replaced at the same time. If your timing belt needs replacing, the camshaft and crankshaft sensors will detect an error, and the check engine light will come on. The timing belt may be showing signs of wear even if it hasn’t snapped, if you hear slapping or scraping noises from the engine.

Vehicle overheats while driving or sitting at idle

If your vehicle overheats while driving, the cause could be outside heat combined with low coolant or broken hoses that prevent coolant from reaching the engine. When an idle vehicle is overheated, the most likely cause is a broken fan. The radiator that runs while driving still works at idle, but at a slower rate. The fan is meant to account for the slowed radiator, and if it is broken, the vehicle is not effectively cooled.

 Check engine light on (ie. Could be running fine or have a noticeable drivability concern/ symptoms)

The first easy fix if your check engine light is on is to make sure the gas cap is tightened. If the gas cap is loose or cracked, the check engine light will stay on for extended periods of time. If the gas cap is intact and the light is on, you may be experiencing problems such as a blown head gasket, faulty fuel injector, faulty oxygen sensor, cracked or loose hoses, or faulty spark plugs or wires. If the light is flashing, this indicates serious issues with the engine that should be tended to immediately, such as a catalytic converter malfunction or a cylinder misfire.

 ABS/ Brake light

If the brake light or ABS lights are illuminated on your vehicle, the wheel speed sensor or ABS control module has most likely failed. This does not necessarily mean that the speed sensor is broken, it may just need to be cleaned off.

In addition to the speed sensor, any basic problem that causes the rear brakes to apply too quickly can activate the ABS. These issues may include cracked rear linings, oil-contaminated linings, weak brake return springs, or a faulty proportioning valve.

 Maintenance light

A wrench-shaped service light should come on in most Audi’s when service is due, about every 10,000 miles, based on a mileage-based reminder system. The reminder should be used as a guideline, but owners should also take into account how frequently their vehicle is driven. While the light ultimately notifies the owner that the vehicle is due for an oil change, most Audi vehicles require other specialized maintenance checks to make sure they continue running properly.  

Smoke coming from exhaust

There is no need to worry if you temporarily see smoke coming from the exhaust on cooler days when your vehicle is first started. However, if the smoke persists it could be a sign of an internal coolant leak which are often partnered with a sweet odor and low coolant reservoir levels. A coolant leak may also mix with the engine oil, creating a frothy, milk-like appearance. Check for a cracked or warped cylinder head, cracked engine block, or head gasket failure caused by overheating as coolant fails to make it to the engine.

Low heat output from from vents (ie. Clogged heater core, air in cooling system)

The first thing to check if you’re experiencing low heat output is your vehicle’s coolant levels, which can cause air to become trapped in the heater core. The heater core, a radiator usually found in the dashboard behind the glove compartment, is the heat source for the vehicle’s climate control system. If the heater core is clogged, heat for your vehicle may be restricted, especially if product to prevent coolant leaks has been used excessively. In order to check if your heater core is clogged, ensure that the two heater hoses which carry coolant to the heater core are the same temperature.

Steering wheel shakes/pulsation while braking

Warped rotors are a frequent cause of vehicle pulsation while braking. Your steering wheel may also shake if your rotors are worn, as the wheel vibration is transferred to the steering column through the front-end components that the brake calipers are bolted to. If your rotors are only slightly warped or worn, you may be able to get away with only having them straightened out. However, if they are new or have just been replaced, they may not have been properly mounted to the axle. Unbalanced wheels are another cause of steering wheel shakes at high speeds.

Window doesn’t go up or down/ crunching noise while moving windows (ie. Faulty window regulator)

Issues with the power window regulator mechanism can cause the windows on your vehicle to refuse movement. An electrical problem with the window regulator can cause the window to roll up or down slower than it should, but before assuming the regulator is the issue, make sure the window switch itself is inspected. If you hear clicking or grinding when the window is rolled up or down debris may be trapped between the window and the motor assembly, which can cause the regulator to work harder than it should to move the window.

 Water leaks

 Age, high mileage, or a neglected coolant system may cause your Audi’s water pump to leak, and eventually create a humming noise and a possibility of engine overheating. It is important to have your water pump inspected as soon as possible once you notice a leak. If you don’t, the internal water pump bearing may develop an excessive tendency to give, causing misalignment of the water pump pulley. Once the pulley is misaligned, the timing belt is allowed to rub against other components, causing timing belt failure and engine damage.

Electrical concerns (ie. battery keeps dying)

If your Audi is experiencing electrical issues, do a visual and voltage battery test. Despite advancements, all batteries lose charging capacity over time.

If your battery seems to be doing fine, a bad starter could be the problem. However, starters on most newer cars easily outlast a vehicle’s warranty as long as the engine is not excessively overheated or exposed to a lot of debris. The alternator also could be the cause of frequent battery drain. With many electrical add-ons for newer models, the average lifespan for an alternator is around 3-4 years. 

Finally, poor battery life is often caused by parasitic drain caused by electrical components in your vehicle that continue drawing current after it is turned off. While some drain is normal (i.e. for the clock, radio, and security alarm), electric problems such as a faulty seat control module can result in too much battery drain when your vehicle is not running.