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2001 Audi A8 -- Won't start - everything's dead


Purchased a used 2001 Audi A8 (80,000 miles) from a private seller about four months ago. Two weeks later we spent over a month of that time having new fuel system put in. (The dealership ordered one, it didn’t work and had to order a second). The car’s display panel (mpg, etc.) quit working after this trip to the dealership.

Since then, we have relocated 2,000 miles across the US. We experienced absolutely NO problems with the car during our week long trip.

Five days ago we took the car out in town. Tried to start the car and nothing happened. Didn’t crank, interior lights shut off, lost power to the locks, trunk access – everything. My husband suspected some kind of problem with the theft immobilizer not recognizing the key, replaced the key in the fob and the car started. He drove it for two days with no problems, but when I attempted it this morning we are back to a totally dead car.

After the initial dead car problem, the display (clock and date) reset and the MPG and other display features mysteriously reappeared.

Previous owner claims absolutely no problems with the car. Audi service center has not encountered this before.

What options do we have, where do we start?


FYI, if the immobilizer doesn’t recognize the key, the light on the dash will go on (check the manual).

I have to agree with mrbean. The battery is the place to start. It may be fine, but it may be marginal, and you need a battery in top condition to keep a car like this functioning. A battery test is the only way to tell.

You don’t need an Audi dealer to test the battery. Most auto parts stores will do it free. A place like “Battery World” will also have the necessary test equipment. Have them do a LOAD TEST. If the battery passes the load test, then it’s OK. If not, you need a new battery.

BE CAREFUL about replacing the battery. A car with this much complex electronic gadgetry may require a special procedure to assure uninterrupted electrical power. Please consult the owner’s manual. You do have an owner’s manual, don’t you?

What, precisely, does a “new fuel system” entail? There may be clues, so be as specific as possible.

I think the Audi A8 is an absolutely gorgeous car, but I wouldn’t buy one (especially a used one). They are WAY to complex and expensive to maintain. At least from my point of view. Maybe you consider a month in the dealer’s shop normal. Who knows?

The previous owner may have known what was coming, and decided that, since he or she had gotten 80,000 trouble-free miles out of the car, it was time to bail out. Smart move on his or her part.

I wish you the best of luck with this car, but I hope you have deep pockets, because you’re going to need them.

This sounds less like a battery problem than a network or wiring problem, especially since you had a new fuel pump installed (twice) and electrical problems seem to have begun at that time. I think it is necessary to remove the gas tank to replace the fuel pump on this car. During installation, wires can get crimped or shorted or incompletely reconnected. The wires do not only carry electricity, they carry signals to and from the engine control module. When you take your car to the shop, do not neglect to tell the shop about the fuel pump replacement and that your electrical problems started then.