Our AUDI (A-6 QUATTRO ’01 116K mi.) is a beautifully designed car and a pleasure to drive when it is running. I am an architect (MIT ’60) and aesthetics mean a lot, but there is a limit.
This blog started out as a complaint, then a shout and now outrage.
Here are some of the issues.
Timing belt: why in the world do we have a belt that drives the overhead cams that also drives a chain? An outside belt means a seal that can leak (and does) and involves removal of the radiator for access as well as part of the front end. This is supposed to occur at every 100K, so plan ahead. Dealer mech. $1800
My mech. $1200
Front axles: right replaced 1 year ago after boot fell off. $360
left replaced a week ago having broken with no warning whatsoever, luckily it occurred near home and not on a trip.(thank you AAA!) $360
ABS sensor on left axle damaged when axle broke: replaced. $320
LEAKS: EVERY SEAL IN THIS CAR LEAKS: here are some of them:
a. timing belt seal $800
b. valve cover incl. with timing replacement)
c. chain drive casing $700
d. transmission ?
e. power steering $1200
Why the left axle broke is still a mystery, since the boots were intact. I can only surmise that it was inadequately lubricated, but there was no way to tell. Note when you replace the axle in the Audi, you have to replace the entire assembly and throw away most of the parts that show no ware for the few parts that do.
The other surprise was the sensor: all we knew was that in depressing the brakes before coming to a stop the pedal kicked back with a sort of grating sound.
As for the seals, their dribbling of oil is now a management issue. We keep a constant check on levels. Oil from the chain drive casing leaks on the right manifold, so there is always a teasing smell of something close to fried bacon. I can tolerate it more than the price to correct it which is about $800. I top off the power steering with the very pricey elixir that is particular to Audi steering fluid. This so far, is not too bad, every 5000 mi or so. Same with the transmission. As for the timing belt drive seal, I nixed it when I heard that it would add an other $800 to my timing belt bill. So far it has behaved.
My main gripe is that German engineering, while obsessed with many trivial details, has glaring faults with some principal flaws that shorten the working life of its products and make them a maintenance nightmare. I understand from mechanics that this is true for Mercedes, as well.
My question: is there anyway that we can encourage AUDI to improve the product?