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Audi shakes when the window is open

I rented an Audi A1 – not an A3, but A1 wasn’t an option in the autofill form above – recently and both I and my passengers were shocked that the whole structure of the car begins to vibrate and feel wobbly at 55mph+ once the window is all the way. I was driving calmly, not particularly fast, nor was it a windy day. In order to try and see what was going on, I ran the window up and down repeatedly, and every time as soon as it was 75%+ open the car’s frame became buffeted and shook violently. It was smooth sailing with the windows closed.

Germans are famously meticulous and methodical engineers. I can’t believe they’d let a design flaw so large as this slip by. Furthering my confusion is the fact that Googling ‘Audi A1 window open shaking’ yields no relevant results. The logical conclusion is that this particular car I was driving was somehow faulty. But it only had 2,000 miles on it and passed both my and the company’s visual inspection, and I would have thought that any changes in the body large enough to so drastically alter the aerodynamics would have to be very obvious. Honestly I have no idea what to think at this point. Are all A1s designed such that you can’t open the driver’s window at moderate speed? Surely my 1991 Honda back at home wasn’t better-designed? This pos costs 15 or 20 times more. I can’t believe it.

I think the Audi A1 is not sold in the United States so the chance of anyone here knowing much about them might be low. Your question might be better answered at an Audi based forum.

I think it’s pretty much an A3. And I bet the Audi forums are 100% [jerks].

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Having a thumping wind noise with open windows is common on many cars. I had it bad on my Cherokee. You have to find the combination of wind openings that stops it.


Like Texas posts above, that might just be how the A1 works. When the car is going down the road the wind is hitting it at high speed, and that arrangement is sort of like a big flute. It’s such a big flute the tone is very low frequency, probably below the range of human hearing. But not below the range of human sensation. If a window is open or closed, that is like the flute player putting their fingers on the holes of the flute to change the note. Wicked resonances can occur sometimes. I’ve had them happen on my old VW Rabbit when the rear window was down even just a little. I wouldn’t have described it as the car’s frame shaking violently, but it is a definite and severe buffeting & disconcerting sensation for the passengers. Opening the front windows didn’t have nearly that much effect, about the same as any of the windows on my Corolla.

You could try another A1, see if it does the same thing.

It’s a quirk of the aerodynamics.
If I open the rear windows of my Toyota Matrix with the fronts closed it happens.
No body shake, but it pounds on the ears.
Crack one of the front windows just a little and it stops.


The cost of a car is not a factor, at least you only rented it, seems quite bizarre, maybe only tested in the wind tunnel with the windows closed.


It’s a smaller car with very similar styling, based on the same platform as the VW Polo (also never sold here)

Audiworld seems to be a friendly forum but there’s no mention of a similar complaint in the A1 section.

Really? This doesn’t pass the “snicker test.”

I’m not in the habit of driving with my rear windows fully down on the freeway

And I for one believe there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this Audi A1

I agree with the explanations already given

I’m kind of curious, as to why this discussion was generated in the first place . . . ?

Was OP planning on buying an Audi A1, and now is no longer considering the car, due to this perceived flaw?

Wind buffeting used to be a very common problem, especially in sedans, but I’m surprised to hear of it on a new car. I’ve had a few vehicles that did it many years ago, but aerodynamicists have pretty much solved the problem… at least I thought they had. I guess Audi must’ve forgot to assign one to that particular design team. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

It seems the newer the vehicle I’ve owned the more wind-buffering. My highlander is the worse. I can’t have any rear window down without also having a front window down, or I get extremely bad buffering. As long as I have one of the front windows open even just a little the buffering goes away.

I had read that cars with more aerodynamic shapes were more likely to have the problem, but my worst was my shaped-like-a-brick Cherokee. Go figger…

I think it has to do with newer cars having the windows nearly flush with the outer skin.
Older cars had the glass sunken in, and even gutter like trim that would disrupt the smooth flow of air.
Take a close look at the mouthpiece of a flute.
It’s a hole with a flush, smooth edge.

The wind is stored for future use??



All of my cars/trucks do this to some extent although my '12 Ody is the worst. The buffeting is so bad with only one window open it is intolerable. I attributed it to the lack of free airflow in many cars now. The body is tightly gasketed and not much free flowing air like cars of years past. What good is a HEPA filter if the air can bypass it though body cracks, trunk access etc. So the amount of airflow is reduced making it just like blowing across the top of an empty bottle when only one window is open…

From what you guys are saying, I guess my thinking was wrong! :scream:


That is my theory also.

When I park my vehicle during the summer, I tend to lower both rear windows a couple of inches in order to “ventilate” the car a bit while I am shopping or taking my power-walk. If I forget to close those back windows before I start driving, the wind buffeting by the time that I reach 40 mph very quickly reminds me to close those windows.

A friend of mine claims that he doesn’t like A/C, even though the reality is that he is so cheap that he refuses to use the A/C because it would reduce his gas mileage slightly. It is actually amusing to see him arrive at my house after a one hour high-speed drive on the Turnpike. His clothing is so soaked with sweat that he has to bring a change of clothing with him, his face is so red that it looks like it will explode, the hair on his head is dripping wet, and he is temporarily hard-of-hearing because of that hour of high-speed wind buffeting.

All that, in order to save–maybe–50 cents.

My personal answer is not drive with windows open, almost always (maybe if slow, in a parade…).

I follow from Tom and Ray’s advice from the radio show: the small amount of energy you save by not running the A/C or even the vent fan is far outweighed by the drag on the vehicle with an open window (a little or a lot)–which can really eat up your MPG. Look at any vehicle with decent mpg since say 2005 and you will notice methods to reduce drag at all costs. My older Prius has plastic panels attached to underside to keep the air from churning under there! And yes the Prius does do that wavering low-note too, if only the rear windows are open.

Factor in not eating bugs (literally) or being hit in face/eyes with flying gravel, and a quieter ride, I will always opt for closed windows. And no, I am not a fan of drive-in triple cheese bacon burritos, so we are safe in that department!

[quote=“VDCdriver, post:18, topic:104928”]
A friend of mine claims that he doesn’t like A/C, [/quote]

It’s possible for a person to not be able to tolerate refrigerated AC. It has a drying effect on the respiratory system. I can tolerate it ok for the duration of a car ride, but if I’m in an AC environment for a long period of time where the cold air is blowing on me, I risk getting a respiratory infection. I’ve pretty much had to give up on long airplane trips b/c of that. By the time I finally get off the plane I can’t talk b/c of laryngitis, which lasts for 2-3 days afterward.