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Marie's Leaky Audi TT

On this weeks show, would you tolerate a vigorous spray down, every time you drove through the car wash… in your high-end sports car?

We didn’t think so. And neither would Marie. Which is exactly why she called Tom and Ray, this week. Her Audi TT hardtop leaks water through the side doors, every time she takes her dream machine in for a scrubbing. She’s been to the dealer, and they’ve told her to stay away from carwashes with side jets, but she thinks that answer’s a little booooogus.

We contacted Audi, on behalf of Marie. An Audi spokesman said he wasn’t aware of this problem, but offered to have their customer care department contact her.

In the mean time, anyone out there got any suggestions to help our pal Marie from donning a wet suit every time she goes for the high-power jets?


Audi recommends TT owners avoid taking their vehicles through the car wash, not because the windows leak, but because the OEM wheels have a lip that extends out past the sidewall of the tire. The wheels can get scratched up if they come in contact with the guide rails in the car wash. I gave up hand washing my 2001 TT in the winter - too dang cold! - and take it to a self-service car wash without the guide rails. (I also put on different set of wheels and snow tires in the winter.) I haven’t had a problem until recently.

So coincidentally, I’m taking my TT for repair next week to fix the same problem that Marie has. I get a lot of wind noise at highway speeds, and water drips down the right window during a heavy downpour. I’ve already tried the cheap fixes, like realigning the door. The next step is to take the door apart and check for worn or misaligned window hardware. Unfortunately, we’re looking at several hours labor plus parts, so it’s gonna be expensive for a non-warranty repair.

I’d recommend Marie go back to the dealer and drop the carwash scenario. Instead tell them it leaks when it rains. They can’t tell you to avoid driving in the rain!


Chris, before spending the $ at the dealer, you might want to reset your windows. I had the same problem when my 2002 TT was still under warranty and the dealer did it, but it’s a really easy fix. I’ve seen it discussed on the Audiworld TT forum ( – involves putting your key in the door lock and holding it one way or another (couldn’t tell you which way right now). Search the forum to find the instructions.

Regarding the car wash leaks – whether I wash my TT by hand or take it to the car wash (I only go to one of those “laser” washes without a track, where the wash jets go around the car), there is always some water that gets into the door frame. I’ve talked with other TT owners and it’s just the way they are. In the greater scheme of things, it’s a relatively minor annoyance–all you have to do is wipe it up, and you get a clean door frame. Clearly a design flaw, though; perhaps the new TTs don’t have it?

I have a 2001 TT hardtop…it doesn’t leak at the carwash…I agree with Chris and the boys that it is an audi problem…

LOL, you guys should try taking my '73 914 through a car wash, you need scuba tanks.

I know I can fix it with some new seals, it’s on the list of things to do (after I put it back together).

My ex had a TT hardtop and she took it through the carwash all the time. I think I remember that when you open the door the window automatically goes down a smidge, and then when you close the door the window automatically goes up a smidge to seal with the upper weatherstripping. Hers sealed pretty nicely that way.

Marie – do your windows nudge themselves up… maybe 1/8 inch or so… when you close the door? I think they’re supposed to.

2000 Audi TT Coupe 118k

My driver’s-side window also allows water to pass through at car washes (both hand and high pressure), yet not as much as Marie’s. My weather stripping is in good condition and not worn. At < 60mph the cabin sounds like a tornado as well.

Obvious troubleshooting question: The window automatically zips up-and-down when you open and close the door…right? if so continue.
Solution 1: Look carefully at the profile of the door. Does the seam (the horizontal line above the door handle) align with the adjacent quarter panel’s line?
If you’ve had body work done to the door, it is possible that the door is mis-aligned on its hinges.
Anecdote: My car returned with a small ding several years ago from the dealership after routine warranty maint. I made them fix the ding. but just as always something else goes wrong when i take it in (anywhere) – I don’t know for sure if the third-party tech the dealer hired actually took the door off to fix the ding and then simply was not careful to put the door back on properly or what. Yet reading Chris’ response, they tried to re-align the door and that didn’t work.

Looking at the forums, it looks like a ton of other people have the same problem.

It’s terrible that Audi owners get shoved around like this sometimes–as if you’re being too picky to be bothered by these “small annoyances.”
Yet another thing that tests my undying love for this car. Check if there’s a class action lawsuit for this.

Valeria, I am not getting just some water in the door frame - it sprays into the car from both sides, wetting the dash, inside door, windows, steering wheel, etc. I have to bring a towel with me so I can pull over and wipe down the inside of the car in order to avoid water streaks and spots.

Yes, they do, so that is not the problem.

No body work done; the car has leaked from both sides since it was new. It is discouraging to read the forum and see how many others have problems with leaking windows, although their leaks don’t seem to reach the level mine does and are not always on both sides. Has Audi just been ignoring this problem?

My sister has an 2001 Audi TT convertible, I just called her and asked if it leaks in a car wash. She said it doesn’t, and she would be pissed if it did, just like Marie.

If the convertible doesn’t leak, the hardtop should certainly be water tight.


I had a 2000 TT for four years and I seem to recall that AUDI strongly suggested not to take the car through a car wash and I never did it, so I never had leaks. Furthermore, in order to avoid rain, just move to Southern Nevada or Arizona which I did and I never had that problem and my Audi was a coupe (leakless). Here you do not have to wash your car. Come on over. We have lots of houses for sale. And I loved my TT.

I’ve got a 2005 A4, not a TT, but it had the same leaky door problem (purchased it 15 months/22,000 miles old). I noticed air noise coming in the drivers’ door after purchase. When I brought it in for my first service the Audi dealer said there was no detectable problem. Between then and the next service I went through a drive-in car wash a couple of times and got water all over my left arm. I brought this up with the dealer when I next serviced it. It turns out fixing this is an “adjustment”, not a repair, and therefore only covered on the first 6 months of the original owner’s warranty. So I paid for an hour of labor and got a rude awakening about what ‘certified pre-owned’ means!

I have a 2000 TT coupe and have not experienced that problem at all. It’s as tight today as when it was brand new. I just returned from the car wash and no leaks…

I would suggest that she goes to a car wash that uses heavy water. The increased viscosity should result in less of a leak problem.

Yup, one of those new Deuterium car washes.

Marie, there is a “window reset” feature to re-align the windows - use the control buttons to take them both all the way down, continue to hold the buttons in that position for at least two seconds after they stop, then raise the windows in the same way and hold the buttons up when the windows reach the top for the same two seconds. that should do it, unless there’s some significant alignment issue. Will

I was in Arizona for a while - I kept wondering where all the green went. Audi now says you can wash your TT in “almost any modern car wash”. Looks like they spoke too soon.

Thanks for the suggestion, Will. The dealer has realigned/readjusted the windows three times, and it made no difference at all. Marie

You guys are right - the dealer is feeding Marie a line. I’ve posted a link to an Audiworld Forum post regarding window sealing issues. While this post concerns a roadster it may also apply to the coupe. It has to do with adjusting the amount of “lean” to the window - i.e., how much the top of the window leans in or out from the seal (kind of like a chamber problem). This procedure is also covered in the Bently manual for the Audi TT, as are other window and door adjustments.

I own a 2001 TT coupe and have been a member of the Audiworld Forum for about 6 years. There are a bunch of folks on that forum that have explored about every type of repair and/or modification you can imagine. I’ve learned a lot about my car from the forum and I would recommend that Marie and others take advantage of the knowledge base that exists there.

Jeff Hallett
Dayton OH