Should there have been an earlier warning light in my Audi

My Audi recently suddently beeped and lost power while driving on a highway. There was a large indicator on the dashboard as power was lost. It also smoked or steamed for about 1/2 hour after stopping. It was determined that the thermostat was stuck and resulted in the engine melting. The extended warranty company is claiming that we must have driven after an indicator light came on to create so much damage.

Does anyone know if it is reasonable that we did not receive an earlier indicator?

There’s no temperature gauge in this car?

Yes. It seems reasonable to me but it shouldn’t. A car with aluminum in the engine should have some warning that works better than the way you described it. Sometimes we don’t notice the red light until it’s too late, especially if it happened in the daytime. At night, you probably wouldn’t have missed the warning that may have come earlier. Use the ignition switch to see what other lights come on and check the owner’s manual to find out if all of yours were working.

Your extended warranty company is typical of the industry. Whatever breaks is your fault, so they won’t pay for it. You are not alone.

Is there any chance that the stuck thermostat not only prevented the engine from being cooled, but, also prevented any indication of overheating?

An Audi is a pricy vehicle and surely they did not omit a temperature gauge. That is your warning indicator. It was not placed there to simply take up space on the instrument cluster and serves the same purpose as the gas gauge or clock.

Sorry, this one is on you. Continuing to motor on with a known problem is your fault since there had to be some symptoms (other than a gauge); sluggish running, rattling, steaming, coolant smells, etc. Even if a thermostat instantly sticks closed an engine does not “suddenly/immediately/instantaneously” overheat to the point of damage. It takes a bit to accomplish this.
This problem is not Audi’s or the insurance company’s fault. JMHO.

no, the broken thermostat has nothing to do with whether or not the gauge or warning light came on or not.
in all likely hood the warning light/ gauge worked just fine. probably you just missed it!

i am assuming that you DID see the gauge/ warning light eventually? (probably after the steam?)

whats done is DONE. no use crying over spilled milk, (or antifreeze)

i would think you’d be REALLY lucky to get the insurance company to cover this. on the outside chance you can “convincingly” tell them: “you were driving on the highway at highway speeds (in traffic) could not slow down due to traffic, the car over heated, and you pulled over as soon as possible when there was a safe place to pull over, and now the car needs repairs.”

have you actually TOLD the details of whether or not you ignored the light/gauge to the insurance co?? it’s one thing to have them surmise whether you ignored/unaware of the gauge; but if you TOLD them that, then good luck!

you need to tell them what happened, BUT you don’t have to tell them you were negligent. (by not paying attention to the gauge.)

An earlier warning light? You mean the kind that comes on before you overheat in order to warn you that the engine is going to overheat several minutes later? Unfortunately, those do not exist, and that is why a driver should scan his gauges every few minutes.

Warning lights (on every make of car) only illuminate at the point of imminent disaster, and as a result, periodic watching of gauges is really important. If you had seen the temperature gauge creeping up, you could have averted this serious a problem. Sorry if this is not the answer that you wanted, but unfortunately, that is the reality of this type of situation.

Many makes/models do not have a warning light but use a chime instead. The problem, quite serious, is that very few owners know the meaning of a chime that suddenly sounds for no apparent reason. They assume something like a seatbelt warning malfunction and they just keep driving.

I’m reasonably certain this is what happened to you. The chime sounded and you did not know you were supposed to inspect your gauges. If this is indeed the case, you have my sympathy but not my support.

I actually doubt that the audi has an idiot light (or chime) for high temperature (but I’m not sure about the newer ones). They usually assume that the drivers will look at the gauges periodically.

You know full well what’s going to happen even if the car had warning chimes or a submarine klaxon. People are going to continue to drive the overheating car until they get where they’re going; or at least attempt to.

Maybe engineering the airbags into the engine coolant temperature sender to set the bags off when the temp hit 10 degrees above normal would get some attention.