Many drivers choose Audi for the combination of design, performance, and reliability. However, the longevity of your Audi operating at peak performance relies on your Audi maintenance plan, which is especially important for those who own used, or older models.
With this in mind, we at JA Autowerks wanted to go over the three most common Audi problems that occur from lack of scheduled maintenance while providing insights to preventive care and costs.
1) Timing System Maintenance - Most Expensive Repair
First up, we have the most expensive repair that a modern Audi driver can experience, a timing system failure.
Like all four-stroke gasoline and diesel fuel engines, your Audi requires the lower part and upper part of the engine synchronized or timed to be able to operate correctly. The two most common timing systems are timing belts and timing chains. Over the past thirty years, Audi has used both forms of timing systems in their models such as the Audi A4, A6, or Q7.
Here is a basic overview of what system your Audi may have and when you should think about servicing it:
A lot of Audi models from the 1990s through the late 2000s use a timing belt to keep the engine synchronized and running smoothly. Failing to replace the timing belt at the proper service interval commonly results in costly repairs such as major cylinder head damage that can run you up to seven times the amount of the timing belt replacement service.
All Audi engines that use timing belts have a service life or replacement period based on time or mileage, whichever comes first - you can find this information by referring to your owner’s manual. If you are a new owner of the vehicle and have no service records showing the timing belt was replaced, our team of qualified technicians can perform a visual inspection to see the condition your timing
Audi began transitioning away from timing belts to timing chains with its 2003 TT 3.2 liter VR6 engine. By 2009, all Audi gasoline engine models transitioned to timing chains. These chain drive systems made the newer engines lighter, more compact and improved the required maintenance period.
While Audi's chain-drive systems are said to be maintenance free and are designed for lifetime services, our team has noticed that after a few years of service failures begin showing up on tow trucks.
After years of working on these chain drive systems, we recommend replacement of the chain tensioners every 80k to 100k miles, depending on the engine type.
Our team finds this recommended service keeps our customers' Audi reliable, on the road longer, and helps save money.
2) Transmission Maintenance - Second Most Expensive to Repair
You may be surprised you didn't see this in the number one spot, but the second most expensive repair on today's modern Audi is a transmission replacement.
The newer S-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission shifts as fast as a Formula 1 race car, and the ZF eight-speed Tiptronic transmission shifts so smoothly that standard transmission may be a thing of the past - if they are maintained correctly.
The number one cause of a transmission issue or a shift quality problem on an Audi is fluid quality. Transmission fluid is like any other petroleum based fluid, it breaks down over time. Once the process starts, internal transmission components start to break down and sludge begins to form in the small fluid passages inside the transmission case.
Audi recommends a fluid change on the S-Tronic or DSG transmission every 35k miles but says the ZF eight-speed has lifetime fluid. It's important to note that ZF does not make lifetime transmission fluid, so our team recommends ZF transmission services every 50k miles. We have also teamed up with AMSOIL to bring our customers the best synthetic transmission fluids on the market and lower overall cost of ownership.
The JA Autowerks' customer that commits to regular transmission fluid services sees their vehicle's transmission last three times as long as the customers who never change their transmission fluid.
3) Brake Maintenance - Third Most Expensive to Repair
One quality Audi owners love about their car is the confidence they get from the awesome stopping power of the brake system and its ability to operate when in wet, slippery conditions as well as those panic stop situations.
Routine brake system services include checking for worn brake pads and rotors, both of which are caused by normal use of your vehicle, and replacing them with the correct parts to ensure your brakes keep working like new.
Other brake components like brake fluid lines, wheel cylinders and calipers will last the life of the vehicle if the brake fluid is replaced when needed.
On most Audi's, our team will start to see brake caliper failures around the seven-year mark. The number one reason we see these failures is due to high water content in the brake fluid reservoir. All brake fluid is hygroscopic or has the tendency to absorb moisture from the air.
Audi does recommend a brake fluid replacement every two years or unlimited mileage with DOT 4 brake fluid. This service can save you thousands on repairs over the life of the vehicle.
The JA Autowerks team checks the moisture level in the reservoir with every visit. This quick check saves our customers thousands of dollars, and keeps their Audis braking like new!
Looking to establish a routine maintenance plan for your Audi? Contact our reliable and experienced team at JA Autowerks to schedule a thorough check-up on your Audi today!