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Audi A3 Suspension Questions

chryka3chryka3 Member Posts: 1
I loved the Audi A3 when I test-drove a DSG A3. After being offered an A3 to test-drive over a weekend, I still thought it was great fun to drive, but I wasn't sure about the car any longer, because the ride was very rough on Philly's potholed roads. Any solutions to this problem, or is it just something A3 owners have to live with?


  • kurtamaxxguykurtamaxxguy Member Posts: 677
    I did check with Audi regarding suspension travel for the A3:

    They told me to ask a Dealer service department for that info.


    Does anybody know what the travel is?
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHMember Posts: 21,899
    Suspension design is an arcane science involving
    a myriad of variables. Even if you could find out what the "suspension travel" of an A3 was the figure would be meaningless but there's an easy way to determine whether or not it has enough suspension travel--pick your favorite bad road
    and test drive an A3 over it.

    Do you know the suspension travel of any car?

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Well, no Audi dealer in their right mind will let me drive their A3 over a "Bad" road around here, as the car would be eaten alive. Blame the low profile tires which can't absorb the bumps (BMW, Mercedes, all low profilers have this problem). So it's up to the suspension to do it, provided it has enough travel.

    So Audi says visit dealers service departments to ask about the cars? Well, in LA, of 8 dealers I visited via web, 6 have no weekend service at __all__ and two had very short hours on Saturday only (one bragged about being open on weekends).

    Interesting their service departments are open for so short a time.
  • dhanleydhanley Member Posts: 1,531
    "Well, no Audi dealer in their right mind will let me drive their A3 over a "Bad" road around here, as the car would be eaten alive. Blame the low profile tires which can't absorb the bumps (BMW, Mercedes, all low profilers have this problem)."

    Kurt, you're pretty funny. I always fly over train tracks at full speed, and giggle at the SUV drivers almost coming to a stop. Heck, i test drove an a3 here in chicago over some completely wretched roads, way worse than you will ever see in CA.

    It seems you don't want an a3. Ok. But you don't have to rationalize why to all of us.

  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    If I were not interested in the A3 I would not be posting and asking questions here.

    Disturbing are lack of answers for basic questions, the USA car's first year glitches and the _short_ service hours for Audi dealers here in Los Angeles.

    For those A3'ers with great AUDI dealers who back the product and smooth, winding roads to drive on, SALUDE!

    Meanwhile, it'll be fun to see how the A3's brother, the VW GTI, and the new AWD Dodge Calibre, fares in our market!
  • travelinmantravelinman Member Posts: 28
    Disturbing are lack of answers for basic questions, the USA car's first year glitches and the _short_ service hours for Audi dealers here in Los Angeles.

    For those A3'ers with great AUDI dealers who back the product and smooth, winding roads to drive on, SALUDE!

    I own an A3 in Los Angeles (since September). I've driven it over all kinds of roads and drive it 85 miles round trip per day to work and back. I have the Sport Package, and I have NEVER had any issues with the suspension or tires over the "rough" roads of LA.

    I have an Audi dealership 5 miles from work who offers rides between work and the dealership when I've had to drop it off for its scheduled maintenance. The dealership has actually been pretty excellent from a service standpoint.

    I will echo the comments of others when I say you are crazy if you think the roads of Los Angeles are especially "rough". With the exception of some of the older freeways (especially the I-5 through East LA, and parts of I-10, the 710, and the 60) the roads aren't that bad.

    And driving the A3 along Angeles Crest in "S" mode is incredible.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Member Posts: 6,257
    I was on I-5 and I-10 this weekend driving a car with 18s and it was fine. Seriously, he's looking for excuses.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Did the A3 just feel harsh on small, sharp bumps, or did it make clanks / abrupt thunking sounds when it hit those potholes? (I used to live in Philly and remember all those potholes trying to eat my VW and Opel).

    Can one fit an A3 with tires that are not low-profile?
    That might help tame the ride(sources? C&D, CU, Edmunds, etc.).

    I fear the A3's tires / suspension's designed for smooth, well maintained roads, not our worn out byways and highways.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Did the car that you drove have the Sport Package? If so then that car would be noticably rough riding as compared to the base suspension setup.

    Best Regards,
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLMember Posts: 5,962
    It's not about excuses. I think Kurt just want the car to handle sharp as a razor but the suspension be soft as a pillow. Probably no one broke the news to him that those things are pretty much mutually exclusive. ;)

    2018 430i Gran Coupe

  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,403
    Everybody wants it all :P

    But then again, asking for things that seem impossible is what leads to innovation too. Maybe this inspires a razor-soft suspension!
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAMember Posts: 12,423
    was plenty smooth, until they gave me the loaner Jetta. Now I know what the tradeoff for razor sharp handling is. More than anything, its the road noise from ultra high performance tires.
    '15 Audi S4 quattro AWD Prestige, '16 Audi TTS quattro AWD 2.0T, Wife's '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD 2.0T
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    The euros in general seem to have a good handle on ride/handling. I drove a BMW 3 not long ago and was impressed by both its handling and ride. No chance to drive BMW on Philly-class roads, though (like I used to years ago). I also drove an A3 3.2, found it cornered very well and was ok wrt ride so long as no potholes or washboards were about.

    As side note, there's a topic in STRAIGHTLINE discussing what Audi stands for.
  • rlseditionrlsedition Member Posts: 8
    The Euros really do have a handle on suspension feel, but it ia also true that their roads are in better condition than ours.

    There is a good solution to ride quality, even with the Sport package A3. It KONI FSDs, with a unique design that favors ride just as much as improved handling. A car with FSDs feels like you just "took the edges off" road imperfections like tar strips and coarse pavement. You can even pair them with Eibach Pro-Kit lowering springs for an improved appearance.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    sound interesting, as a lot of other cars have problems with impact harshness. But apparently these are available only for a few vehicles (VW/Audi included).

    A pity Audi does not offer those shocks as an option (though perhaps some of their their own shocks/dampers have a similar internal design).
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Reviews of the Audi A3 vary wrt the ride quality. Some feel the ride is very good while others complain about harshness.

    What seems to be a factor is the wheel size. Reports testing Audis with 16" wheels don't criticise ride, while 17" (Consumers Union) did criticise ride.

    And to respond to an earlier comment;
    I like ride quality in that when you hit the bump, there is one thump and then it's over. VW, Audi and Subarus I've ridden in all do this. Not so most American cars which shudder or crash through to stops on bumps.

    I __liked__ the general feel of the A3 3.2, _except_ when it had to deal with the kind of junk holes, warps, etc. that many of our roads have. Then the A3 simply runs out of suspension travel and starts slamming me around. This did not happen with the longer travelled and higher tire-profiled GTI I drove earlier. But the GTI's do not have AWD - therein lies the circular dilemma.

    So I will be talking to my friendly Audi dealer today about finding a 3.2 with _higher_ profile tires.
  • seespotseespot Member Posts: 3
    I have had a 2006 A3 3.2 with 17" wheels since last May. The car is great (minus the cup holders) but the front suspension squeaks in low temperatures and is harsh on rough roads (too be expected). It is due for its 25K KM service soon, so I will ask the dealer to check it out.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Koni makes a nice shock that supposedly rides better while preserving handling. When it's time to change the shocks, you might want to check them out.
  • mnoochmnooch Member Posts: 2
    Hey all...I'm a new poster here. I've been looking at a 'pre-pwned' A3.....drove a few 2.0T's over the last month. I've come across something that I'd like everyone's opinion on.

    The cars I drove that have less than 20k miles were great....wonderful feel, held the road, yada yada. I drove two that had 20k-plus on them and the experience was horrible. Road noise to the point where it was difficult to have a conversation inside the car (seemed to be eminating from the right rear on both cases, though it's always hard to tell), brakes that, while sharp as a tack, also transmitted a fair amount of noise and a 'grating' sensation up the steering column. Generally a car I would never buy.

    Now I don't know who had those cars beforehand, how they were driven or how they were maintained. And I think 20k-plus miles in 10 or 12 months is a serious amount of mileage.

    My question; does anyone think this type of road noise is typical for an Audi with these types of stats? The one I drove today had Pirelli P6's that appeared to have about 1/2 of their tread life left. One of the dealers said to me....and you'll laugh at this one...he said that on Audis you have this type of road noise when the tire has half its tread wear left. Personally I think that is a crock.

    I'd appreciate any feedback anyone has. Thanks!

  • donthegreekdonthegreek Member Posts: 127
    I bought a NEW leftover 06 A3 last Oct...i put alot of miles on my cars..30,000 a year...i have 20,000 on it right now, and i have the Pirelli P6's...the road noise at this point is horrible, i'm seriously thinking of replacing them very soon....the noise is really bad, never had a car with so much tire/road noise.I've heard some complaints from other A3 owners with the same issue.

    Anyone out there with any suggestions on a good handling QUIET tire to buy???

  • ak496ak496 Member Posts: 4
    I have had my A3 since last august and I am approaching 15K miles....Ever since about 6k I have been getting a road/tire vibration noise that changes its vibration rate and noise frequency depending on speed. I hear it all the time from slower speeds like 30-40 mph and at hire speeds like 70-80 mph.

    Back in February I took the car in for the first detail of the EPP program I purchased and to have the knocking behind the glove compartment fixed (they had to replace a part under warranty)

    They kept my car for like 5 days to try and figure out what the vibration and noise was coming from only to end up with "Your wheels are out of alignment and now your tires are feathered" So I paid the $150 for the alignment with the understanding that it wouldn't go away immediately because I needed to wear down the feathering.... but at this point 5,000 miles later it has only gotten worst to the point where it's driving me nuts in the car!

    During those 5 days I had an A3 loaner with the Sports packages (different suspension and larger tires) and the loaner car had the same problem as mine so I know it's not just my car. They have said the A3's are suceptable to wheel alignment issues but I have never had this much noise and vibration from another car before...I don't think constant wheel re-alignment is the answer.

    Does anyone know how to fix this problem and prevent it from happening again?
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    "During those 5 days I had an A3 loaner with the Sports packages (different suspension and larger tires)..."

    Ummm, are you sure? IIRC, the S-Line (nee. Sport Package) equipped cars do in fact have a different suspension and tires that (typically) have a summer rubber compound, however, the all versions of the A3 sport 225/45 R17 tires. Yes, no?

    Best Regards,
  • donthegreekdonthegreek Member Posts: 127
    When i first started having the tire-road noise, the first thing the dealer did was do the re-alignment thing...they said 2 of my tires were wearing...or cupping as they called it...probably the same thing as the feathering issue.Now they don't want to rotate em because of this.
  • ak496ak496 Member Posts: 4
    My bad...I meant that the loaner with the sports package has the sport tuned suspension and the summer performance tires (different brand, not the perellis I believe, and mine does not have the sport tuned suspension and I have the all season perelli tires on it...
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    am curious what kind of roads folks with Noisy A3's are on?

    Am relocating to Oregon which has __very__ worn roads compared to other areas of the country (some of them look like they are gravel on top of concrete). Not sure how an A3 would fare on those.
  • donthegreekdonthegreek Member Posts: 127
    Just put on a new set of Bridgestone Potenza G 009's on my 06 A3...The road noise has completely disappeared. The tires look good and handle good.Now we'll see if i can get more than 20,000 miles out of em. The Pirelli P6 All Seasons were shot by 20,000 miles.

  • geewilliegeewillie Member Posts: 7
    overall, I've been jazzed by my A3 since late February. On the open road and rural back roads, it's been a blast, but yes, it has taken a lot of getting use to the jarring sports suspension and noisy tires in comparison with my former drive, a '98 VW Passat sedan. That's probably my major gripe, along with a buzzy engine in low speed climbing, some simple elements I enjoyed on the Passat but Audi chose to stay with the Jetta parts bin, e.g. horn that cannot be gently tapped for a "quiet" honk, lighted mirror visors that Passat had mastered (and are probably on A4s), and no lumbar support knob). But, back to your question: It can be improved with a new set of tires, which I'm not ready to purchase at this time (my Scottish nature). I had the same problem with the Passat's original tires, which were also Contis. Even the Audi dealer parts guy spoke about VW/Audi's thrifty nature with OE tires, obviously partly a ploy to get me interested in replacing the Contis now with dealer's Goodyears rather than wait until I can purchase in '09 at Discount Tire. But like all sports tires and the way I like to drive when there's a curvy road, the Contis probably won't last but a couple of years, even with my minimal driving. Even though my great set of Michelin sports tires improved both handling and noise on the Passat, the sports tires will not last as long as the tires that most Honda/Camry sedans are equipped with. So, enjoy the handling that's in part attributed to the high-profile sports tires, but turn the multimedia system up a bit higher!
  • geewilliegeewillie Member Posts: 7
    Don the Greek is right. OE for the A3 are Pirellis. My bad.
  • asquaredflyerasquaredflyer Member Posts: 1
    I love my A3 (2006). I got it with one of the first DSGs they had here in tree town. And the roads here are crap. Midwest winters and salt are not good for the roads. But this is a great car to drive even on what passes for a road here.

    So back to the tire issue...I had P6s on the car new. At about 20K the road noise was so horrible and the tires were so cupped, they had to be replaced. Audi said 20K was about right for tire wear, but Pirelli and I tried to get them to own up that they have a tire that doesn't have a warranty on the A3. It's the only size that doesn't have a warranty. So I bought a set of Yokahamas. Car has been amazingly quiet since then. And the new tires have a tread warranty for 65K miles. They also seem to handle fine. The tire dealer said that Audis, Porsches and some Benzes have some pretty aggressive suspension settings that cause the tires to wear prematurely. We'll see how long the Yokahamas last. Maybe I'll switch to the Bridgestones next time.
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAMember Posts: 12,423
    Says that the A3 can only accomodate 235/45R17, but not 245/40R17's if I want to upgrade my traction and handling from the OEM 225/45R17's.

    You could also go to 235/40R18's (with new bigger rims), but still, no 245/40R18's!

    Is this correct?
    '15 Audi S4 quattro AWD Prestige, '16 Audi TTS quattro AWD 2.0T, Wife's '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD 2.0T
  • lilseamuslilseamus Member Posts: 1
    I also have enjoyed my '07 A3 since november. Speedy little girl with good handling and great options. However, I am struggling with this road noise and tire wear issue, and it is beginning to frustrate me. I have 42K miles, gone through 10 tires, 3 alignments, and hours of arguing. My current set of tires are 12K miles old, and are already Cupping!!!!! I can not afford to be buying new tires every 15K. I could just put that into my car payment and drive an A8. I drive ALL highway miles on nice roads. Does anyone have any idea what causes this problem? I really need a fix, not new tires. Please help
  • donthegreekdonthegreek Member Posts: 127
    I have the same concerns lilseamus...I might be swapping cars sooner than i want to...
    Last time i visited my closest audi dealer, there was a guy there with an A4 Quattro...(i have an 06 A3, my first set lasted 20,000)with 20,000 miles his tires were shot.

    I'm told by some local mechanics "Audi's" are know to chew up tires! I don't think the awd subaru's are prone to this.

    Help us out guys!!!!
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAMember Posts: 12,423
    On my 2006 A3 2.0 DSG Sport I got the rarer OEM performance tires, the Dunlop Sport Maxx's. These are fantastic tires. Yes, they will barely last 20,000 miles, and if it was winter, I'd probably have to change them right now at 18K.

    However, they have fantastic grip and traction, especially on wet roads, it's almost like rain is irrelevant to my A3's handling with these tires. I believe most A3's came with Continental Performance tires which don't rate nearly as well from reviews I've read. I can't complain about 20K miles from ultra high performance tires, I think thats about right with my aggressive driving style to boot.

    However, due to a special deal I am purchasing Falken's FK-452's in 225/45R17 size (just like the OEM size). These are AA traction rated, Y speed rated, and 94 load factor just like the Dunlop Sport Maxx's, but for a lot less money.

    The only real complaint about my OEM tires is that I thought they had too much road noise develop when roads were not ideal. With smooth freshly paved roads however, they were quiet.
    '15 Audi S4 quattro AWD Prestige, '16 Audi TTS quattro AWD 2.0T, Wife's '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD 2.0T
  • marcoromamarcoroma Member Posts: 1
    It's now march 2008... How do you like the potenza's?
    I need to replace the pirelli but i can't decide on a make.
    Thanks for your help
  • saccyclistsaccyclist Member Posts: 1
    I have nearly 8,000 miles on my 2007 Audi A3. Overall, I am very pleased with the car. It is simply a blast to drive. About a week ago, however, I noticed a rattle/clunking noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. I checked the cargo tray, rear seats, spare tire, and even removed my roof mounted bike rack. All items were properly secured. The noise persisted. I returned to the dealership for assistance. Fortunately, the service advisor heard the noise. We then asked a technician to ride in the car. With a person sitting in the rear seat, the noise stopped. The dealership then tried to convince me that the noise was normal. To prove their point, they asked me to drive a brand new A3 and explained the vehicle's suspension has "elasticity". Of course, the new A3 did not make this same noise I refused to accept this explanation. The vehicle is still at the dealership. Has anyone else experienced a similar problem? Thank You
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    So there's a noise with no one in the backseat, and no noise with someone in the back seat and the dealer can't add 2+2 = 4?

    Well then, suggest to them that it *might* have something to do with the rear suspension, which is further compressed with rear passengers.
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAMember Posts: 12,423
    I've had an extremely rarely occurring rattle in the back of my A3 as well. Check the seat belts, I'm sure its that, particularly the ones on the side that can have hard plastic and metal buckles coming into contact and vibration with the plastic trim, moldings, and panels on the rear/side panels.

    That's what it was in mine, and I haven't heard it since I adjusted the seat belt buckles on the belts.
    '15 Audi S4 quattro AWD Prestige, '16 Audi TTS quattro AWD 2.0T, Wife's '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD 2.0T
  • tzhangtzhang Member Posts: 3
    I had my A3for about 2.5 yrs with 24K miles on it. The tire noise was driving me crazy. Every time when I drive on I-95 I had to turn up the music. I just replaced all the tires with
    Falken ZE-912. Man, that made a big different and the noise is gone.
  • callmecrazycallmecrazy Member Posts: 2
    Hey Marc,
    That is a bunch of crock. The A3 has some sort of issue with the suspension where at approx 5-7,500 the tires start "cupping". As a fed up A3 owner I hope they come up with a solution because I can't buy tires every 7,500 miles.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    "cupping" will definitely increase tire noise. They'll wail like an 18-wheeler.

    Cupping is usually associated with a weak suspension BTW or at least a very active one that's doing a lot of hopping around.
  • pselvamanpselvaman Member Posts: 1

    I have an Oct 87 A3 Sportback which was fine until about 3 months ago then it developed a noise like spanners rattling loose somewhere and with the window down at low speed it was even louder.

    Having checked behind trim panels and in the spare wheel well I found what I thought was the problem, fastened under each suspension arm is a plastic cover to keep dirt off the suspension bushes etc.

    At its first service I asked the garage in France (as I am over here at the moment) to investigate. The solution! they removed the covers, they told me its a common fault, they serve no useful purpose and they always remove them.

    The noise has gone but I checked with audi Uk who say they would never remove them they should have been refitted correctly. Hope this helps
  • OrelcoOrelco Member Posts: 1
    I have a brand new A3, and i found the air suspension very noisy, is this normal, because is very stresfull when you have your windows open..... Pshh, Pshh, Pshh every second .... men !!!!
  • audia3bearaudia3bear Member Posts: 2
    hey everyone, i'm new to the thread but have been suffering the cupping issue on my 2006 A3. Multiple mechanics have told me that cupping is a suspension issue as you all have mentioned, but that the suspension is operating fine on the car. What they're concluding is that the car is too light for the suspension system that Audi has chosen to install on the vehicle (probably the same equipment they use on heavier models like A4, etc). . .so, I filed a complaint at . .I encourage everyone to do the same in hopes of getting a recall ordered and this issue remedied.
  • arejohnarejohn Member Posts: 2
    It's not cupping, it's feathering. Early 350z had it on front BS tires. Nissan modified the front toe spec and BS modified tire tread edge pattern. Nissan released TSB and paid for tires and alignment.
  • txf70txf70 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2008 A3 S-line Sportback, 2.0T... Since I bought it in Feb 08, I have noticed what is like a small "wobble" feeling which I would feel in the seat and floorboard. I have taken it to dealers constantly and 1 mechanic acknowledged feeling it as well, but had no idea what it was other than maybe the tire pressure. How can you tell if your car tires are "cupping"?
    To try to explain the problem better, imagine feeling a continual and rhythmic "bump" alternating from right to left even on smooth roads, and it continues up until around 50 MPH where I no longer notice it (or when making turns). If anyone has a similar problem or idea, please share.
    BTW, unfortunately, I am in Italy driving a US Spec car and finding a helpful dealer/mechanic is a nightmare.
  • audia3bearaudia3bear Member Posts: 2
    The tires will be warped and unevenly worn. If you can go to a tire center (like sears in the US) they can check the tires, and also check your alignment (rear and front) and determine what the cause is. In my case it was alignment being off in front and rear. You will need new tires but the problem should not continue.
  • aattardaattard Member Posts: 7
    Don, I have the same problem with my 2008 A3. My A3 has P6 on it. They are noisy to the point replacing them. However, I was talking to my mechanic friend and he told me that the rear-end of the A3 toe-in is not adjustable. He said that the problem is due to much toe-in and camber settings. Have you or anyone heard anything about this? Also, I looking for a workshop manual for eh car, paper copy or electronic copy.

    Tony---2008, A3
  • aattardaattard Member Posts: 7
    Shipo, I know I am replying to an old posting. But do you know if the A3 S-line rear suspension is fully adjustable? i.e., Toe-in, camber, custer, etc?

  • aattardaattard Member Posts: 7
    Larry, did you confirm the suspension setting issue with the A3. I have heard the same thing from another Audi mechanic. If the rear suspension is non-adjustable, (toe-in, caster, and camber, etc.), I do not see how another set of tires is going to fix the problem. Someone, please respond. I cannot stand the the noise any more. Thanks abunch in advance.

  • madturtlemadturtle Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2008 A3 sLine. Lots of road noise. Was just told by the dealer that the issue is due to feathering on the tires and that the A3 is prone to it. My Toyo Proxies 4 are virtually new and have been ruined.

    Can anyone advise regarding the question of suspension adjustment or modification to alleviate this issue?
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