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Audi A4 Maintenance and Repair



  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    I noticed this when I first borrowed my wife's A4 (98.5 2.8Q w/sport) this past weekend. Heard it 2 times while making slow turns, and then it went away. Not sure what it could be but if you find out please post your findings back here - I'll do the same if it repeats and we decide to take it in and have the dealer look at it.
  • lecram777lecram777 Posts: 13
    I'll do that. I'll wait a few more days and observe. One thing I did notice is that it did it more this past weekend when it was cold and rainy now that it is warm and sunny I don't really notice it anymore. Well we don't really very many rainy and cold days here in So. Cal.
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    One other thing I forgot to mention is that when I noticed it I was just driving home from a tire place where I had the winter wheels & tires taken off and the summer set mounted. I was thinking this might have had something to do with it, but I'm not sure how remounted wheels and tires would cause a creaking noise...I've asked my wife to listen for it and she replied that she'll try to keep the CD volume down for a couple days (this could have going on for weeks - who knows).
  • My car was making the same type of noise. 97 A4 1.8T. First they replaced the tie rods, then the lower control arms. noise disappeared for several months, but is periodically back again. My car is horrible. I need to replace it, but am hesitant if new Audi's are built as poorly as the one I have.
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    Sorry you haven't been happy with your A4. Can't say the same thing here - by far the best car we've ever had. This is the first sign of any problem (other than brake pads - normal wear and tear) that we've had in almost 50,000 miles. Other than the intermittent strange creaking noise, the car drives and looks just like new. We're going to have it looked at soon to see what's causing the noise.
  • lecram777lecram777 Posts: 13
    I took my car to the dealership yesterday and got it back today. they said the creaking sound is from the sport exhaust (aftermarket) installed. I would have to take it to the place that installed it if I want it fixed. It's not damaging anything they said. by the way, anyone out there know of where I can buy some clear tail lights (lexus is 300 style) to replace my frosted stock a4 avant lights? Maybe online too.
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    My dealer looked at the occasional creaking sound by pressing down on the car just above the front passenger side wheel where the sound would occasionally be heard when taking a slow turn over a bump. After a long explanation (the details of which I don't remember) he explained it was in the suspension - lower control arm was part of it - and to repair it would be about $500. There is no rush to get it fixed as there is no safety issue involved here just an occasional creaking noise. We don't hear it anymore as the weather has something to do with it, it seems. For now we'll forego the repair and see if it reappears or gets louder or more frequent. This is the first issue we've had with this car after 45,000 miles so I can't complain.
  • maroon95maroon95 Posts: 26
    i noticed on the rear bumper of the car, the paint looks smooth, but it appears about to be cracked...

    there are a few lines
    u know when the paint on the wall is about to peel off...that's the similar appearance i am getting...

    and there are swirl marks on the exterior driver door panel

    2001 year model...bought it brand new...
    i should take it to the dealerhip soon.
  • bqtleebqtlee Posts: 1
    I am experiencing squeaking noise from the front wheels of my 2001 Audi A4 1.8T when I am pressing on the gas while making turns. This happens during the first 10 - 15mins of driving after being parked for a couple of hours or more. After 15 mins or so, the sound goes away. The Audi technician has already cleaned the front brakes but still no luck in removing the noise. The noise sounds like something is rotating and touching a metal part. It sounds more like as if a belt is slipping while making a turn.

    Does anyone have any ideas what could be the cause?

    In case anyone is interested, initially I had problems with my check engine light keeps going on and off intermitently. I took the car to the shop many times and the mechanics couldn't figure out the problem and their computer keep pointing out that there is no problem (since the check engine light never comes on when my car is in the shop). Finally, the mechanic pump the gas tank with some sort of smoke and noticed that there was a small hole on top of the gas tank. They said that I could not drive the car and they had to replace the whole gas tank. Well, after waiting for about 1.5 months for the gas tank, they replaced it and so far (has been around 7 months) the check engine light has not come on.
  • lecram777lecram777 Posts: 13
    I am thinking of upgrading the speakers on my 99 audi avant. it has the stock concert system. But circuit city told my that the system is amplified and the speakers and head unit are perfect for each other. I would need to change the whole system if I want any change at all. Is this true.
  • zinzanzinzan Posts: 2
    I am the original owner of a 98 A4 2.8Q with only 32k miles. I like the car and was planning to keep it for another 3-4 years. The dealer's mechanics just informed me that the engine is leaking oil and that the head gaskets are the problem to the tune of $3,500. Needless to say, I'm disappointed.
    Is anyone aware of a problem with 98 2.8s or am I just lucky?
  • deacrefdeacref Posts: 4
    I posted this on another thread - so if it is seen twice - sorry.
    I'm considering buying a used A4 - 1999 - w/ 37,000 miles. I have read a lot of posts - and it seems folks have had a number of servicing issues - where a lot of things have gone wrong with their A4. Am I just being paranoid - or is it a problem car?
    This would be a car for my teen age daughter - and wondering if it's too much car for her. But -I want something that is reliable - the car and
    Also - the price ? The dealer is asking $21,000.
    Said it was marked down from $23,000. It's got a sunroof - sports tires - Bose system - automatic -etc. Do you think that price is in line - or should I haggle?
    Thanks for your help.
  • cpranger22cpranger22 Posts: 21
    deacref, you are not being paranoid, you can expect to have a lot of problems with this car. If you are looking for something reliable for your daughter, meaning you don't think she'll take the time to take it to the dealer every time something goes wrong, this is not the car for you. I just traded in my '99 A4 1.8T/auto/cold whether/sunroof/52Kmi. and the most I cold get them to give me was $13,000 so I'm sure there's a lot more room in the price if you decide to go with it. I wouldn't. How about a brand new Jetta for the same amount of money (or less)? My niece just got one and they love it.
  • ric310ric310 Posts: 1
    I am looking into a 1998 A4 Avant 2.8 with 78,000 miles ( a lot I know). What can I expect. I have been driving a 1992 Honda Accord EX 5 speed Wagon for years and have loved it. I have had no problems with this car. Can I expect the same reliability from the A4? What price should this '98 with that kind of mileage go for, I think under $12,000, Am I off. thanks
  • Most OEM stereos can be upgraded in small or large steps. Overall, replacing speakers is the easiest way to upgrade sound without getting too involved with the car's stock system. Not sure what Circuit City meant when they told you that the amp and speakers were "matched." I don't own an A4, so I could be off a few facts, but I assume you have separates up front and in back (8 speakers total) powered by an amplifier directly connected with the head unit in dash.

    A good car stereo specialist should know the location of the stock amplifier and whether or not the speakers would be an easy or complicated upgrade. About the only problem I could see is if the amplifier also contains the crossovers (unit that divides full range sound into 2 or 3 separate ranges, highs to the tweeters and lows/mids to the larger woofer speakers.)

    Even if the amplifier does house the crossover units and is hard wired to the speakers, the crossover points should be easy enough to match up with an after market speaker.

    I installed an ADS system into my BMW318, powered by an after market Sony ES Head Unit. I decided that the BMW system just didn't meet my needs for sound. I make the following reccommendations to you in this order of importance:

    1. Replace OEM speakers with high quality after market speakers. Companies like MB Quart, Boston Acoustics, Infinity, or even kicker might make good choices. Try to listen to a few different pairs in the sample room, they won't sound like that in your car, but at least you can get a feel for their strengths and weakness for sound reproduction. General rule is too avoid buying speakers from companies that make everything (aka Sony, Pioneer, Alpine) and instead buy from companies that make their living selling only speakers...makes sense, if that is all they do, they have to be good to live!

    2. Add a subwoofer. Nothing makes a more dramatic improvement in overall sound in a car system like a well-matched subwoofer. This can be tough if you stick with the stock system, but not impossible to do. General rule of thumb, smaller subwoofers produce tighter bass response, bigger subs go down to lower frequencies. If you don't listen to rap or dance music, a pair or 8s or a 10 should be plenty of bass to give you a meaningful improvement in sound. Spend a few extra bucks here for a good enclosure, the box that houses the sub is often more critical to sound than the sub itself.

    3. Scrub the OEM amplifier. Some very good after market amplifiers can be purchased out there that are flexible enough to connect with OEM head units or with after markets. Without going into too much explanation, OEM radios tend to "speak" with other components in their systems at different levels than after market one will (high level versus low level signals.) Choices for good amps are nearly endless. The more you spend on an amp, usually, the more power and features, and sometimes, more channels. A 5-channel amplifier with a built in sub crossover would be ideal, sending power to the front, back, and sub speakers.

    4. Scrub the head unit. Here is where I start to cry. Finding a head unit that will match the aesthetics of your lovely A4's interior. The majority of the after market in car audio is geared towards 16-25 year olds with multi-color dancing displays and the displays get worse as you move up the ladder to the more expensive, higher quality head units. No advice for you here - good luck.

    5. Sound deadening - the final frontier. If you want to squeeze more performance out of a full blown system, the last step is usually to add sound deadening panels into the trunk, door, firewalls and floorboards. These panels can significantly reduce noise and dampen the parts, preventing sound rattles and harmonic resonances inside the vehicle. This is the last step in most high end systems, after this, you start all over, with more expensive equipment each step of the way.

    Hope this helps a little to someone. Replacing the OEM speakers should be easy...consider finding a better resource than a disinterested clerk at a big box retailer. Find a good custom shop in your town that caters to higher end competition installations, and you will quickly find a major difference in approach and in the final sound of your car.

    Good luck.

  • tim_hooligantim_hooligan Posts: 143
    my 2001 A4 1.8T was also leaking oil, but this started with about 5000 ticks on the odometer. fortunately for me, this was under warranty and the dealer fixed it. They stated it was a valve cover gasket leaking and a tensior belt needed adjustment too. whatever. whoever built my car just got back from oktoberfest or something.

    i am also getting the grinding/rumbling in second gear like a previous poster stated. it's not a squeaking, but more of a vibration. they cleaned the brakes, but i keep telling them it's only in second gear and at low speeds. if you turn, it gets worse. now i'm waiting for the tranny to drop out of it.

    actually, i'm hoping it leaks oil again so i can pull a lemon law out of my pocket. A4's are nice, but i can't be having my car go in every month for something else going wrong. if i wanted that, i'd saved a couple thousand and bought a FORD.

    if anyone has any ideas about the grinding, please chime in.
  • tsuoyingtsuoying Posts: 3
    Hi everyone, I'd like to pick your brains and experience on the following issue. I'm considering purchasing a 98 A4 2.8 Quattro with manual transmission and the sports package (suspension). Everything was fabulous about the car but when test driving it, I thought the tachometer needle was reading too high. Cruising at about 60 mph on a level road on 5th gear, the needle was at 4200 - 4500 rpm. And when doing moderate acceleration from dead stop, the needle hit almost the end of the red zone. Is that normal?? I can almost accept the red zone at low gears but 4500 rpm at 60 mph with 5th gear? What would it do at much higher speeds? Does the Quattro somehow adjusts for the higher speeds without linearly upping the rpm?

    Do you A4 owners observe this to be normal? I'm not expert with transmissions or engines but the engine did not sound overly worked at those rpms. I thought maybe it's just the meter and everything is amplified by 30% or something. Is that possible? Or is what I described perfectly normal? Any help you nice folks can provide would be great! Thanks!

    P.S. please email to [email protected] if you could also...
  • lecram777lecram777 Posts: 13
    thanks harlequin, that really helps alot. You're definitely right, I should go to a specialty shop. They know what to do and what definite choices I have for this car.

  • lageerslageers Posts: 1
    Tim! I'm having the same problem in my A4 - a HORRIBLE noise a low speeds - a grumbling/grinding/knocking noise. I have higher miles than you (around 90k) - just had it in at the dealership before the noise and they didn't mention anything. The latest place that I brought it couldn't figure out what was wrong with (but not before I paid $800 for new struts and a lower control arm). ah! Seriously, if anyone has had problems like these before, let me know! Decent car, but it's really beginning to tick me off.
  • I also am experiencing this clicking or I refer to it as a scratching sound whenever I drive off after even parking for a short period of time (less than half hour). My car is only 3 weeks old with only about 800 km on it. I've brought it to the dealership once already and they said they don't hear it. I am bringing it in again tomorrow and I am going to get the mechanic to sit in the car and let him hear it. This is not giving me any comfort with Audi at all!
  • goralgoral Posts: 138
    I own a '98 1.8TQMS w/ 61K and also experience(d) the suspension problems. The first occurrence turned out to be a faulty sway bar link. Part costs about $40 and it took me about 1hr to replace (w/o any special tools). Nowadays, my front upper passenger side control arms are shot (well, one is, but the other one is close). Cost to fix? ~$160 for both arms + labor, which hopefully won't be too much. The A4s have notoriously bad control arms. It's a shame Audi can't design them right.
    Any other problems? You bet!!! The headlight switch has gone bad - can't turn on headlights when it's cold... Gotta wait and warm up my car before they turn on!!!
    Also, one of my Blose speakers blew as well. Unfortunately, it cannot be replaced by anything else because of Bose's ingenious design - the speaker's impedance is 1 ohm - which nobody else (as far as I know) makes.
  • I got my car checked the other day about the clicking sound whenever I drive off from Park everytime I turn the ignition back on. The senior mechanic drove the car with me to re-create that sound and heard it. The first thing he said was "I'm hoping you are not referring to that sound" and I told him that is precisely the sound I want you to look over. turns out that the sound is normal. He explained to me that because the new Audi uses "drive by wire" technology, it is the motor that was going off and doing its work. There is nothing to worry about and it is perfectly fine. I wish they would have told me when I first took delivery of my car and not waste my time to bring it twice to have something considered 'normal' to be looked at. By the way, my salesman didn't understand what that sound was either when he drove it to the service lot...go figure.
  • bgerardbgerard Posts: 3
    I'm wondering if anyone else out there has had their new Audi "bought back" by Audi because of engine failure (well, in my case, engine fire). If so, may I ask what Audi offered? It seems they're barely offering what the California Lemon Law requires, and it would really help my negotiations if I knew what others had settled for....Thanks in advance!
  • Goral,

    I hear your pain and it may get a bit more painful, so hold on. Yes, Bose is one of the best marketing stories in audio history. Truly, no other manufacturer has been as successful at placing their products into the public as Bose.

    One problem with Bose is the significantly different ways they accomplish sound as compared to most other audio companies out there. The advantage of this approach is that when a Bose speaker goes down, it can not be easily replaced by anything but a Bose speaker. Brilliant strategy, wouldn't you agree?

    That all said, I read into your post that you are not overly satisfied with your Bose system. If that is the case, I might suggest a trip down to the local Car Audio specialist retailer. I might suggest avoiding the big box retailers like Best Buy and Circuit City and instead refer you to a smaller, more competent shop that makes its living selling car audio, not big screen TVs and refridgerators.

    Replacing your Bose speaker with another Bose speaker may be the cheapest way out of this pickle, but you may find an alternative solution to your problem to be more palatable long term. Finding a "full-range" speaker with a nominal impedance of 1 ohm that isn't Bose would be akin to finding the holy grail. Besides, if you replace a single speaker in a pair or a set of separates (four total speakers making up the full-range output), you will be even less happy with the sound output you will get. Using unmatched speakers is audio fidelity death.

    Happy motoring and let us know what you do.

    the Harlequin
  • goralgoral Posts: 138
    Let's not even get into Bose and its strategies... Gotta admire a company that's able to sell such junk at such high prices.
    Regarding replacement speaker - I have a friend w/ bunch of junked Audis... He's bound to have the one I need.
    And yes, I am very dissatisfied with the sound quality of the premium Concert system. The lows response is laughable - very overboosted (at lower output levels) and at least half a beat behind the mids/highs.
    My wife's Acura 3.5RL also has a Bose system, but it's live apples and oranges - infinitely better!
  • This is out of place, but within the thread, so here we go.

    The bad sound you are getting from your car may have less to do with the actual speakers and more to do with placement and baffling. I am not a big fan of Bose in general, but they usually produce "good" sounding speakers, so let's assume the equipment is ok and look at another culprit in the car environment that can have the biggest effect on sound quality - speaker placement.

    In my BMW, I junked the stock radio and replaced everything with a high quality setup using ADS speakers/amps and a Sony ES head unit and changer. It was the most expensive install I have done in a car yet and the results are mixed. Yes, it is loud. Yes, the bass response is powerful. Yes, it sounds better than the stock system did...but...the speaker placement has prevented what should be a great system from sounding great.

    The mid-range speakers (lower half of the separates) are located along the foot well, far back into the well and fire directly into the drive shaft "hump" in the cockpit. The sound must bounce off the carpeted floors and radiate into the main listening area, a full two and a half feet away from them. Meanwhile, the tweeters are inside the door panel and fire into the dashboard in the direction of the steering wheel. The tweeters are about 4 inches from the listening area. Add in the fact that the subwoofer is planted in the trunk, four feet away from the listening area and the fact that the rear fill speakers fire into the roof via the a-pillar.

    What we are left with is typically difficult speaker placement issues. With all the speakers firing from different positions within the car, the muffling effect of the carpeting on midrange notes and even the length of cables used to connect them...the sound stage is quite broken by delays and delay distortion. None of the speakers actually point at the listener, instead relying on radiation effects to spread the sound waves.

    Overall, the system is decent, the sound is reproduced cleanly and at first contact is decent enough, but once it makes it into the main listening area, it is already weakened and distorted. I had a much better sound in my old Saab 900 with equipment that was half as expensive. The Saab sounded better because the speakers placements were better. There are some audio voodoo treatments available to correct for poor sonic clarity due to speaker placement, but these get expensive and usually provide only minimal gains (IMO).

    The point? Don't need to love Bose, but it may not be entirely their fault. A little more attention to the sonic environment during a car's design normally yields much better overall sound.

    From what I have heard, the Mark Levinson/Lexus project is just one such example. ML worked closely with the engineers of Lexus to reverse engineer more ideal placements and to correct wave arrival and time delay issues in the car environment. They have produced what should be the best quality OEM system available in a car today. Too often, the car manufacturer will just cut the sound issues out of the design process...seen as not essential.

    Maybe they are right, until you spend 2 hours a day in rush hour traffic, counting on your CD collection to keep you sane...then the music inside your car counts more than hps and mpg ratings combined.

    sorry...that was quite a rant.
  • mstokkersmstokkers Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 Audi A4 3.0L Quattro. Nice car but one thing that really bugs me is the amount of wind noise from the driver's side door/mirror once the car's speed gets above 50mph. I have had several dealers look at it and all told it's been back to the dealer 4 times for this specific problem. I have seen some marginal improvement after the later visits (they "thickened" the moulding which has the unfortunate side effect of making the door harder to close) but in my opinion it is still "pretty noisy" - annoyingly so up at speeds around 65mph. Any body else observed a similar problem?
  • stevenjhstevenjh Posts: 5
    Following the thread of Mess. No. 52 by Goral, I have a 1999 A-4, 2.8 Quattro with 38,000 miles on it. My dealer service department estimated $1,400 to fix/replace noisy/squeaky control arms at the front driver and passenger side.

    The darn things are so noisy at slow speeds/braking and accelerating that it's embarrassing! The service manager says there is nothing wrong with the control arms, they aren't faulty - just noisy.

    This sort of trouble at 38,000 miles, on an auto of this caliber, seems unacceptable to me. Anyone else having the trouble or have a solution?
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    We have a '98.5 with close to 50,000 miles. Mine required replacement of both front control arms, swaybar links and guide links at 45,769 miles. Total cost to repair including tax: $1,224.53! I think what your dealer meant to say is that the condition of the front suspension does not pose a safety hazard, but the noise will get so bad that you won't be able to live with it any longer - it SOUNDS like there is something terribly wrong, which there is, but it won't cause you any loss of control or affect drivability (except if it makes you go nuts from the noise). I agree that these components should be made to last longer on a car of this quality - or ANY car for that matter.

    But other than this, our car's been about perfect since new, so we plan to keep it for a while.
  • stevenjhstevenjh Posts: 5
    JBaumgart - Thanks for the info. It's nice to know I'm not the only one out here with the problem. And I may already be at the "nuts" stage from the noise. Did you have your A-4 repaired at the dealer, or another shop? I know the owner of a local brake/muffle/suspension franchise shop that I'm thinking of taking mine to to save some money.
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