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Cold Weather Problems

megawhizzmegawhizz Member Posts: 6
edited August 2014 in Audi
I've recently noticed some problems with my 2002 A4 1.8T Manual, and was wondering if anybody here has noted the same issues.


The problem appears whenever it is very cold outside (below freezing). Upon starting the car it moves very slowly, behaves as if the parking brake was on. Acceleration is poor, the car drags and the moment I take my foot off the gas the car stops quickly. The problem disappears as the car warms up with continued driving. The colder it is, the worse the problem is.


Never had this problem with previous winters.


Any help is appreciated!


  • wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,208
    Check your brakes. It sounds like they are dragging.
  • megawhizzmegawhizz Member Posts: 6
    If the brakes were indeed the problem, why does the problem disappear as the car heats up?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Could be contaminated brake fluid, cruddy calipers, or ice forming on badly grooved rotors. It's a peculiar problem but does seem to be brake related.


    I'd try leaving the emergency brake OFF overnight and let us know what happens.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    on most of my cars over the years when it gets cold. likely where the cable comes in through the back of the brake assembly, GM once pointed that out in a manual I had. things get warm enough, the issue is gone... and a dragging brake will warm it up some.


    just to be sure, have a little brake fluid bled from each brake, to be sure you don't have a little icy clot keeping pressure on one or more wheels. it's recommended you replace the fluid every couple of years anyway, so you're close enough to have somebody evaluate it on the caliper end.
  • wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,208
    And in my case, I've tracked down brake dragging to "bad" calipers, where the piston and bore had mating surface problems. Solution: Replace the bad caliper(s), and bleed and replace the brake fluid.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    I have been given an idea by alldata that there are actually e-brake shoes in my disk rears on my exploder, but it's cold and I don't want to squirm around in the salt taking things apart to look at it. regardless, once it warmed up, the ebrake released again, and we're back to normal.


    a dead caliper could well have caused the right rear to have burned through the pad and gouged the rotor past cleanup last spring. all those issues were addressed at the time. doesn't explain how the brake techs missed the e-brake cables being seized up, for which I gave them a good talking to.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    here's an interesting article from Edmunds editorial that you all might enjoy reading:




    Shifty the Host
  • megawhizzmegawhizz Member Posts: 6
    So I took the car into the dealership - and they told me that they could not reproduce the problem (wasn't that cold overnight). They feel that the parking brake cord might be getting stuck because of freezing, and the brake does not disengage even after I put it down.


    They lubricated it again, and hopefully it will stay fixed.


    Thanks for all your input, and I'll post again if something new develops.
  • rmartinezrmartinez Member Posts: 1
    Help....I am wondering if anyone has info on WRX clutches having problems. My 2004 Impreza after an extremely snowy evening would not go into 1st or 2nd gear. I had someone tell me that they read that there were problems with these cluthes. Can anyone verify?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Use the search feature on the left of this page.


    If you go to "advanced search" and then click on "message text" search, you can combine two keywords like WRX + clutch, and read every single message ever posted that has those two words in the message!


    Yes, there have been plenty of discussions about chattering clutches, but I"m not sure about lazy clutches in cold weather.


    One thing you can do is start the car with the clutch pedal in, and then gently engage the clutch just enough to create a little forward motion. You can even have the handbrake on. This should warm up the clutch enough so that when you do warm up the engine and are ready to go, you should be able to engage the clutch easily.
  • marleybarrmarleybarr Member Posts: 334
    Audis do not like cold weather! Whenever it gets cold, like below 24 F, or so, my A62.7T fan heater blower motor will "squeal" until the car warms up, and also some of the pictographs on the dash trouble management system will come on, also until the vehicle warms up. Since using 0w-40 synthetic oil, it drives off okay when cold, just the annoying interior stuff when starting out cold.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Your heatger fan heater shaft bearing is probably worn a bit or wasn't lubricated well when assembled.
  • marleybarrmarleybarr Member Posts: 334
    You could be right. I had the blower fan replaced 23,000 miles ago under the factory warranty. The first one made the same noise when cold. After the Audi has been driven for 15 minutes or so, the fan quiets down. No problem whatsoever in warm weather.
  • squicwardsquicward Member Posts: 1

  • paulcudlippaulcudlip Member Posts: 33
    That clunk sound is your V-6 transmission. V-6 Accords and Acuras have been known for this problem.
  • might_buymight_buy Member Posts: 4
    My wife and I have to move from Arizona to Ohio this summer, and are wondering if we should keep our A4 Cab - 1.8T, CVT. I'm assuming with the ESP that the car will handle wonderfully in the white stuff, but can' t say as I know for sure. Does anyone have any light they could shed on this subject? Additionally, what would we have to do for winter tires?
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    On my past two cars I simply bought winter tire/wheel packages from Tire Rack. Around December 1 I take off the summer rubber and then I slap 'em back on in early April. It only takes about 30-40 minutes. As for your A4, it should be fine in in ice and snow.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You can ask the tire rack people right here what they recommend:

    Ask Connor at the Tire Rack

    shifty the host
  • cyberpmgcyberpmg Member Posts: 83
    Being a fellow Ohioan, welcome to the state! I know there are many other A4 Cab owners around here. While nearly all Audis sold here have the quattro package, it's not to say you can't drive around with CVT. ESP will help out, but it's advisable to disengage ESP if you have a lot of snow piled up on the street (several inches deep) - at least that's the recommendation with quattro. Check your owner's manual. There should be remarks about ESP and winter driving for your car.

    A wise investment would be to get a set of wheels for winter use (go with 15" wheels if you're still stock) and a good set of dedicated snow tires (Blizzak and Michelin are good sources). If you're up near Lake Erie, expect to put the tires on early in November and keep them on until mid to late April.

    We only have 2 seasons around here: Road Construction and Winter. ;)
  • might_buymight_buy Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for the help. One last question: Is there any special care for the cloth top?
  • cyberpmgcyberpmg Member Posts: 83
    I don't have a Cab (but like them). I've heard from other people that they've had no problems with their top in the winter. It has excellent insulation so you won't loose any heat. The only care item I've seen is to just keep an eye out for any ice buildup. It wouldn't damage the top, but may cause some rattling noise while driving.

    Another option to consider is purchasing an after-market hard top to use during the winter. There's a company in Germany (Weismann) that produces a hardtop that would fit the A4 Cab. It looks like a good product, but may be very expensive (and there doesn't appear to be any US based sales centers. You can go see it for yourself: http://www.wiesmann-auto-sport.de/eindex.htm
  • airdyairdy Member Posts: 2
    i would just like to know is it correct to start driving a car without warming the car up( let it idle for a few mins) in weather conditions that are just above 0 degrees? i've read in articles that you should'nt idle the car until their optimal temp, and should rather drive slowly till it reaches its optimal temp? which is right?
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    Start the car and let it idle for 30-90 seconds. Drive it gently for the next few miles and you should be good to go.
  • bb93bb93 Member Posts: 1
    I bought a new Dodge Grand Caravan and it was never undercoated/rust-proofed. I am living in a state that has snow and uses salt on the roads. The van has gray primer paint on the metal underneath. Is the factory paint enough, or should I pay to have it undercoated? Is undercoating a waste of money?
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    and that will have to be rechecked every spring. frankly, all you're doing is delaying the inevitable. you could, perhaps, put a real solid double-coat of rust inhibitor paint on the whole underbody, and then undercoat that... but we start getting into fantasies here. depends on whether you want to rust out in 7years or in 10....
  • floyd2floyd2 Member Posts: 1
    Did you find a solution to the squeal in the fan heater blower motor? I think I have the same problem. With a 2001 A4 1.8T.
  • marleybarrmarleybarr Member Posts: 334
    I had the fan motor replaced under the factory warranty at 49,000 miles on my A6. Unfortuneately, it didn't solve the "squeal", which, only occurs in the cold weather and only for the first 10 minutes or so until the Audi warms up. Presently, w/80,000 miles, the fan works perfectly in the current warm weather, expecting the "squeal" to return this winter.

    An Audi service advisor claims it has to do with expansion/contraction due to the ambient temp of a plastic part built into the blower motor that rubs against the motor shaft as it runs.Who knows? All I know is that it is quite "annoying" for the first 10 to 15 minutes of cold weather driving to have to listen to that motor making noise!
  • wyowyo Member Posts: 1
    i have moved recently from texas to wyoming. the weather is fixing to get cold. i am wandering if the 2003 sorento lx. if fitted for an engine block heater. i couldnt find it in the owners manual. somebody help
  • wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,208
    The dealer in your area is the best resource, but virtually any car can be fitted with a heater that will warm up the coolant in the water jackets. Check with an auto parts sales store.
  • dendinsddendinsd Member Posts: 1
    The first freezing cold day I went out to start my Audi A4 Quattro 2002 and let it warm up a bit.

    When I was expecting to get into a nice warm car I got into a freezing cold car instead. the only heat I had was from the heated seats. I could not defrost the windshield so I used wiper fluid to be able to see. The wiper fluid ran out and I had to pull off the side of the road until help came.

    About 30 minutes later the blower began to work and worked the rest of the day. The next morning the same thing and the next the same thing. It has been above freezing these last couple of days so no problems.

    Any suggestions?
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    the blower impeller or housing shrunk to stop rotation of the blower impeller. in GMs, it's frequently a howling heater that folks complain about.

    the cure is to reposition the impeller a little on the motor shaft. and check the motor. if the shaft has excessive play in and out, it should be replaced.

    unfortunately, things have changed from the 1960s where I pulled lots of blower motors from their easy access under the hood on the passenger side of the engine compartment. you have to yank the dashboard out on almost everything to work on these.

    which is yet another reason I bought my 2000 exploder, I can get to the blower and impeller for repairs. haven't had to, but I can, from the customary location (that should be a Federal requirement) in the engine compartment.

    what costs me an hour or so to work on is going to cost you upwards of a thousand dollars to have done at the dealership.

  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    On many new cars the power to the HVAC fan is routed through a temperature sensor that will not allow the fan to operate until the engine coolant has warmed up to a specified temperature. That switch could be bad. I'd check that(as well as all of the related circuits) before tearing into the dash or-even worse-buying an Exploder :P
  • wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,208
    But if the :lemon: Audi were an :blush: Explorer, there wouldn't be any fan troubles! :cry:
  • dmaljunkdmaljunk Member Posts: 160
    I have a 2000 GLE with 75K miles on it and for a while I've had cold start problems. On mornings with temperature outside below 45F or so, the engine will stall or will not idle evenly until it was warmed up by keeping the foot on the gas pedal for 3 to 5 minutes. This happens on cold mornings only and the colder it is the worst is the problem. I read many forums and thought it was an air intake or a computer problem and so the following parts were replaced: idle air control valve, mass air flow sensor, engine computer module (ECM), air filter. In addition, car has relatively new plugs, oil changed regularly, pcv valve replaced. The problem still persists and computer has no stored error codes, dealer says that computer doesn't need to be reprogrammed as per an FSB, because I got an upgraded version with all latest programming already done. I am completely lost and now I think it's not sensor related or air related. Dealer has no clue either. Can this be related to oil pressure or oil filter or anything of the sort? Gaskets? Internal oil leaks? If so, what needs to be fixed? Any knowledgeable advise will be greatly appreciated.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    Sonds like a bad coolant temperature sender to me.
  • dmaljunkdmaljunk Member Posts: 160
    div2, thanks, that sounds reasonable but wouldn't it show the code in the computer and display Service Engine Soon? I read somewhere that bad MAF doesn't always display a service engine soon light and so I was quite sure that it was the MAF and replaced it myself but it did not help at all. So now I am assuming that if it's a sensor then SES light must come on? Please let me know...
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    My real area of expertise is with regards to BMWs. That said, sometimes a sensor or other component is bad and it still won't throw a code. Whatever you do, don't start "flailing"-AKA throwing parts at the problem. Instead, follow a logical procedure which evaluates the operation of each component prior to replacing it. For example, the Nissan service information should provide the resistence values of the sensor at two or more reference temperatures. Armed with that data and a DVOM a tech can easily determine if the sensor is bad.
  • dmaljunkdmaljunk Member Posts: 160
    div2, that is the most reasonable advise I got so far. I have Nissan's factory service manual and you are correct, there are procedures to check voltage on sensors before replacing them. If only I could get a dealer to do it before telling me that it could be a million reasons and they can't find the problem... Know any good dealer or private mechanic for Maxima in NY Metro area?
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    Sorry, I don't know the decent dealers or shops in that area. Google "Nissan message boards" and see if you can find a board where you can ask about good shops in Metro NY. It's sad to say, but many dealer service shops only know how to sell parts-not accurately diagnose the problem.
  • sequoiasoonsequoiasoon Member Posts: 223
    define metro Ny a little better. What town/area are you in? My dad was an instructer for all OBD2 as well as all the NYS STEP classes and ASE classes. Need an area to help get you a good mechanic.
  • dmaljunkdmaljunk Member Posts: 160
    sequoiasoon, thanks in advance. I am in Brooklyn, NY. Thanks
  • dmaljunkdmaljunk Member Posts: 160
    div2, I got the electronic tester and attempted to measure the Engine Coolant Tempreture Sensor resistence manually. I got reading on a warm engine, which seemed to fit the graph of normal readings in the manual(0.67 kOmhs at about 125F) but with the cold engine I couldn't get clear readings. I was expecting to see something like 2 kOmhs but didn't get anything at all. Some numbers came up for a second and then nothing. Is this an indication of a problem? Is it possible that the sensor works fine and gives off proper resistence when antifreeze is warm and doesn't work at all when antifreeze is cold? It sure seems that it's doing just that based in the symptoms... I am kind of ready to throw another $27 at this problem and see if that is it but I am not 100% sure.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    For $27 I'd say that it's worth a try. Better than letting some doofus at the dealer replace every mega-dollar part they can unbolt...
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Anyone with a scan tool can access datastream and get live, accurate readings of the coolant temp sensor input to the engine control computer. Would take about 5 minutes from cold startup.
  • dmaljunkdmaljunk Member Posts: 160
    true but dealer did already and they said they can't find anything. These bastards don't even know how to use their $6,000 Consult-II computer. They look for a code and if it's there they replace the part, if there is no code then they are not gonna spend any time looking at voltages, resistence, pressure readings and making any intelligent conclusions... I have yet to find a descent mechanic...
  • dmaljunkdmaljunk Member Posts: 160
    I will let you know how it goes, I want to get down to the root of this problem as a matter of principle now :) If it's not this sensor then I will keep digging. By the way, I got the FSM for my car and it's amazing how many things you can do yourself, it's my new hobby
  • dmaljunkdmaljunk Member Posts: 160
    div2, your original suggestion on Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor being the cause of cold weather stalling symptom was correct!!! Thanks a lot. I bought the sensor, replaced it myself and I didn't get any stalling or shaking symptoms today on a cold morning and evening. I think the car is cured and only for $27, well a $5 3/4 wrench, which I needed for this repair as well... Thanks again.

    I'd like to quickly describe how the car behaves now after the sensor replacement. Can you let me know if this is normal or am I just paranoid now:
    1. Cold Start-up - engine revs to about 2200 rpm and immediately comes down to about 1300 at which it idles for some time, may be 30 seconds or so.
    2. Engine attempts to drop rpm to normal operating idle of about 700 or so. There is no hesitation or shaking, it drops the rpm, then it feels that engine is still cold and it bumps the rpms back up to about 1300 again and continues to idle. This step may occur two or 3 times before temperature guage climbs up about 1/4 of the way.
    3. Finally rpms drop to normal 700 or so and engine idles perfectly.

    Now, before I replaced the ECTS, at step two the car would start shaking real bad and stall, the only remedy was to hold foot on gas pedal. This doesn't happen now. But is step 2 necessary, do the rpms need to go down and then back up once it feels that temp is still too cold? Is this normal or an indication of a problem? Please let me know.

    Thanks again for your help or to anyone else who might reply to this post.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    I don't think the car should be doing that. Does it have an Idle Control Valve? If so, it may be dirty or sticking. I know that a wonky ICV can cause similar problems on BMWs.
  • dmaljunkdmaljunk Member Posts: 160
    actually, it got colder and the old original problem came back. It's stalling as I described before when the temp is below freezing. So, I flushed my coolant but it didn't help at all. As far IACV, the dealer supposedly replaced it along with my computer. This was when I had an engine service soon light for IACV but he also determined that the computer itself is bad and he only charged me for IACV and computer was replaced under Nissan good will. So, I don't know, supposedly IACV was replaced. Should I try taking it off and washing it? May be they just lied to me and never touched the volve?
  • cslicsli Member Posts: 1
    Hi dmaljunk -

    I have a 1996 Nissan Maxima and it has the same cold start problem. You mentioned that by changing the ECTS actually fixed it. I wonder if you can tell me where is the ECTS located and how can I change it?

    Thanks a lot!
This discussion has been closed.