Audi A3 Transmission Problems

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
Discuss your A3 transmission issues here.


  • jlawfordjlawford Member Posts: 2
    Just bought an A3 five days ago. Managed to use it for three days and then for some reason I lost all my gears. It's an automatic and I was luckily only parking the car. The dealership have had to replace the complete gear system. They are still not sure what caused the problem. In some ways I was very lucky as I had only just pulled off the motorway a minute beforehand.

    I would be very interested in hearing if anyone else has had a similar problem.
  • pmagpmag Member Posts: 22
    Yikes! Sounds scary. Can you be more specific what you mean by "lost all my gears"?

  • jlawfordjlawford Member Posts: 2
    The Audi I bought is an automatic, so when I lost all my gears the car just rolled as if it was in Neutral. Nothing worked, I tried all the different gears and it just wouldn't take. In the end, rather embarrassingly, I had to get help to push the car into a parking bay. Not much fun when you are a teacher in front of all your students.

    I'm still waiting to get the car back. Hopefully tomorrow. Interesting they have given me a replacement car and the passenger door can't be opened from the outside. Don't think I'm having much luck with the A3.
  • pmagpmag Member Posts: 22
    Thanks for the info. So both clutches of the DSG just totally disengaged? Please keep us updated on what Audi diagnoses the problem to be and their fix (transmission replacement?).

    I've got a DSG with 2K miles. No problems yet (knock on wood) with any components of my car, but I'm trying to keep up on what problems other owners might have experienced.

    Best of luck,
  • lawfordlawford Member Posts: 1
    Audi to date still don't know what the problem is. To their credit they were good with dealing with the problem. As an apology they gave me 105,000 km free service and spent $500 on a protective layer on the body. All in all I'm pleased with how they dealt with it all. Just a shame it happened.
  • pmagpmag Member Posts: 22
    I'm glad to hear Audi is treating you right, though it still must be frustrating to have such problems with a brand new car. The $105K free service is pretty nice to have... Have they given you a decent loaner to tide you over?

  • jparker1104jparker1104 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2006 2.0T DSG - I love it but the DSG totally disengaged on me, too...on the rush hour traffic. I took it in on Thursday and still don't have it back a week later. It took over a week for Audi technical to get back to my dealer. It turns out this is now a known problem. The "megatronic" transmission control module has to be replaced. This is causing a transmission fault which leaves the valves open on gears 1, 3, and 5. In order to correct it, the factory has to reprogram one specific to my vehicle and ship it. They then open up the transmission pan and replace the computer.

    The dealer's service has really been below average. The only loaner car they had was an old Buick Century! I have had to call them to find out what is going on instead of them calling me.
  • oakeoake Member Posts: 1
    I bought a A3 in August with a standard transmission. I had all the hydraulics replaced in Nov and now I am having the same problem again.....

    Any one else have this issue... It starts with the clutch pedal not fully releasing and then slowly gets worse until the doesn't engage period...
  • nstraubnstraub Member Posts: 4
    Glad to have found this site. I bought the new Audi A3 six weeks ago and have put one thousand miles on it. From the get go the shift never was smooth as compared to the test drive car. The mileage on it was minimal and mostly highway driving. On the expressway (middle lane no less), the car simply would not go into gear when attempting to downshift upon nearing traffic. I could only get it into first and slink off the highway. It would not move out of first for anything. The roadside assistance man determined the same thing saying that "Audi clutches always have problems." The dealership has had it for a week and they recently told me the the disks were broken and the cause was probably from "RACING and HARD DRIVING"! This not make sense, I have driven manual transmissions for years and not once had I even grinded the gears. Racing?? When taking the car out on the typical trips to the supermarket and Dunkin' Donuts, there is no "racing" involved. I really feel afraid that I have a lemon and/or they are going to bs me into some story that is just not true. Any help would very much be appreciated.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    If the dealer really gives you trouble then you may have cause for arbitration of some kind. Unfortunately, Lemon laws usually don't kick in unless a car has had repairs several times for the same problem.

    I really wish Audi would get their Quality Control act together. The cars are well designed, but keep comming up bad in reliability surveys. Their vaunted "turnaround" is yet to happen.
  • allhorizonallhorizon Member Posts: 483

    I hope they are treating you well, are giving you a nice free loaner car, and are fixing it promptly under warranty. If not, complain to your dealer and to AoA, and perhaps change to another service place, if that is an option for you. This is clearly a warranty issue - no questions about it, and they should be apologetic to you, if anything.

    Audi clutches always have problems is a generalization I definitely wouldn't subscribe to. Likewise, it is too early to say whether there has been or has not been a turnaround in Audis quality control. Some indication point toward the former.

    I looked up DSG and clutch failures in Europe, where these cars have been available for much longer, and have not found anything to support systematic or widespread failures. There was a batch of 2003 Passats, that's a long time ago and has been fixed. Some TDI owners have had premature (but not catastrophic) clutch failure, many of them because the users were not used to the high low-end torque of the engine and let the clutch slip excessively. I have heard about a few solenoid and/or mechatronic failures for both DSG and manuals, but I presume some folks were misinformed, and that applies to the DSG, only (four cases that I could make out, 2 of them in the US - still not very widespread).

    Lastly, from what you are describing, it almost sounds like there was another or additional problem besides the clutch. As you stated yourself, the Audi's new clutches and transmissions are very smooth and easy to shift. With your initial description, it almost sounds like a linkage problem. Also, the fact that you could not get it into gear initially, and that it would not move out of first later, sounds like a linkage or transmission problem. In fact, it is not that difficult to shift without a clutch (except for some grinding if you don't rev-match perfectly) - so all of that does not sound like a clutch problem. Moreover, first gear is usually the most difficult to shift into. So perhaps your clutch disintegrated - but there may be another, underlying reason. At any rate, you don't have a "lemon" unless they are unable to fix it after several attempts, or your car is at the dealer for more than a certain amount of days.

    Good luck!
  • nstraubnstraub Member Posts: 4
    Thanks so much for the advice - so very nice of you! they still have the car and teh service rep still claims it was due to "racing" which I just don't get. It appears that 2004 the A4 a a recall on the manual transmissions and the problem described seemed similar to what I experienced. It stated that "during production of seam at the clutch was not welded to specifications which could lead to a degraded clutch inside the gearbox." thanks for you help!
  • nstraubnstraub Member Posts: 4
    Thanks very much for your advice!
  • nbvailnbvail Member Posts: 2
    So many problems for cars costing more than $30, my GSR shifts easier and has never had any problems and I drive it fast and at over 8,000 feet on snow covered roads. I really want a A3 Quattro but keep reading about the problems. Just wish they had a A3 2.0T quattro available.
  • tinasauditinasaudi Member Posts: 1
    I think I'm in the midst of the same problem you had. I have a 2006 3.2 and it basically died on me in the parking lot at work--the shift was in P but it acted like the car was still in gear and wouldn't let me take the key out of the ignition or turn over. The dealer has it now and is replacing the center console controller or something. My question for you is it all resolved for you now and have you had any recurrence?
  • scotty10scotty10 Member Posts: 3
    Anyone out there experiencing problems with their DSG box?? Mine when changing from 2nd to 3rd shows the change on the display on the dash but the box does not change with the result that the revs go to the red line before the box changes up. Further problem when in 3rd and about to overtake, pressing the accelerator, the engine has no power, for a few seconds and then responds but usually too late for overtaking. (Travelling on normal roads not dual or motorways!!. I'm in discussion with the local garage who is in contact with Audi and so far they have changed out the control box without success. They seem stumped at present. :confuse:
  • bmx43bmx43 Member Posts: 5
    you are not alone. unfortunately, i have a bit of experience with Audi Auto transmissions. long story short, i buy a new car every year. in the last 5 years, i have had the following: S4 Avant, A4 3.0 Avant auto, A4 3.0 Avant manual, S4 sedan, and i just purchased an A3 3.2 about a month ago. in my previous list above, you will see 2 A4 3.0 Avants. I originally bought the version with the auto. i've been a lifelong manual driver but opted for the auto for freeway driving. biggest mistake ever. the tranny had hesitation problems that started after around 1k miles and got nothing but worse. i took it over to the Audi dealer several times and they told me time after time that it was normal operation. basicallly, when you would slow down to make a left turn say, and you accelerate there would be no response for anywhere from 1-3 seconds. never the same. very dangerous. Audi did nothing to address the problem. I even went as far as letters to Audi USA. They told me to go fish. I sold the car at 3K miles and bought the exact same car in stick version.

    so, it was much to my dismay when the 3.2 arrived this year with only the auto (albeit DSG) option. i decided to give it one more try. i will say this: when the DSG works, it is awesome...better than a manual in response. but when it gets confused (and it does a lot) it's downright dangerous. I am seeing the exact same hesitation i saw in my A4 and the scary thing is that this is happening in the DSG mode...and it's getting worse. the car now has around 700 miles. it seems that when you downshift to make a turn, the tranny computer gets confused and seems to be searching for the gear. so...although you hit the accel and expect to go, you don't... i've actually tried to alter my driving style to allow for the confusion lag time, but it is inconsistent and does not always happen (which makes it dangerous).

    this will absolutely be the last Audi with auto i ever purchase. anybody out there considering this car, i recommend waiting until the bugs are worked out or until it is offered with a manual.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Wrt my A3 3.2 test drive, I didn't notice any glitches of the DSG when shifting __up__, but it definitely grumbled and hunted when shifting _down_. I did not see how many miles the car had, but it definitely wasn't brand new.

    Perhaps the additional burden of the Haldex Quattro makes the DSG have more trouble deciding which gear to pick.

    Do people with the 2.0 T notice the same thing with the DSG?

    Incidently, Audi USA's having no interest in helping a customer on this is a disincentive to buy one.
  • tslbmwtslbmw Member Posts: 172
    Honestly, I've owned my A3 2.0T DSG for two months now and have 2600 miles on problems at all. However, for what's worth, I pretty much leave it in manual shift mode all the time and use the paddles or shifter itself; thus, it never "hunts" for me (if I'm slow coming out of a corner, it's b/c I didn't downshift; and yes, I know it downshifts for you, but it never drops down far enough to suit my driving habits)...I'm in charge!;)

    And bmx43, please, stop calling the DSG an "automatic" torque converter, no is an automated MANUAL transmission...nothing like the "automatics" you had in your previous Audis.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    "And bmx43, please, stop calling the DSG an "automatic" torque converter, no is an automated MANUAL transmission...nothing like the "automatics" you had in your previous Audis."

    Sorry, I have to take issue with that comment. Checking Webster is says:

    Main Entry: automatic
    Function: noun
    1 : a machine or apparatus that operates automatically : as a : an automatic firearm b : an automatic gear-shifting mechanism
    2 : a semiautomatic firearm
    3 : AUDIBLE

    Nowhere in there does it speak to hydraulics as being a prerequisite for something to be "automatic". Said another way, if it can shift for itself without any operator intervention, then it is an Automatic Transmission, regardless of the mechanicals used to do the job. Thus, the DSG is in fact an Automatic Transmission, period, full stop, the end.

    Best Regards,
  • tslbmwtslbmw Member Posts: 172
    Shipo, you are a very smart man, but with all due respect, in the auto world, not websters, the DSG transmission is not an AUTOMATIC..."period, full stop, the end." ;)

    sorry, bud, it's a manual minus the 3rd pedal.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    "sorry, bud, it's a manual minus the 3rd pedal."

    Yup, and in my book (and aparently others' as well), that makes it an Automatic. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • tslbmwtslbmw Member Posts: 172
    fair enough.:)
  • tslbmwtslbmw Member Posts: 172
    how's this:

    It's not a traditional manual, nor a traditional "automatic."

    now, everyone's happy.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Fair enough. ;-)

    In the words of my twelve year old, "Peace Out!"

    Best Regards,
  • dbtdbt Member Posts: 298
    2.0T DSG here; 2k miles
    Recently, the DSG has developed a nasty habit of lurching / clunking on the shift. This occurs when the car is well warmed up (driven at least 10 miles - normal commute is shorter, so has not been a daily issue).

    When warmed up, the DSG will shift hard when coming to a stop with light pressure, or when accelerating from a stop with light throttle. I am able to get it to not occur with heavy throttle / heavy braking from / to stops. However, while a possible solution for some circumstances, this is definitely not possible when trying to pull into our garage. Then, the transmission clanks pretty loudly, and lurches when it does engage. Not good for parking in a garage.

    We're taking it in soon. Just wondering if anyone else has run into a similar problem. (if so, has it been solved? what solution?)

  • drkosmodrkosmo Member Posts: 2
    Hi dbt!
    Your problem with "lurching" describes my experience exactly. My 2006 2.0T DSG (7K mi) had given me no trouble until coming off a highway recently to stop at a traffic light at the bottom of the off-ramp. Then I received this severe jolt, and the car "lurched" forward. "Damn, I have been hit" I thought. Except there was no-one behind me! From this point on, this bang and lurch recurred every time I had to come to a stop and remained in "D", like for traffic lights.
    The DSG appeared to be trying to find neutral, couldn't, and then slammed the box into the nearest gear it could find. It instantly backed out of that gear, then tried again. This sequence was repeated about every two seconds or so. Once I applied some gas and moved off, things seemed to behave normally. Selecting "N" cured the "lurching", but you can't drive in neutral! Getting the car into a nearby parking garage was a nightmare! This symptom occurred in any of the "drive" positions of the shifter: R, D, or S. Not in P or N. I did not try the paddle shifter manual mode. Allowing the car to cool down for a couple of hours made no difference.
    So I called Audi Roadside Assistance, which worked, and had the car towed to the nearest Audi service, about 20 miles away. That cost me the rest of the day, and the rental of a car to get me back home again, 140 miles away.
    Next day I was contacted by that Audi service dept, and told "we can find no problem with your A3". So now what do I do? I considered this problem potentially dangerous, besides destructive to the gearbox.
    Has anyone else experienced this?
  • gjmogulgjmogul Member Posts: 1
    I have the 2006 Audi A3 with the 3.2 turbo, DSG, 851 miles on it and, unfortunately, the same problem you are experiencing. It's kind of comforting to know I am not the only one. If you (or Audi) comes up with a solution, please be sure to post it. To tell you the truth, I think we have a potential safety problem here because the lurching makes it hard to control the vehicle in very slow, stop-and-go traffic. The problem driving into the garage (which I have also experienced) is minor compared to driving into the rear of the car in front of you. Good luck.
  • drkosmodrkosmo Member Posts: 2
    An update to my post #138.....

    Dover (NH) Auto World Porsche/Audi could find no "lurching" problem with my A3. They road tested it for about 50 miles, after "performing basic settings", and declared it good to go. And indeed, it has run sweetly ever since! But every time I come to a stop in traffic I fear a return of the lurching syndrome. This fear does detract from the experience of driving this otherwise delightful, responsive little wagon.
  • dbtdbt Member Posts: 298
    Well, our A3 has been sitting at the dealer for 25 days now. The service guys think it's a transmission control module error, that has led it to try to shift into 2 gears at once. Something about the adaptive transmission. Been waiting for a part for days, and days, and days. Days turn into weeks, weeks into ...

    Meanwhile, we get the good fortune to drive a Pontiac Grand Prix for the past 25 days.

    So for now, cannot tell you whether the new part (whenever it might arrive) may resolve the issue.

    I'll just say that if you have a DSG, I hope your transmission doesn't try to adapt the way ours did :(
  • dbtdbt Member Posts: 298
    Part in today (Mechatronic), replaced; for now, car has not replicated the problem from before.

    Another Audi forum has many other owners having this problem. search for audi a3 forums enthusiast avant

    Happy to say goodbye to the Grand Prix, and hello again to the A3.
  • bmx43bmx43 Member Posts: 5
    yes. per my earlier posts, i have had similar and other problems with this tranny since i bought the car in April. i now have around 2500 miles on the car and the problem is only getting worse. it seems that you have 2 choices with the car: searching and lurching. searches in the manual mode, and lurches in the auto mode.

    i have owned 5 audis. i will NEVER buy another audi with an auto transmission.

    and also, the "no problems found" is the standard line from Audi. i have a lot of experience with them. they never ever admit there is a problem until they get sued. audi usa sucks.
  • naanaa Member Posts: 4
    Hi, I have a 6 wk old Audi which required a new clutch. Audi claimed the clutch failure was due to improper use of the transmission! The cost of the new clutch was VERY high. How may I find information to counter Audi's claim, info that I might, if necessary, use in Small Claims Court?
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    What did Audi ask to replace the clutch? I remember one poster here quoting around $1400 or so.

    If you do a web search for Audi forums, you should find several additional sites to which you can post to and possibly get answers from.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798 it possible to hose the Audi DSG clutch by manual operation?

    With a clutch pedal, it's certainly possible. But DSG's don't have one!!
  • notafan2notafan2 Member Posts: 1
    My 2003 Audi A3 is on it's third clutch at 60,000 miles. i've driven clutches my whole driving life (too many years to count). they keep telling me it's driving error and the 2003 clutches are 'super sensitive'. I think it's a problem with the clutch. what recourse do I have beside putting in a new clutch every year or selling my car? Thanks
  • naanaa Member Posts: 4
    Hi. We just replaced the clutch on and 06 A3. Audi claimed driver error, we paid. Perhaps a class action suit may be the answer if there are a good many of these complaints.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    DSG (Audi's calling it S-tronic for 2007) or manual?
  • naanaa Member Posts: 4
    thanks for's manual.
  • dwobschalldwobschall Member Posts: 6
    I too have an 06 A3. I drive through rush hour Detroit traffic. My clutch failed just after 20K miles, guess what, I too was told that I was abusing the clutch. $2700 for clutch and fly wheel. We tried to reason with the dealer, who was rude, we called the customer relations office, they sided with the dealer. We are going to pay to get the car running, then we are going to dump it for antoher auto maker, We are also going to consult an attorney, it seems that Audi/VW has a long history of clutch failures. 70,000 were recalled that were made in 2004 with clutch failures! :mad:
  • dwobschalldwobschall Member Posts: 6
    If anyone is interested, we are contacting an attorney regarding this issue. Given the history of clutch problems that the A3 has had in the past, and the fact that there are several people with the same issue with very low miles, and not "kids racing" we are going to run this up the flag pole and see what happens. If you have the same issues, please contact me at wobschalld at charter dot net and tell me your story. I believe $2600 is far too much to pay for a car with only 20K miles!
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Is this a DSG equipped car, or straight manual trans?
  • dwobschalldwobschall Member Posts: 6
    A straight manual transmission. I have owned several manual transmissions, never have I had this problem. Now after being at the dealer, they are telling me that the tranny needs to be rebuilt as well, due to the clutch failure, and at a cost of almost 1/3rd of the car. We have contacted an attorney.
  • naanaa Member Posts: 4
    Hi, let me know if you proceed with an attorney....thanks. :sick:
  • dwobschalldwobschall Member Posts: 6
    Yes, we have consulted an attorney, he is going to look at our case and determine if he will take it or not. Based on the preliminary information, he is inclined to believe that we have a winnable case. For a much smaller retainer fee of $750.00, we are hoping that at the very least Audi will reconsider and repair under warranty. I have no less than 10 people who have ridden with me on several occasions who will state that I do not abuse or race the car.
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAMember Posts: 13,139
    Any updates on that?

    I hate hearing of stories such as this which make a corporation and it's employees look like a bunch of greedy dishonest corporate scum bags and more evil than Satan himself.
    '15 Audi Misano Red Pearl S4, '16 Audi TTS Daytona Gray Pearl, Wife's '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion
  • dwobschalldwobschall Member Posts: 6
    We are now waiting for a "Forensic" guy to look at it. Since the tranny and clutch both failed, at a cost of $8200.00 for 20 k miles, we are not in a hurry to pay for this out of pocket until we are sure that we have exhausted all avenues with Audi.
  • visanth3visanth3 Member Posts: 3
    My 2006 A3, always driven in DSG mode, has multiple transmission issues but none that are reproduceable enough for me to take it into the dealer and have them check out. First, after sitting in the garage overnight, a typical morning trying to get the car to start ends in at least two frustrating attempts before it catches and fires up. The engine turns over and over like a an old plymouth, and even if I give it gas it sometimes won't start at all. I have to stop, and try again and usually the second time it will go but NEVER quick and from the start like a new car should.

    Second, when driving, cold or hot engine, it tends to jerk into second when I press the paddle to shift up. Sometimes it happens into third as well. It doesn't downshift very well but it doesn't lurch or search like others have complained about either. It's more like it doesn't like being made to use the gears instead of me using the brakes.

    Third, and sort of a side note, I only had 12,000 miles on the car, it had been to it's routine service and I had the oil light go on saying I was very low on oil. I happened to be passing an audi dealer so I drove it in, they checked the dipstick and found it to be bone dry! The guy added two quarts to put it in the middle of the stick and then told me I should be checking my oil more often. Why could my car be burning so much oil? There is no leak.

    Does anyone have any idea what's going on here?
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Fact of life, engines use oil. Period, full stop, the end.

    Fact of life, blown engines tend to use more oil than normally aspirated engines.

    Fact of life, the VWoA 2.0T is typically a bit thirstier than most.

    You should be checking your oil at least every other fill-up. As for make-up oil, do yourself a favor and buy a case of Castrol Syntec 0W-30 or Mobil 1 0W-40 and keep your engine topped off.

    Hopefully you didn't do any serious damage to your engine as any engine failure will now most likely not be considered a warranty item as it is most probable that Audi now has it on record that you ran your car low on oil. :( FWIW, those engines can be a bit pricy to replace.

    Best Regards,
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    It's either leaking or burning. I'd demand a "cylinder leakdown test" ASAP. The dealer may make you do an oil consumption test before he does that for you gratis, so you may have to jump through that hoop. This way, the test will prove the engine at fault, not you.
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