The Audi A3 is a quality small car that gives you the best of Audi’s engineering in a city run around that’s both agile and quick to accelerate. Perfect for a second car or for a younger driver who’s after their first vehicle, the Audi A3 is resilient and operates well in tough conditions.
If you are considering purchasing an Audi A3, then what are some of the most common problems you need to be aware of before parting with your money?
Brake Vacuum Pump
There is a known fault on Audi A3s built between 1996 and 1999 with the brake vacuum pipe. If you are having problems with the brake pedal and having to apply excessive force to get the car to slow down, then this could be down to cracks on the vacuum pipe near the servo.
Fuel Leak Problems
There is a widely reported problem with the fuel pipes on diesel models of the Audi A3 that affects the 2.0 litre model built between 2003 and 2012 and especially those from a 3 year window between 2008 and 2011. Faulty materials used in the production of the cars causes the fuel pipes to leak, which can be simply fixed using anti-vibration weights.
The direct shift transmission on the Audi A3 uses a twin-clutch automatic gearbox. On many cars built between 2008 and 2009 there is a recognised fault with the clutch temperature gauge, which engages the clutch when the car heats up, causing the vehicle to lose power when on the road. Audi recalled a number of vehicles and reprogrammed the faulty chip in the part.
Does your A3 have a 3 spoke sports steering wheel? If so then be aware that there could be problems with the airbag. It’s worth getting it checked out at your local Audi dealer as there is a known fault with airbag deployment in models featuring this part.
One of the most serious production faults know to affect the A3 is with the flywheel, which connects the clutch to the engine. There is a widely known problem on models that were produced between 2003 and 2005 where the flywheel can become damaged or even fail completely and suddenly shatter, causing a fire in the engine. Audi should have recalled all affected cars and replaced the flywheel. Check the service history to ascertain if this has been conducted.
Another reported issue with Audi A3s built between 2003 and 2012 is a problem with the curtain airbag, with the problem occurring predominately in Sportsback cars from 2005. Although this fault should have been fixed in a recall, it was down to a faulty seal that allows gas to escape from the gas generation unit rather than inflating the bag.
The timing belt on the Audi A3 needs regular replacement every 60,000 miles or it could cause problems throughout the engine. When this is replaced it is also important that the water pump is also replaced as it could be also compromised by the fault.
Rear Brake Pipes
With older A3s from around 1996-2003 it is important to check the rear brake pipes as these are known to corrode and could be leaking fluid, affecting the car’s ability to stop.
The Audi A3 is a good purchase and will hold its value well for the second hand market. With regular servicing and oil changes – check the owner’s manual for specific details and timing intervals – it will keep going for years to come.