Audi offers a range of SUVs, identifiable by the ‘Q’ tag that names the series. While they offer drivers a combination of SUV cargo space and a luxury driving experience, they’re not entirely free from flaws.
We’ve done some research on some of the most common problems with Audi’s SUV line, from engine defects to manufacturing quirks.
Read on for our results.
Table of Contents
Before we start, we need to point out that Audi SUVs are very reliable vehicles with few recalls and issues. The Audi Q5 is the Audi SUV with the most recalls, but it has fewer recalls than the other SUVs of its class!
1. Coolant Pump Problems
Several owners reported instances of a coolant pump failure in their 2016 Audi SUVs that led to their engines overheating. In some cases, coolant leaks were visibly noticeable.
Coolant systems typically last 80,000 to 120,000 miles, so these premature problems were disappointing to many owners.
The repair can be costly on its own, with replacement pricing around $1,500, and an overheated engine can lead to even more severe damage, such as a cracked engine block or piston issues. For many owners, the repairs were covered under warranty, but it’s a problem to watch out for on used Audis.
The problem has continued to plague some later models as well, with problems reported on Q7s from 2019 and later. Also, explore some Audi Q3 problems.
2. Sunroof Issues
Most recent Audi SUV models are outfitted with sunroofs, one of the features that adds to the vehicles’ luxe feel. Less luxurious, however, is the tendency to leaks that plagued many of the sunroofs.
This not only resulted in cosmetic issues, but some more serious concerns. Many drivers reported that the leaks were significant enough that they affected their vehicles’ airbag systems, corroding the side air bag canisters and potentially harming their performance.
Some drivers also reported a loss of power in their sunroof mechanisms due to the leaks.
This problem resulted from a poorly designed draining system in some Audi SUVs, and also led to a wide-scale recall, with many models between 2011 and 2017 affected.
3. Burning Oil & Excessive Oil Consumption
Audi owners driving a model with the EA888 2.0L engine noticed their cars seemed to be using up a lot of oil – up to a quart every three days. Owners have also noticed classic signs of excessive oil consumption, such as blue smoke from the tailpipe and the smell of burning oil.
The problem has been attributed to several manufacturing issues with this generation of engines, ranging from piston defects to faulty crankshaft valve seals.
Regardless of the exact cause, leaking oil can cause a number of serious car troubles, including reduced fuel economy and lubrication issues in the engine. This can put excess strain on your engine and seriously affect performance.
Audi has issued a number of technical service bulletins (TSBs) that address the issue, so if your car is showing symptoms of excessive oil consumption, get to a dealership as soon as possible. Resolving the problem now could help you avoid even more costly engine issues in the future.
There’s a lot more to know about Audi Q5 problems.
4. Faulty Fuel Tank Valve
Some Audi Q7 owners have reported difficulties with starting their car right after refueling. This problem was sometimes accompanied by a popping sound from the rear of the vehicle and a check-engine notification.
This problem was caused by low-pressure sensor readings in the fuel tank, due to worn-out or broken fuel tank valves. The valve is normally responsible for sealing the tank and allowing pressure to build up – if it’s unable to seal completely, you’ll be faced with a no-start situation.
While this problem isn’t really a safety hazard, it can definitely be annoying if you’re having issues starting up every time you refill your tank. Knowing that there are problems with pressurization in your fuel tank isn’t exactly ideal, either.
However, this problem is relatively simple to fix, with a quick trip to the dealership and a replacement valve that runs around $100. You may also be interested in Audi Q8 problems.
5. Failure of Power Steering
For Q5 Audi’s from 2015 to 2021, research has shown that many drivers had problems with their power steering systems. The issue has also affected Q7s from 2017 and 2019 and Q8s from 2019 and later.
Drivers experienced a sudden loss of the ability to turn the wheel while driving, forcing them to slow down and stop their cars. In some cases, the steering malfunction was accompanied by a warning message which alerted drivers that it was unsafe to continue driving.
This has obvious potential safety problems, though no drivers have been seriously harmed by the problem as yet.
The problem has been attributed to faulty steering racks, an issue that can cost up to $3,000 to repair. In most cases, however, replacement is covered under Audi’s warranty. Other instances saw improvement with the installation of updated software.
Also, explore some Audi Q7 problems.
6. Malfunctioning Rear-View Camera
Some of the most recent Audi SUV models have had a history of software errors, particularly when it comes to the rear-view camera display.
A recall has been issued on nearly every SUV model from 2022:
- the Q3,
- Q5 and Q5 Sportback,
- and Q8.
We have a good overview of the best years for Audi Q3 and some years to avoid.
Many drivers have reported instances of their back-up camera not displaying on the screen, especially when they’ve been using it for other tasks such as sending messages or playing music.
The likely culprit in many cases is Audi’s Modular Infotainment Toolkit system, which has been known to have other software problems.
The rear-view camera malfunction, however, is one that poses significant safety concerns, particularly for vehicles that have such obvious blind spots while reversing.
It doesn’t seem to be the case that the problem is confined only to newer models, either. Drivers with models from as far back as 2013 have noted that their back-up camera performance is hit or miss, and the problem isn’t always able to be solved.
Hopefully Audi’s recall will mean that future SUVs won’t suffer from similar glitches.
7. Cylinder Misfirings
Many Audi SUV drivers have reported their engines misfiring when starting up, or repeated stalling and shuddering.
This issue tends to occur around the 60,000 or 70,000 mile mark – much too early for major engine troubles, in the opinion of many owners.
There have even been reports of the cars stalling while driving on the road – a frightening problem to say the least.
In many cases this problem is due to issues with the timing chain, especially for Q5 models from 2009 to 2013. The timing chain synchronizes engine rotation, and can result in needing an entirely new engine if the problem is severe enough. Caught early, however, timing chain replacement is relatively inexpensive.
Some other instances of misfiring, however, particularly for later models of the Q7, remain mysterious. Some dealerships have reportedly told drivers it was due to low-quality fuel use, and were at a loss for solutions aside from an expensive full-engine cleaning.
If your check engine light is on and you’re experiencing misfires, though, it’s definitely worth a trip to the dealership to avoid even more costly problems later on.
General Pros and Con for Audi SUVs
Pros for Audi SUVs
Though Audi SUVs have seen some troubles in terms of reliability, they still have some great all-around features.
- Luxe and comfy interior
- Strong performance abilities
- Lithe handling
- Upscale tech features
- Decent fuel economy
The Audi SUVs are very spacious and that also makes them popular among commuters. Lots of space is also one of the reasons Audis are popular for road trips.
Cons for Audi SUVs
- Coolant pump problems
- Sunroof issues
- Excessive oil consumption
- Failure of power steering
- Malfunctioning back-up camera
- Cylinder misfirings
What Do the Reviews Say?
Reviews for Audi SUVs have been generally favorable, though reviewers have pointed out some downsides of the vehicles.
Car and Driver rate the 2023 Q5 with a decent score of 8 out of 10, noting that:
“The 2023 Audi Q5 is like the Apple iPhone of the SUV world: it’s known for its precise build quality, good performance, and refined appearance.” On the negative side, however, they also observe that it’s “less spacious than some other compact luxury SUVs” and that it has “unimpressive warranty coverage” and “could use a fun injection.”
[Source: Car and Driver]
For their review of the 2023 Q5 model, Kelley Blue Book states that:
“It’s a well-rounded premium compact SUV that checks just about every box for shoppers in this segment. It has outstanding interior quality, desirable standard and optional features, a good range of engines, and a composed ride. Also, the quattro all-wheel-drive system comes standard. However, this class has more affordable options, and the Audi has below-average cargo space.“
[Source: Kelley Blue Book]
What’s the Resale Value On Audi SUVs?
Audi SUVs, as luxury vehicles, tend to depreciate slightly faster than average, with their value dropping significantly after the first two years of age.
Check out our comparison chart below for some examples of resale values.
Audi Q7 Depreciation Rate
Note: Estimates are based on the resale of vehicle in good condition, with an original value of $68,451.
ⓘ The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.