Is Audi Reliable? An Owner’s Perspective

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When you’re looking for a new car, particularly a luxury German car such as an Audi, one of the most important factors to consider is reliability. You don’t want to end up with a car that breaks down all the time and leaves you stranded on the side of the road.

In this blog post, we will take a look at the Audi brand and see how reliable it is from the perspective of an owner. We own an Audi TT here at The Car Investor, and also regularly drive an Audi S5, so we’re well placed to offer some first-hand insights!

So, is Audi reliable?

Audi still scores poorly in reliability studies, and there have been reports of Audis suffering from reliability issues over the years. It has a reputation for being a premium car brand, however, premium doesn’t always mean reliable.

But how many miles can an Audi serve you without breaking down? And generally, how durable are Audis? Let’s have an in-depth look at these concerns and find out if Audi is truly reliable or not.

Do Audi cars have a lot of problems?

Despite high manufacturing standards and the use of premium materials, Audi cars do suffer from some manufacturing faults that can turn into expensive problems over time.

This isn’t a new phenomenon, either. In fact, Audi has long been plagued by reports of reliability issues. The question is, are these reports overblown in the online community?

Studies by Car Complaints show that the 2011 Audi A4, for example, has received a huge number of complaints with regards to engine issues despite the A4 model being considered one of the most reliable Audis.

In particular, the 2011 A4 suffers from excessive use of engine oil, which is a known issue in a number of Audi models.

A red 2011 Audi A4
Although the A4 is considered reliable, the 2011 model has received poor reviews

If serious manufacturing problems are identified, generally Audi will organize a recall to rectify the issue. However, this can be a lengthy process and often leaves owners without their car for a period of time.

So what are the some of the main problems that Audi owners face?

What are common problems with Audis?

Any car can suffer from mechanical or electrical faults, but there are some common issues that appear frequently in certain cars and are categorized as ‘known faults’.

Some of the most common problems with Audis include:

Axle joint problem

Some Audis exhibit signs of wear and deterioration to the axle joint. It usually happens as a result of the car being driven hard over prolonged periods of time.

Common symptoms of this problem include strong vibrations, as well as a clicking noise when accelerating.

If left unchecked, the problem can cause complete failure of the axle joint, which can be very dangerous.

Electrical failures

With the ever-increasing reliance on electrics in today’s automotive world, it’s little surprise that Audis (and other cars) suffer from electrical issues from time to time.

Anything from the infotainment system to the headlights can be affected, and complex electrical issues can be very difficult (and expensive) to fix.

Owner reports suggest this is a particular problem with Audis.

Audi A6 dashboard
With so much onboard tech, it’s bound to go wrong every so often

Engine Oil Leakage

Damaged gaskets or engine seals can cause engine oil leakage, and it often happens as a result of inadequate maintenance.

Oil leaks can be easy to spot but notoriously difficult to diagnose, and without a swift repair can lead to serious engine damage, or worse, total engine failure.

Faulty Spark Plugs

Spark plug failure is one of the most complained about issues on Audi forums. If maintenance routines are not followed and plugs are not replaced on time, it could spell disaster.

Ignition failure, a loss of power, misfiring, knocking and general poor performance with lower fuel efficiency have all been reported as a result.

So what do these problems mean for the reliability of Audi cars? Are they likely to leave you stranded on the side of the road?

Do Audis break down a lot?

Audis that have been meticulously cared for with maintenance schedules adhered to are unlikely to regularly break down. However, when maintenance is neglected an Audi is a lot more likely to break down frequently.

As we’ve established, Audis have a high build quality and can be very durable machines. But any car is susceptible to breaking down when basic maintenance is overlooked.

According to Repair Pal, an Audi needs to visit a workshop an average 0.8 times a year due to a break down. This is slightly better than its executive German rivals, but Audi is still far from being the leader in terms of break downs.

The Japanese automakers have long been the benchmark for reliability.

Audi break downs can be expensive, too. With the annual repair bill costing over $900 on average, it’s not cheap to keep on top of things.

An Audi dealership
A trip to the dealership can be expensive for any Audi owner

Do Audis last long?

An Audi will last a long time if it’s maintained correctly throughout its lifetime. There are many examples of Audis lasting for over 200,000 miles without major issues, and some owners have kept their Audis running for well over 30 years.

Keeping up with scheduled maintenance is just one factor that helps an Audi last a long time, however. Other factors include:

  • Driving style
  • Whether OEM or aftermarket parts are used
  • Where the car is stored when not in use
  • If the car is exposed to extreme weather conditions throughout its life (e.g. regular snow)

Here at The Car Investor, our Audi TT is almost 20 years old and is still going strong, with no signs of giving up anytime soon.

We were careful to buy one with a perfect service history record to increase our chances of long-term reliability, and we’ve followed the recommended maintenance schedule to the letter.

Audi TT service record
Our used Audi TT came with a full service record and stacks of maintenance invoices

This is just one example, but it goes to show that Audis can continue to be used regularly even after two decades on the road.

Are used Audi cars reliable?

Used Audis offer affordability and reliability in one package, but only examples with an excellent service history should be considered to avoid any nasty reliability issues down the line.

Checking an Audi’s service history is easy enough to do, and it should give you a good idea of how the previous owner treated the car.

It’s important to check for any potential issues that may have arisen during the car’s lifetime.

To increase your chances of finding a used Audi that will be reliable, it’s important to:

  • Check the service history
  • Look for any signs of neglect or poor maintenance
  • Find out if it’s ever been involved in a crash
  • Get a professional opinion where necessary

If you’re worried, our Used Car Checklist will help you to identify any potential problems before you make a purchase. It even includes a printable PDF to take with you if you’re test driving a used Audi.

New Audis have been known to depreciate rapidly in the first few years, so a used model is a great way to get behind the wheel of a luxury car without breaking the bank.

While there will inevitably be some repairs to make during your ownership, you shouldn’t let reliability concerns put you off buying a used model.

Set aside some cash for potential repairs before making a purchase, and you’ll be prepared for anything that comes your way.

Are Audis reliable after 100k miles?

With the correct care, an Audi will remain reliable well beyond the 100,000 mile mark. Owners report their Audis to require extra attention after this point, however.

100,000 mile is often a benchmark for a car’s reliability, as this can be when issues start to crop up. However, long-gone are the days when a car would start to fall apart as soon as it hits the 100k mark.

Service the car on time when required, undertake preventive maintenance where necessary, and replace any worn out parts and you’ll find that your Audi will continue to serve you well for many miles to come.

A red Audi 90
It’s not uncommon to see Audis with well over 100,000 miles on the clock

Our Audi TT isn’t at the 100,000 mile mark yet, it’s on a mere 75,000, but we’re confident that it will continue to provide us with many more miles of faithful service.

Which Audi model is most reliable?

The Audi A4 is rated as being highly reliable by owners and experts alike. It is considered the most reliable Audis.

Of course, this will depend on the model year and the individual car, but in general, these models are considered to be some of the most reliable in the Audi range.

These cars aren’t immune to problems, of course (we mentioned the 2011 A4’s issues earlier), but if you’re looking for a used Audi that is likely to be reliable, one of these models should be at the top of your list.

It’s also worth noting that Audi’s ‘quattro’ all-wheel-drive system has a reputation for being one of the most reliable AWD systems on the market.

Which model of Audi should be avoided?

The Audi Q7 is one of the most unreliable Audis and should be avoided by those who are looking for a reliable car. It’s also very costly to repair.

The Q-series of SUV’s have been known to be problematic over the years, and have been known to suffer from a number of serious reliability issues.

The Q7 and Q5 seem to be the worst hit, and a number of recalls have been issued for these models over the years.

The Audi A8 also seems to have its fair share of reliability issues. Given these cars’ high price tags, it’s a shame that they don’t seem to be able to match up to many of their rivals in terms of reliability.

A white Audi Q7
The Q7 receives particularly poor reliability scores

Are Audis reliable – what does Reddit think?

Reddit users see Audis as reliable cars overall, and capable of lasting well over 100,000 miles if they are well-maintained.

Reddit is a great source for honest owner reviews, so we took a look through the various threads regarding Audi reliability.

The consensus seems to be that Audis are generally reliable cars, but they do have their fair share of issues.

To summarise Reddit users’ thoughts on Audi reliability:

  • Maintenance can be pricey, but is well worth it
  • They’re good for over 100,000 miles, but need a little more care after that point
  • Don’t use cheap parts
  • If the tech fails, it can be extremely expensive to repair

We’d recommend taking a look on Reddit if you’re considering buying an Audi. Just be careful to only read the reviews from real owners or experts, not those who have anecdotal evidence for poor reliability.

Final thoughts

Owner reports vary drastically when it comes to Audi reliability, but the truth is that modern Audis are still not scoring particularly well in reliability studies.

Despite this, Audi has been working hard to overcome these issues in recent years, and the brand’s cars are getting better. Evidence from owners suggests that reliability is improving.

As owners of an older Audi, we can say that, in our experience, it has always been a reliable car. We put this down to picking the right example with a perfect service history, and no signs of prior abuse.

Our Audi TT is still going strong

Of course, we’ve had to make the odd repair here and there (every car needs some love every now and again), but nothing that has been unduly expensive or time-consuming to fix.

In fact, it’s only been regular wear and tear items that have needed replacing in our two years of ownership, such as the brake pads, rotors, and tires.

With the exception of the known manufacturing faults, it’s often neglect that leads to big problems with Audis. So if you’re looking at buying one, be sure to learn what it needs to stay healthy, and give it some TLC when required.

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Adam Chinn writes about the intersecting worlds of classic cars, driving pleasure, and smart investment strategies. Starting his journey at 26, he’s proven that one doesn’t need to be wealthy to begin investing in classic cars.

Adam’s insights have been recognized on platforms such as MoneyInc, Swagger Magazine, and Top Speed.

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