Even though Audi has had success and a loyal fan base, there’s one burning question that arises time and time again – just how reliable are Audis?
Are we being fooled by the Audi build quality, or are they really that reliable?
Today, we will try to settle this debate!
Prepare yourself for an entertaining read filled with facts, insights from Audi owners, and helpful tips for getting the most out of your Audi.
Let’s dive in!
At a glance: How reliable are Audis?
Before you drive down to your local Audi dealership and sign that dotted line, it’s important to consider whether you’re buying something dependable.
So, for this article, we’ve studied industry reliability rankings, consumer reports, and complaints from Audi owners.
All to find how reliable Audis actually are!
So if you’re in a hurry, here are our main conclusions:
In general, industry rankings give Audi a below-average reliability rating. While consumer reports are more positive about Audi’s reliability, it can still be called moderate at best.
However, it’s worth noting that not all Audis have questionable reliability.
Here is a list of the most reliable Audi models:
- Audi A5
- Audi TT
- Audi A3
- Audi A4
- Audi A7
- Audi A6
We also looked at the Audi models you should avoid if you’re concerned about reliability:
- Audi Q3
- Audi e-tron
- Audi Q5
- Audi A8
- Audi Q7
All in all, Audi’s reliability is below average. Common reliability issues for Audis include oil leaks, failing spark plugs or timing chains, or oil sludge build up in the engine.
Interested to learn more about Audi’s reliability and see all the rankings?
Then read on!
Audi’s reliability in industry rankings and consumer reports
When assessing a car’s reliability, there are few better sources than industry rankings and consumer reports.
So, how does Audi stack up in these assessments?
Let’s take a closer look!
Industry reliability rankings
First, let’s check Audi’s industry rankings.
Below is an overview of Audi’s reliability rankings from well-known industry ranking reports. We’ve also compared Audi’s scores with those of BMW and Mercedes:
|Ranking||Audi reliability score||BMW reliability score||Mercedes reliability score|
|J.D. Power||232 (problems per 100 vehicles)||187 (problems per 100 vehicles)||195 (problems per 100 vehicles)|
Tip: Are you interested in the reliability of Mercedes and BMW too? If so, we did a deep dive into the reliability of the Mercedes C-Class in this article and the overall reliability of BMW here!
Let’s take a closer look at this data:
J.D. Power recorded 232 problems per 100 Audi vehicles, significantly more than 187 and 195 problems per 100 vehicles for BMW and Mercedes, respectively. In fact, Audi was ranked in 26th place out of the 33 car brands in the reliability ranking.
RepairPal has a similar ranking, with an Audi reliability score of 3/5. This reliability puts Audi at 28th out of the 32 car brands in the study.
Next up, we have iSeeCars, which gives Audi a 7.8/10 score for reliability. For reference, Honda, a brand generally seen as very reliable, gets a score of 8.1/10.
Lastly, WarrantyWise’s reliability ranking gives Audi a 74/100. This ranks Audi 28th out of 36 for all car brands.
So, what conclusion can we make from this data?
According to industry rankings, Audis are not very reliable. Audi is not the least reliable car brand, but also definitely not the most reliable. Regarding reliability, Audi generally ranks in the lower quartile compared to other popular car brands.
Keep in mind that these rankings are compiled based on research of analytics companies.
So, what if we look at reports based on direct feedback from Audi owners?
Let’s check them out!
In this section, we will assess Audi’s reliability based on trusted publications that conduct surveys of Audi owners.
Here is an overview of what Audi owners have reported about their Audi’s reliability:
|Report||Audi reliability score||BMW reliability score||Mercedes reliability score|
|CarComplaints.com||1,011 complaints||987 complaints||1,140 complaints|
Of these two reports, the one from Consumer Reports contains the most input data and can therefore be considered the most accurate.
Here is an infographic of the results:
We see that Audi scores 60 out of 100 for reliability. This is actually a great score, as Audi ranks 6th out of the 24 car brands here!
Fun fact: WarrantyWise also did a 750-people survey on the most reliable manufacturers, and Audi, BMW, and Mercedes were all placed in the top ten most reliable car brands.
From the results of consumer surveys, we can conclude that the perceived reliability of Audis is better than average. Consumer reports show that Audi owners don’t experience the reliability to be as bad as some industry rankings say.
What are common reliability issues for Audis?
When it comes to cars, reliability is critical.
After all, nobody wants to drive a car that will break down after driving it off the lot.
So, how has the reliability of Audi models fared over the years?
It turns out Audi has had its share of ups and downs regarding reliability.
In the past, the German automaker has struggled with several issues, including electrical problems and issues with the engine.
Here are the most common reliability issues for Audis:
- Oil leaks
- Failing spark plugs
- Electrical problems
- Oil sludge problems
- Failing timing chains
- Carbon build up
But, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining.
Audi has used these past challenges to their advantage, so you generally won’t experience these issues on the newest models.
However, if you’re thinking of getting a used Audi, these are still essential to know, so let’s take a closer look at them:
First up, let’s talk about the dreaded oil leaks.
Many Audi owners have reported issues with oil leaks, particularly in older models.
This can be a frustrating and potentially expensive issue, as oil leaks are simple to see, but very hard to find out the exact location where it’s leaking.
So, it’s essential to watch for any signs of a leak and address the issue promptly if you notice one!
Failing spark plugs
Another common issue with Audis is failing spark plugs.
These small but critical components ignite the fuel in your engine’s cylinders, which powers your car.
Over time, spark plugs can become worn or fouled, leading to misfires, reduced fuel efficiency, and even engine damage.
However, they seem to fail faster than usual on some Audis.
Here is an Audi owner that even found a spark plug that had its porcelain part broken:
So, if you’re experiencing rough idling or poor acceleration, it might be time to check your spark plugs and swap them out for new ones.
Owners of older Audis are likely to be familiar with electrical problems.
From faulty sensors to malfunctioning dashboard displays, Audis have been known to have failing electrical systems:
Note: If the fan in your Audi stays on while the engine is off, it may seem like a problem. However, it is generally nothing to worry about.
Oil sludge problems
A typical Audi problem is oil sludge buildup in a turbocharged engine.
Just Google something like ‘Audi oil sludge problem,’ and you will find hundreds of results!
Over time, moisture, heat, and other factors can cause oil to break down and form sludge, clogging the engine’s oil passages and leading to reduced performance or even engine failure.
Here’s how it looks on an Audi TT that hasn’t had its oil changed for 84k miles:
So, how do you prevent it?
The answer is simple: perform oil changes every 10 to 15k miles and use approved high-quality engine oil!
Failing timing chains
Failed timing chains are another common issue that can plague Audis.
The timing chain is a crucial component of your car’s engine, ensuring that the valves and pistons are synchronized.
Audi’s EA888 2.0-liter engine was notorious for failed timing chains. The issue was caused by tensioner problems, and it resulted in complete engine failures in multiple instances.
But don’t blame Audi too much for this issue. Other German manufacturers were struggling with designing reliable timing chains too. For example, there were a few BMW 1 Series with timing chain issues too!
Carbon build up
Finally, let’s talk about carbon build up.
This is a common issue on many Audi models, particularly those with direct injection engines.
Over time, carbon deposits can accumulate on the intake valves, leading to poor performance, reduced fuel economy, and even engine damage.
As an example, here is an Audi 2.0-liter engine with only 28k miles:
This problem is caused by a combination of factors, including the engine’s design and the fuel used.
To prevent the problem, it’s important to perform regular maintenance and get premium gas for your Audi.
Your Audi might suffer from carbon build-up if you notice sluggish performance or decreased fuel economy. In that case, it’s recommended to get the intake valves cleaned.
The 11 most (& least) reliable Audi models
There’s no doubt that Audi has earned its place as one of the most popular car brands in the world.
But with various models to choose from, how can you know which are the most reliable and which you should avoid?
To help answer this question, we’ve scoured reviews, customer feedback, and reliability ratings to bring some clarity to the level of reliability of Audi models.
The 6 most reliable Audi models
Let’s start by discussing the most reliable Audi models!
1. Audi A5
Looking for a reliable Audi? Look no further than the Audi A5!
With an impressive reliability rating of 8.3/10 on iSeeCars, this Audi model is sure to get you from A to B in style.
Plus, it’s been named one of the top three most dependable compact premium cars by J.D. Power.
So, can you really go wrong with it?
2. Audi TT
Looking for a reliable sports car that’s also a blast to drive?
The Audi TT is a perfect choice!
According to iSeeCars, the TT is the most reliable Audi model, with an impressive reliability score of 9.6/10.
From its sporty exterior to its responsive handling, the Audi TT is designed to deliver an exhilarating driving experience, whether you’re cruising down the highway or taking on winding back roads.
3. Audi A3
If you’re looking for a reliable car that won’t break the bank, the Audi A3 should be at the top of your list.
With a solid reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5.0 on RepairPal, the A3 is ranked 4th out of 17 luxury compact cars for reliability.
Plus, with a J.D. Power reliability score of 86/100, you can trust that the A3 will get you where you need to go, whether you’re commuting to work or hitting the open road!
When looking for the best Audi A3 years to buy, we recommend looking for a 2016 to 2019 Audi A3 from the Mk2 8V generation. This generation of Audi A3 has surprisingly few issues and seems to do well on reliability overall.
4. Audi A4
If you’re in search of a vehicle that combines reliability and luxury, the Audi A4 is a great option to consider.
With an impressive reliability rating of 8.6/10 on iSeeCars and a score of 79/100 on J.D. Power, the Audi A4 is one of the most dependable Audi models.
Not only does it offer reliability, but its stylish design and top-notch performance make it a great choice for those who want the best of both worlds.
If you’re interested in how much it costs to maintain an Audi A4, we did all the calculations in our article here!
5. Audi A7
Looking for a luxury car that is as reliable as it is stylish?
You can’t go wrong with the Audi A7!
This sophisticated model is one of the most dependable Audi cars out there, with an impressive reliability rating of 7.6/10 on iSeeCars.
The Audi A7 also shines in J.D. Power’s rankings, earning a score of 85/100!
6. Audi A6
If you’re in the market for a reliable luxury sedan, then the Audi A6 might be something for you!
The Audi A6 is one of the most dependable Audi models out there, with an impressive reliability rating of 8.6/10 on iSeeCars. Plus, it’s received a solid reliability score of 3.5/5 on RepairPal, showing that it’s built to last.
We also researched the reliability of the Audi A6 and concluded that some Audi A6 years are definitely reliable, including 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2017, and 2018.
The 5 least reliable Audi models (to avoid)
Not all Audis score high in reliability rankings.
Let’s take a look at some of the least dependable Audi models:
1. Audi Q3
If you’re in the market for an Audi, you might want to think twice before getting a Q3.
It received a 6.8/10 reliability rating on iSeeCars, which is not bad, but not great either.
And on J.D. Power, it got a reliability score of 76/100, which is on the lower end for luxury subcompact SUVs.
So if you’re looking for a dependable car that won’t give you any headaches, you might want to consider other Audi models, such as the A3.
2. Audi e-tron
Are you looking for an unreliable car that’ll give you the thrill of constant maintenance?
Look no further than the Audi e-tron!
This electric SUV is among the least reliable Audi models out there, with a dismal reliability rating of 1/5 on Consumer Reports.
MotorBiscuit even went so far as to call it ‘as reliable as a paper airplane’.
But hey, maybe you’re up for a challenge, right?
3. Audi Q5
It’s time to talk about the Audi Q5.
While it may have a fancy in- and exterior, don’t be fooled.
This luxury SUV has a bit of a reliability problem.
According to J.D. Power, the Audi Q5 only receives a 63/100 score in reliability.
That’s not exactly a glowing review!
4. Audi A8
If you’re looking for a car you can count on, it might be best to skip the Audi A8.
Unfortunately, the Audi A8 has not fared well in terms of reliability.
With a low reliability rating of 1.5 out of 5 on RepairPal, it’s one of the least reliable Audi models out there.
That being said, the Audi A8 does offer plenty of high-end features, making it a popular choice for those who prioritize comfort and luxury over reliability.
5. Audi Q7
Are you looking for an SUV that can take on the toughest terrains with ease?
In that case, you’re likely looking at an Audi Q7.
However, in terms of reliability, it may not be your best bet.
The Audi Q7 reliability rating is a lackluster 2.5/5 on RepairPal, which places it squarely in the ‘below average’ category.
3 Factors affecting the reliability of an Audi
Even though Audi doesn’t get the best reputation in terms of reliability, we’re convinced that if you treat it well, it will treat you well in return.
Here are some of the factors that will help to maintain your Audi’s reliability:
First up is maintenance. Who would’ve guessed?
As with any car, how you care for your Audi can greatly impact its overall reliability.
Regular oil changes, tire rotations, and other routine maintenance tasks are essential to keep your car running smoothly.
You should check if it’s worth getting the Audi Care package to ensure your Audi gets the best possible maintenance.
Also, if you notice any strange noises, unusual vibrations, or warning lights on your dashboard, it’s important to get your car checked out by a professional as soon as possible.
Catching potential issues early can help prevent more serious and expensive problems.
And when performing repairs, make sure to use high-quality parts.
Lower-quality parts may save you money in the short term, but it could cost you more in the long run if they cause further damage to your vehicle.
In addition to regular maintenance and paying attention to warning signs, it’s also important to take care of your Audi’s exterior and interior.
Keeping your car clean and well-maintained can help prevent rust and other issues affecting your car’s reliability.
A great brand to look at if you would like to get some car care products for your Audi is Chemical Guys:
Their website offers a variety of high-quality, proven car cleaning products for both your exterior and interior.
Neglect any of these tasks, and you could set yourself up for a host of issues down the road!
Another factor that can affect Audi’s reliability is age.
Like any other machine, cars inevitably break down over time.
While Audi’s are built to last, older models may experience more frequent issues related to worn parts, brittle plastics, or even rust.
Usage is another critical factor to consider.
If you’re someone who puts a lot of miles on their car, you may find that your Audi starts to experience more issues over time.
Also, driving in extreme weather conditions or rough terrain can take a toll on your car, potentially causing damage that could impact its reliability.
Of course, if you’re someone who only drives their car occasionally, you may get away with less maintenance and upkeep.
Do you have any more questions about the reliability of Audis? If so, take a look at our FAQs below:
Is Audi more reliable than BMW?
BMW gets a worse reliability score than Audi on industry rankings from RepairPal, iSeeCars, and WarrantyWise. However, on J.D. Power, Consumer Reports, and Carcomplaints, BMW gets a better reliability score. So, on average, the reliability of Audis is the same as that of BMWs.
Are Audis expensive to maintain?
Audis are more expensive to maintain compared to an average car, mainly due to the higher cost of parts and labor. RepairPal estimates an annual maintenance cost of $987 for an Audi.
Do Audi cars last long?
Are used Audis worth buying?
Used Audis are worth buying if they are well-maintained and taken care of. A used Audi will offer you luxury and comfort for a fraction of the price of a new Audi.
So, are Audis reliable?
The answer is yes and no – while some Audis have proved to be very reliable, overall, the reliability of Audis can be called moderate at best.
From oil leaks to electrical problems, Audi owners have reported various reliability issues over the years.
However, with regular maintenance, careful driving habits, and prompt attention to any warning signs, Audis can be reliable cars that last for years!