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A3 Handbrake Problem - assistance/evidence needed

Emma Mar 29, 2004

  1. Emma

    Emma New Member

    I have a 2 month old A3 2.0 TDI. Today, I parked on a small incline with the handbrake on (but not in gear), just the same as I always do. After 15 minutes the car decided to career accross the car park and smash into a Chrysler Voyager !!! The damage to both cars will run into thousands. Fortunately, no one was injured.

    Neither Audi UK or the dealership want to know, even though they came out to see the car in "crash position" and have confirmed that the handbrake was on as much as anyone would reasonably be expected to pull it. They even tested it at their own MOT garage which concluded that, unless the handbrake was on to its fullest extent it might fail the MOT!!! The dealership just says that I should contact my insurance company.

    Both the dealership and Audi UK say that the handbook says that the car should be left in gear if on an incline. Does this mean that the handbrake cannot be relied upon alone??? I noted that this is only a "Caution" in the handbook, (i.e. on the same level as the caution that the leather might fade if left in the sun and that caution that you should leave the car idling for two minutes when you get to where you're going - has anyone ever done that???). It is not a "Warning" which - given that the car could have killed a whole family - it should be if it's as critical as they now say it is to leave it in gear. It seems to me that Audi are trying to squirm out of an inadequate handbrake and leaving me with the bill!!!

    Does anyone have any comments or advice, or evidence of squashed people in car parks that Audi don't seem to care about???

    I intend to take up this fight with Audi so any help / evidence (even financial contributions to pay for a lawyer!) would be gratefully appreciated.

    (see also my post re the Audi / RAC cover)

  2. Wish

    Wish Member

    I think you will find that VW Golfs have suffered with this for a long time too.
    It has something to do with the disc's cooling and there for getting smaller and therefor the grip from the handbrake becoming less.

    Ive known a lot of Golfs doing it and causing thousands of pounds worth of damage, Even a week old R32 running through someones garage doors !

    I have never known anyone 'WIN' against the manufacture !

  3. garethj

    garethj Member

    Your insurance company may be prepared to take up the fight for you, pursue them to see if you can get any joy from them.

    Had you been using the brakes a lot prior to parking (would explain the disk heat theory), otherwise it sounds like the handbrake was badly adjusted.
  4. AndyMac

    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    That's really bad news, but I'll definately be telling A3 owners to watch out. But I guess it must be a problem for all vehicles with rear discs (i.e. pretty much all modern cars)?
    Like Gareth says, it's your insurance companies fight, not yours, so let them sort it out.
    Just don't tell them about all the handbrake turns you were doing before you parked up!
  5. Kevint

    Kevint Active Member

    Not happened in my new A3, although now I always park in gear.

    However it did happen in my old A3, I live on a steep hill, luckily there was some lock on the steering wheel when I parked the car, so when the handbrake slipped the car turned across the road and into some trees, nice.

    Not only do I now park in gear but I also make sure I do no heavy braking for the last 2/3 miles of my journey.

  6. Bazza

    Bazza Member

    [ QUOTE ]
    khufu said:
    I think I posted here what happened to my pals Citroen BX. It did the same - due to the cooling of the discs. I always leave cars in gear, but not everybody checks before starting the engine!

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Really common fault on citreon bx's and xantias though - even made watchdog.

    The only problem I had with my a3 was the wiper fault thinking about it now.
  7. M70RMY

    M70RMY New Member

    I had a Corrado 16V before my A3 and I had the same problem with that, but not only was the problem of the handbrake not being effective enough, I had to change the rear calipers a few times due to them seizing and failing the M.O.T. :-(
  8. Gambba

    Gambba Active Member


    Sorry to hear about the accident, you must be well miffed with it all.

    This is a wide spread problem across the automotive industry, and the get out clause for manufacturers is that they state what to do when parking on an incline in the operators handbook.

    One of my ex-girlfriends had a Merc and exactly the same thing happened to her as you Emma, and Mercedes used the same justification as above..... /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif

    I would say still pursue it with Audi UK until you can be bothered no longer or they give in.

    Let us know if anything comes of it all. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/beerchug.gif
  9. thor59

    thor59 New Member

    Hi Emma,
    I have got an A3, and never had any problems with the handbrake. Common sense should tell you, if you park on a hill, no matter what make of car, to pull the handbrake firmly and as a safety measure to put it in 1st gear...My next door neighbour had his car parked outside his house, and over night the cable snapped and his car landed in his front room. Had he put it in gear, nothing would have happened. As you say the handbook states to put it in gear. I wouldn't waste any money or time in trying to get anything from Audi, as there isn't a real problem. The only problem is, how do you describe firm? ThatÂ’s why car manufacturers tell you to put it in gear as well as the brake on.
  10. RobertPearce

    RobertPearce New Member

    Thanks for your reply to my partner Emma's post.

    The more we think about this, the more we are intent on pursuing Audi to make sure that this problem is fixed, rather than just be fobbed off by Audi. Next time someone might get killed.

    If you need to leave the car in gear then clearly the handbrake cannot be relied upon and people should be told and/or the problem fixed before someone dies.

    Seeing as you've had this problem too, would you be willing to provide us with any evidence, a statement or report as to what happened in your case so that we can use it.

    please contact me by email, either at Rob.Pearce@rpa.uk.com or by post to:

    Rob Pearce
    8 Station Road
    DA3 7QD

    Tel 01474 708888
  11. recomdos

    recomdos Active Member

    whatever happens - best of luck!
  12. neil.c

    neil.c Senior

    The correct method for applying the handbrake is to push down firmly on the foot brake while pulling up the handbrake. The reason for this is it pushes the pads firmly against the disk so requires less force on the handbrake.

    My father used to park his car on his sloping drive until he came out one morning and found it parked on my mums rear bumper.

    All my golf gti's have done the same

    I have an astra company car which I parked on a friends drive not - much of a slope -,only to look out of the window to see the car rolling towards his house. I ran outside put my weight in front of the car and stopped it, but it was still locked and I couldn't let it go because it would start moving again.

    Often when I have parked one of my cars on a hill in gear, when I push the clutch down to start the car it starts to roll.

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