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s3 - how reliable

clldt Sep 14, 2006

  1. clldt

    clldt New Member

    Having run a corrado VR6 for three years which has not missed a beat I am seriously considerg buying an S3 2000/2001 vintage - but am concerned about reliabilty and costs. As I guide I obtained a quote from Warranty direct - about £750 per year (compared to about £300 for most cars of a similar age ie BMW325i).
    Are these cars generally unreliable or is it that there are a few wrong uns which cost thousand to fit.
    The rep at warranty direct suggested suspension and turbo failures as problem areas.
    I would be grateful for any feedback including horror stories.
    I have allways bought cars which are around 4-5 years old and at 80-90k without problems. At what sort of age and mileage do problems crop up on S3's

    thanks in advance for any views/comments.
  2. madvw

    madvw Active Member

    the reason why warranty direct will charge you much more than a BMW, is because the S3 has a turbocharger and 4wd. Nothing on the planet puts car warranties up as much as these two.

    As for reliability, there are dogs, but it's not regarded as an "unreliable car".

    I'd have said that the Corrado VR6 was a more unreliable car. I had allsorts of trouble on mine with heat, popped hoses, fussy about sparkplugs, knackered engine, dodgy headlamp switches, dodgy heater controls. In fact, the only thing that didnt go wrong was the spoiler.

    It depends on how paranoid you are really, and how much abuse you throw at it. No cars indestructible, but the B5's and 8L's did come pretty close.
  3. C_Audiboy

    C_Audiboy Vroom Vroom

    Some common S3 faults worth checking out:

    - Coilpack failures
    - Squeaky ARBs and bushes
    - Drivers door lock assembly failure (shows door ajar)
    - Coolant sensor
    - MAF failures
    - Diverter valve failures
    - Intake pipes collapsing on earlier remapped cars

    Anyone care to add to the list?

    Worth noting that none of these are 'major' or too expensive to fix. I think the expensive parts - engine, turbo and transmission - have proved to be rock solid for most owners.

    I had a few of the faults above in 2 years of S3 ownership, but I'd say over all a reliable motor.
  4. jojo

    jojo Looking for Boost! Staff Member Moderator Team Daytona Audi S3 quattro Audi A6 Audi Avant Owner Group

    It's got to be said that if there's a problem with my S3, then I'd post something up, but if she's fine, I just read and contribute to threads, so hard to say how reliable these cars are, as you will most likely read posts where there is something wrong!
    Mine runs fine btw, apart from wear and tear, had a MAF sensor changed in 4 years and 26k miles.
  5. ajbroch

    ajbroch New Member

    MY cooling sensor and MAF had it.

    Also the cd player and shocks - but that could have been me!
  6. madvw

    madvw Active Member

    most of the problems above are also generic VAG 1.8T problems, B5/8L platform problems, or just generic problems associated with modern day cars with too many electrical sensors for their own good.

    Two weaknesses i can think of that are specific to s3/quattro TT's are the snapping of the rear springs and the rate of ARB bush wear.
  7. Vman

    Vman Member

    My X reg S3 is coming upto 100K. Problems with it :-

    New clutch (which is being done next Wednesday. Cost £600)
    Petrol gauge tends to jump around not reading the correct amount - not sure whether this is a common problem.
    When it's a very warm day the drivers door sometimes thinks it's still open when it's actually closed - believe this is a common problem.
    Rear washer not working - common problem.
    Crunch from gear box when going into 3rd gear. (If you let the revs drop this does not happen.) I believe the gear box needs to be re-built to fix this.

    Both rear spings have broken in the passed now replaced.

    Apart from this I love the car it looks stunning always turns heads. When driving on a long journey i.e. to Scotland - it's superb.
  8. monkeytrousers

    monkeytrousers Member

    Another common fault is the dashboard DIS fading or losing pixels. I think this affects older S3s.

    I have had the drivers door issue, and the rear window washer too, and yes, my gearbox sometimes crunches from 2nd-3rd (but only if pushing it hard) but on the whole I have been pleased with reliability. The engine has been perfect, problems have been more electrics-related.

    Oh yeah, I had a new clutch at 38K miles - probably due to the remap.
  9. tonedef

    tonedef Member

    I too have a driver's door switch that's unreliable when warm. And how about wandering headlights? Still trying to get that one fixed with darker evenings looming.

    Another thing I had to replace was the air con compressor clutch which had simply fallen off, I've heard of other people suffering from that one too.

    It's certainly a solid, well built car though, a natural progression from the Corrado. In fact most of the problems I've had with it have been with things the Corrado doesn't even have fitted, guess that's the price of progress.
  10. mattyboy199

    mattyboy199 Well-Known Member

    My S3 is a 2002 since owning it almost a year the following has been carried out:
    1 x tempreture sensor (cooling system)
    1 x Steering Column
    1 x Front Anti roll bar

    Comsumables such as re-gas aircon, exhaust rubber mounting thingy's, two front tyres, brake fluid, brake pads soon & probably rear tyres.

    Believe me these cars are not cheap to run.

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