Audiable whir / whine from rear of S3 on light throttle?


Jul 10, 2007
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Hi guys... we took the S3 for its first major motorway jaunt at the weekend just gone.

Enter stage door left... really irritating noise from the rear of the car.

Its a kind of whirring, buzz, whine noise. At first I thought it was stereo interference, until I switched it off and it remained!

It only happens on LIGHT throttle at speeds of 50 onwards... come off the throttle it stops and on throttle hard it stops

Usually once the car has warmed up too.

Initially I thought fuel pump but i'm sure it changes pitch with the speed of the car so possibly the rear diff?

Words cannot describe how annoying it is. It's not loud BUT it is there... and I can make it out over the stereo too. Especially when i'm now listening out for it all the time!

Its booked in to Audi so I can replicate it and get them to check it out but curious as to whether anyone else has had similar in their S3?

I also have a steering wheel judder at 70-80 mph so they can sort that too!
What was the outcome mate? Sometimes hear a similar noise coming from my s3 at higher speeds
I have seen a case where the ring gear bolts came loose on an R32 rear diff . It gave a noise similar to your description.
Interesting to read your account of a reported noise, such as you describe. I recently purchased a 2010 S3 Sportback, and on the journey home from Scotland I noticed a whining noise from the rear, which was most evident at motorway speeds, and was particularly present when applying acceleration loading to the rear drive. Indeed I could by the end of my journey back to Sussex bring on the noise "to order". I didn't concern myself too much with this fault as I had the remainder of an Audi aftermarket warranty which was transferred into my name as part of the sale, and if indeed the diff was faulty then this should be covered. I presented the car to Audi for inspection, they concurred that the diff was indeed the problem and it would require replacement. The claim was presented to Audi warranty, AKA Allianz Insurance. The latter accepted Audi's diagnosis but none the less rejected the claim! Their reason for rejection was that "the diff had not actually broken and the vehicle could still be driven, therefore was not covered by the warranty"?!! Clearly I contested their response as failed diff bearings on a 54K miles car with full Audi history was not acceptable and in terms of diff function bearing failure constitutes a failed component. The diff is filled for life according to Audi, and the only serviceable components available for it are the drive shaft oil seals, in all other respects any failure requires a complete replacement assembly at £2700.00! Audi told me that, had this claim been made under manufacturers warranty it would have been an instant no quibble claim. Oh yes, and here is the best "laugh", Allianz went on to inform me that should I continue to drive with this condition and the diff truly did let go then this too would not qualify as a claim, even though this time the car could not continue to be driven, because this would have been due to wear and tear from a previously known condition! So indeed if you think your £500.00 fully comprehensive Audi extended warranty is your ace up your sleeve, then think again. I would suggest that if you are the owner of such a policy, then in order to get the best function from this booklet, separate each page from the policy booklet and place on the toilet shelf in readiness for the appropriate and completely befitting disposal. I am now in the process of changing the diff myself, and only have two pages left on the toilet shelf !
How much did you manage to source a rear diff for and where from 16VG60?

Thanks, Alex.
In the end after finding that a new diff was going to be a minimum of £2K+ , I sourced a low mileage salvage unit from a reliable breaker, I have used in the past, for £400.00. This unit was supplied complete with the entire rear subframe assembly, inclusive in the sale price. I took the opportunity to completely re-furnish the whole package, stripping it down, shot blasted and powder coated, and built up with new bushes, drop links brakes, bearings etc. all in all a much more comprehensive job than I would ever of had from Dealer. My failed diff has been sent off to our gearbox specialist to see if it can be rebuilt. If this is possible then we can then offer this service to our customers. While the subframe was out I also cleaned up the rear floor pan and wax oiled it for future protection.
I'm booked in to Audi tomorrow (yes it took that long!)

I hope I can replicate it for the 'technician'. There's quite a wobble on the steering wheel when at 80mph and turning slightly too... not sure if they can address that.

I will kick off if they reject anything needed seeing as we've only had the car since feb this year. Bought it from a main dealer and its done 19k miles.
Would be nice to see what you find. One I had was loose crown wheel bolts.
Ok so took the technician out earlier... could we hear anything... NO. It was a bit like not being able to **** whilst someone is next to you!

Road noise was quite heavy so I left it with them to put it on their ramp and investigate.

Phonecall a few hours later. New diff on order, to be booked in, in 2 weeks for replacement under warranty.

So thats all good. Wheel wobble, apparently front offside wheel is slightly buckled! which is strange. I will sort that myself and go somewhere else for tracking and they want £300 to align and track the car. Thats pretty punchy... I'm sure there are other garages with similar machines that can do it for half that!
All booked in. They only need the car in for the day, I should be able to pick it up early eve which is impressive
Off Topic a bit..
Im starting to get the idea Audi rims are soft.
Two of my S3 rims had to be rerolled (thru Audi) to fix wobbles)
Seen other posts too :(
Might need aftermarket :)