Audi A6 C8 - Dashboard Creaks & Rattles - Potential Resolutions

gaz_360

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Hi All,

It's been a while since I've posted something, ironically my last thread also related to rattles/creaks, but on the A4 B9.

Just to put some quick context to this - I was lucky enough to trade up to an A6 C8 in December 2019, the magic was spoilt some what during the initial drive home, unfortunately due to the dashboard rattles/creaks that seemed to appear. Although I had done two test drives of the vehicle before committing, I hadn't picked up on the rattles/creaks previously (I'll explain a bit more about my thoughts on that further in the thread).

Once the initial COVID lockdown had cleared, I was able to get the car booked in around August 2020, to have what I considered the 'major rattle' looked at - It seems to be one that plagues quite a few owners, from what I've read - The noise that can come from around the main screen area, along with the big chunk of plastic in front of the passenger seat. In fairness to the dealership, they sorted the horrible creak/squeak that came from the screen area, they explained that the metal trim that runs around the screen didn't have the relevant 'foam tape' fitted - Thankfully this particular noise hasn't returned since that work being carried out, however plenty of other noises remain from the big chunk of plastic and also the drivers side air vent area and finally the instrument binnacle plastic around the virtual cockpit.

So, with some annual leave booked and nothing else better to do, I decided to try and tackle these myself. I wouldn't necessarily class this as a guide, given the source of the rattles/creaks will vary per vehicle, but I'm hoping this might help point people in the right direction. Very quick disclaimer, if you're not overly confident removing the parts shown below, perhaps ask a friend or family member who potentially has experience with this sort of thing and can help - Some of the trim pieces can be rather stubborn, so knowing how much pressure to apply on something can be quite useful, once you have a feel for that sort of thing, it definitely helps. Failing that, perhaps just using this thread as a point of reference to show your dealer, might help with explaining to them where your rattles/squeaks might be coming from etc.

With that in mind, a few items below that will help with this work:

- 3-4 Hours Spare
- Plastic trim removal tool set (Would highly advise against the use of screw drivers for something like this, one wrong move could leave certain trim pieces looking rather nasty!)
- 8mm socket (I used a 1/4" rachet and socket screwdriver)
- T10 torx bit
- Wire Harness Tape
- Foam Tape
- *Optional* - Plastic specific super glue & Sugru moldable putty (During the process below, I did break one clip, thankfully between super glue and sugru, I was able to put it back together, nice a strong repair once the Sugru had set).

To kick off, you need to remove the end dashboard cover, as pictured below, the trim tool will squeeze in where the arrow is shown, work your way down the trim, then remove completely:

1624639533401



Whilst in this area, the small trim piece on the end of the 'plastic chunk' also needs to come off. This one can be quite stubborn, but I found putting a trim tool underneath (Shown by the arrow) is best. Once it initially 'pops' from the first fixings, it should then come off relatively easily:

1624639750416



I don't have a picture with just those two bits removed, but it should now look something like this:

1624642747117



Next you'll need to drop the glovebox down. I recommend leaving the airbag switch plug connected, so not to generate an airbag error on the dash. If you have a code reader that can reset error lights, then it might be worth unplugging to create some more space in the footwell. In my instance, I left it connected and rested the glovebox onto a folded blanket. There are two 8mm bolts at the dashboard end (Essentially where you just removed the end cap trim piece from), four inside the glovebox and two underneath:

1624642945803


Now with the glovebox removed, you'll need to poke your head underneath the dash to remove the two 8mm bolts holding the 'plastic chunk' in place. It was difficult to get a decent image of where the bolts are underneath the dash, so instead I've highlighted the two gold pieces below, on top the dash - This at least shows the spacing of the bolts, so you know roughly where they are once you're underneath. Be careful not to drop the bolt nearest the screen, once it's loose, would advise removing the last few threads with your fingers, just in case it drops down behind the main centre console:

1624643205904


This next image isn't mine, just a general virtual cockpit image - You now need to remove the instrument binnacle plastic too. Easiest way is to work each side of the plastic at a time, don't pull both together as it might break the clips. Start on the left and pull where the arrows are with both hands, once released, do the same with the right hand side too (Putting the steering wheel into the lowest position may help here):

1624643470933


Now everything should be out of the way, ready for the main 'plastic chunk' to be removed. Without having a video (Which I may do if I end up doing this again for whatever reason), it's slightly difficult to explain how to do this. I advise starting at the top right of the trim, inserting a trim tool into the gap created by removing the instrument binnacle, circled in the picture below. Once that has 'popped' the right hand side of the plastic, next to the main screen, you can start working your way along the bottom of the trim piece and pull gently on the left hand end, ideally making sure to remove the whole piece as squarely as possible, to minimise damage to any clips etc. Once the trim feels like it has come away completely, don't forget to unplug the lighting strip connector:

1624643835838


With the trim removed, setting it down onto something relatively soft will hopefully stop any scratches appearing in the piano black finish, I just used another blanket. The aluminium top comes off by unscrewing the 5x T10 torx head screws, once removed it should slide away from the main plastic piece. In this instance I was then able to see the efforts from my Audi dealership, with the wire harness tape having been applied:

IMG 2522   Copy


If your car hasn't been in for this work, more than likely this tape won't be in place, from the factory, I believe the only tape on this piece is the white sticky back stuff you can see. To try and mitigate any rattles directly from the aluminium piece, I would suggest essentially doing what Audi have done in the picture above - I only added to this, to make sure coverage was as good as possible.

So, the bit that was neglected slightly, is around the edge of the trim, which clips into the other plastic piece, that contains the AC vents. Shown below, I've applied the wire harness tape to the entire piece, end to end. I don't have it pictured, but then I placed a strip of foam tape, again, end to end:

1624645413600



The pieces that make up the silver strip also need some tape:

1624647018125


Back on the dash itself, please see the image below to see where both foam tape and wire harness tape has been applied (I haven't highlighted all with arrows, so not to take up the whole image with arrows):

1624647011904


Once you're happy with the tape coverage, assembly is then in reverse order of the steps above, don't forget to plug the lighting connector back in too. The 8mm screws can be 'nipped' relatively tight, but don't go too mad with them, as some of the fixings are essentially going into plastic.

To give you an idea of what it may look like once back together, the image below is looking down on top of the large aluminium piece. Personally I feel you hardly notice it and looks reasonably OEM, it just looks like some sort of seal or gasket is in place between the trip pieces:

1624645884758


Whilst the instrument binnacle plastic was removed, I also used the foam tape to form a 'seal' along the edge of the plastic, this one really does help stop the creaking around the virtual cockpit area:

1624645985380


In this final image, it shows the same process having been done to the drivers side AC vent area. To gain access, it's similar to the process explained above for the passenger side trim. The dashboard end piece needs to be removed, followed by the small end piece (Again, the more difficult bit to remove). The only difference here being, once those two bits are removed, the small aluminium top piece can then be removed by inserting a trim tool underneath it and gently pulling upwards - It isn't secure by screws, clips only:

1624646189272


In conclusion, the intention of the foam tape is to create a seal between the multiple plastic pieces, which should decrease the amount of rattles/creaking, on the basis of fewer parts coming into contact/vibrating when going over rough surfaces. Since doing this work and driving the car for around a week, this has definitely improved things, but as a side note, there are still some road conditions that cause certain noises to return. For example, expansion joints can still sometimes cause a sudden jolt through the whole dashboard. Although improved, dependant upon temperature, I feel experiences may vary with this sort of thing. I'm sure others may have experienced this - Certain creaking of the plastic can occur when the vehicle is stationary, mainly I believe to be caused by the AC - These generally only occur when the vehicle is travelling for the first few miles, as the AC starts doing its thing, the pipe work inside the dash is a different temp, so as the mixture of cold and hot pieces throughout the dash combine, the various noises can occur. Due to the material choices for this particular cabin, I don't think there's a way to get away from this 100%, but the process described throughout this thread has definitely helped improve the cabin 'ambiance' of my A6 :D

I intend to 'seal' the dashboard mounted speaker grilles mounted towards the windscreen too, so I'll post an update and hopefully include some pictures of how to do those too.

Hope this helps someone!
 

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Thanks mate, very useful! I had the fabric clips put in behind the trim panels by the dealer last year and this has reduced the rattles by 90% so more or less happy now. I would love to follow your guide but I'm hopeless at DIY so will leave things as they are.
 
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Jesus! No way I’d attempt that, good on ya! I used to spray PTFE spray into the gaps every month or so, that would work for a while.
 
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Placeholder for update
Apologies, I couldn't work out how to edit an existing post - Not sure if it's possible?

Either way, part two update below, covering the speaker covers. along with the heads up display cover. As before, a plastic trim tool set is a must, please please please don't attempt this with screwdrivers, it won't end well! :thumbs up:

Only additional item you may want to include, is some Silent Coat sound deadening material - Totally optional though, just applying the various tapes should help to stop the plastic on plastic rattles. If you do choose to go with the sound deadening, don't purchase anything thicker than the 2mm stuff, as there's not enough room for anything thicker.

Very quick tip, if you can do this while the interior of the car is relatively warm, the higher temperature makes the trim pieces a bit more malleable, making them easier to come away. If cold, you run the risk of the clips breaking etc.

So, to kick off again, lifting a corner of the passenger side trim should get you started, a relatively wide trim tool helps here, as it spreads the pressure being applied, across the area, instead of just one part of the trim:

IMG 2542


Once you have the corner lifted, work your way back across to the passenger side A pillar. A cloth between the trim tool and dash can come in handy, so not to mark the leather:

IMG 2543


Once you have the clips released from the front, putting your hands underneath the trim and working them towards the windscreen should make the clips at the back pop too. You should hopefully end up with this:

IMG 2544


Next, move onto the centre trim - Very similar process, start with lifting a corner, then work your way across. Just be careful around the vent area with the centre piece, as it's a bit flimsy (Or at least it currently is, that will be sorted soon!):

IMG 2545


Next, the trim that goes around the heads up display - Guessing a car without the HUD will just be completely plastic, with no opening for the projector. As before, start with a corner, then gently pop the rest of the clips by slowly moving your way around the trim:

IMG 2547


I've realised I don't have a photo of the final small piece of trim, closest to the driver's A pillar - You need to start uncliping this at the leather end of the dash, closest to you. Once the clips have popped, the trim then slides out towards you. In the image below, you can see the locating lugs that it sits into, towards the windscreen:

IMG 2549


I'll let the pictures do the talking here, basically they show where I've applied the various tapes, along with the sound deadening material - That definitely helps the pieces feel more solid. As in the first post, on some pieces I've applied the tape around the edges to form a 'seal', the idea being to help reduce the 'plastic on plastic', which may causes various noises/vibrations.

IMG 2554

IMG 2555

IMG 2556

IMG 2557


While the parts were out of the car, took the opportunity to apply some Aenso Core to everything too, love this stuff!

IMG 2558


Before putting the trim pieces back, on top of the dash itself, there are two places where I would advise putting some tape, as the trim officially rests on them, once reasembled:

IMG 2549   Copy


IMG 2546   Copy

Couple of photos of it reasembled, just to confirm that it all goes back together fine, with the tape in place - On this point, just be careful not to overapply, as it may cause the trims to look raised one reinstalled, or potentially stop them from clipping back down correctly:

IMG 2559

IMG 2560

IMG 2561


Having been for a drive, all seems good so far, for the time being... :D

In response to a few of the comments already posted, totally agree, this isn't something you would expect to have to do on a car like this - It is a bit disappointing. Guess the perceived quality of something can outweigh the actual quality you receive. It'll be interesting to see if the facelifted version of the C8 will improve upon this sort of thing, here's hoping!

As before, hope this helps someone out!
 

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Joined the form just to thank you for your hard work and excellent instructions. I will be doing this soon, I personally would trust Audi to do a thorough job with some of the issues I have had with my previous A5 and new A6. :thumbs up:
 
I had similar rattling with my car, it was coming from passenger side (uk) corner speaker area. At the moment solved it very simple way, but it worked. But still sometimes have intermitent buzz coming from top of the dash, cant really understand why its happening only sometimes, maybe there someting to do with heat or cold air coming out from top vent. Attaching photo of soliution that fixed corner rattle
 

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Just joined this forum to literally say thank you for your effort and guides.

I've done part 1 today ... a lot longer than it took you but it was my first time ever diving this deep behind a dashboard. My only error was managing to unscrew the wrong bolts under the dash and then removing the plastic chunk from the dash with some insane force ... once off, I spotted the bolts I was meant to remove. Nothing a bit of super glue hasn't fixed though. I'm going to do the speaker section tomorrow but all in all, it was nice to get some experience and fingers crossed for a quieter ride.

I also have little hack to stop a huge amount of rattling where the lower console is but I'll post it tomorrow too.
 
I've had a recurring high pitch Rattle around the right dash speaker/ heads up area too. Was sorted under warranty then came back a few months later. In again for next week. Bit annoying to have to take in again but that's what's the warranty is for.
 
Really useful guide - thanks for sharing.

Reading through, am I right to understand the the screen area will come out on its' own, and without any "jemmying" but just by pulling? This is at the area I have noise.......

TIA
 
Like some others have said, I registered to this forum to say thanks for taking the time to post this. A few months ago, before seeing your thread, I began the same journey as you did. I tore apart the entire dash searching for these annoying clicks and creaks while driving over bumps and rough roads.

My felt tape strategy was definitely different than yours. You were more strategic in your placement where I was adding felt tape EVERYWHERE. After putting everything back together I'd say ~60% of the noise was gone, which still left quite a bit of those annoying noises.

Yesterday I tore apart the dash again and added felt here and can now happily report that ~90% of the noises are now gone. I still hear the clicks when hitting large road imperfections or expansion joints but the noise is SO much less prevalent.

Thanks again!


1624647018125-jpeg.238896
 
Do you have a video anywhere or know if there is one? The light behind the centre vent adjustment potentiometer (Air flow scroll wheel) has failed and it wiped out my entire ambient lighting
 
I had a high pitch Rattle that came from the behind the cluster and a bit to the right. Audi fixed and the Rattle was resonating from no where near. It was coming from the passenger Footwell / left of the MMI screen area. Very strange how sound resonates around.
 
Like some others have said, I registered to this forum to say thanks for taking the time to post this. A few months ago, before seeing your thread, I began the same journey as you did. I tore apart the entire dash searching for these annoying clicks and creaks while driving over bumps and rough roads.

My felt tape strategy was definitely different than yours. You were more strategic in your placement where I was adding felt tape EVERYWHERE. After putting everything back together I'd say ~60% of the noise was gone, which still left quite a bit of those annoying noises.

Yesterday I tore apart the dash again and added felt here and can now happily report that ~90% of the noises are now gone. I still hear the clicks when hitting large road imperfections or expansion joints but the noise is SO much less prevalent.

Thanks again!

Almost identical circumstances for me. I'm in a C8 S6. I also went through this guide with success. VERY much appreciate the writeup and photos. I do have three persistent issues.

1. A subtle vibration sound that comes and goes - sounds like it is deep in the dash behind steering wheel
2. Some sort of click from the backseat area over larger road imperfections
3. Generally over larger road imperfections the whole interior sounds like it shifts just for a second. Much less tight than my C7 A6.

If anyone has solved these I'd love to keep chipping away at making the car tighter. Thanks again!
 
Really useful guide - thanks for sharing.

Reading through, am I right to understand the the screen area will come out on its' own, and without any "jemmying" but just by pulling? This is at the area I have noise.......

TIA
I have the rattle there too. I removed the binnacle and applied anti squeak tape which worked for about 4 days. The rattle has came back, my heart sunk it’s definitely behind the virtual cluster. I too need to find out how to remove it. I found this and it looks like you need a tool


View: https://youtu.be/bMV7oCio41A?si=S_4zNBPSG0oli48x
 
Has anyone took the virtual dash out and if so how? As above it looks like you need a tool. I am in absolutely no way endorsing mileage corruption it just shows how to remove the cluster.
 
Hello everyone, I have the deep dash rattle as well (like coming from behind the cluster). I found out that if the steering wheel is adjusted then the rattle goes away for a while. It seems that there is some plastic rattling between the steering column and the dash.
 
Hi all,

Great to hear the original post has helped others, shame it adds to the evidence that modern Audi interiors are perhaps lacking in quality slightly.

With regards to the deep dashboard rattle behind the drivers instruments, my car also developed this around six months ago. For the past three months, I've had the top level dash trim parts removed (HUD cowling, speaker grills, their mounting frame, left/right tweeters, centre speaker), in the attempt to work out if they were causing this. With all of the mentioned removed, I can confirm the noise is still present, so continued to investigate.

As others have mentioned, it almost seems that the virtual cockpit is contributing. Having removed mine and stripped it down, I couldn't really find anything that would create the noise present, but did apply some fabric tape to certain surfaces. For those interested in removing the virtual cockpit for any reason, you do need the special hook tool mentioned. I personally made one from a stainless steel 400mm rod, bent into the correct shape. With the virtual cockpit shroud removed, you have to thread the hook part through the top centre of the virtual cockpit, then twist left or right (Depending on which way you have the hook part), that releases a rather large clip, to then allow you to hinge the cockpit forward and disconnect the three connectors. Doing this won't put any fault lights on the dash once you plug everything back in, just make sure the ignition remains off for this process. Unfortunately, no luck here for my car, noise still present.

My attention then turned to the HUD unit. Similar story here, I couldn't find anything that was loose or resonating. Having also been loaned a 73 plate A6 while mine was in for service recently, it didn't have a HUD, but I'm 99% confident it had the same rattle noise. Holding the cowling where the HUD would be, it did make the noise temporarily stop, similar to mine.

Much head scratching further and even going as far to use an inspection camera to look deeper in the dash, I'm hoping I've finally found the offending piece - The plastic air vent tube that runs from the centre of the dash, around the back of the driver instruments (Of course the same regardless of having the HUD in place or not), to the drivers side single vent seems to have quite a bit play. The fixings I can see are officially plastic welds, it's possible to move the whole piece up and down with your fingers across the back of the dash. Likely this part is designed to have an amount of play, given the temperature changes it has to contend with.

These initial photos show the piece I'm referring to:

IMG 5693


IMG 5694


Given how much of the dashboard would need to be disassembled in order to access this piece alone, I've decided to approach this by sliding two pieces of acoustic insulation between the vent tube and upper dashboard. (https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/acoustic-insulation/8814557)

I imagine doing this on a car without the HUD is slightly easier, as it won't be in the way, but using a trim tool or similar, you can push the insulation between the two pieces:

IMG 5695


To clarify the two areas and how it looks afterwards:

IMG 5696


I've been driving the car like this with the other trim pieces still absent for a few weeks, just to make sure the noise has gone away. So far, so good :thumbs up:

As before, hope this helps!
 
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I found the cause of my rattle… it’s actually in the hood of the dash above the binnacle. I removed the clocks completely and the rattle was still there. So I have inserted 2 plastic wedges, one of which has been cut down so you can’t see it (I forgot about the other one to be honest). This has cured my rattle which was driving me crazy!! I get an occasional rattle from the passenger air vent but I’m half deaf and hear it too much.

IMG 2328
 

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Hi, yesterday I engaged in a mission to eliminate the buzzing rattles in my 2019 a6 avant dash which we’re doing my wig wam in. I noticed a rattle to the left corner around the glove box area and drivers side above the light switches. On the passenger side I discovered the 2 lines of fuse clusters behind the cover to the left of the glove box. The pink housings rattle like crazy (which I found out by tapping in quick succession) I removed the pink housing and applied some foam tape behind the pink cage and surrounding black plastic. Also when in the area there is a small piece of trim to the left of the air vent which to the touch rattles like crazy. Removed with plastic trim tool from behind and applied a strip of anti vibration tape behind and refitted by pushing the lugs through the tape and it seated perfectly with no rattles. Did the same for the drivers side when at it. This has cured the rattle for sure in this area. Whilst in there I tightened up the 10mm bolts and applied foam tape to a few other plastic trim areas before refitting the side cover. This has eliminated the rattle in the left and right corners. I hope this helps.
 

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