There’s a problem with Audi’s handbrakes they don’t want you to know about!
I bought my 2017 Audi A3 Sportback, 1.4 TFSI 150bhp S-line from Shrewsbury Audi in England. I thought everything was perfect with it, it drove excellently, handled well and had that lovely premium feeling inside.
Three months later, my Mother decides to drive it, picking me up from Crewe train station. When I climb in the passenger’s seat, she looks worried. “Your handbrake doesn’t work; the light is on but it keeps rolling backward!” my Mum explained. She demonstrated and to my disbelief, the car rolled backward despite the handbrake light being on.
I tried to replicate the fault myself, however, it seemed to be a one-off. I decided to not report it to Audi as I believed there was no fault and my Mother who wasn’t experienced with electronic handbrakes had made a mistake somehow.
Fast forward three months later, I have driven from Shrewsbury to Chester and back to Wrexham. I park on my drive with a slight three-degree incline. I park like usual, but the car rolls down the drive with the handbrake light on. I head to the top of the drive again, but yet again the handbrake fails. It takes me four times to get the car to stick at the top of the drive. This is the first time I realise there is a serious fault, however as it’s Saturday and I need to wait until Monday to report it.
I drive back to London as planned that evening, everything goes well. I park on my drive and unload my car, however, as my roommate is coming home the next day I decide to move it to the other spot. (It’s a 90-degree turn, hard lock and a lot of maneuvering.) My roommate Manuel decides to help me and pauses cooking his dinner.
I get the car round first time, park the car, handbrake on and gather my last belongings on the passenger seat. As I’m getting out the car, the keys out, my legs out, I hear Manuel say “STOP, STOP, STOP” as the car has begun to roll forward.
I jump back in the car, press the brake down as hard as possible, but without the engine power, it’s no use. I feel the wheels go beyond the point of no return and head straight down a two-foot drop into the wall. Luckily at such a low speed, the airbags did not deploy.
Disclaimer: I have driven for 11-years, I have worked in the automotive industry for six of these and have driven thousands of cars, from small Nissan Micras to McLarens. My drive is a two-degree incline, I would never leave the car in gear for such a minuscule slope.
I call Audi assistance, who get the AA mechanic out to me within the hour. Fair play, a great service, thank you. The AA mechanic checks the car and advises he sees no damage to the vehicle other than a few scratches. Unfortunately, due to the angle of the car and the sheer drop from the drive he can’t get the car out and advises me that I will need to pay for a crane to retrieve the car. He mentions that he has been to countless incidents where electronic handbrakes fail.The next morning (now Sunday) I get awoken by a huge truck outside my window. The
The next morning (now Sunday) I get awoken by a huge truck outside my window. The hiab lorry is waiting to pick my car up, however, I haven’t been given a cost? I call the company who advise it’s a £200 hire fee. Wouldn’t it have been better to ask if that was ok before dispatching a driver? I pay regardless, I need my car back on safe ground.
The retrieval of the car goes swimmingly and after a quick check, there is barely a visible mark on the car. I pop it in gear and wedge it tightly so it can’t roll. The mechanical checks the vehicles and confirms there is no visible damage.
On Monday, the car is taken from my home to West London Audi. I receive a call that evening advising after running the car through the ‘health check’ no fault was found. I explained both to West London Audi and Audi UK, the problem appears to happen after long drives and has only happened three times in 5590 miles. The engineer advised he will take my car home on a ‘night drive’ for the next few nights.
Wednesday came around, and I receive a text advising my car was ready to be picked up? No mention of what had been done, no mention of the fault. I am now left with either accepting the car back or to refuse the car as it’s not fit for purpose. I find it shocking and downright dangerous that Audi will just hand my car back to me because they are unable to replicate a fault. What if I am in the centre of London and it rolls into a crowd of people? Who is liable for this?
After complaining to Audi UK on Twitter, who have been fantastic by the way. I am left in limbo. Currently paying £280 a month for a car I cannot use, and will not use. A quick Google search shows this is not an isolated incident. I have owned Audis for all my life, I love them and would not question their build, or quality. However, when things go wrong, I would expect them to fix it and not fob me off with ludicrous excuses.
I’m currently awaiting Audi UK to get back to me as I’m refusing to pick the car up. Come back as I will keep updating this.