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The Audi A5 B8 is the A5’s first-generation and was first introduced in 2007 and was produced until 2016. After the A4 B8, Audi decided to spin off the cabriolet, coupe, and sportback sedan to its own nameplate, the A5. The B8 A5 was built on the Volkswagen Group’s MLB platform. It went through a facelift, often referred to as the B8.5 A5, in 2011. The facelift included a more modern front bumper, updated front and rear lights, revamped grille, updated fog lights, and was slightly longer than the B8 A5.
Initially, the A5 B8 was released with a 3.2L FSI V6 engine that put down 261hp and 243 lb-ft of torque. However, throughout the 9-year production cycle, more engines were released. It featured a 1.8 TFSI that put down anywhere from 158hp-174hp and 184-236 lb-ft of torque. It featured a 2.0 TFSI that put down anywhere from 177hp-208hp and 236-258 lb-ft of torque. And lastly, it featured a 3.0 TFSI V6 supercharged that put down 268hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. It also came with multiple diesel engines as well: 2.0TDI, 2.7TDI, and 3.0TDI. There were many transmission options to choose from depending on the model: 6-speed manual, 6-speed Tiptronic, 7-speed S Tronic, and 8-speed Tiptronic.
Common Audi A5 B8 Engine Problems
Before jumping into the common problems of the Audi B8 A5, since there are many engines, we will try to differentiate the problems specific to the engines. With that said, the parts listed below will pertain to the engine referenced, so if you happen to have a different engine and need assistance looking for parts, let us know in the comments! PLEASE make sure the replacement parts listed below fits your specific engine code.
- Ignition coil failure
- Defective timing chain and tensioners
- Water pump and thermostat failure
- Excessive oil consumption
- Defective fuel filler cap
- Control arm failure
- Power window regulator failure
1. Ignition Coil Failure
Unfortunately, ignition coil and coil pack failure are common on all Audi A5 B8 engines. Ignition coils turn the battery’s lower voltage into the higher voltage that the spark plugs need to create engine combustion. Without a functioning ignition coil, you will notice an engine misfire in that specific cylinder. If there is more than one failing coil, the engine may not even start.
There are a few reasons ignition coils can fail: normal wear and tear or modifying an engine for more power. When an engine produces more power than the factory settings, factory ignition coils can’t sustain the added heat and power. We advise getting upgraded ignition coils and colder running spark plugs if you plan on modifying the engine. Usually, ignition coils will last 60,000 miles and spark plugs will last 30,000 miles on a factory engine.
Symptoms of Ignition Coil Pack Failure:
- Check Engine Light (CEL) or Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) illuminating
- Engine misfires with P0300 – P0306 fault codes present
- Poor engine performance
- Rough idle
- Difficulty starting the engine
Ignition Coil Pack Replacement Options:
When it comes to replacing faulty ignition coils, we advise changing all of the ignition coils and spark plugs at the same time. The main reason we like changing them at the same time is that it will eliminate misfire headaches with new and worn coils. We’ve listed out both the 3.2L and 2.0T engine replacements because those are the most popular A5 B8 engines. Since the 3.2L is a V6, it has 6 cylinders, therefore 6 coils and spark plugs. Replacing both the ignition coils and spark plugs is not a very difficult DIY if you know where they are located. A mechanic will likely charge around $250 – $400 to replace both, depending on which engine you have.
Buy Here: 3.2L V6 Ignition Coil Replacement
Purchase Here: 3.2L V6 Ignition Coil + Spark Plug Set
Buy Here: 2.0T Ignition Coil Replacement
Purchase Here: 2.0T Ignition Coil + Spark Plug Set
DIY Difficulty: Easy
2. Defective Timing Chain and Tensioners
This is an issue that was very common in Volkswagen’s EA888 2.0T engine. Most of the time, it is the timing chain tensioner that fails which causes the timing chain to fail. This is a big reason the EA888 2.0T gets a bad reputation. A timing chain connects the crankshaft and camshaft to control the closing and opening of the exhaust and intake valves. The associated tensioners are responsible for maintaining the optimal tension of the timing chain. Without a functioning tensioner, an engine could die and cause major engine and financial damage.
When or if a tensioner fails and a timing chain busts, the pistons and valves in the engine can collide. The timing chains provided by Volkswagen out of the factory are supposed to be a “lifetime chain”, which is entirely possible. However, the tensioners are the weak spot. If you happen to have a 2.0T engine on your A5 and haven’t changed out your tensioners yet, it may be a good idea to replace the whole timing kit linked below.
Symptoms of Timing Chain and Tensioners Failure:
- Infamous “VW Death Rattle” – Engine rattle on startup or turn off
- Engine dying
- Timing of the engine is off
- Rough engine performance
- Stretched timing chain
Timing Chain and Tensioners Replacement Options:
If a timing chain tensioner happens to fail and you hear the “VW Death Rattle”, take action immediately. The further this goes unattended, the higher the risk of major engine failure will occur. If this does happen, we highly suggest replacing all of the components associated with the timing chain. This is not an easy DIY because you will have to remove the engine to replace all associated parts. However, if you know your way around an engine and have the proper tools to remove the engine, it will save a lot of money from labor costs. A service like this will certainly not be cheap, mainly due to labor costs.
Buy Here: Timing Chain Kit Replacement
DIY Difficulty: Difficult
3. Water Pump and Thermostat Failure
Premature water pump and thermostat failure are common on most Volkswagen and Audi vehicles, including the A5. These components are important in an engine’s cooling system and have similar purposes. A water pump maintains coolant flow from the radiator and the engine, while the thermostat recirculates coolant flow from the radiator to the engine and back. If your water pump has a plastic impeller, which is very common out of the factory, then you may want to replace it with a metal impeller.
The main reasons these fail are being stuck in the closed position, plastic impeller breaking, normal wear and tear, or not maintaining optimal coolant levels. If either of them happens to go out, expect the engine to overheat. Both components should last over 100,000 miles, so you’ll more than likely go through one set in your vehicles lifecycle.
Symptoms of Water Pump and Thermostat Failure:
- Low engine coolant indicator illuminating
- Engine overheating
- Limp mode activated
- Coolant puddle under the vehicle
- Sweet smell coming from the engine
- Sporadic engine temperature readings on the dash
Water Pump and Thermostat Replacement Options:
When either the water pump or thermostat goes out, we advise replacing both because they tend to go out around the same time and for the same reasons. We have both the 3.2L and 2.0T kits listed below. This isn’t the easiest DIY unless you know your way around an engine. A mechanic will likely charge ~ $1,000 to replace both the thermostat and water pump.
4. Excessive Oil Consumption
Excessive oil consumption is another very common problem in the EA888 2.0T engine. It is when the engine consumes more oil than the acceptable range, classified by Audi, under optimal engine conditions. If not addressed immediately, it can get quite annoying or could cause major engine catastrophe. The main reason this happens is because of the piston rings. Out of the factory, the piston rings were made too thin causing oil leaks. This is common in Gen2 EA888 engines. If you happen to have a Gen2, you can replace the piston rings with Gen1 piston rings.
Symptoms of Excessive Oil Consumption:
- Low oil indicator illuminating
- Engine losing oil at a faster rate than normal
- Increased carbon buildup
- Decreased fuel economy
- Blue smoke emitting from the exhaust
- Oil deposits on or in the engine
If you are experiencing the symptoms above, we highly advise taking your vehicle into the shop to get a consumption test to confirm or deny excessive oil consumption. If you do happen to have a Gen2 that needs to have piston rings replaced, it could cost upwards of $5,000, if it isn’t covered.
5. Defective Fuel Filler Cover Lock Mechanism
Although the next few problems aren’t engine issues specifically, they are common on all A5 B8’s, so we feel it is important to lay them out. The fuel filler cover lock mechanism is defective out of the factory. So when you go to pump gas into your fuel tank and the fuel cover doesn’t open, don’t worry it’s common and you probably aren’t the only one going through it. Luckily, it’s an easy fix and there is a workaround linked below.
Symptoms of Fuel Filler Cover Lock Mechanism Failure:
- Fuel cover not unlocking/locking
Fuel Filler Cover Lock Mechanism Replacement Options:
It is very annoying when you are at the gas station and find out the fuel door won’t open. Luckily, you can open it from the inside of the trunk of the vehicle. (Watch here.) Also, the fuel door actuator happens to be a cheap part and a quick DIY. A mechanic shouldn’t charge you more than one hour of labor, if they do, run.
6. Control Arm Failure
Control arm failure is something that A5 owners have experienced in a few months of new vehicle ownership. They assist the vehicle in steering and guiding the wheels up or down depending on the road conditions. If the control arms or bushings start to go, it will be very evident because steering may veer or the transmission will start to make noises.
So if your control arms haven’t gotten out yet, odds are they will in the future. It’s a matter of if you would like to take preventative measures and replace them or wait for them to go bad.
Symptoms of Control Arm Failure:
- Clunking noise from the transmission
- Squeaking over bumps
- Rough driving experience
- Vibration from the transmission
- Steering wandering
- Uneven tire wear
Control Arm Replacement Options:
Replacing a full front or rear set of control arms, is certainly a difficult DIY without the proper tools. When control arms go out, there is only one option and that is to replace it. There are a lot of control arms on the front, so it may be difficult to target which one is bad. We advise replacing all of them because they don’t have the best reputation on A5 B8’s. Depending on if you are replacing all control arms, a mechanic would likely charge around $1,000.
7. Power Window Regulator Failure
Power window regulators are more common to go out on many Volkswagen and Audi vehicles than what you would expect. Unfortunately, the A5 B8 is no exception. Power window regulators hold the glass in a channel in your door panel allowing the window to go up or down when the power window switch is pressed. Owners complain about windows getting stuck down, slamming down, or not going down or up. Power window regulators should not fail in the lifecycle of a vehicle, but some can be defective out of the factory and fail prematurely.
Symptoms of Power Window Regulator Failure:
- Window stuck up or down
- Slower or faster than normal window speed
- Power window switch not working
- Window not being level
Power Window Regulator Replacement Options:
When a window is stuck up or down, 9/10 times it is a failing power window regulator. The only thing you can do is replace it unfortunately and it isn’t a very cheap part. It is a very tedious DIY because you will have to remove the door panel. There are companies out there that do produce window regulators at half the price. A mechanic would likely charge around $400 to replace a single window regulator.
Audi A5 B8 Reliability
The Audi A5 B8 is generally pretty reliable, although it does depend on what year and engine you are looking at. The beginning years of the A5 (2007-2009) were a bit rough when it comes to reliability, but in the later B8 A5 years, Audi seemed to have worked out most of the problems. So if you happen to be in the market for a used A5 B8, look for a 2010+. The V6 engine seems to be the most reliable engine when it comes to the A5, especially with the EA888 engine problems. Regardless, we have seen many A5 B8’s last well over 150,000 miles without any major engine problems, pending how well they are maintained.
If you would like to read up on more Audi content, here is an article on “The 6 Most Common A4 B9 Engine Problems.“