Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we receive a commission.
So far the Audi Q5 has had two generations, 8R (2008-2017) and the 80A (2017-present). The 8R Q5 was first introduced at the Beijing Auto Show in early 2008 and went through a lot of changes. During its 9 year production, there was an FCEV version, a hybrid version, a physical facelift in 2012, and an SQ5 version. After the SQ5 version was announced in 2013, the 80A was revealed at the Paris Motor Show in 2016. Although the second-generation Q5 hasn’t been around very long, there are 3 different versions: Q5 S-Line TDI Quattro, SQ5 TFSI Quattro, Q5 55 TFSI e Quattro and it went through a facelift in 2021 with more aggressive lines.
The Audi 8R came with 3 engines: 2.0T FSI Quattro, 2.0 TDI Quattro, and 3.0TDI Quattro and three different transmissions: 6-speed manual, 7-speed tiptronic, or 8-speed tiptronic. The 80A comes with a 2.0 TFSI or a 2.0 TDI, depending on where you are located in the world, with a 7-speed S-Tronic transmission. We will do our best to specify which engine specifically has the problems listed below, but we will be focusing on the 2.0 TFSI for parts and guides. For all replacement parts, PLEASE ensure they fit your vehicle before purchase.
Common Audi Q5 Problems
- Timing chain and tensioner failure
- Excessive oil consumption
- Start-stop system
- Leaking fuel pump flanges
- Daytime running lights failure
1. Timing Chain and Tensioner Failure
For some reason, many Audi’s and Volkswagen’s have timing chain and tensioner failures around 70,000 miles. Hypothetically a timing chain should never fail throughout the lifetime of a vehicle. A timing chain connects the crankshaft to the camshaft so the transmission is in unison with the engine. A timing chain can fail in many ways: skipping, stretching, or breaking. When any of these occur, there can be major engine damage.
Timing chains fail over time because of internal component wear, such as the tensioners, lack of oil, or age. If a timing chain does happen to fail, more than likely the engine will not start, which would be the best-case scenario. Worst case scenario, the valves crash into the pistons causing major internal engine damage.
Symptoms of Timing Chain and Tensioner Failure:
- Engine misfires
- Rough Idle
- Ticking noise from the engine bay
- Limp mode engaged
- Engine not starting
Timing Chain and Tensioner Replacement Options:
As stated above, when a timing chain fails it can cause major engine damage if ignored. While doing this DIY, we would advise replacing all of the timing chain components because usually a timing chain and tensioners need to be replaced around the same time. This isn’t the easiest DIY, but it will save you a lot of money if you have the proper tools. If you are needing to take it to a shop, you’ll be looking at a cost of ~$1,400-$7,500. It all depends on how bad your engine is, so we can’t stress enough, make sure to get your oil changed every 5,000 miles.
DIY Difficulty: Difficult
Video DIY Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxvHFfIsuYM
2. Audi Q5 Excessive Oil Consumption
This problem is commonly seen in the second-generation EA888 engines, so if you have one of these engines and haven’t had this looked at, we highly advise taking it to a shop. This is one of the main reasons that the Q5’s reliability is questioned. As the problem states, the engines consume much more oil than the acceptable range under normal conditions.
The reason this is a problem is that out of the factory these second-gen EA888’s had a number of things faulty including: crankcase pressure regulating valve, crankshaft seal, pistons, piston rings, or piston heads. There have been many Technical Service Bulletin’s (TSB) addressing this, such as this one. If this happens to be a problem with your Q5, you can be looking at a hefty service bill if ignored.
Symptoms of Excessive Oil Consumption:
- Oil deposits in the engine
- Low oil pressure warning light illuminated quicker than normal
- Blue smoke emitting from the exhaust
- Reduced fuel economy
- Metal in the oil pan
If the vehicle is experiencing any of the symptoms above and is a gen 2 EA888 especially, act on it right away to prevent a bill of $5,000-$6,000. Are you finding yourself having to add oil in between scheduled oil changes? Well, this isn’t normal. If this is the case, something that can be done is an oil consumption test to determine if the vehicle is performing outside of Audi specifications. Hopefully, the only thing that needs to be replaced is the crankcase pressure regulating valve or the crankshaft seal, but if it has anything to do with piston’s it’ll be a very costly repair.
Faulty piston/piston ring explanation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6jzRQpMw24
3. Start-Stop System
There are many lawsuits and TSB’s written for the Start-Stop system in the Audi Q5’s, which Audi explains to be normal operations. A functioning start-stop system automatically shut off the engine at a stop to preserve fuel and eliminate emissions. In theory, this is great technology, but it comes with some problems and not all consumers love it. Put simply by Audi, deactivate the system if it makes you feel uncomfortable. I don’t think they realize how tedious it is to have to turn it off every time the vehicle is turned on.
Start-Stop System Problems/Defects:
- Slow reactivation
- Delayed acceleration response
- Engine starting 10 times or more a day
- Many requirements need to be met for it to function
- Premature power steering/brakes shut off
- Rollaway threat
With all of these listed above, this is what Audi says is meant for the system to do. However, there are many requirements for the engine to be switched off, click here to learn more about Audi’s Start-Stop System. The reason this is in the common engine problems is that there are a lot of complaints about it working properly, but it may seem that not all customers may be informed on how Audi meant for the system to work. Common customer complaints are that the Start-Stop system doesn’t shutdown when the customer thinks it should, the engine is not switched on or off automatically, or the engine restarts for unknown reasons.
4. Leaking Fuel Pump Flanges
This is a common problem that has been addressed with recall 16V660000 by Audi, but it is common enough to include just in case yours haven’t been changed. The fuel pump flanges in 2009-2017 Audi Q5’s developed hairline cracks far faster than they should have been. This would allow small amounts of fuel to leak out of the fuel pump and onto the exhaust. A fuel pump flange essentially controls the delivery of fuel to the powertrain.
This is rather dangerous because since the fuel pump is leaking small amounts of an easily flammable substance onto extremely hot exhaust components, this could eventually start a flame. At first, Audi placed butyl tape on the flanges themselves to prevent leaking. Come to find out later down the road that it did not work the way they intended it, so there were about 240,000 Q5’s recalled to replace the fuel pump flange entirely.
Symptoms of Leaking Fuel Pump Flanges:
- Fuel smell in the cabin
- Gas build-up on exhaust components
Fuel Pump Flange Replacement Options:
As stated above, there was a recall on the flanges back in December of 2018 to address the faulty fuel pump flanges. If you don’t know if yours have been changed print out or show your mechanic the recall for them to address it. This should be covered under Audi since it is a recall, so reach out to your local dealer to ensure this has been addressed.
5. Audi Q5 Daytime Running Lights Failure
Although we know this isn’t an engine problem, it is a very common occurrence to early Q5’s (pre-2010). Daytime running lights are often low-powered LED lights that operate at all times while the car is running. The purpose of these is for any pedestrian or vehicle to identify vehicles in all circumstances. Those circumstances can include raining, dusk, or any situation where it may be hard to see a vehicle.
In early Q5’s, there was a fault in the Koito LED control unit, which is the component that tells the headlights when to turn on and off. When these fail, the DRLs will not function and if you’re like us, you get annoyed because you have one functioning DRL and another that isn’t. Aesthetically, it is not pleasing to the owner, but can be driven without.
DRL Replacement Options:
9 times out of 10, the reason a DRL is out is a faulty Koito LED control unit module. This is an easy fix but can be an expensive part. However, if you were to take the vehicle to the shop, they may try to rip the whole headlight out to find the problem. So you may be looking at a cost of anywhere from $150 – $1,000 depending on what needs to be replaced. If the LED control unit is replaced and the problem still exists, it could be the fuse or the bulbs that are bad.
Koito LED Control Unit Replacement: https://audi.us/3jwcY8T
Audi Q5 Reliability
When it comes to reliability, the Q5 comes in the middle of the pack. Some Q5’s are extremely unreliable (Gen2 EA888’s), while others are very reliable. If you are looking for a Q5 in the years of 2012-2014, you can expect these to be more unreliable because these were the years’ excessive oil consumption hit these vehicles hard. Other than those years, if you maintain the vehicle according to Audi’s maintenance schedule, we’ve seen some get up to 150,000 miles and 300,000 on occasion.
Also, if you want to check out more Audi content, here is our write-up on the common problems for a B9 S4.