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The Audi Q7 was first introduced in 2002 at the North American Auto Show but was not produced until late 2006. Since its creation, there have been two generations. The first generation, often referred to as Type 4L, was from 2005-2015 and the second generation, often referred to as Type 4M, is from 2015-present. The Type 4L was built on the Volkswagen PL71 platform, while the second generation was built on the Volkswagen MLB Evo platform, which is found in the Lamborghini Urus and Porsche Cayenne. The first generation had a facelift in 2010, which featured updated headlights and taillights, new wheels, and an upgraded body style. The second generation had a facelift in 2020, which featured a redesigned grille, redesigned front and rear bumper, updated exhaust tips, and new side sills to give it a more aggressive look.
Audi Q7 Engines
There have been many engine options in the Q7 since its introduction. The first generation came out with a 3.6 FSI quattro that put down 276hp and 266 lb-ft of torque and a 4.2 FSI quattro that put down 345hp and 325lb-ft of torque. However, in 2011 both of those engines were replaced with two 3.0 TFSI supercharged engines. The base 3.0TFSI put down 268hp and 295lb-ft of torque, while the S-Line 3.0 TFSI version put down 328hp and 325lb-ft of torque. The first generation, Type 4L, also had three diesel engines to choose from: 3.0TDI quattro, 4.2TDI quattro, and a 6.0TDI quattro.
The second generation has many engines to choose from. First, we’ll start with the petrol engines: 45 TFSI (249hp/273lb-ft), 3.0 TFSI Supercharged (329hp/325lb-ft), and a 55 TFSI (33hp/332lb-ft). Next, they offered some hybrids: 2.0 TFSI e-tron (362hp/520lb-ft), 55 TFSI e (376hp/443lb-ft), and a 60 TFSI e (450hp/516lb-ft). The SQ7 had a unique V8 twin-turbo petrol engine that puts down an impressive 500hp and 568lb-ft of torque out of the factory. Now over to the diesel engines offered: 3.0TDI ultra (215hp/369lb-ft), 45 TDI (228hp/369lb-ft), 3.0TDI (268hp/443lb-ft), 50 TDI (282hp/443lb-ft), and a hybrid 3.0 TDI e-tron (382hp/516lb-ft). The SQ7 also has a V8 twin-turbo diesel engine that puts down 429hp and an impressive 664lb-ft of torque.
Before getting into the common problems, since there are so many engines that are available, we will try to specify what engines we are referencing with the problems listed below.
Common Audi Q7 Engine Problems
- Ignition Coil Pack and Spark Plug Failure
- N80 (Purge) Valve Faliure
- Worn CV Boots
- Timing Chain Tensioner Failure
- Fuel Pump Flange Failure
1. Ignition Coil Pack and Spark Plug Failure
Ignition coil pack and spark plug failure are some of the most common issues with Audi and Volkswagen engines. The ignition coils bring voltage from the battery and transform it into the voltage needed by the spark plugs. Spark plugs will take the high voltage supplied by the ignition coils and create a spark that will initiate the engine combustion process. Without functioning coil packs or plugs, engine misfires will be very prominent.
Coil packs and spark plugs typically fail due to normal wear and tear, however, a very common reason they fail is modifying an engine. Factory plugs and coils aren’t made for modified engines, they are made for the factory engines. Both of these should be looked at every 60,000 miles.
Symptoms of Ignition Coil Pack/Spark Plug Failure:
- CEL/MIL illuminating with P0300 – P0308 fault code
- Engine misfires
- Rough idle
- Engine stalls
- Poor engine performance
- Engine surges
- Issues starting the engine
Ignition Coil Pack & Spark Plug Replacement Options:
When one or more coils or plugs go out, it is important to change all of them at the same time. The reason for this is because it ensures that you won’t have to change them out every few months and it will save a lot of headaches. With the proper tools, replacing plugs and coils can be an easy DIY. A mechanic will likely charge around $500 to replace all.
DIY Difficulty: Easy
2. N80 (Purge) Valve Faliure
The N80 (purge solenoid) valve failure is common in many different Audi and Volkswagen vehicles. An N80 valve is part of the EVAP system in the engine and it regulates the amount of fuel vapor that goes back into the intake manifold to get burned off. It is important because too much or too little fuel vapor can alert an engine to pop a CEL/MIL.
If an N80 valve happens to fail, the CEL will pop on and give any of these codes (P0441, P0442, P0171, P0172) and engine performance will suffer. These shouldn’t have to be replaced at all during the lifetime of a vehicle, but with Volkswagen’s and Audi’s, that’s a different story.
Symptoms of an N80 Valve Failure:
- CEL/MIL illuminating
- P0441 or P0442 fault code
- P0171 or P0172 fault code
- Decreased fuel efficiency
- Rough idle
N80 Valve Replacement Options:
Replacing this valve is super simple, you just have to know where it is located, which is right next to the throttle body and it looks like the picture above. If you aren’t too DIY savvy, a local mechanic would charge around $175, mainly due to the cost of labor.
VW OEM Evap Purge Regulator (N80) Valve: Purchase Here
DIY Difficulty: Easy
3. Worn CV Boots
This is not as common in Q7’s, but has been reported in a few and it can easily be diagnosed. A CV (Constant Velocity) boot houses the grease needed for the joint in one place. Without the proper lubrication from the grease, serious damage can be done to the powertrain. Customers have seen the CV boots prematurely crack and rip causing debris to get into the axel joint, which is never good for the powertrain.
Common ways these can fail are premature ripping of the rubber or leaking due to faulty clamps. If you are hearing a clicking noise in any of the axels while turning, you can visually inspect the boots of grease leaks. These should last the lifecycle of a vehicle depending on what terrain is driven on an everyday basis.
Symptoms of Worn CV Boots:
- Visible cracks on the boots
- Vibrations from the axel
- Clicking noise from the axel while turning
- Steering wheel vibrating while driving
- Wandering steering wheel
CV Boot Replacement Options:
When a CV boot rips, your only option is to replace it. Luckily the part is not too expensive and can be done with the proper equipment (floor jack,etc.) If you don’t feel like you have the proper equipment for the job, a mechanic will likely charge $500, depending on how many boots will need to be replaced.
DIY Difficulty: Intermediate
4. Timing Chain Tensioner Failure
The timing chain tensioners that are in Volkswagen and Audi engines are not the best, which risks major engine damage. This specifically applies to the V6 TFSI engine in the Audi Q7. A timing chain tensioner maintains the proper tension needed for the timing chain to function properly. If the tensioner begins to fail, this can cause the chain to jump which could lead to valves bending internally. As you can expect, this is engine damage that you won’t want to experience.
These tensioners are made out of cheap plastic which results in easy cracking or wobbling. Whether your Q7 has a timing belt or timing chain, it is always advisable to replace the tensioners every time the chain or belt needs to be replaced. If a vehicle is over 100,000 miles without having the chain or tensioners replaced, that should be the first thing on your to-do list.
Symptoms of Timing Chain Tensioner Failure:
- Limp mode
- Rattling noise coming from the engine bay
- CEL/MIL illuminating
- Engine starting problems
- Engine failure (worst case)
Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement Options:
Replacing timing chain tensioners is not a cheap service because the engine will have to be fully removed to perform the service. Customers have been seen to pay north of $2,000 for this repair. We wouldn’t advise DIY, but if find yourself inclined to do so, it could save a lot of money on labor costs.
DIY Difficulty: Difficult
5. Fuel Pump Flange Failure
The fuel pump flange was a common problem in 2013 – 2017 Q7’s. It was so common that Audi issued a recall on them for those years and it affected over 240,000 units. Essentially what was happening was the flange would prematurely crack and wear out because of “liquid contamination”, causing fuel leaks. A fuel pump flange is a protective barrier used to keep the fuel pump in place. It seals the fuel pump connections to prevent fuel from leaking out.
When the flanges prematurely crack, this is extremely dangerous because it increases the risk of an engine fire. Most of the time, these should be able to last through a vehicle’s lifecycle. However, the defective flanges that were installed in the Q7’s will have to be changed out.
Symptoms of Fuel Pump Failure:
- Visible cracks on the fuel pump flange
- Fuel leaks coming from the fuel pump
- Whining noise coming from the fuel tank
- Engine sputters
- Engine stalls
- Difficulty starting the engine
- Engine surges
Fuel Pump Flange Replacement Options:
Since this recall was issued back in 2017, most of the affected vehicles should have been addressed. If you are in the market for a Q7 between the 2013-2017 years, make sure to get a record of the maintenance service to ensure this service has been done. If not, you may be able to have Audi look at it and replace it on them. However, if you would rather DIY it, it is entirely possible, but it isn’t the easiest.
Audi Q7 Reliability
The reliability of any vehicle is always going to be the top question when it comes to looking for cars. So, how reliable is the Audi Q7? The reliability is average, which is not good to hear when it comes to vehicles. JD Power rated it a 3 out of 5 and RepairPal rated it 2.5 out of 5, putting them 8th out of 19 in the luxury fullsize category. Also, something to mention is when you’re spending up to $75,000 on a new Audi Q7, you should expect to pay quite a bit for maintenance. In fact, the average repair cost for a Q7 is $1,185. This shouldn’t be a surprise, the more luxury you go, the more expensive it’s going to be to maintain.
We know it may look like a laundry list of things to be concerned about, but no vehicle is perfect, and many vehicles have common problems. If maintained properly, Audi Q7’s can easily last 150,000 – 200,000 miles. The diesel engines can last even up to 300,000 miles or longer.
If you would like to read more Audi content, here’s our write-up on The 5 Most Common Audi Q5 Engine Problems.