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This is my 7th Audi-VWoA vehicle. I have learned that if you have a serious problem like maybe the car may kill you and you don't want to face the consequences of killing anyone at the dealership, just buy the parts and fix it yourself. I weighed the time and expense of legal action and decided to buy a new steering rack for $1200 and install it myself. The steering is now perfect and I can safely let my wife drive the car. I am blessed with the skills to perform the swap and even reset the alignment.
My Audi 2014 A5 was built in August of 2013. The 2013 A4 and A5 models had a large number of defective racks replaced with the same sticking steering as mine but the dealer claimed that their were no known issues with my model year. I obviously got a leftover 2013 rack in my car. I almost put the car into a line of construction barrels when the steering stuck and then the power assist over compensated and gave the wheel a shove in the direction I was originally attempting to steer.
After reading a number of on-line blogs about the runaround dealers were giving customers complaining about the notchy and sticking steering, I attempted to analyze the issue myself. The dealer indicated there could be a problem with the firmware controlling the electric power assist. By me simply unplugging the electrical connectors to the steering rack, I determined the problem was mechanical. More than likely faulty machining of the rack or the pinion gear since the steering resistance occurred with each gear tooth engagement or at about 6.5 degrees of steering wheel rotation. I also noticed that the sticking was less severe if I backed off the rack pre-load adjustment a quarter of a turn. Again verifying the suspect gear contact surfaces. Colder ambient temperatures made it worse too. I ask a number of steering rack re-manufacturing firms if they would document an autopsy on the defective rack but all declined for legal reasons.
Over 4 decades of owning Audis and VW's. I love the cars. Hate the dealers and hate Audi customer care. Not surprised at all that the the remainder of my CPO warranty was voided by Audi after they accused me of "tampering" with my car. Nothing lost there. I wouldn't trust them with a tricycle let alone my steering system, especially after they drove the car for 4 days and determined the car was "drive-able". Love my car now and the way it steers. Very Audi like. Way better than "drive-able".
- Matt R.,