— Audi Q7 squeaking brakes caused a class action lawsuit that has reached the settlement stage, although a judge must still grant final approval to the settlement agreement.
Plaintiffs Valeria Mercado and Andrea Kristyanne Holmes claim the Audi Q7 squeaking front brakes are distracting to Audi drivers and others on the roads.
The initial class action lawsuit included 2015-2018 Q7 SUVs, but the settlement includes only 2017 and 2018 SUVs.
Although Audi agreed to settle the lawsuit to put an end to it after the class action was amended and refiled five times, the automaker says there is nothing wrong with the Audi Q7 vehicles.
Audi says the owner's manual clearly says brake noise can occur for various reasons, and the lawsuit never identified any defective brake components on the vehicles.
Audi also told the judge the original plaintiff never said the brakes failed to slow down the vehicle, and the automaker also argues brake "noise" doesn't equal a brake "defect."
Audi Brakes Class Action Lawsuit Settlement
The Audi Q7 squeaking brakes class action lawsuit settlement includes:
"All persons and entities who purchased or leased any model year 2017 or 2018 Audi Q7 vehicle that was imported and distributed by VWGoA for sale or lease in the United States or Puerto Rico."
Warranty Extension for Current Owners and Lessees
According to the class action lawsuit, the Audi Q7 vehicle comes with a new vehicle limited warranty which says Audi will cover any repairs to correct a manufacturer’s defect in material or workmanship for 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
As part of the lawsuit settlement, Audi Q7 customers will receive a "warranty extension," but it's questionable how many customers will benefit from the so-called "extension."
The original warranty is for 4 years or 50,000 miles, and the settlement says:
"Effective on the Notice Date, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. will extend its New Vehicle Limited Warranties applicable to the Class Vehicles to cover one (1) repair of a diagnosed condition of squealing of the front brakes, by an authorized Audi dealer, during a period of four years or 48,000 miles (whichever occurs first) from the In-Service Date of the Class Vehicle (hereinafter, the 'Extended Warranty')."
If a vehicle was first put into use in 2017, the "extended warranty" may have already expired.
The "extended warranty repair" will consist of replacement of the front brake pads and installation of one new lower spring in each caliper of the front brake so there are two springs per caliper.
It's also possible an Audi Q7 won't qualify for the repair:
"Squealing of the front brakes resulting from misuse, abuse, alteration or modification, a collision or crash, vandalism, lack of or improper maintenance, and/or damage from an environmental or outside source, shall be excluded and not covered." — Audi Q7 brakes settlement agreement
Because it's possible the settlement "extended warranty" may have already expired for some customers before the settlement is even granted final approval by a judge, the settlement says:
"If the extended warranty has expired by its terms with respect to a given Class Member, he or she nonetheless can obtain its value through the Settlement’s reimbursement component."
Reimbursement For Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Current or former owners/lessees of 2017-2018 Audi Q7 vehicles who paid eligible out-of-pocket expenses may be able to receive reimbursement for "covered repairs" (squealing front brakes) of a vehicle prior to the class action notice date.
The repairs must have been performed within four years or 48,000 miles of when the vehicle first went into service on the roads.
However, if a customer paid for multiple repairs, the settlement provides reimbursement for only one repair for squeaky front brakes.
If the repair was performed by an Audi dealer, a customer may receive the full amount paid for parts, labor and taxes.
If the repair was performed by a third-party facility, a customer may qualify for 50% reimbursement for a covered repaired.
"Under the Settlement, certain costs, including but not limited to costs incurred for any squealing of the front brakes caused by modification of/to brake components, misuse, abuse, alteration or modification, a collision or crash, lack of or improper maintenance, and/or damage from an environmental or other outside source are excluded from reimbursement."
A customer will need to submit a claim form by U.S. mail along with documents showing the brake repair was performed within four years or 48,000 miles of when the vehicle first went into service.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs are expected to receive $1,960,000 for fees, costs and expenses.
The Audi Q7 squeaking brakes class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Mercado, et al. v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. d/b/a Audi of America, Inc.
The plaintiffs are represented by Ahdoot & Wolfson, P.C., Greg Coleman Law, and Whitfield, Bryson & Mason.