With colder weather rapidly approaching, there are a few service items that should be considered on your Audi to ensure that your Audi does not leave you unexpectedly stuck this winter. If you drive an Audi that is more than 5 years old, you should pay particular attention to the following items:
1. Check the date and condition of your Audi battery. Cold weather impacts a batteries ability to produce the cranking amperage necessary to start your Audi. If your Audi battery is more than five years old, you should have it professionally checked. With age, a battery naturally builds up deposits internally reducing the effectiveness of the battery. Stop in at German Auto Center and have the experts check your Audi battery and charging system.
If you want to check the battery production date yourself, most Audi’s have located the battery in one of two places, the left side of the trunk or under the hood by the passenger side cowling. All Batteries will be marked with a date code of manufacture. This is not the same as the installation date which may often be much after the manufacturing date. You will typically see a letter and a date such as below. The “I-13” can be decoded as follows; “I” is the ninth month of the year or September, and the “13” representing 2013. Hence the battery below is a battery produced in September 2013.
Battery Manufacture date September 2013.
If your Audi sits for extended periods (two or more weeks at a time) without being started, German Auto Center recommends having a low amperage battery tender installed that will keep your Audi battery charged and ready for use. Automotive batteries do not do well sitting and not being charged as natural leakage of voltage draws between the battery terminals and from your Audi onboard Electronic Control Modules will case a drain or draw on the battery. Remember that with colder weather, cold engines are harder to start due to thickening of the engine oil, bearing grease becoming stiffer and belts being harder to turn.
2. Check your coolant system components. On your Audi, many of the coolant system components such as the radiator, thermostat, heater flange and expansion tank are made of plastic. With age, these plastic components become brittle due to heat and are subject to crack leaving you stranded. Similarly, rubber hoses will age showing soft spots or blisters in the rubber. These components should be checked regularly.
Audi recommends that your coolant be changed or flushed every two years to ensure effective cooling and remove any deposits that may have accumulated within the cooling system. Keep in mind that in later model Audi vehicles, the thermostat will fail in the open position allowing your Audi to continue to run. Although your vehicle will operate, a cooling system fault light will be turned on and you will notice a significant decline in fuel economy. For more information visit the technical blog section at www.germanautocenter.com.
3. Tire condition, pressure and age. It is important to visually inspect your Audi’s tires on a regular basis. German Auto Center will be happy to inspect your tires for you, but there are a few simple inspections that you can make on your own.
(a) Visually inspect your tires for cracking, damage to the tread or any foreign objects that might have punctured the tire. Often an object may insert itself into the outer rubber of the tire without penetrating through causing a leak.
(b) Check the depth of your tire’s tread. It is recommended that tires be replaced when the remaining tread depth is less than 5/32 inch. Further, a tire is considered unsafe below 3/32 inch and will not pass state safety inspection. Below is an example of a tire measuring tool indicating less than 3.32 inch tread and this tire should be replaced.
Tire tread showing less than 3/32 inch tread
(c) Tires are all stamped with a manufacture date. Tires older than ten (10) years should be replaced. Most tire stores will not repair a tire older than ten years. You can find the tire manufacture date stamped on the tire’s sidewall. In this example DOT U2LL LMLR 5107 can be seen. The last four digits is what you are looking for. The “51” indicates the 51st week of the year and the “07” indicated 2007; hence this tire was produced during the last week of 2007.
Tire manufacture date 51st week of 2007
4. Check the windshield wiper fluid level and windshield wiper condition. Be sure check the windshield wiper fluid level each time that you fill your Audi with fuel. This is especially critical during winter months. Only use a fluid designed for use in windshield washer system and contains an antifreeze agent such as ethanol (or isopropanol and ethylene glycol. Take a moment and check the condition of the wiper blade(s) on your Audi. If signs of any cracking, tearing or if they loose their pliability, they should be replaced. Visit German Auto Center and we will be happy to inspect the windshield wipers on your Audi and will top off your Audi’s fluid.
5. Visually inspect all belts and hoses. The rubber belts and hoses should be inspected regularly on your Audi. This is especially true if your Audi is experiencing fluid leaks such as power steering or engine oil. These fluids will rapidly soften rubber components and lead to premature failure. If is also important to check the tension of all belts to ensure proper operation.
These are just a few simple tips and inspections that you can do to visually inspect your Audi’s critical components in preparation for colder weather. If you drive a BMW, Mercedes Benz, Audi, Porsche, Mini Cooper or Volkswagen and have any questions, please visit us at www.germanautocenter.com, call us at 512.452.6437 or stop by and visit with us at 8215 Research Blvd, Austin Texas, 78758. We look forward to seeing you.
Have a question about your luxury automobile or does your model need special work? Please ask using the comment box below on our German Auto Center Facebook page and one of our experts will reply! German Auto Center is owned and operated by Len Gilmore.