Your Audi is designed to provide exceptional performance and handling in all types of driving conditions. With time and high mileage, key suspension components such as control arm bushings, tie rods, ball joints, sway bar links and wheel bearings begin to wear and lose their effectiveness. As an Audi owner, you may begin to notice front-end vibrations or shimmying, hear a distinct “clunk” or “creek” when going over road humps or hit one of Austin’s many pot-holes. The images below are images indicating what your Audi’s suspension looks like when it needs attention.
At German Auto Center, one of the most common suspension issues that we see is worn or failed control arm bushings. The control arm bushings on your Audi receive the most pressure when you are braking or during heavy acceleration. These forces can be extreme and cause the rubber bushings to fatigue and crack.
On most Audi models, a unique eight (8) control arm system is used with two upper arms and two lower arms per side. Often if two or more control arm bushings are damaged (either ball joint or control arm bushing damage), it is more cost effective to replace all arms together which will save on long-term costs associated with labor and parts.
Other components such as wheel bearings, ball joints and sway bar links should be inspected at the same time. Although failure of these components are less frequent, control arm bushings left unchecked will put additional stress on other suspension components such as ball joints, tie rods and sway bar links leading to excessive and premature tire wear.
Whether you drive an Audi model A4, A6, A8, S4, S6 or S8 or Q series, you should have German Auto Center inspect your suspension especially after 40,000 miles. German Auto Center will inspect your suspension components Free of charge to ensure your Audi is performing as it is designed and is safe on the road.
If you are feeling a vibration or shimmy or hear a “creek” or “clunk” from your Audi’s front-end, here are a few simple inspections that you can do:
1. Control Arm Bushings – If you are feeling a vibration or shimmy, visually inspect the control arm bushings (at the inboard end of the control arm where it mounts to the chassis) for cracks, leaks or missing pieces of rubber. At low speeds you may hear a clunking or creaking noise when traveling over a speed bump, road hump or similar object.
2. Control Arm Ball Joint – Using an appropriate sized pry bar pry between the control arm and the spindle to determine if there is any play in the ball joint or where the ball joint is pressed into the control arm. There should be no movement vertically or laterally.
3. Sway Bar Links – Visually inspect the links connecting the sway bar to the control arms. These may be rubber or may have a hyme or ball joint style connection. If your Audi has rubber bushings, look for cracking or failure of the bushings. If your Audi has hyme or ball joint style links, look for any play or movement in the joint.
4. Tie Rods – Tie rods are the components that connect the steering rack to the hub or spindle on your Audi. These components can be visually inspected for excessive movement or play by grasping a tire and rocking it fore and aft. While some is rocking the tire, visually watch the inner and outer tie rod ends for any movement or play.
These are just a few simple tips and inspections that you can do to visually inspect your Audi’s critical suspension components. If you drive a Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, 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.