Back in February, we published a running report on our own Audi TT 2.0 TFSi which focused on a problem that had blighted our enjoyment of the car – namely the driver or passenger window becoming ‘stuck’ half open.
Some owners experience warning signs prior to the failure (a graunching noise or slowness when raising the window), and it usually affects one door window at a time (usually the driver’s door first). Either way, it seems to happen at the most inconvenient moments.
After our less than helpful experience with our local Audi dealer, Vindis of Huntingdon, I decided to fix the problem myself and in doing so discovered that it was caused by a strand of window regulator cable breaking and getting stuck in the pulley system.
It seemed obvious this was a design failure, rather than wear-and-tear, so I contacted Audi UK to find out how they were handling the situation for other TT owners.
During this time, we were contacted by dozens of TT owners who’d experienced the same issue – one of whom is Richard Illingworth, a UK customer who moved to Ireland before his window regulator failure occurred. You can read his story below.
What did we learn?
After Audi read about the problem here on SkiddMark, they went away and performed a thorough investigation by data mining their internal systems.
Rob McDonald from Audi UK’s Customer Service team confirmed that the issue was not showing up as a significant complaint on their warranty system, but he was able to notice the volume of complaints being higher on 2007/08 cars.
Dissatisfied with his initial finding, Rob then reviewed the parts inventory to compare warranty claims against parts ordered. He found an unusually high number of parts being ordered compared to those fitted by dealers, which led him to believe that many were being fitted by customers (as I did) or by independent garages – hence falling outside the warranty net.
He also discovered that the window regulator part itself had been upgraded twice in the past 3 to 4 years, which may have been due to the factory or component supplier spotting a weakness and applying a fix. Either way, it bodes well for the improved reliability of newer TTs and of course now that Audi has performed this investigation, there will be a record on the warranty system that dealers can use to guide their own investigations.
Our advice to owners
If you own an Audi TT (or in fact any Audi model) and come across an unusual problem such as this, the first thing you should do is obviously to contact your dealer. Sometime dealers are unable to recognise trends, since you may be the first person reporting it, so in that case it’s important that you contact Audi Customer Services (see below) and let then know of the issue.
This advice was also re-iterated in an official statement received from Audi last night.
Audi’s Response: Audi TT Window Regulator Problem
I am pleased to now get back to you with some positive news. This took us a little time to resolve.
We are aware that a number of customers have approached Audi Centres regarding window regulator problems in second generation TT models, and that there is dissatisfaction in some cases with the treatment they have received.
We apologise for falling short of meeting your rightfully high expectations in this instance, and ask that owners who have been inconvenienced by this problem, and who feel that it hasn’t been resolved to their satisfaction, contact Audi Customer Services for further assistance.
The team can be reached on Freephone number 0800 699888 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please quote your name, address and your car registration in any email correspondence.
Many thanks for your patience and apologies for the inconvenience.
The concept of trouble free motoring is a myth – cars are complex machines, car makers use millions of parts across their range and customers will always have a role to play in the long-term testing and improvement of the components fitted. The issue is not whether a car will go wrong, but how well the after-sales process supports the customer when a problem occurs.
I am confident after speaking with Audi that this window regulator problem is now logged on their system as a ‘known issue’, but they still need your help.
Thus far the problem seems to affect early Mk2 TT models, but that may just be a factor of age, and the problem may still exist on newer cars. To help Audi complete their diagnosis, contact the Audi Customer Service team and let them know if you are experiencing the problem, or have recently replaced your window regulator.
As vehicle owners, you are the eyes and ears that provide car makers with the knowledge to improve their products. Audi recognise this as a service to them, and therefore are prepared to make ‘goodwill gestures’ to offset the costs of replacement.
It does, after all, save them money when they can proactively remedy a problem (through design or after sales inspection) rather than end up with a bunch of unhappy customers who switch their loyalty to another brand.
There are exceptions to this rule, as we highlight below.
Customer Case Study: Richard Illingworth
Richard has kept us updated throughout his ordeal, which first occurred to his November 2008 Audi TT at the beginning of May.
The initial problem Richard faced was finding out ‘who owned his complaint’. As a UK citizen, who bought his car in the UK, but then relocated to Dublin, Ireland, he found himself in no-man’s land. Audi Ireland said that being a UK supplier car it was not their problem. Audi UK said that in order to discuss compensation, he would have to get the car back to a UK Dealer (at his own cost).
Unhappy with his treatment, Richard then contacted the Audi Customer Services team in Ingolstadt, Germany who advised him to speak with the Customer Care Team at Volkswagen Group Ireland Limited.
Volkswagen Group Ireland said that since the manufacturers 2-year warranty had long since expired, there was nothing they could do, but sought to reassure Richard that all repairs comes with a 2-year parts warranty, which they hoped would offer some peace of mind going forward.
Richard’s local dealer, Audi Dublin then took pity on him, offering a €115 ‘goodwill’ deduction from the €465 repair bill. This came out of Audi Dublin’s pocket after Audi Ireland refused to accept responsibility.
Richard has been trading emails with Audi (and VW) for the last 3 weeks, but thankfully his car is now fixed. However, his confidence in Audi’s after-sales support is at an all-time low. Let’s hope Richard is one of the last to experience this treatment and that we’ve now turned a corner in Audi’s understanding of the issue.
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Many thanks to: Rob McDonald, Jon Zammett, Robin Davies and David Ingram of Audi UK. You can reach the Audi UK Customer Services team by calling 0800 699888 or emailing email@example.com. Please quote your name, address and car registration in any email correspondence.