The British Winter. It’s not ‘too’ arduous really, provided you don’t get stuck in a sudden blizzard, or your washer fluid freezes up, or some fool yet again launches themselves into the street furniture whilst attempting to drive, text and sip a piping-hot skinny latte.
Once we’re wrapped up warm and snug in our cars, neither rain nor snow can disturb our peace. Unless, perhaps if you own an Audi TT Mk2, in which case you might need to plan ahead.
Model: Audi TT 2.0 TFSi (197 bhp)
Age: 2007 (4.5 years)
Colour: Brilliant Red
The problem occurred 10 days ago when the drivers-side window on our car failed to close, stopping half way up accompanied by a mechanical graunching noise. The window would rise and fall up to this mid-point, but no further.
Thankfully our cars are parked away in a garage, but it still meant we couldn’t actually go (and park) anywhere, plus of course we no longer needed an outside temperature gauge because we could ‘feel’ every degree below body temperature.
Initial efforts to reset the control unit (by disconnecting the battery) made no difference, so a visit to our nearest Audi dealer (Vindis) was next on the cards.
Now, I’ve bought several Audis in recent years – B7 RS4 Avant, R8 and of course our TT – but I am probably better known for the BMW’s I’ve owned and have an excellent relationship with my local dealer. However Vindis’ approach to resolving our problem left me cold.
Menu-pricing man wouldn’t allow a mechanic to just pop out and take a look/listen at our car, instead we’d have to fork out £85 for a diagnosis. “Either way it’s probably the window regulator that’s just packed up..” he said. To which I replied, “No it isn’t. The electrics are fine, it’s a mechanical failure.”
Menu-pricing man shrugs his shoulders, tells me I could buy the parts myself and try to fix it, but judging by the smirk on his face I got the distinct impression he thought this was akin to crossing the Atlantic in a dinghy.
So, you can probably guess what I did next. Picking up a batch of 9 spare door clips (which are used to attach the inner trim to the door skin), I set about performing my own diagnosis, by removing the door panel and inspecting the window regulator mechanism.
After stripping the door down I discovered the cable within the window regulator mechanism had frayed and was stuck within one of the plastic pulleys. This is not repairable and Audi do not sell replacement cables, instead you must buy the complete mechanism including cables, clamps, pulleys and most of the structural components inside the door.
A second visit was made to my local dealer to pick up a replacement regulator mechanism (£118 incl VAT – part no. 8J0837462D) and three hours later our TT was back on the road, with a fully functioning drivers window and a warm sense of achievement – or perhaps that was just because the minus 5 degree air temperature was now only on the ‘outside’ of the car.
Whilst investigating the reason for our TT’s window failure, I came across a great many posts on TT Forum and other Audi communities which show this is a ‘known issue’, so much so that Audi have frequently offered to pay part (if not all) of the repair costs. But it also appears to affect other models in Audi’s range including the A5/S5, which shares a similar frameless door design as the TT.
Beyond the cost of repairing your TT, the other point worth noting is how frequently the failure occurs at the most inconvenient time. There were tales of people driving back home in the pouring rain with the window half open, or going out for the night (or further afield) then having to abandon plans and return home because the car cannot be securely parked.
I read through dozens of similar cases, many of them far worse than our own, which made me feel I was one of the lucky ones.
Many owners report the same graunching noise (as the cable frays and gets stuck in the mechanism), whilst some have experienced both windows fail within a matter of weeks.
Whilst our car is more than 4 years old, many of the cases I came across afflicted nearly new cars, some less than 12 months old, so we’re talking about a design issue rather than natural wear and tear.
What can you do?
The first thing to say is that every car experiences faults at one time or another, it’s unavoidable, but in this instance it appears that if you own a Mk2 TT then you ‘will’ experience this failure at some point in its life.
So, the first piece of advice is to have it checked over at your next service, or if your concerns are more pressing then ask your dealer to inspect your car, but remember they’ll probably charge nearly £100 for the privilege.
Secondly, don’t try and force your window to close. I found one video on YouTube that made me cringe, and when you realise what causes the failure there really is no point in doing anything other than replacing the mechanism.
It won’t fix itself, and if you keep trying to raise and lower the window you’ll strain the regulator motor which will set you back a further £200 or more to replace.
Should Audi recall the Mk2 TT?
Most recalls are made for safety reasons and apart from the risk of your pride and joy being stolen, there’s no safety risk to this failure – this is all about cost and inconvenience.
Audi will weigh up the risk to customer satisfaction and their brand reputation against the cost of proactively fixing customer cars – but don’t hold your breath – most car makers tend to deal with these issues on a case-by-case basis rather than a very public and costly recall.
If you’ve experienced this problem yourself then let us know in the comments below, I can’t promise a quick fix, but it might just demonstrate how widespread the problem has become.
Likewise if you are currently limping around with your window half-open, pay a visit to the folks at The TT Forum who can point you towards the best DIY guides and offer both words of advice.. and their sympathies.