Audi Q7 Reliability – A Good Buy Or A Money Pit?

by Conner Mckay

If you are on the market to get a big, full-size SUV, the Audi Q7 is probably one of your top picks. This German SUV is wrapped up in posh luxury and quality materials, and it’s definitely worth your attention. But every model has some ups and downs. And so does the Audi and its Audi Q7 reliability issues.

When you plan to get a new or used car, the right thing is to do your own research. Open up the official websites, dealership websites, eBay, etc. Learn more about the car you want to buy. Because you want to be informed about the model and you should know what to expect from it. Don’t trust what anyone says, because the dealers will always try to sell their product. Thorough research is needed to get the right deal.

In order for you to do this properly, especially if you are in the market for an Audi Q7, look online for Audi Q7 reliability. By doing this you will learn about all the ups and downs of the new and old models of this car.

It is also important to learn the prices and how to get a car for the lowest possible price and also to get a decent condition vehicle. You probably don’t want to get a lemon that will be stuck in front of your house.

But you shouldn’t worry, because in this article we collected a large amount of data on the Q7 and its known faults. You will learn how to avoid these faults, or if you already have an Audi Q7, how to fix these issues on the cheap by using simple DIY methods.

In the end, we will decide whether you should not touch one, should you consider it, or you should go out and purchase the Audi Q7. So, if you want to learn more about the Audi Q7 and the Audi Q7 reliability, follow along till the end.

Audi Q7

The Q7 debuted back in 2005 and has been in production for almost 16 years. And that is a benchmark, to be honest. Not many vehicle models have a production run like the Q7.

During this period, two generations have changed and the Q7 is still strong in sales to this day. It is a known fact that this model shares its platform with its siblings from the VW group. Namely the VW Touareg and the Porsche Cayenne.

But the Audi is a class of its own. We can say that the Audi brand is one of the most independent brands in the VW Group of carmakers. This means that much of the production is happening in-house and the sharing of parts among the brands is smaller compared to other VW makes like Porsche and Skoda.

First Generation Audi Q7

This platform debuted in 2005 and was the first Audi to take on the SUV market. It was an instant hit among buyers and stayed that way until it was discontinued in 2015.

The big SUV incorporated six different engines. Three gas and three diesel engines.

The gas engines were the 3.0L FSI V6, 3.6L FSI VR6, and the big 4.2 FSI V8. The FSI engines were naturally aspirated engines. They weren’t turbocharged like the TSI lineup.

The diesel engines were one of the strongest engines and they could stand a good beating. The lineup started with a small size 3.0L V6 TDI, 4.2L V8 TDI, and the biggest was the 6.0L V12 TDI. The V12 was the biggest diesel engine inserted in a production vehicle ever. Cars with this engine are rare because not many were sold. But the V12 TDI is still regarded as a legend and one of the best engines ever made.

There were two transmission options and both were automatic. Namely, there was a 6 speed and an 8 speed. They both delivered good fuel economy.

The wheelbase was quite large on this model with 118.2 inches and a length of 200 inches, making it very spacious and could readily fit seven passengers, although the comfort for the last two was a bit compromised.

Second Generation Audi Q7

The second generation debuted in 2015 for the 2016-year model and is still produced. It is quite an improvement compared to its predecessor, improving the styling and technologies by quite some margin. And also, there is a big improvement in the Audi Q7 reliability.

Compared to its predecessor the new Q7 incorporates more engines and more power. The lineup consists of six gas and six diesel options. Two of the gas options are plug-in hybrids. This means that they include an electric motor that works with the gas engine to improve efficiency.

Audi Q7 Reliability

The gas engine lineup is turbocharged compared to the naturally aspirated engines on the predecessor. This means more problems for you as an owner. The base model in the lineup is a turbocharged four-banger with 2.0L of displacement, then follows the 3.0L V3 TFSI engines, two of which are plug-in hybrids and the big one in the SQ7 is a 4.0L TFSI V8.

In the diesel lineup, there is also a choice with four 3.0L V6 TDI engines, an e-Tron plug-in hybrid, and a turbocharged 4.0L V8 in the SQ7 TDI.

In the transmission department, there are two options, a six-speed auto and a fast 8-speed ZF torque converter automatic.

The wheelbase on the new generation Q7 is 117.9 inches, the length is around 198.9 inches. Keeping the proportions of the old model. Still makes it hard for the last two passengers in the back to sit properly and doesn’t have enough headroom. But what about the Q7 reliability that we are here for? We will learn more about that in the next chapter.

Audi Q7 Reliability

Reliability is a thing that every owner should look at before making a future purchase. Getting some reliability testimonials can be a difficult task if you are planning to get a new Q7, but for the earlier models, there is plenty to cover.

In this section, we will discuss different types of issues that are very common to the Q7. We will cover the engine issues, suspension problems, overall build quality of the car, and the wear and tear issues that you might come across while checking local Q7s. Here is also a video on the Q7 and its common issues.

After reading this article you may consider yourself an Audi Q7 expert. Because we are going to cover everything you need when it comes to buying this big German SUV. So, let’s begin.

1. Engine Misfires

Engine misfires are a common issue when it comes to Q7s. Many owners have reported that their engine has misfired when they started the engine on a cold winter morning. But sooner after the engine has warmed up, these misfires magically disappear and the engine continues to run perfectly smooth.

Many owners had their Q7s scanned with diagnostic tools and they haven’t reported an issue with their cars. Some of them have discovered that there is a problem with a specific cylinder that misfires from time to time. They went deeper in their search for the issue and discovered that many of the Q7s had carbon buildup in the cylinders. This buildup was caused by running low-quality gas. The cost for this repair was around $1,400.

Some of the owners went a step further and replaced all of the spark plugs and the ignition coils. But unfortunately, this didn’t solve the issue for everyone.

2. Problems With NOx sensors

Many owners with higher mileage Q7s have said that their Audi had bad NOx sensors. Especially the newer model of 2017. How they noticed this issue is because they got a check engine message on their dash. They further diagnosed this issue by using some diagnostic scanners and found out that the culprit for this check engine light was the NOx sensors.

These sensors are determining the amount of Nitrogen Oxide in the exhaust pipes and they are responsible for helping to recirculate unburnt fuel. The problem with the NOx sensor appears because of poor fuel. When you are running your Q7 on poor fuel there will be buildup with deposits on the knock sensor. This buildup will prevent your car from working properly.

Fortunately, this problem is easily solvable and it requires one visit to the dealership in order for this sensor to be replaced. The cost for this repair was around $500.

3. Bad Timing Chain Tensioners

Some owners that run the V6 TFSI 2015 engine, have reported an issue with their upper timing chain tensioners. These tensioners are keeping the timing chain in check and don’t allow the chain to wobble and get loose. The downside of these tensioners is that they are made out of cheap plastic and they start to crack and wobble with age.

This wobbling cannot ruin your engine or snap your belt, but it can cause your chain to jump and bend your valves. And you probably don’t want that to happen to you. So, if you notice that the problem is there, don’t wait for it to become bigger and more costly.

The solution to this problem is installing a new timing chain tensioner. These tensioners will make your timing chain work as new again and you will not hear any more noise.

If your Q7 is past 100,000 miles, it is also recommended to replace the timing chain as well. These chains get loose over time and will start making unpleasant noises. They cannot snap but replacing them is a recommended thing to do.

This service is known to be costly and can cost you a couple of thousand dollars. The cost is high because it requires full engine removal and it has a lot of man-hours that are required to finish this job. That’s why if you are looking for an Audi Q7 make sure that the timing chain is replaced. If not, stay away from that car.

4. Upper Timing Cover Gasket

These gaskets are prone to oil leakage, especially on early models that have passed 100,000 miles or more than 10 years of age. This issue happens because the gasket that holds the timing cover is made out of rubber, and rubber over time because of heat and age tends to lose its characteristics and start to harden.

This may cause oil leaks from the engine. If you noticed a leak here then it’s time to replace the timing cover gasket. The problem with this gasket is that if you don’t notice the leaks, and you run your car as it is, it may cause you to lose too much oil and could dry out your engine. This will cause your engine to seize and the only solution will be a new engine.

In order to avoid this issue, always track your oil levels. Every week check the dipstick, if you notice that you lose oil it means that something is wrong. Go to your local mechanic and let him take care of this issue. Like with all Audi’s this service is also costly and can cost $1,000 to $2,000 depending on the shop that you are taking your car to.

5. Driveshaft Bearing Problems

This is a common issue on Audis and unfortunately, it doesn’t avoid the Q7. The driveshaft bearing problems usually appear above 150,000 miles of driving. And it can be a quite tricky thing to repair and worsens the Audi Q7 reliability.

The main symptom of this problem is the shuddering that appears. This shudder starts when the vehicle is starting to move from a full stop, and it can get worse when the driver has to turn the wheel. A driver has reported this issue with a brand-new axle installed in his Q7.

The problem was with the center bearing of the driveshaft. This bearing wears out after many miles and the problem starts to appear. There is a solution for this problem, and that is replacing the whole inner bearing assembly, and this can come at a cost depending on what model you are running.

It can cost as low as $450 for a second-hand rebuilt bearing and assembly, and up to $1500 for a new one. Also, the labor costs can make this service cost a small fortune. So, pick your Audi service center wisely before getting the cheapest service possible.

6. Fuel Tank Pressurization Problems

The fuel tank pressurization issue is also one of the Audi Q7 reliability issues. Some of the owners have reported a popping noise that came from the trunk. These owners also sometimes weren’t able to start their Q7s after they filled up the tank at the gas station.

Mechanics have diagnosed this issue and the codes P2303 and P0441 were popping out on the computer. The mechanics concluded that there was an issue with the pressurization of the fuel tank.

The root of the problem was a faulty valve that was located on the top of the intake manifold. This valve has a role to open/close in order for the pressure to build up in the fuel tank. If this valve breaks, it means that there is no more pressure. The fix for this problem is replacing the broken valve.

7. Keyless Door Handle Buttons Stop Working

This is another issue that plagues Audis, especially in the early Q7s. This issue causes the keyless entry buttons to stop working and you will not be able to get into your car. Unless you unlock it with the key blade. This issue is mostly caused by a key fob battery or the car battery. More so, once you notice any of the symptoms of low battery in your key fob.

If you have this issue the best thing to do is to check out the health of the battery. If the battery is old and doesn’t hold electricity the best idea is to swap it with a new one. A new battery can cost around $150 or more depending on the size of the battery.

Swapping the key fob battery is also a good idea. You can get a new battery for the key fob for around $10-$20. Go online and learn how you can replace these batteries. It’s usually one simple cover that pops out. Once you have done that replace the battery with the new one. Your keyless entry should function properly again.

8. Sunroof Drain Leaks And Rattles

The sunroof of the Audi Q7 is known for its leakage problem. This problem affects the overall Audi Q7 reliability. When this leakage occurs, it may not cause water to leak into your cabin. But it may cause the water to flood your electrical systems and cause some major issues. This problem usually appears in the early Q7 models from 2007. Some owners have reported that their side passenger floor mats were flooded by this issue.

The description of this problem is that there is insufficient sealing in the front and rear corners of the sunroof. The water leaking down the pillars may reach the electrical components, such as fuse panels and control modules that are located behind the dash. Water may also go inside your sound system and cause it to malfunction. Some people also reported air suspension malfunctions as well.

This problem can be quite tricky to diagnose because you cannot diagnose a leak problem with a scanner tool. So, if you want to solve this you need to get your hands dirty and start removing bits and pieces.

The solution to this problem is to reseal the sunroof and that will probably fix the issue. If there are still some electrical errors. It is a good idea to check the connections and clean them if there is any rust buildup. This will make sure that the contact is good and you’re good to go. If there is too much rust then it’s probably the best idea to replace them right away.

9. It Eats Trough Tires Easily

This car has an issue with eating tires too quickly. This is caused by the sheer size of this SUV. The Q7 is one of the biggest cars on the road and this also has downsides. The biggest downside is that when it is driven on big 20-inch rims. The Q7 can wear the tires prematurely and you will need to swap them very often. By often we mean very often.

A tire usually lasts for around 14,000 miles on a regular car. On the Audi Q7, the tires will last 8,000 miles. This can be an issue because these tires are very expensive to buy. A single tire can cost more than $400, and that is a lot for one tire.

The solution for this issue is to move from 20 inches down to 18 inches. This will improve your maintenance costs by a big margin. You can get one of these 18-inch tires for less than $200 and that is a bargain.

10. Wear And Tear On Leather Seats

Some people who have high mileage Q7s have reported increased wear and tear in the side bolsters on the front seats. This problem appears in some cars that are driven more often than others and this is a common issue.

Audi Q7 Reliability

The solution to this problem is to pay a visit to your local upholstery shop and let them fix this issue for you. It will cost you some money but you are going to be satisfied with the end results.

11. Faulty Brake Pads and Rotors

Audi Q7 owners, especially of certain models, have observed that the brake pads and rotors tend to wear out quicker than expected. This might lead to diminished stopping power, squeaking, or even grinding noises when applying the brakes. Regularly checking your brake components can prevent potential safety risks.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to consult with a mechanic. The cost of replacing the brake pads and rotors can vary but expect to pay upwards of a few hundred dollars, especially if opting for OEM parts.

12. Electronic Issues

Some Q7 owners have reported glitches with the infotainment system or minor issues with the digital instrument cluster. This includes sporadic reboots, loss of connection, or unresponsive touchscreens. For those who rely heavily on these systems for navigation or entertainment, it can be quite inconvenient.

Regular software updates can remedy these problems. If not, a trip to the dealership might be necessary to diagnose and fix the issue. Warranty might cover some of these repairs, but out-of-pocket costs can sometimes reach a few hundred dollars.

13. Air Suspension Issues

The Audi Q7 equipped with air suspension offers a comfortable ride and height adjustability. However, over time, some users have experienced issues like the vehicle sagging to one side or the system failing to adjust the ride height properly. The compressor or airbags are often the culprits.

When faced with such issues, it’s essential to diagnose the exact problem and address it promptly. Repair costs can range widely based on the specific component needing replacement, with costs sometimes crossing the thousand-dollar mark.

14. Turbocharger Failures

Some Audi Q7s, especially those equipped with turbocharged engines, might face turbocharger issues. This can result in reduced power, black smoke from the exhaust, or a distinctive whining noise. Such issues often stem from oil feed problems or carbon buildup.

If you encounter any turbocharger-related issues, consult a mechanic promptly. Neglecting these problems can lead to more severe engine damage. Replacing or repairing a turbocharger is not cheap; anticipated costs are well above a thousand dollars in some cases.

15. Transmission Glitches

Transmission problems, albeit less frequent, have also been noted among some Q7 owners. They report occasional hard shifts, hesitations, or even a jolt when changing gears. While software updates might rectify some of these issues, others might need a deeper investigation.

It’s always wise to have any transmission anomalies checked sooner rather than later. Addressing them early can prevent more extensive, costlier damages in the future. A transmission service or repair can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, based on the severity of the issue.

Audi Q7 Reliability: In Conclusion…

We have discussed the Audi Q7 reliability issues and we can now come to a conclusion. The Audi Q7 is an expensive vehicle, which means that the repairs are going to be expensive in the process. You cannot expect that the prices are going to be the same as for a Toyota Camry.

The second thing to note is that these issues are fairly common and easy to fix. With every car, there are some issues and nothing is perfect. The only big thing to look after when getting a Q7 is the timing chain. Their timing chain services can be on the expensive side. Because there is so little space and a lot of work needs to be done to the car when you go for a service like this. So, it’s the best idea that somebody else takes care of it instead of you.

We discussed the Audi Q7 reliability, and the final question is, should avoid, a shortlist or you should just go and buy the Audi Q7? My advice would be to shortlist the Q7. If you find a good example then go for it, else look at the competition like the BMW X5 and the Porsche Cayenne.

Audi Q7 Reliability Essential Knowledge

  1. The Audi Q7 luxury SUV model has some common problems that owners complain about, despite the many impressive amenities it offers.
  2. The Audi Q7 may experience engine misfiring problems that cause the vehicle to buck and shudder while driving, and the check engine light may come on. This is often caused by carbon buildup in the cylinders, which can be costly to fix.
  3. Local dealerships may not always find an issue with the engine misfiring problem, but owners should persist with their complaints and request a more thorough investigation.
  4. Replacing the spark plugs, coils, and wires may not have any effect on the misfiring problem, and some owners may need to have the Power Control Module software updated to fix the problem.
  5. Some Audi Q7 owners may also experience knock sensor problems, resulting in a check engine light and a random appearance of the knock (NOX) sensor light on the dashboard.
  6. Knock sensor problems can be expensive to fix, but replacing the knock sensor with a better-designed one and installing heat shielding material can help prevent the issue from recurring.
  7. Owners of the Audi Q7 may also experience fuel tank pressurization problems, which can cause a popping noise from the trunk area and a no-start situation after fueling up at a gas station.
  8. A faulty valve, known as the Evap purge or N80 valve, located on the top of the intake manifold, is the likely cause of fuel tank pressurization problems.
  9. Replacing the faulty valve with a newer version should fix the problem and allow the car to start as needed.
  10. The 2019 version of the Audi Q7 has better reliability ratings from Consumer Reports, but buyers interested in this type of sports utility vehicle may also consider a used model from another automaker.

Audi Q7 Reliability: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Audi Q7 Reliability

If you still have some questions concerning Audi Q7 reliability, our FAQs here might have the answers…

Audi Q7 Towing Capacity

Impressively, the Audi Q7 is capable of towing up to 7,700lbs. However, this is dependent on what powertrain you have. For the 2022 model year Q7, you’ll need to opt for the 55 TFSI Q7 to get 7,700lbs. Otherwise, the lower tier 45 TFSI Q7 will net you a still-respectable 4,400lbs of towing capacity. And of course, to even be able to tow with your Q7, you need to make sure that the towing package has been configured. This option will include the tow hitch receiver and brake controller pre-wired.

Audi Q7 Dimensions

The Q7 is a big 3-row SUV, and it’s reflected in the exterior dimensions. Audi’s latest 2022 model year Q7 is 199.3 inches long by 87.1 inches wide (with the side mirrors). Or, 77.6 inches without the side mirrors. And, it’s a mighty 117.9 inches in wheelbase.

Audi Q7 Weight

Being a large 3-row SUV, the Audi Q7 is quite a heavy vehicle overall. It has a curb weight of 4,806lbs. As for the gross weight, it’s around 6,393lbs. It’s able to tow either 4,400lbs or 7,700lbs in capacity, depending on the powertrain. And, it has a maximum payload capacity of roughly 1,367lbs.

Audi Q7 Cargo Space

While it could seat 7, this doesn’t mean that the Audi Q7 has to sacrifice cargo capacity. The latest 2022 model year Audi Q7 has a cargo capacity of 14.8 cubic feet. However, this is the room you get with all the seats in place. Fold down the rear seats, and you could get up to 69.9 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

Are Audi’s Reliable

While most gush over their cars and dream of owning one, Audis aren’t very reliable. At least, not relatively speaking compared to other luxury brands. Their cars are incredibly sporting, beautiful, luxurious, elegant, and tech-savvy. Yet, they’re known to generally suffer more issues compared to rival brands, as is the case with Audi Q7 reliability. For example, Audi’s latest e-tron all-electric SUV has had electrical problems, as well as the inability to charge at times. In most surveys, Audi usually ranks pretty low when it comes down to reliability. Ownes have noted more breakdowns and troubles popping up in Audis compared to other brands. The Q7 seems to be their most problematic model thus far.

Are Audi’s Expensive To Maintain

Being a luxury brand, Audi’s vehicles are naturally pretty costly to maintain. However, even compared to other luxury brands, they’re still very expensive. According to a RepairPal study, the average across numerous car brands for a 2021 survey on maintenance and running costs is $652. Audi’s cars’ average annual repair costs are far higher than this average, at around $987. This is due to several factors, such as the relatively poor reliability of Audis. And, their cars are typically hard to repair and have costly (and complex) OEM spare parts.

How Long Do Audi’s Last

As with most cars, the question of how long a car will last is highly dependent on how well you maintain and service them. With diligent care, an Audi generally lasts between 150,000 to 200,000 miles on average. This is roughly 10 to 15 years’ worth of ownership. After that, significant overhauls will be required. Fun fact, the highest mileage Audi recorded as of 2022 is a B6-generation A4, with more than 541,000 miles on the clock.

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