Audi Q5 Suspension Issues Explained(+5 Pro Tips)

In this brief article we are going to discuss the different Audi Q5 Suspension issues, what the causes are, and how these issues can be effectively dealt with.

An Audi is known for exceptional performance and handling in almost every type of driving. On the accumulation of time and high mileage, suspension components which under constant punishment from roads and different terrain, tend to gradually and steadily wear and deteriorate in their performance.

What are the common suspension issues in an Audi?

The most common Audi Q5 suspension issues that occur are failures in the following parts:

  • Springs
  • Shock Absorbers
  • Steering Tie rods
  • Upper and Lower Control arm bushings
  • Upper and Lower Control arm Ball joints
  • Wheel bearings

It has been observed that issues tend to occur, a majority of the time, in the front suspension alone. One reason could be the fact that the front suspension takes punishment from road surfaces first and these road impacts are relatively damped by the time the rear wheels go across the same patch of road.

The Audi Q5 suspension

The AUDI models A4, A5, S4, S5, Q5 and SQ5 all belong to the B8 Platform. The suspension architecture is shared for the car models within the B8 Platform. 

The front end of the B8 platform is a 5-link independent (Double Wishbone where each wishbone is split into two) suspension system. The rear end of the B8 is an independent  4-Link arrangement which includes a Trailing arm, Upper and Lower Control arms and a Toe control Link.

What are the main causes for suspension issues in an Audi?

The main causes for suspension issues in an Audi are:

  • Normal wear and tear
  • Multiple instances of Heavy braking or acceleration
  • Higher percentage of Constant Off-roading or Potholes and Bad roads in your daily driving pattern
  • Not replacing suspension components at the intervals recommended in Audi’s service Manual
  • Aggressive driving Style/Pattern

Spring Breakage

  • The most common symptom of spring breakage is suspension sag at one corner
  • The suspension squeaks and creaks going over bumps

Troubleshooting Spring Breakage

  • To confirm that your vehicle is sagging significantly, you could do an inspection
  • Park your Audi on a nice flat surface/road and visually inspect from the front of the car, if there is any Sagging of the vehicle to one side.
  • Measure the distance between the tire center and the bottom of the fender vertically on the sagging side and the opposite side.
  • If there is a difference, then this could mean a broken spring on the sagging side.
  • A broken spring means that there is no suspension or stiffness on that particular side.
  • This is a serious suspension issue and must be attended to at the earliest since it could lead to loss of vehicle control in high speed situations.

Shock Absorber Failure

  • Bouncy ride quality
  • Noisy suspension while going over bumps and rough roads

Troubleshooting Shock Absorber Failure

  • The Bouncy Ride symptom points to the Shock Absorber as a highly probable cause. The damper’s primary job is to reduce the bounciness of the suspension. Once the shock is unable to perform this, it means that it has failed.
  • The noises coming from the failed shock absorber corner of the car are partly due to the failed shock absorber allowing the bump stops to contact more often. 
  • The noises also originate from the worn out shock mounting bushes that allow the shock to move and hit against the mounting brackets.
  • If your Audi has done 60K-70K miles, then the shock absorber is most likely at the end of its service life. Due to long-term internal wear, the shock absorber loses its ability to dampen road vibrations.
  • If the front or rear shock has started leaking oil due to a failed oil-seal, then the shock absorber will soon fail as well.
  • One good way to tell if your shock has failed or not is to do a Bounce Test. 
    • Put all your weight on one of the front corners of the vehicle pushing it downwards. 
    • Keep oscillating the corner till you feel that it has reached its maximum height. 
    • Once you take your hands off the corner, observe how it settles. 
    • If it takes more than 2 oscillations to settle, that means the damper has failed.

Pro Tip

  • Once the Strut Shock absorber has been dismantled, there is one more way to see the shock condition for yourself by way of a ‘Compression’ test. 
  • You can simply apply force on the top of the shock and compress it. If it can come back up on its own, then the shock is in fairly good condition. But if it takes too long or doesn’t expand on its own, it’s confirmed that the shock absorber has failed.

Tie Rod Ball-Joint Failure

  • Steering feels vague and difficult to keep steady
  • Knocking noises while steering and while going over bumps

Troubleshooting Tie Rod Ball-Joint Failure

  • Tie rod ball joints start to fail once they have lost the lubrication that was filled in at the factory
  • The lubrication is protected by a Rubber boot seal
  • Once this rubber boot ruptures or tears, the lubrication inside escapes
  • When there is no lubrication the ball-joint wears out quickly and eventually fails

Front Control Arm Bushing Failure

  • Knocking noises while normal driving
  • The handling is poor and the steering feels vague
  • Wheel wobble vibration at high speeds

Troubleshooting Front Control Arm Bushings

  • The Audi Q5 has 2 Upper and 2 Lower control arms. The Control arms come with bushings at one end and ball-joints at the other end pre-assembled
  • All the Control Arm bushings wear out over time and crack due to age
  • Once the bushings have failed, the control arms tend to move under lateral loads from cornering
  • Control arm movement disturbs the wheel alignment and causes poor handling
  • Control arm movement also leads to hitting against the front subframe, resulting in noises while going over bumps
  • To assess the bushing condition, you can use a Pry-bar and insert it between each of the 4 control arms and the Wheel Spindle. Now, try to move each Control arm using the Pry-bar and observe the movement at the Bush location. If the lower control arm moves without much force, then it means that the bushes have worn out.
  • When inspecting the Lower control arm after removal, check for tears and cracks in the rubber portion, which are a sure sign of failure.

Front Control Arm Ball-Joint Failure

  • Steering seems vague; Poor handling
  • Uneven Tire Wear pattern
  • Knocking Noises while going over Rough Patches

Troubleshooting Front Control Arm Ball-Joints

  • The lower control arm ball-joints are also subject to wear and tear.
  • The deterioration is usually initiated as a crack or rupture in the rubber boot around the ball-joint
  • This leads to loss of lubrication and finally to complete wear out
  • The wear out causes play or movement accompanied by knocking noise. The play in the ball-joint is probably the main reason for the vehicle steering feeling vague.
  • Ball-joint play causes unnecessary movement of the wheel at the joints. This movement disturbs the wheel alignment and therefore results in poor handling.
  • You can easily check for Ball-joint condition by this simple procedure:
    • Get the car on a Ramp
    • Lock the steering wheel
    • Hold the front tire with both your hands in a 6 o’clock position and try to move the wheel vertically up and down
    • If you hear a ‘Knock’ or ‘Click’, then it is very much likely that the noise is due to a play in the Ball-joint
  • The best course of action would be to replace the whole set of 4 control arms with a total of 4 new bushings and 4 new ball-joints. Mixing old and new parts would only lead to premature failures.

Pro-Tip

  • For Rusted Bolt connections that are hard to Break-open, do not try repeatedly using hand or pneumatic tools.
  • Always first soak it for 10-15 min or even a whole day after spraying a good Rust-penetrant
  • Wherever possible, use the Audi Recommended Ball-joint prying tool

Front Wheel Bearing Failure

  • Droning sound from the front wheel at speeds above 30mph
  • Sound changes when turning left or right
  • Knocking sounds going over rough road patches

Troubleshooting Front Wheel Bearing Failure

  • Droning noise is generally associated with one of the wheel bearings depending on where the noise is coming from
  • Wheel bearings generally have a life of 70K miles, after which, on detecting noise issues, must be replaced
  • It is possible to detect bearing failure before dismantling the wheel. Lift the vehicle on a maintenance bay and rotate each wheel by hand. 
  • While doing this, use the other hand to touch the spring. Observe to see whether the spring on any corner of the vehicle vibrates excessively relative to the others whilst rotating. 
  • If there happens to be excessive vibration then it might indicate a failed wheel bearing
  • In the Audi Q5, the wheel bearing is housed within the Wheel Hub. The hub is removable without removing the Knuckle
  • The bearing comes as a kit. It is a Bearing assembly bolts onto the back of the Wheel Hub.

Pro Tips to prevent Audi Suspension issues

Audi suspension issues can be avoided by inspection of the following suspension parts at least once every 60,000 miles and take measures as explained here:

  • All Suspension Bushes:
  • For all suspension bushings, it would be wise to inspect for wear out/failure (see above section) and make replacements before complete failure
  • Upper and Lower Control Arm Bushing Failure:
  • Cars produced before Nov 3rd 2009 had a smaller Lower control arm bushing, which was 65mm inside diameter along with a M12 stud. Cars produced beyond this date had a changed larger bushing of 75mm inside diameter along with a M14 stud. If your Audi was manufactured prior to that date, it might be wise to simply upgrade to the new part.
  • If you see failed bushes at only one location, meaning only one of the two bushings in a control arm, it would be best to replace both upper and lower control arms. 

It would be only a matter of time before the other remaining bushings fail. Also each time you replace a control arm, you would need to do a steering alignment. So you might save money on one replacement job but lose more money due to multiple alignments.

  • Wheel Bearing Failure:

Wheel bearings need to be inspected as explained in the above section. If a replacement is warranted, then the following measures are important to ensure that the repair is done correctly:

  • Wheel-bearing is pressed into the Wheel Spindle, which in turn, is attached to the suspension by 4 bolts. The spindle has a housing into which the wheel-bearing has to be pressed using a special press machine. For this reason the spindle needs to be removed every time you replace the wheel-bearings
  • After replacing the wheel-bearings, when bolting the spindle back into the suspension, keep in mind to not re-use the 4 bolts. Always replace these bolts in order to avoid a bolt-loosening issue in future and avoid unnecessary maintenance stops for your Audi
  • CV Joint Boot Failure:
  • Visually inspect the CV Rubber boot for any cracks or tears. If the rubber boot has failed, the CV-joint lubrication would not happen properly and this could lead to premature joint failure due to loss of lubrication and overheating.
  • Preventive replacement of the CV Rubber boot might help extend the CV joint life and postpone the joint replacement.

Conclusion

In this brief article we have discussed the different Audi Q5 Suspension issues, what the causes are, and how these issues could be effectively dealt with.

References 

Audi MediaCenter Model Updates Official Page

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