Auto Mechanic Says Audi's Four-Pot Engine Can Blow Up, but There's a Solution

Scotty Kilmer Next to a 2015 Audi A3 Sedan 7 photos
Photo: Scotty Kilmer on YouTube
Scotty Kilmer Talking About the Audi A3 Sedan's 2.0-liter EngineScotty Kilmer Talking About the Audi A3 Sedan's 2.0-liter EngineScotty Kilmer Talking About the Audi A3 Sedan's 2.0-liter EngineScotty Kilmer Talking About the Audi A3 Sedan's 2.0-liter EngineScotty Kilmer Verifying the Audi A3 SedanScotty Kilmer Verifying the Audi A3 Sedan
Mechanic-turned-YouTuber Scotty Kilmer received a visit from an Audi owner, and he took advantage of the occasion to share a couple of thoughts with his 6.2 million subscribers about the car and the German marque. The title of his video is exaggerated, but the experienced technician makes a couple of good points.
A former BMW owner switched sides and bought a slightly used 2015 Audi A3 Sedan with around 5,000 miles (8,047 kilometers) on the odometer and a DSG automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. He just wanted more room for his small family and a bit extra comfort. Fortunately, he denied being part of the crossover SUV groupies.

His choice makes very much sense. Big families should get minivans that are more practical for everyday use than chonky, raised, overpriced, and a bit compromised hatchbacks that want to be SUVs but get stuck in a very weird car category. But these types of vehicles are popular because of their high driving position and slightly improved ground clearance. Sadly, the tradeoff is comfort, stability, and having enough power.

The seemingly luxurious sedan, as the brand calls it, set him back $28,000. Since acquiring it, the owner has put about 80,000 miles on it.

Per Kilmer, the car needed only a new window regulator because these parts are typically made from "cheap plastic that brakes as time goes on." But not even that service operation took him to an authorized or dealer repair center. The owner has been taking care of it himself. He even made all the oil and oil filter changes at home.

Since we're talking about a German sedan, just changing the oil by yourself can save you some serious cash in the long run. It can also help you prolong the vehicle's life and avoid costly repairs.

No smooth operators here!

The mechanic argues that drivers of similar cars usually tend to put the pedal to the metal more often because they can sense the turbocharged engine roaring into life when the rpms reach a certain threshold and don't take very good care of them. That's one of the reasons why many four-cylinder Audis end up with tons of issues.

Scotty Kilmer Talking About the Audi A3 Sedan's 2\.0\-liter Engine
Photo: Scotty Kilmer on YouTube
He also points out that clutch replacements can be expensive because modern cars need dealer-only programming that pairs the new parts with the vehicle's computers and ensures a smooth operation. Kilmer is convinced that the DSG gearbox will need a service of this kind at some point, and you should be ready to deal with the bill. Based on customer feedback available online, that service operation can cost upwards of $3,000!

The mechanic continues and, despite titling his video "Avoid This Car Brand at All Cost," explains that Audi's modest 150-hp 2.0-liter powerplant will only fail or "blow up" if owners aren't taking proper care of it. His recommendation is to change the oil and the oil filter every 5,000 miles. Given that manufacturers today say that the oil needs to be changed every 10,000 miles (16,093 kilometers) or once per year, his suggestion may seem excessive.

However, it's important to note that newer oils have a neat cleaning ability. If you change it more often, you won't have to use additives or deal with important component failures. You'll also avoid seeing sticky and very dark oil that may indicate an unhealthy powerplant. Cars are very much like humans. Preventative maintenance can go a long way.

Don't forget about the stuff that isn't coming out!

However, there's more! Scotty Kilmer claims that dealership oil changes aren't done properly. He says that service techs use a machine to suck out the used oil and then simply add the necessary quarts. Per Kilmer, that's a no-no. He says that's how you end up with gunk or sludge. The oil change should be done the old-fashioned way, which means taking the drain plug out and allowing everything to come out before pouring in the fresh liquid.

Kilmer questioned the owner about his method, and the guy admitted that he's doing it right, even if it may be a bit messier than using nifty tools.

Scotty Kilmer Talking About the Audi A3 Sedan's 2\.0\-liter Engine
Photo: Scotty Kilmer on YouTube
The Audi A3 owner asked Kilmer to check out a couple of errors, and, just like Car Wizard said, the mechanic claims that nowadays, "fancy tools" are the way to go if you want something like an innocent error code removed. Cheap software on laptops or affordable diagnostic tools just don't do a good job anymore. There are just too many communication codes.

Case in point, the Audi that didn't even have a backup camera to begin with, threw all sorts of errors at a first scan. The culprits? A flat battery – that was replaced with a new one without going to the dealer to code it to the car – and the window mechanism repairs that were done at home.

Kilmer cleared the error codes with ease by using an Autel MaxiSYS Ultra, which costs almost $6,000 on the company's official store or around $4,000 on Amazon.

Finally, the mechanic-turned-YouTuber believes that Audi isn't selling many A3 Sedans in the US because the 2.0-liter has a bad reputation for "blowing up." But he does underline that proper maintenance can keep a German car like this one running smoothly for many years. All it takes is just normal driving and care.

Next time you hear someone badmouthing German cars, just tell them about what this seasoned technician has to say about their general upkeep!

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About the author: Florin Amariei
Florin Amariei profile photo

Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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