2015 Audi Q5 cross
Marc Stern's picture

Audi launches huge recall to fix ailing coolant pumps

As part of its 1.16 million car recall, Audi will be fixing two key cooling pump issues. The issues both can cause fires if they are not completed.

As news of Audi’s massive recall continues to echo through the auto industry, writers are taking closer looks at the issue. They are coming away with the same conclusion; it is a good move that Audi has done the mass recall. The reason is simple there is a goodly number of Audi models with defective coolant pumps. The coolant pump issues have to be addressed.

Several reasons to address coolant pump issues

There are several reasons that the coolant pump issues have to be addressed. The most pressing, of course, is the fact that if you were to leave this issue alone, it is possible that various Audi models might become toast.

Not as obvious, though, is the need for a working coolant pump to ensure that the heater/air conditioner system is working correctly. The coolant pump pushes coolant past the heater core, heating the liquid inside, causing the heater to work correctly. On the cooling side, the coolant pump ensures that the liquid inside cycles through the compressor so that the liquid cycles past the cooling system radiator. This ensures that heat is pulled from the radiator and the liquid going out is cooled so the system works.

Of the 1.16 million vehicles worldwide that have been recalled for the second time to address issues dealing with the coolant pump, 342,867 units are in the U.S. automotive fleet. They include 2013-17 Audi A4 sedans and Allroads, 2013- 17 A5 coupes and cabriolets, 2012-5 A6 and 2013-17 Q5 crossovers, equipped with the automaker’s 2.0-liter turbo four.

Audi pump recall handles must-fix issues

According to Audi, there are two problems that must be addressed:
The first is the potential for vehicle fires if debris gets lodged inside the pump, causing it to short out. The second, which also can cause short-circuiting, is caused by moisture within the pump.

To fix the problems, dealers will install an upgraded pump that features pressure compensation. The pressure compensation is achieved through an element that prevents moisture buildup. And, there is also an update for the engine control module software.

Marc Stern has been an automotive writer/columnist/editor/professional for more than 45 years. He began writing a weekly column “You Auto Know” in 1971 and continued writing it for 32 years. Now, semi-retired, Marc spends his time finding pieces for Torque News as the Volkswagen – and subsidiary – reporter, as well as pieces on pickups and SUVs. He has also been known to write a race report or two. Also, he covers more generalized auto news pieces as well. Marc has also written for the Examiner.com, Fixya.com, Gearheads.org and others, including some smallish publications -- Popular Mechanics, Mechanics Illustrated, AutoWeek, Automotive News, and Automotive Age. You can follow Marc on Facebook and Twitter.

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Question: Why doesn’t Audi repair it’s coolant fans/system in addition to its coolant pumps? If the coolant system causes the fuses to blow out, is that a customer or quality issue?
I took in my 2013 Q5 for the After-run Coolant Pump replacement... there has been a severe shortage of part available. The shop called and said the technician found that the main water pump showed signs of leaking and that it should be replaced. I'm at about 71K miles or so... does this sound 'normal' for these vehicles... or is this how Audi is financing the recall?
My heater stopped immediately after the dealer performed the water pump recall replacement for my 2015 A6. The dealer wont take responsibility, stating that the issue is related to a faulty valve. They quoted $750 to fix. Seems like a convenient coincidence that the valve malfunctioned right after the dealer replaced the water pump. Any other A6 owners with a similar experience?
I just had my 2013 A6 coolant pump fixed as well as part of the recall. 1 month later, while returning home from a vacation, I got a coolant level low notification and had to top it off on the way back. I will be monitoring this issue and am bringing it to the dealer to be evaluated. Could be coincidence but I have had no issues at all until this recall "fix" was taken care of. Will await their evaluation. One would expect that after an install like this, any issues which may have arisen would have already been picked up.
Just had the after run pump replaced at Audi only to be advised that I know have a major coolant leak and that I need a $1400 coolant pump replacement despite no indication of issues. In 24 hours reservoir has leaked about 30oz of fluid since being in the dealers hands Dealer had noted leak previously on another campaign visit and I had replaced by a mechanic friend in March this year. Not happy with the dealer and not happy with Audi there is either an issues with the pumps or the dealer affecting the repairs It feels like. Time for the bean counter and their calculators