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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,, and others, including some smallish publications -- Popular Mechanics, Mechanics Illustrated, AutoWeek, Automotive News, and Automotive Age. You can follow Marc on Facebook and Twitter.


TB Moore (not verified)    April 4, 2019 - 4:54PM

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?

Don (not verified)    April 17, 2019 - 3:39PM

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?

TJ (not verified)    December 9, 2019 - 9:43PM

In reply to by Don (not verified)

What was your outcome? Having the same issue, low coolant light came on and then the heater stopped working. The coolant pump hasn’t been replaced yet, took it in and now they are saying the water pump needs to be replaced.!? Not the same thing? Thanks

Edward Cavallin (not verified)    May 5, 2019 - 11:00AM

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?

Joe (not verified)    September 2, 2019 - 9:07AM

In reply to by Edward Cavallin (not verified)

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.

Vinay Vohra (not verified)    February 23, 2020 - 12:09PM

In reply to by Edward Cavallin (not verified)

I just had the same problem and they charged me $620 to repair. they of course denied it was because of the recall.

im reporting this to Audi headquarters, better business and any one else I could think of

vinay (not verified)    October 26, 2020 - 4:46PM

In reply to by Edward Cavallin (not verified)

same here!!!

i brought my 2015 A6 in April or May for a water pump recall replacement. Of course i dont need the heat during the summer months and than when i put it on in September/October it did not work. I brought the car back and told them to fix it and they said recall had nothing to do with the heat. They charged me 648.00 to repair the problem.

Paul Hughes (not verified)    November 2, 2019 - 12:25PM

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

Anhi116 (not verified)    May 26, 2020 - 2:58PM

In reply to by Paul Hughes (not verified)

I had the same issue for my Audi A4 2016. In December 2019 I did go for recall fix and now after just 1800 miles I got alert for adding coolant. When I spoke to dealer he says coolant pump should be replkaced and it costs $1789 with labor. I am not feeling happy with recall and something had messed up...Any suggestions regarding this or to escape this issue with low price?? Thanks in advance.

GEORGIOS RIALAS (not verified)    May 31, 2020 - 9:25AM

My Q5 official dealer in Cyprus has replaced the cooling pump last year because there was a water leakage. After that the heater stopped working and almost once a month the temperature indication was rising to the red sign. Stopping the car for few minutes and adding 1-1,5 lt of water to the tank was solving the problem for almost another month. I decided to get the car back to the dealer for new check. This time they changed the thermostat! They said they made all tests and now the car is OK. After 3 days (today) the temperature rises again to red!
Is it so difficult for an Audi OFFICIAL dealer to find and solve the problem?
I have already spent almost Euro 3000 for repairs on engine water cooling system and still no results. In addition, the heater is still not working and they told me that some valves have to be changed. What to do?

Frank Soltess (not verified)    October 25, 2020 - 11:17AM

I had my 2015 Audi A6 coolant pump issue repaired under the recall. Now, at 70,000 miles, the water pump is leaking. Audi’s answer was to quote me $1,695 for a replacement. It seems like there is an on going issue that Audi will not acknowledge.

TJ (not verified)    October 26, 2020 - 5:15PM

In reply to by Frank Soltess (not verified)

Frank - Audi issued an extended warranty on the water pump. Demand the replace the water pump for free but have them check for leaks from the valve cover gaskets.

What Audi is not acknowledging is the fact that they are using faulty valve cover gaskets. The gaskets are leaking and the oil is dripping down the engine into the water pump seals causing the water pump to go out. I confirmed this with a mom and pop repair shop and the Audi dealership.

I fought with Audi to have the repairs covered by Audi but they were not helpful, they only covered the water pump. They charged me $1400 for the gaskets. Cut your losses and sell, stay away from Audi!

Jenn (not verified)    January 8, 2023 - 5:45PM

In reply to by Frank Soltess (not verified)

Unbelievable after reading all of these comments. I have an Audi Q5, 2018. The other day my entire coolant leaked out while I was at work drove it home because I had a little bit left and filled it up again to the max level. By the next morning, within 24 hours, the entire coolant level head leaked out in the garage floor. Will Audi replace the water pump for free?

Dennis Aderton (not verified)    October 21, 2022 - 1:34PM

I have a 2001 Audi TT with 225 horsepower. Overheating, any suggestions other than get rid of it?

Jon Spitz (not verified)    April 5, 2023 - 11:54AM

I have an 2017 A3. The coolant is leaking dramatically. Local shop attributes the issue to the coolant pump and advised there was a recall for just this problem. However my Audi dealership claims that my VIN # doesn't come up on the recall list. Is there a way to challenge this?