A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.

Audi A3 Radiator Problems

July 8th, 2010 Posted in geek out, popular

My 2006 Audi A3 has been leaking coolant for many months now. Usually it had been a slow leak, and I would need to top off the fluids about once a month. This is not standard – in most radiators the anti-freeze should stay level indefinitely.

My problem was that on long road trips, the coolant would disappear at a much higher rate. If I left from Boston at 10am, by the time I hit New Jersey around 3pm, the coolant indicator would be on and the coolant reservoir would be totally empty. This could be very dangerous and cause the engine to overheat, causing permanent damage and more importantly stranding me on the road. That would be a huge pain in the ass.

I’ve been reading around the interwebs and heard nightmare stories – A3’s apparently have a tendency to have leaky head gaskets and / or cracked cylinder heads. It is less than thrilling to have the engine of your 4-year old auto, just off warranty, dismantled and reassembled. The mechanic’s bill would make anyone cry. I was scared for my car.

Well, the resolution was a good one. This radiator was another casualty of I-93 and the shitty job the road crews did to clean up rock chips and asphalt while they resurfaced it last summer. While I worked at LogMeIn, I’d drive up 93, way too fast, on my way to work. For 2-3 months, the road was milled and shaved down, but not repaved. There was an unbelievable amount of debris on the road and my windshield was cracked in 3 places by flying rocks.

Turns out one of the flying rocks destroyed my radiator too.

The radiator. Obvious marks from dried / burnt coolant leaking for a long period of time. It was necessary to remove the radiator to see this damage. Two mechanics looked at it for estimates and couldn’t see the source of the leak.

Point of Impact. Probably a stone chip or bit of flying asphalt.

Wide open for easy access. The radiator is right behind the grille without any protection.

Another casualty of I-93 rocks. I’m going to need a new windshield soon.

  1. 3 Responses to “Audi A3 Radiator Problems”

  2. By lisa on Aug 21, 2011

    Hi – did you have the radiator replaced? How much did it cost? Did you try any of the radiator repair additives to try to repair it? I am having the same problem (radiator leaking) on my 2006 A3. Glad yours wasn’t an engine problem. Wish me luck. ANy adivce on where to go in Boston for repair or replacing the radiator?

  3. By rajat on Aug 21, 2011

    I had it fixed at Foreign Auto Center in Inman Sq Cambridge. They charged about $580 and did a super job in one day. I have not had to fill coolant since. They’re a good shop:

    Best, Rajat

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