2019 Audi A3 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Airbag failure and loss of power issues are the main causes of complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

The Audi A3 is a luxury car that has been available in several formats since 1996. In its third generation since 2012, Audi says the 2019 A3 was named a 2019 Top Safety Pick because of its LED headlights. This model does feature an impressive list of safety features including 4 types of airbags. The only problem is that they don’t work as intended. Audi has announced 2 airbag recalls, but consumers are complaining that the parts to fix the recall aren’t available. They also say that rodents eat the soy-based wiring to the airbags and complain that the passenger airbag deactivates even when someone is in the passenger seat.

Click on another model year to view more problems: 2020   2022

Most Common Problems with the 2022 Audi A3

The most common problems facing owners of the 2019 Audi A3 relate to airbags. There is a risk that the airbags may malfunction. Audi acknowledges this and has issued 2 recalls in response to the problem. But the manufacturer hasn’t acknowledged that there is a problem with a lack of parts to fix the faulty airbag components.

Almost all the complaints sent to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) about the 2019 A3 relate to airbags. However, other systems and components mentioned in complaints are the electrical system, fuel/propulsion system, seats, seat belts, and visibility wipers. Problems relating to these include windshields that crack beyond repair with no impact at all. A3s losing power for no apparent reason are also a cause of complaints.

2019 Audi A3 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Air Bags
Fuel/propulsion System
Electrical System
Seat Belts
Unknown Or Other

Airbag Problems

In addition to anti-lock brakes, stability control, seatbelt pre-tensioners, anti-whiplash head restraints, a security system that detects intruders, and, of course, its LED headlights, the 2019 Audi A3 has airbags for every eventuality. There are front-impact airbags, side-impact airbags, overhead airbags, and knee airbags.

The airbag recalls don’t mention which particular airbags are affected. They simply refer to the passenger airbag that might deactivate, increasing the risk of injury if the car crashes.

The first recall, NHTSA Campaign Number 21V198000, dated March 22, 2021, potentially affects 153,152 S3 and A3 sedans, A3 e-trons, and RS3 Audis from 2015-2019, depending on the model. The reported problem is an “improper electrical contact may cause the Passenger Occupant Detection System (PODS) to falsely detect a malfunction and deactivate the passenger airbag.” Dealers were to replace the connecter and re-route the cable free of charge.

The second recall, NHTSA Campaign Number 19V474000, dated June 19, 2019, potentially affects 138,896 S3 and A3 sedans, A3 e-trons, RS3 sedans, and A3 Cabriolets from 2015-2020, depending on the model. This time, the problem was that “the passenger occupant detection system (PODS) may malfunction and switch off the passenger airbag even when the seat is occupied.” Dealers were to replace the PODS sensor mat and update the PODS control module free of charge.

Complaints About Airbags

Of the 10 complaints, 8 involve airbags. Of these, 6 complaints state that the part required for the recall repair wasn’t available. Only 1 refers to the first recall, and the rest to the second one.

The first of the airbag complaints was filed in August 2019, 2 months after the owner discovered that the parts for the first recall weren’t available.

The first to mention the deactivation problem was from an owner in Georgia in May 2021. Driving with a friend in the passenger seat, there was suddenly a “beeping” sound. There was also an alert, and the passenger airbag light turned itself off. “The passenger occupant detection system (PODS) detected a malfunction and switched off the passenger airbag even though the seat was occupied.” Ascertaining that there was a recall, the owner contacted Audi. “They said that since the repair is not available yet I will have to wait.” This car is used daily and the complaint states “this makes my car unsafe on the road.”

An owner from Florida who received notification of the second recall also experienced deactivation. The airbag warning lights showed that the passenger’s side airbag had failed. The sensors had also started to malfunction. But parts to do the repair weren’t available in January 2022.

An owner from Alabama states that the airbags suffered “suspension failure” as a result of rodent (mice) damage. This causes the car to lose air in the suspension airbags. As a result, the car rides and handles “poorly.” Stating that this is a potential crash hazard, the owner goes on to say that “soy” wiring shouldn’t be used for safety-critical components. The complaint also states that there is “poor sealing” of the compartments where the safety-critical hardware is located. The complaint doesn’t mention the recall.

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Problems with Loss of Power

When vehicles suddenly lose power, it immediately puts the driver and any passengers at risk of a crash. An owner from New Jersey reports how when driving on the local turnpike the car “completely lost power” after about 55 miles. The car was going about 65 mph “and it was extremely scary and dangerous.” The driver managed to move between travel lanes and get onto the safety side lane. The car had to be towed to an Audi dealer. According to the tow driver, another 2019 Audi A3 with “the exact same problem” was towed to another Audi dealer the day before.

There is no indication of what explanation either owner got from Audi.

Windshield Cracking Problems

An owner from Colorado bought a secondhand 2019 Audi A3 in January 2021 from an Audi dealer. A month later he replaced the windshield and was told that it had already been replaced at least once, a year earlier by the dealer.

Then, 2 weeks after replacing the windshield, there was “a new crack that was quickly spreading. “ His question to the NHTSA is how can there be 4 “unrepairable windshields’ with a car that has only 11,000 miles on the clock?

What to do if your 2019 Audi A3 is a Lemon?

Whether you have similar experiences to NHTSA complainants or totally different problems, if you think you have bought a lemon, do something about it. Every year automakers settle with lemon owners, paying out, trading in, or replacing problem vehicles.

If you believe your 2019 Audi A3 might be a lemon, you can contact a reputable lemon law firm like Lemberg Law to help you. We have many years of experience handling lemon law cases and will assess your case free of charge. If we believe you have a claim, we can negotiate a settlement on your behalf. The law says that Audi must pay your legal fees for lemon law cases, so it’s not going to cost you anything. Call our Helpline now or fill out a contact form and we’ll get back to you.


Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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