Electrical system, fuel gauge, and structural issues are the cause of top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners
A highly regarded, German-engineered, luxury sedan brand owned by Volkswagen, the A6 has been around for decades. It’s won IIHS awards for safety, but customers are experiencing electrical system issues, including a fuel gauge defect, that increase the risk of a crash. There are also complaints about forward collision avoidance safety issues and problems relating to the sedan’s structure.
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Most Common Problems with the 2021 Audi A6
Because sales in the U.S. are very low – less than 10,000 vs more than 1 million for less luxurious 2021 models – in relation to best-selling sedans, you can expect complaint volumes to be low. So, it’s no real surprise that there is only 1 complaint registered with the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) 2021. But since April 7, 2022, there have been another 5 complaints. Also, this doesn’t even begin to imply that these are the only 6 people who have experienced problems with their 2021 A6.
Problems affect the electrical system, fuel/propulsion system, forward collision avoidance, and the structure of the sedan.
Audi boasts that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has awarded 8 of the 2021 Audi A6 models its prestigious Top Safety Pick + or Top Safety Pick Awards. However, the NHTSA safety rating for “frontal crash” on the passenger side of the 2021 A6 is only 4 stars. This reduced star rating is the result of a frontal barrier test undertaken by the NHTSA that simulates a head-on collision between 2 similar vehicles both traveling at 35 mph. Safety ratings for the side crash and rollover tests all produced the full 5 stars.
Additionally, consumer complaints raise safety issues, and all 9 recalls increase the risk of a crash and/or the risk of injuries if the A6 is involved in a crash. The recalls relate to 7 components or systems: airbags, back-over prevention, the electrical system, equipment, seat belts, suspension, or tires. Both back-over prevention recalls relate to problems with the rearview camera either displaying a blank screen or not operating at all.
2021 Audi A6 Complaint Summary
|Number of Complaints
|Electrical System:starter Assembly
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Electrical System Problems
Problems reported to the NHTSA about the A6 electrical system include random computer issues, a faulty fuel gauge, and spilled liquid affecting the control module of the sedan. There are 3 recalls filed under the electrical system by Audi.
As many as 50,883 Audis may be affected by a gateway control module shutdown. These include certain 2019-2022 A6 Allroad and other A6 sedans. If the shutdown occurs, the A6 will suddenly reduce engine power, which increases the risk of a crash. While we know that U.S. sales of the 2021 A6 total 9,543, without VIN numbers, it’s not possible to say how many of these are affected by the recall.
A much smaller number of Audis, just 166 including 2021 A6 Alroads, are affected by the installation of a faulty side impact crash sensor in front doors. This can delay the activation of restraint systems including seat-belt pretensioners and airbags, increasing the risk of injury in a crash.
A total of 45,789 2019-2021 Audis, including the A6 and its variants, are affected by an inaccurate fuel reading. This fault can cause the engine to stall because of a lack of fuel, again increasing the risk of a crash. Even though Audi announced the recall in March 2022, owners were only notified about the safety risk in May. The recall notice states that they will be contacted “once the remedy becomes available.” The solution, it says, is for dealers to install a new sensor in the tank, free of charge.
Faulty Fuel Gauge Complaints
In September 2022, an owner from California complained to the NHTSA that the fuel gauge of his A6 had been inaccurate since the initial purchase. “It would always hang at around 50% and then drop to 5% within 10 miles. Thankfully, we are aware and just check the miles driven so we do not get stranded.”
When he asked the dealership to fix the problem, he was told “there was nothing wrong.” Then, when he was notified about the recall, the dealer said the fix wasn’t available yet. “It’s been 6 months and there’s still no fix for this.”
Another complaint, dated December 1, 2022, also from a Californian owner, states that his car consistently shows ¼ of a tank of fuel, even when it’s near zero.” He draws NHTSA’s attention to the fact that the repair for the recall is still not available.
This same owner also reported random computer issues including screen shutdowns, and “take to dealership warnings” after the 1st 10k checkup. The dealership replaced the entire computer. Except for a couple of restarts, these issues now seem to “be fine,” he says.
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Problems with Forward Collision Avoidance
When there are forward collision avoidance problems, these always imply safety issues. The owner of a 2021 Audi A6 from Colorado describes the “false positives” that have “fancy safety features” that “put me in danger.”
His complaint states, “Today, I was in a protected left turn lane prior to making the turn. When oncoming traffic (4 lanes) cleared, I gently pressed the gas pedal to start the turn, but a red ‘pre-sense’ error triggered and slammed on the brakes. I moved my foot to the brake and then back to the gas, and the error cleared, allowing me to continue the turn. This was dangerous as I could have stopped in front of oncoming traffic or been rear-ended by the car behind me. This is the first time I’ve had pre-sense braking engage, though I’ve gotten error messages while traveling at ~50mph in heavy traffic that it’s about to kick in.
“Several weeks ago, I made an appointment at my dealership to have the error messages looked at, but the first available appointment was about a month out, so I haven’t been able to take it in yet. In today’s incident, there was no warning before the braking engaged. I’m supportive of safety measures, but I am now scared of driving my car.”
He goes on to ask, “why are cars with these issues allowed to be on the road? Please make Audi fix this urgently. As message boards suggest, it’s been an issue for at least five years!”
The two complaints registered under Structure are quite different from one another. The first, from an owner in Georgia, states that the “doors must be forcefully closed in order to fully lock.” Frequently, and of the 4 doors don’t close when the driver or passengers get into the car. There is no warning.
“I have driven many miles with this unsafe condition, only to discover that the door was not fully latched upon my arrival at my destination. The rear hatch on this car also spontaneously closed down on me when I was loading packages into the cargo area. The car is equipped with (a) hands-free hatch opening, which erroneously interpreted my movement while loading the packages as a command to close the hatch.”
He adds that the sensor is located “under the rear bumper, centered right where one would stand while loading the car.”
A more recent complaint from an owner in Wisconsin states that the “sunroof spontaneously shattered while driving” on a freeway. There weren’t any other cars around when it happened and it “caused a very loud bang” without any prior warning. The “dealer would not confirm (the) issue was spontaneous – felt something must have hit the car to cause this.” But the complaint points out that there was no defined impact location on the roof. Also, the “roof glass was pushed up in the middle instead of down like would be expected if something hit it from the outside.”
What to do if your 2021 Audi A6 is a Lemon?
If you have any problems with your Audi A6 that recur and affect the use or value of the sedan, you have every right to be concerned. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have bought a lemon, but if you have, you need to take immediate action.
Lemberg Law has many years of experience handling lemon law cases, and we will assess your case free of charge. If it looks like you do have a lemon, we can negotiate a settlement on your behalf. The law says that Audi must pay the legal fees for lemon law cases. So, it’s not going to cost you anything.
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