Thank You for choosing "Just Answer" for your questions concerning your Audi. Yes, I can help you. P1296 = cooling system malfunction. It is fairly common on this model and is usually due to a thermostat that is stuck open or opens too soon. You may have noticed times when you are driving on the freeway at higher speeds with lighter loads that the temperature gauge is below the half way point. Basically it means teh car is not getting hot enough.
Another issue with this year/model is the coolant temperature sensor should be checked and if it is black, replaced with the new style green sensor. This will not however cause the Diagnostic Trouble code that you retrieved.
I hope that I have answered your questions and addressed your concerns. Should you have any further questions for me, please do not hesitate to ask. Positive feedback is always appreciated. If you accept my answer please click on the "ACCEPT" button.
Jake "THE AUDI DOCTOR"
Yes, that is correct. The perimeters to trip the diagnostic code P1296 are "The electronic control unit must see an engine temperature of 80 degrees c (176 f) or greater within 16 minuets of operation". This is not an easy one to get to. It is located under the intake manifold near the front of the motor. My on line labor estimating guide has it listed at 2.7 hours, the Thermostat is about $30. It will also need a gallon of the audi "pink" coolant.
The sensor I mentioned is in the coolant pipe on the back of the motor and about 1/2 hour to replace.
You could opt to clear The code and drive it to see if it returns, but it's pretty common and will likely return. It will not damage your car if you continue to drive it, but emmissions and mileage may be affected if the motor does not run hot enough.
OK, No problem. First off lets get the code definition straight. P1296 is as I described and NOT a fuel air metering code. Either you read the code wrong, or your definition is wrong. So check that and be sure.
The easiest way (the only way I know actually) to duplicate the problem is; First off erase the code, allow the vehicle to cool off over night. In the a.m. (hopefully a cold one) start the car and try to get to a highway ASAP where you can cruise (preferably a down hill grade) at 60 mph or so. Watch/time your coolant temperature gauge. Does it move steadily up to the half way mark in maybe 5, 10 minuets tops? If so, I would just wait and see if the code sets itself again. If however it stays cold, the thermostat is at fault.
Like I said before if this drive cycle scenario does not occur for you often and you want to wait and be sure, just turn it out and see if it comes back.
I think that pretty much covers it. If you have any more questions, don't hessitate to ask.
Jake "The Audi Doctor"
If it could not be duplicated by driving as per my afore mentioned description, it is possible that either the thermostat is no longer sticking open / opening too soon or the parameters for the test drive have not been met. At this point in either case, if you have cleared the code, I suggest you just drive it, keep an eye on it, and see if the code returns.
The best after market scanner in my opinion would be the Ross-tech. It consists of the software and an interface cable and is PC based. It has nearly full factory capabilities for VW and Audi (only) at a fraction of the cost. It goes for about $600. It may be too much for the average vehicle owner.
Hope this helps!