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Dave-VAG, Technician
Category: Audi
Satisfied Customers: 844
Experience:  Over 3 years with audi and a licenced A4 and A6 technicain
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Audi A1: Should a gearbox, cluth, cluth plate and flywheel

Resolved Question:

Should a gearbox, cluth, cluth plate and flywheel last longer than 15,000 miles from new for an Audi A1
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Audi
Expert:  Dave-VAG replied 5 years ago.



Yes a gearbox should last a lot longer than 15000 miles and in most cases they will ten times that sort of mileage.


As for the clutch these all depend on how people drive and what sort of driving you do. If you do mostly motorway miles then you rarely use the clutch so it will last a lot longer. If you do a lot of driving in and around town then the clutch will wear out a lot quicker. Even having said that I would still expect more than 15000 miles from a clutch.


To see if this is bad have a look back at your previous driving history and if you have had manual gearboxes before ask yourself how long did the clutches last in those cars?


I hope this helps and if I can help further please feel free to ask



Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi Dave Thank you for your answer. I'm a driving instructor, have been for four years now. I owned a Mercedes A-Class before and had no issues regarding clutches or gearboxes and that vehicle was 8 years old with 80,000 miles on the clock. This issue came up the other day and Audi are apparently disputing the warranty cover. I can understand clutches going early for learners, but to have a gearbox "break" seems crazy. These aren't boy racers behind the wheel but middle aged women. How is it possible to crack in half the pressure plate? Have you ever heard of a pressure plate cracking in half on an 8 month old car with low milage being driven very gently?


Would the Flywheel need replacing because of some discolouring? I was under the impression that these things were very difficult to damage as it's solid, not dual mass.


Thanks for your help once again.

Expert:  Dave-VAG replied 5 years ago.

Hi if it's a solid flywheel then it should be fine with a quick clean up. If it was the dual mass then I might of said differently.


I have seen clutches break up but it's a very very rare thing to see and it's normally done with the likes of boy racers giving the clutch a very hard time. To have it on a new car with low miles really is hard to believe.


To crack the pressure plate it normally indicates that it is getting too hot and becomes brittle.


I hope this helps and if I can help further please feel free to ask.



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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks again Dave

Audi are refusing to help with claiming under warranty, saying they have never seen anything like this before, so I did a little research and have found someone on the Audi A1 Forum with a car from the same batch as mine, with the same numbers on the clock with the exact same problem. What are the odds on this being two freak incidents? Happening within ten days of one another?

They showed me the flywheel, I couldn't see any colouriung issues, but then again I have no base for comparison. They said it needed replacing due to the movement. When they pushed it, in situ attached to the car, it moved perhaps a cm. Saying that the heat has destroyed the springs on the inside off the unit, which is riveted together, and so needs a new one. In your expert opinion, does this sound correct?
Expert:  Dave-VAG replied 5 years ago.

Hi I will have to do some research myself it to this as the odds of two being like it are very odd. The chances are there are more out there in other countries doing the same.


My issue is that if they say there was play in the flywheel then this makes it a dual mass flywheel and not a solid. Also if it was that bad it needed replacing then it may well be a flywheel issue that has caused the clutch to fail as I've seen dual mass flywheel destroy clutches quite easily in the past.



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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I've had a look around and can't seem to find out if it's a DMF or solid. Fabias, Polos and Ibizas are all DMFs, and I was on the understanding that these parts were used in each of the cars. But can't be certain. I'm speaking with Audi UK customer services today and will ask there.

Bristol Audi told me that "Audi were unaware of any other premature clutch incidents across the entire A1 range". I then pointed out the other example and was immediately offered 50% off the costs.

I'm going to collect all the parts today and take them to garage to see if they can shed some light and give their opinion on the issue.

Any further help you could offer Dave would be amazing, you've been very helpful.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I called Audi Bath and they tell me it does indeed have a dual mass, not solid flywheel. I find it incredulous that I had two members of the service team, tell me to my face, whilst under the car on a ramp, with the flywheel exposed tell me it was a solid flywheel Is it easy to make that mistake?
Expert:  Dave-VAG replied 5 years ago.

Hi the two flywheels look totally different and the give away was the fact it had movement in the flywheel. Obviously a solid flywheel is made from one piece of metal so if the outside bit moves then it has to be seriously broken and you wouldn't of been able to drive the car.


But since it's a dual mass flywheel I reckon there could well be the problem to start with. If a Dual mass starts to play up it will destroy you clutch in next to no time. Without being able to see it for myself it's really hard to say but this sounds like a flywheel issue causing clutch failure which is very common.


Personally if the team you are dealing with can't tell the difference between a solid and dual mass flywheel then I would seriously lose faith and trust in them.



Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I've no faith in them at all. I confronted the chap at Audi about it and he confessed that he knew nothing and was sorry. But did invite me in to show me the damage and try to explain showing me all the parts.

Is there a way to tell the difference between a clutch that has been destroyed by the flywheel and that of riding the clutch all day long?

I see that DMFs in many vehicles have been troublesome for the car industry as a whole and some manufacturers are dropping them entirely due to them destroying clutch systems. It seems they are designed for perfect drivers, changing gear smoothly and at the correct revs to reduce vibrations through the car. They suffer badly when the car is being driven at 1200-1500 revs as this vibration is the strongest, putting extra stress on the DMF. If the gear change from first to second is not done at 2,000 revs, this can damage the DMF. The DMF is also working hardest during start up and shut down, something that tuition vehicle does a lot, especially with the start/stop fitted.

Does all of the above seem true to you? The internet is great, but I do worry about gathering false information. And if true, would you say in your expert opinion that a vehicle fitted with a DMF is not suitable as a tuition vehicle.

Thanks again Dave for all your help.
Expert:  Dave-VAG replied 5 years ago.

Hi although the dual mass flywheel does have it's problems there are lots out there that are all working well.

I look after a Skoda that has a dual mass and is used a a driving tuition car and this is his second one and neither have ever caused him problems.


As for telling which item failed first this is very hard to do and prove. Normally a clutch that has had amount on use such as in your profession the clutch would wear out quicker. For it to actually break requires serious abuse or component failure.


If you have no luck with the garage I would recommend a phone call to Audi customer services to see what they have to say. They have a bit more power to cover the cost or part of the costs to repair the car.



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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Audi customer services were of no use. Stating that driver style was to blame. I'm not pursing a "not fit for purpose" stance. This car was sold to me knowing full well that many different drivers with many differing styles would be behind the wheel, of which these styles would change from the day they start to the day they obtain their licence. If it only suits one style, then it's not the correct car to use as a tuition vehicle.

Can you elaborate on these DMF problems for me? And could you confirm that the DMF works hardest on start up and shut down. In a normal day, someone may start up their car perhaps once or twice. In a tuition vehicle we are doing it 20-30 times an hour. I work for 12 hours a day, thats 360 times a day. Perhaps a years worth of start up and shut down. Would you say that this could contribute to the early early demise of a DMF and clutch?

Thanks Dave
Expert:  Dave-VAG replied 5 years ago.

Hi as far as my personal thinking would be that the flywheel will be working the most when taking up driving and moving off. I would think this because this is when the most pressure is put on it. Also when you accelerate and decelerate as again this is putting the most strain on the clutch which will then be transfered in to the flywheel. If the revs are being held constant then the flywheel will stay in one place rather than move around.


When you first start the car or turn it off there is no real pressure on the clutch as it's not trying to move the weight of the car. It's just rotating at starter motor speed and then engine speed once it's started.



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi again Dave.

Myself and two other instructors all with the same car have suffered the same damage with cars having almost identical mileage and have been advised to reject the car as being mis-sold to us by our Audi dealers. The problem here is that we have our cars on PCP finance and need a replacement vehicle.

I'm trying to figure out which model would best suit a tuition vehicle. Audi technician at Audi UK and one of their mechanics have both told me that this one wasn't perhaps the best to use. I've also heard from Honest John, proclaimed motoring expert and agony uncle for the Telegraph, saying that diesels in general aren't good for lots of stop start short journeys.

What fuel type and set up would you suggest works best for the purpose of tuition vehicle?
Expert:  Dave-VAG replied 5 years ago.

Hi I will have a good think over the weekend and see what I can come up with for you on this.


I'm not sure on the exact legal side of it but I'm sure that since your car is on finance you have a few more rights and you can get the finance company involved in your dispute. So it will be worth a phone call to them especially if there are more than one of you having this issue.



Expert:  Dave-VAG replied 5 years ago.

Hi I have been looking around the local area seeing what cars other people are using and in my area the Vauxhall Corsa and Astra seem to be the most common along with the Ford Focus and Fiesta depending what size car you are looking for.


I do regularly look after a Skoda Fabia for one company and he has never had issues with it as I mentioned before but his is the earlier shape Fabia.


I don't see why a diesel would be any worse than a petrol for stop starting bearing in mind I drive a 2007 Vauxhall PETROL that has a dual mass flywheel.



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks Dave for all your help. Since I last wrote to you I've found seveal more instructors with the same car and issue. 6 now who needed a new clutch and flywheel inside of a year from new, none ever having problems before in teh past. And several who feel that their bite is very high and could be on it's way out. Considering that there are hardly any A1 driving instructors out there, we all think we have discovered some issue with this model as it only seems to affect the tdis.

So for what ever reason, the diesel model and DMF doesn't seem to suit our line of work. Could you think of any reason why the tdis fail and the other models do not?

Thanks for all your work Dave
Expert:  Dave-VAG replied 5 years ago.

Hi I'm not sure on the set up on the A1 as I've not had a gearbox out of one to see what is different. It's a worry that there are are 6 of you with the same problem though.

I think I'll end up looking further in to this at some point to see if the DMF is totally different or not.