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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, it's official. Today my R8 surpassed a 1998 Corvette as the least reliable car I've ever owned.

My R8 was in the shop 4 times during my first month of ownership for the replacement of various solenoids, sensors, and switches that failed or were faulty upon delivery. That was in January.

Now today I stopped at a gas station for a fuel fill. The filler cap would not open. I pulled out the manual and found the section on using the manual cable to open the cap. I duly unfastened the engine bay cover as instructed and tugged leftward on the cable as instructed. Nothing. So I pulled harder. Well, the cable broke loose, but the cap budged not a micrometer.

In desperation, I tried to pry the cap open with the only tool I had on hand -- a set of keys. Now I have a scratched fuel cap and ring. But still no gas in the car.

So I called Audi's emergency roadside assistance. They said they could send a tow truck but observed the tow truck driver (who is a contractor) would not be able to do anything I could not do. I asked if they could send a mobile tech. They asked for my zip code and reported back that there were no Audi mobile techs available "in my area". My area is Chicago. Not near Chicago, but right in central Chicago, the third largest metropolitan area in the U.S. . . . and a big Audi market. But apparently a market that Audi does not see fit to cover with a mobile tech.

To top it off, I came home and searched this forum to find a thread on filler cap problems. I find the problem has occurred with several forum members, and they have resorted to fixes such as carrying popsicle sticks around with them and guessing how far to bend the catch tab on the cap. (In other words, Audi clearly has a major design flaw on their hands that will be causing more owners trouble as time passes.)

This is absurd. Now that the weather is finally breaking, I had planned a weekend getaway at the end of the month in my new sports car. But I'm having to cancel my plans, as I'm afraid of getting stranded in a car that cannot be refueled. After 13 months with a Corvette that was not reliable enough to risk taking more than a few miles from home, I am now reliving that experience with the R8.

After having my car towed to the dealer tomorrow, I will be on the phone with Audi demanding they buy this piece of crap back from me. If they refuse, I'll call in my lawyer. Enough is enough.
 

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I'd be mighty pissed if I had that happen to me. Sounds like you've got a friday afternoon lemon car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, I don't think a remote gas cap release is exactly first generation technology. I think most of Audi's other models use a remote release mechanism.

The fact that other owners are already having this problem on such a low-volume car indicates this is a slapdash design, shoddily built, that will engulf more and more owners as time passes . . . and one that can you leave stranded on the roadside in a car with a very low liklihood of being anywhere near one of the few dealers who can work on it.
 

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Well, I don't think a remote gas cap release is exactly first generation technology. I think most of Audi's other models use a remote release mechanism.

The fact that other owners are already having this problem on such a low-volume car indicates this is a slapdash design, shoddily built, that will engulf more and more owners as time passes . . . and one that can you leave stranded on the roadside in a car with a very low liklihood of being anywhere near one of the few dealers who can work on it.
This isn't necessarily true. It could simply be a bad batch of components. Many owners have not had this problem. The fact that it is such a low volume car is exactly why these things happen. There aren't 50K of them being 'tested.'

While I'm sure I'd be just as pissed off in your position, but I'd also just have them fix it and get on with it. That's what the warranties are for. Manufacturers know things are bound to go wrong.

I do find it hard to believe that they don't have any dealers in Chicago that can service it, as I live in metro Detroit and there are two dealers that I know of. I was aware, however, that there were only so many service centers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The only Audi dealer in central Chicago is Fletcher Jones Audi on Clark Street. Before I bought the car, they told me they would not be able to service it, as they opted not to invest in the required tooling and the training. (Of course, that's not stopping them from putting a resell unit in their showroom across the street at $30K above new car list. I wonder if they're going to mention to potential buyers that they cannot service the car.)

There are several Audi dealers in the greater Chicago area (Schaumburg, Glenview, and Tinley Park) that can service an R8. The closest to central Chicago is about 13 miles from downtown -- about a 75-minute commute each way in morning and evening rush hour. I know . . . I've done it 5 times now in the first 3 months of ownership. (I use Glenview and, fortunately, the R8 tech there is a nice guy who seems very good.)

At this point, I don't give a g*d-d**ned hoot about excuses why Audi can't build a car with a functioning fuel filler lid. The bottom line is that I paid $130K for a car that cannot even be taken on a road trip for fear it cannot be refueled enroute.

I didn't have this problem until I had owned the car over three months. Any owner that is assuming it won't happen to him should be worried. The fact that several members of this forum (a small subset of all R8 owners) have already reported this problem indicates something more fundamental than a random problem. As for a bad batch of parts, it was not only my filler cap that failed. The emergency cable also tore loose from its guides when I pulled on it. It's a slipshod design from start to finish.

I am seriously considering having some large lemon signs made to stick to the car. Audi has no right to try to advance its reputation as a premium car manufacturer with a piece of s**t that cannot even be taken on a trip.

Look . . . people are reporting carrying popsicle sticks with them so that they can get into their fuel spout. This might be amusing on a Yugo. On an Audi -- even a low-volume one -- it's absurd.
 

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hmp10 - I agree with you completely. This makes me hae second thoughts on my order which is due in September this year. Cannot even get the filler cap right?? What the hell was Audi's engineer thinking? Reminds me of my Fiat x19 that I had when I was in a college.
 

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I still can't get over this. How can Audi f%#k up a simple low tech filler cap? Even in a Toyota Corolla it works all the time every time. It is like oxygen. You simply expect it to be there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
After studying the posts of others who are having this problem, I finally was able to get into the fuel spout.

I wrapped a screwdriver with a plastic garbage bag, opened the engine hatch, inserted the handle of a hammer through the manual pull loop, levered it against a brace inside the engine compartment, and pushed on the hammer handle while prying the gas cap open with the screwdriver. Thank God it was not raining today.

(One poster on the other thread had suggested that maybe the retainer strap attached to the gas cap has been the culprit in these problems by getting caught on the release mechanism -- which would still indicate a bad design. When I finally got the lid open, the retainer strap was tucked on the right side of the gas cap and nowhere near the release catch.)

So off I went to the gas station, where I repeated this exercise in front of the usual gaggle of customers eyeing the car. I felt like a fool, but at least I got some gas into the damned thing. (For once, at least, no one came over to ask me anything about the car.) And, oh . . . I got yet another scratch on the fuel filler cap despite trying to cover the screwdriver.

Apparently this is going to be the drill until I can either dump the car or get the dealer to figure out how to fix it.
 

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i agree that there is no way that something as basic as a properly functioning fuel filler should be faulty. Hopefully Audi makes things right for you and that they are reading this, as its quite the joke that they can't get this right. Makes me very nervous about proceeding with my car.
 

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While I definately sympathise with you, I've had similar problems on my E46 M3. Fuel filler caps MAY get jammed sometimes AND I've had SMG Solenoids replaced.

My R8 fuel filler cap got jammed once or twice till I figured out the issue, now it's all good. I've also had some R-Tronic solenoids replaced and now all is fine. The car rocks, I'm in love with it...the more I drive the better it gets! :)

Mind you my Audi dealer is awesome, they have 3 x R8 Factory trained techs, Lambo and Ferrari techs!! :D
 

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hmp10,
While your problem is certainly very frustrating, the bigger problem lies with Audi's inadequacies in treating their elite customers with an elite level of service. You have purchased their flagship automobile and it is ludicrous to not have someone knowledgeable to help you when you call the service line. IMO, Audi plays the tune of being a first tier manufacturer, but when it comes to customer service, the VW which is embedded in its DNA inevitably shines through.
The experience you have just had was PRECISELY the reason I moved away from BMW, MB and Audi when considering purchasing a sports car.
At the end of the day, your car is GONNA get fixed. You have to ask yourself if you want to have a relationship with this company or not
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You have to ask yourself if you want to have a relationship with this company or not
I've decided I do not want a relationship with this company. Now I've got to try to get them to take the car off my hands so I don't take a drubbing on the depreciation (not to mention the difficulty of trying to sell a car with a broken fuel filler cap).

I made this decision once before when I had to get rid of a 2003 Audi S6. It had a Delco-sourced communications chip in it that was not properly programmed to work with the rest of the car. After repeated attempts to fix it, I traded the car after just a year. The problem was that the malfunction kept draining the battery, and Audi was never able to trace the problem to its source. While I could drive the car to work and back using a set of jumper cables if the battery drained all the way down, I could not take the car on long trips for fear of being stranded.

At that point, I swore off Audi. But the press around the R8 tempted me to give them a try again, and I rationalized that the passage of 4 years had given Audi time to get their design and service act together. I was apparently wrong.

I have a MB SL55 that has also been far from problem-free. However, the dealer service was prompt and their roadside assistance actually could render assistance beyond just towing. And the dealer was located between my home and office, so I could just drop the car off on the way to work and continue in to the office with a loaner.

I took that car down to my home in Florida. I guess I'll be bringing it back up to Chicago until I figure out what I want to get next.

It's a damned shame. The R8 is a wonderful car when it's working properly. But those times are just too infrequent and too unpredictable.
 

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I've decided I do not want a relationship with this company. Now I've got to try to get them to take the car off my hands so I don't take a drubbing on the depreciation (not to mention the difficulty of trying to sell a car with a broken fuel filler cap).

I made this decision once before when I had to get rid of a 2003 Audi S6. It had a Delco-sourced communications chip in it that was not properly programmed to work with the rest of the car. After repeated attempts to fix it, I traded the car after just a year. The problem was that the malfunction kept draining the battery, and Audi was never able to trace the problem to its source. While I could drive the car to work and back using a set of jumper cables if the battery drained all the way down, I could not take the car on long trips for fear of being stranded.

At that point, I swore off Audi. But the press around the R8 tempted me to give them a try again, and I rationalized that the passage of 4 years had given Audi time to get their design and service act together. I was apparently wrong.

I have a MB SL55 that has also been far from problem-free. However, the dealer service was prompt and their roadside assistance actually could render assistance beyond just towing. And the dealer was located between my home and office, so I could just drop the car off on the way to work and continue in to the office with a loaner.

I took that car down to my home in Florida. I guess I'll be bringing it back up to Chicago until I figure out what I want to get next.

It's a damned shame. The R8 is a wonderful car when it's working properly. But those times are just too infrequent and too unpredictable.
You COULD make an argument that the faulty gas filler cap has impaired the drivability of the car and go for a "lemon."
Most manufacturers want to avoid potentially having a "lemon" labeled onto their statistical production. I think, if you present a strong argument, using a lawyer they will stand down
 

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I'm sure you would have no trouble selling your R8 problem to someone else at a significant profit. Why bother trying to get anger satisfaction with a mindless dealership, when you can make some money? Wouldn't that be a more satisfying conclusion?
 

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I'm glad I read this thread, just tells me to accept issues. It doesn't bother me at all. This is a low volume car and you will get some R&D in the field. I saw two cars on Oxford Street in London yesterday. One in red with red blade which was drop dead gorgeous.
 

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It's a damned shame. The R8 is a wonderful car when it's working properly. But those times are just too infrequent and too unpredictable.
Wow! These are stories that you usually hear from Ferrari owners! I believe that one main reason most have chosen the R8 over it's italian competitors as a mid-engined sports car is price and german-engineered reliability.

As you mentioned in your earlier post, had Audi been more diligent in providing a true customer service (especially in the metro Chicago area), you would have been less pissed. Imagine had you been driving thru a small Nebraska town in the mid-west?

There is truly no excuse in displaying this type of behaviour towards someone who purchased their flagship automobile. I understand your frustration only it's too bad you're not willing to give them another chance to prove themselves again.
 

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hmp10,
While your problem is certainly very frustrating, the bigger problem lies with Audi's inadequacies in treating their elite customers with an elite level of service. You have purchased their flagship automobile and it is ludicrous to not have someone knowledgeable to help you when you call the service line. IMO, Audi plays the tune of being a first tier manufacturer, but when it comes to customer service, the VW which is embedded in its DNA inevitably shines through.
The experience you have just had was PRECISELY the reason I moved away from BMW, MB and Audi when considering purchasing a sports car.
At the end of the day, your car is GONNA get fixed. You have to ask yourself if you want to have a relationship with this company or not
and this is coming from some one who owns an aston martin the worlds most reliable car builders !!! i dont think so on build quality the audi totaly out shines any aston believe me i work for them so imo stick with the r8 you wont be dissapointed i never had any problems with my filler cap the only problem i had was trying to get hold of these r01 tyres when i had a puncture
 

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lets just say rezf your going to need that elite level of customer service cause with the aston your going to be spending alot of time with them :)
 

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Sorry to hear about your problems with the car. However, although there are other members here reporting the same fault, it remains in minority so I am sure these are just isolated incidents. I have had Audis for more than 20 years and I would say they are just as reliable as any other car makers, and certainly in the last 5 years, improves to a point that I would say they are on a par with the Japanese. My latest A6 is the most reliable car that I've ever have, having zero problems in 3 years so far.

I understand your frustration but I think the majority of us are very happy. Good luck on your sale and better luck on your next car.
 
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