2009 Audi A4 and S5: Steering Vibration Wrap Up
July 14, 2009
We first noticed a shimmy in the steering wheel of our 2009 A4 Avant. The vibration was most obvious at freeway speeds and reminiscent of a wheel balance issue.
Before checking the wheel balance on our A4 we noticed a similar vibration from the steering wheel of our 2009 Audi S5. It seemed too coincidental. We consulted Audi of Santa Monica for guidance. They couldn't help. Right about then we recieved a call from Audi of America.
Audi saw that our S5 was the first of the two vehicles to receive attention. First, the front tires were replaced. Three of the wheels were found to be weighted improperly and each of those corrected by road force tire balancing. According to Audi this is enough to solve the vast majority of steering vibration cases they've seen. But in roughly 10-percent of the cases this isn't enough
When road force balancing isn't enough the four lower-front control arms are replaced. These replacement arms are the same dimensions as their predecessors. But the bushing stiffness itself is altered, making the system less susceptible to varying road conditions. This adjustment transmits less vibration through the steering wheel. This adjustment also remedied our complaints in both the S5 and A4. Problem solved.
This was never a safety issue. But that didn't make it acceptable. We were pleased with the timeliness of Audi's reaction to our concern. After our initial dismay, even Audi of Santa Monica pulled itself together like we've never seen before. The TSB associated with our concern was since updated, allowing dealerships to better diagnose similar situations.
Total cost: None (all parts installed under warranty)
Days out of service: 2 (1 overnight for each vehicle)
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager