January 21, 2009
Not 5 minutes after firing-up our 2008 Audi R8 and heading for work this morning, the "Low Oil" indicator came on. This has happened before. The display flashed something along the lines of "1 quart low, add no more than 1 quart," before settling back to the icon you see above for the rest of the drive.
The mileage? 26,855. For the record, our last oil change came at 25,000 miles.
The owner's manual states that the R8 needs 10 liters of oil when you do an oil and filter change. That's 10.6 quarts. If the oil change technician added 10 quarts, our R8 would have been over a half-quart low when we left the dealership. There's no way to tell if this was the case at this point, but perhaps this explains why we're only 1,855 miles past our last oil service and the R8 is thirsty for more.
Harder than necessary, that's for sure.
For one, the oil specification isn't familiar. What the heck is VW 504 00? Is that 10W-30? Synthetic? Jell-o?
And what is the difference between LongLife service and Inspection service? Each is associated with different oils, as you can see above.
Let's tackle the second question first. LongLife service basically means flexible service intervals, scaled by the on-board computer as it monitors your driving style and the resulting engine load. If you baby the thing, the oil change reminder might not come on for 24 months or 20,000 miles, whichever comes first. Or it could come on sooner; it depends on your right foot. Inspection Service is more traditional. You give the R8 an oil change every 10,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first.
In order to have a chance at LongLife service, you have to use a higher grade of synthetic oil, so-called VW 504 00. Inspection service also uses synthetic oil, but a more common grade of synthetic will suffice, so-called VW 502 00.
Great, but what the heck is VW 504 00 and VW 502 00? VW stands for Volkswagen, of course. The rest of the digits are their internal standard. I searched the internet to find a list of oils that meet each requirement. I never did find an official Audi document dated any earlier than 2005, but I eventually came across this link, which contains a list of oils that comply.
It's a copy of a copy of a VW TSB, but it looks legit enough. And it has a recent date that includes model year 2009. Our R8's oil filler cap "Recommends Castrol," but many other brands of oil are listed in the TSB. I think the R8's Castrol recommendation has more to do with their sponsor relationship with Audi Motorsports than anything else.
December 24, 2008
Last night, half-way home, the R8's low tire pressure warning light clicked on. Turns out the car's left rear Pirelli P-Zero had picked up a nail and had bled down to just 21 psi.
Back to the guys at Stokes Tire Pros in Santa Monica for a patch, total repair just $30.
You might be wondering why we didn't spring for a new tire. And the answer is simple: We're sick and tired of buying new rubber for this car. So far we've bought five (three fronts and two rears) in just 18,000 miles of driving (we got the car with 7,000 miles and fresh rubber on it).
And they ain't cheap. We've spent around $2,500 on tires for the R8, and we weren't about to buy another. Especially when the left rear P-Zero was replaced just 5,000 miles ago.
Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief
December 22, 2008
Not in 321 days. Not in 323 days. No sir, this car needs an oil change in 322 days exactly. You've got to love the Germans.
Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief
December 12, 2008
We put off a couple of fixes on the R8 while waiting or the odometer to hit 25,000. So when the magic number arrived there was quite a bit on the agenda. Santa Monica Audi addressed the issue in an (almost) timely manner. The breakdown:
25k service: Change oil and filter, perform safety checks, correct all fluid levels and adjust tire pressures. ($295)
Parking brake pad: During inspection the tech discovered the parking brake pad was separating in chunks. Could have been caused by driving with the brake on they tell us. Whatever the cause the end result was the same. Replace the pad. ($295)
Key fob inop: The key fob battery checked out fine, so they removed and replaced the door lock remote control. When locking the door manually the tech found the lock mechanism had also failed. The door panel was removed to access the lock cylinder, which was also replaced. (no charge)
Rough idle during cold starts: To fix this problem the dealer removed and replaced eight fouled spark plugs. New plugs didn't really fix the issue, but they were free. (no charge)
Creaking noise from center armrest: Remove and replace handbrake handle stop. (no charge)
Hood latch misaligned: Trunk compartment was removed to access and adjust the release cable, then reinstalled. (no charge)
Total Cost: $609.20
Days out of Service: 7
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 25,000 miles
September 24, 2008
On Monday night Ed Hellwig and I drove our long-term 2008 Audi R8 down to San Diego (about 120 miles from Los Angeles) to wach the Chargers kick the living daylights out of my New York Jets. The car was perfect for the trip; comfortable, fast and flashy enough to get us a parking spot, which we found out are very hard to come by at Qualcomm Stadium.
Anyway, on the way home I got a warning light telling me the R8 needed a quart of oil. Then I realized the car was also saying it was due for an oil change. Trouble is, we just had it changed 5,000 miles ago, and the interval is 10,000.
So yesterday morning I called Santa Monica Audi. Turns out the oil change alert is a false alarm, but the car needing a quart of oil every 5,000 miles is normal. You know, they all do that.
Our service advisor, Ken Maryan, also said that if we brought the car over there he'd reset the maintenance light for us. It'll only take a minute, he said.
So I went over a few hours later. The guy plugged a laptop thingamajig into the doohicky and reset the whatchamacallit.They even topped up the oil for me. No charge. And it really did take about a minute.
September 17, 2008
Last weekend fate smiled as it handed me the keys to our 2008 Audi R8 for the weekend. When I turned around to leave, fate placed a kick-me sign on my back and and rushed off to wind up the giant boot that kicked me swiftly in the buttocks.
Since the R8's transmission is almost as bad as the smart's in casual driving (it may be as bad, but the extra 350hp over the smart make up for a lot) and it can carry fewer items than your average Radio Flyer, my weekend was shaping up pretty nice: no errands and lots of roads that, when viewed aerially, look like a handful of tapeworms thrown onto a carpet.
It only took a few minutes of driving before I realized this plan was not going to work out as well as I'd hoped. Merging onto the freeway the Audi cut power and the traction control light illuminated. In the remaining 8 miles to my apartment traction control turned on no less than four times and, sensing a pattern, was fully disabled (by me) once when I came across a big puddle on a 6-lane road. (I'm weak when it comes to weather-related shenanigans.) I checked the tires the following day when the sun was out. While -- as visible in the picture above-- they look ok, a tactile inspection reveals the truth: there was no groove left. Someone got the last of the excellent grip afforded by quasi-shaved tires and left me with two slick rubber tubes that never held on. Needless to say, this made my drives much slower, much more interesting and caused the AWD system much more trouble.
"R8 needs rear tires ASAP" my text to Schmidt read on Sunday morning. Monday I called Stokes Tire Pros to place the order.
August 08, 2008
Yesterday around 4 pm, while stuck in a traffic jam near downtown Los Angeles, our long-term 2008 Audi R8 insisted it was 118 degrees outside. Trouble is, it was near room temperature in the City of Angels at the moment.
We'll have the glitchy thermometer addressed on monday morning when the R8 visits the dealer for a faulty front hood latch.
Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 16,855 miles
July 23, 2008
Yesterday Santa Monica Audi performed a 15,000 mile service on our long-term Audi R8. Ken Maryan our service advisor could not have been more pleasant to deal with, and the work was done in a single day as promised.
They changed the oil and filter, checked the car over and installed a new dust and pollen filter to our climate control system. That's it. Total for parts: $185.06, which includes 9 quarts of synthetic motor oil.
What killed us was the labor. Two and a half hours at an incredible $160.00 an hour (Labor for our 1984 Ferrari 308 was only $120.00 an hour.) That's $400.00 in labor costs. Total for the job: $600.33.
Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 15,472 miles
July 18, 2008
We've had our long-term Audi R8 for six weeks, exactly half of its 3-month stay with us. And so far we've driven it 7,493 miles. Not bad.
According to its computer, our silver supercar is almost due for its 15,000 mile service, which would be its second bit of scheduled maintenance (the first was performed at 5,000 miles). We'll easily cover the remaining 700 miles this weekend, and take the car to Santa Monica Audi sometime next week. While it's there, we'll also have a couple of other small problems addressed. Minor stuff, including a slightly loose piece of console trim and a dying keyfob battery.
Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 14,534 miles
June 30, 2008
When the tire shop said it would have to order a tire for our Audi R8 after last weekends blowout, I knew it wasnt going to be cheap. Sure enough, when the tire arrived a couple days later the final tally after mounting and balancing was $450. No one ever said living with a supermodel was cheap.
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 9,984 miles
June 24, 2008
So I get the coveted keys to the R8 for the weekend, doesn't get much better right? Well, yes and no. Saturday morning started out well enough. Clear skies, minimal traffic and a quick run to Angeles Crest Highway. I know it well, so the R8 was a good companion on its ridiculously pristine stretches of twisty asphalt.
Well, I should say, mostly pristine. About 30 miles in I came around a medium speed right hander only to find a random collection of granite sprayed across the pavement. My initial thought was to straddle the big rock on the right to avoid the several smaller stones on the left, but at the last second I figured tire damage was better than body damage.
And tire damage is what I got. The sizable boulder on the right took a chunk out of the sidewall and the air came pouring out in one big blast of "you're screwed dude". I pulled into a turnout to plot my next move. I didn't expect a spare, so I wasn't surprised to see a useless tire inflator kit. There was no cell phone service that far into the mountains, so I made the four mile walk to the nearest call box.
A couple hours later, the R8 was deposited into the parking lot of our local tire dealer. No shops in L.A. had one of the R8's front tires in stock so it would have to wait until later in the week to get fixed. Such is life with a brand new supercar. We'll let you know what it costs us when it returns.
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 9,974 miles