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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys,

I have a 2018 Q3 S Line so just 37 months old which I have owned from new.
I decided to give the chrome tailpipes a bit of TLC so while there I was shocked to see the amount of rust on the rear subframe / wishbones - not just on the seams but scabby patches as well.

Has anyone else experienced this? I have made preliminary contact with the dealer with the usual gambit “they‘re all like that sir” . My wife’s older Hyundai and my neighbour’s 60 plate Vauxhall don’t look like this so I don’t think it is acceptable.

I have attached a couple of pictures - what do you think?

BTW - the car has only done 18k miles, never driven off road or through water etc

Thanks for your help - much appreciated
889095F4-8E8A-436A-9F10-474A660A5F0E.jpeg
307AB91C-A163-431F-97C8-2128FD19B518.jpeg
 

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My last 2016 RSQ3 Performance, bought at slightly less than three years old/15,000 miles was pretty scabby underneath too - I reckon it had spent it's entire life outside prior to my purchase and from then on it was garaged. In contrast the 2015 RSQ3 was bought at 9 months/3,000 miles and looked like new, even after 42,000 miles and nearing 3.5 years old....

The UK has a damp climate and vehicles that aren't garaged will deteriorate - seems inevitable.
 

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I agree with John. On most vehicles this is to be expected. There is some on mine which is approximately 2 years newer. You can try and mitigate this by washing under the car regularly then taking it for a drive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you very much for your replies.

Sounds like I’m out of step here.
I did look under another Q3 today and that did look very similar - albeit it was 6 years older.
What I don’t understand, however, is why I haven’t seen this on my previous 2 Audis (TT and A3) and indeed other “ lesser brands”.

Broadening the debate a bit (sorry!) are we being too accepting of things like this when paying £30k + for a car? These are not Dacia prices after all!

Both this and the abysmal hub rust ( which I have to accept) are as a result of inadequate processes at the factory Which Audi could easily prevent at minimal cost but it just seems part of the “less is more” I’ve seen progressively in terms of quality in recent models.

I suspect the response I will get is “it’s cosmetic so we don’t care” I will then have to sort it because although cosmetic today I reckon the underside ( second photo ) will rust through in a few years if ignored.

I guess it’s all about choices - it Audi have chosen to not care about these things, it is likely I will choose to not purchase Audi’s in the future - quality has to be more tangible than just a badge to justify the premium.

Many of you will probably think I have unrealistic expectations etc - I would be interested in your views.

Thanks
 

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If you purchase a £30k car you have compromises. Likewise, if you purchase a £130k car there are fewer. All car manufacturers compromise on the materials used and their protection. I have looked under a 1 year old BMW 5 series and a 2 year old Jaguar XF and they both have surface rust on chassis components. You can galvanise as much as you like for the underbody components and you will still get surface rust. Pay 10 times the price and you will get an aluminium/aluminium alloy chassis which will not rust. We used to have underseal which worked up to a point. The hub rust is made of cast iron and is different because it is visible yet there is no consistency on who will experience it. All of the rust I have seen is surface rust and providing the car is driven reasonably regularly then it will never cause a problem. By all means never purchase an Audi again but it will be like jumping from the frying pan in to the fire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you again for your further response.

I accept to a degree the points you raise but I don’t feel this is due to necessarily to it being a £30k car rather than a £130k car - in fact there seems to be an inverse law whereby it is almost expected that “hand built more expensive cars will be have more issue rather than less.

You obviously have had a different experience to me looking under cars which probably confirms that it is all a bit random. I suppose for me the “tin hat on it” was neither my wife’s 4 year old Hyundai or my neighbour’s 11 year old Vauxhall looked anything like this - neither did my previous A3 or TT.

it sounds from your analysis of the rust I’m being over dramatic on it’s likely progression so thanks for your counsel on that.

I don’t know if you agree but having been an Audi fan for many more years than an owner ( first 1 I bought was in 2014), to me each new Iteration seems to feel cheaper than the last in terms of materials etc - I looked at a Q2 before I bought the Q3 and was horrified how cheap it felt.

I think Audi have had some halcyon days over the last few years where they have had highly desirable products with a firm fan base - I do hope they don’t compromise too far going forward.

The will “I buy another Audi“ is probably an empty threat / over dramatisation on my part - as I would probably buy another TT if ”senior management“ would permit it but seeing as I’ve just retired and have knee problems permission for that is somewhat unlikely to say the least! I suspect my future will reside in “sensible” cars unfortunately- probably why I don’t want the Q3 to fall apart for a few years!

Thanks again for your views - much appreciate.
 

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I have had 11 Audi's over 39 years, all purchased new. They have been normal, S and RS variants. The only faults I have had over all this time were two sidelight bulbs blowing. Over the 39 years there have been one or two design glitches but overall I have found the design to be good. As regards the quality, it has always been very good. As regards the materials used, they have been chosen to suit the period. In the early 80's the plastics were very basic and now they are more sophisticated. Manufacturers of anything have built in obsolescence otherwise they would go out of business but they also have to compromise for the market they are aiming at and so that they can make a profit and survive. There is an old adage, it is better the devil you know, especially if its your money.
 

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It's increasingly common for new models to have undertrays fitted (to improve aerodynamics and hence mpg ) and that, in passing, help protect at least part of the 'chassis', though the protection obviously isn't complete. TBH I've not had cause to check under my F3, but I wouldn't be surprised to find at least some panels there. Not many car reviews seem to check under the car, but one that does is the US-based Savagegeese - here's a sample:


(Yes I know it's an XC40, but I can't quickly spot a Q3 or similar in their back-catalogue of videos.)
 

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Looking at the first photograph of the lower wishbone it shows as being perforated and seriously weakened . But then, looking at it again the way the unit has been press formed it shows the shape is cup formed and the shape is such that water flung up from the road surface ( salt laden in winter) will sit in the depression around the bump stop and having no way of draining out will rust away through the metal :mad: Can this be right ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I presume you are referring to the black marks which appear to be perforations but I think they are optical illusions or tar when I took the photos as When I checked again I couldn’t see them. So probably not as bad as would first appear.

I note Audi have “gone to ground“ on this after stating they would arrange to speak to me last week so I will be chasing them this week.

The consensus is that I’m probably being too fussy - a trait I’m often accused of - but I still think this is not good enough and if left will deteriorate. I intend to keep this car for a few years so I suspect a summer of “Kurust” and ”Hammerite” awaits me!
 

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There are no rust perforations in the two photographs. The rust is first stage surface and will come off with a wire brush. Other manufacturers have the same issues with rust but nowadays the rust does not damage the car or make it unsafe. There are numerous permutations and combinations of factors which cause rust and it is impossible to say which caused yours. Don't worry, the car will last a very long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you once again mwcltd for your reassurance.

- I’m sure everything you say is correct but being someone who tends to be “at the high end of epectation” as a carpenter working on my house once said, I do tend to fret about things like this. It doesn’t help that I looked under one a year older today that looked unblemished!

I still think Audi owe me the courtesy of at least sticking to what they said and arranging to discuss it even, as I suspect, they are not,prepared,to do anything about it.

Even if this is trivial being the sort of person I am, I suspect I will feel compelled to try and improve it at least - while I’m there I’ll also no doubt have a go at the rusty hubs and use high temperature paint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the advice Spike - I will certainly look into them.

UPDATE:

1. After a bit of chasing the Audi Service Manager is going to inspect the car with me tomorrow but his tone, although friendly, didn’t suggest he thought it was an issue for them to fret about.
2. I have continued my personal crusade looking under the back of each Q3 I have seen parked to compare - I hate to think what people think I’m up to!

Results as follows:

12 Plate = signs of rust slightly better than mine
14 Plate = hardly any visible rust
64 Plate = small amount of rust
15 Plate = no visible rust
17 Plate = no visible rust
67 Plate = no visible rust

So my very limited statistical sample suggests mine is atypical in this regard. It is also interesting that mine is younger than 3 I’ve seen with no rust.

I would be grateful if any of you guys could confirm whether your vehicles have this issue or not. Thanks much appreciated

To close this down I’ll report back what Audi says tomorrow but I’m pretty sure I know what they will say.
 

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Mine is almost 1 year old and I have done 6120 miles. There is a slight patch of surface rust which I have removed with a wire brush. Sampling Q3's cannot produce consistent results. There is no accounting for the environment, if they are garaged, how many miles they have done, has the underside been washed correctly etc or have they been kept in a field for many months before shipment to the dealer. To be honest, this is an object lesson in futility but if it had been the body work or serious stage 2 rust or worse then you are covered and Audi would jump through hoops to sort the problem out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
As far as futility is concerned mwcltd, I’m sure you are right.
I’m not sure i agree totally with the reasoning for it though.

As you say there will be a distribution of circumstances which each car experiences that’s why I would expect a statistical approach to identify the average whatever that is.
I fully accept that my statistical sample is woefully small in identifying the true picture of quantity and frequency of rust of this type on this particular model.

The only reason I have pursued this at all is that in my experience of owning Audis, which I accept is different to yours and others, plus my observations suggest my car is, for me, at the wrong end of the ”acceptable” distribution of this type of rust whether it is structural or not.

I am sure your analysis of severity / occurrence is well founded and I fully expect Audi to concur that you can’t really legislate whether it will occur or not due to the many factors you identify And is not an issue.

Thank you once again for your continued interest in this ( even if I am making you roll your eyes skyward With my stubbornness!) - I have found your responses both helpful and interesting.
 

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….has the underside been washed correctly…..
😂 😂
When I drive through a puddle but that’s it.
 

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My brother is a surface physicist at Nottingham university and I sent to him your pictures. It was him who pointed out that this was stage 1 surface rust and nothing to worry about. However, I have been having a rethink. During normal driving in the wet the water will be pushed off but when parked up on a fairly level surface the water will settle. I have a reasonable slope on my drive and park my car face down. This might be sufficient to let the water drain. As I said previously, there is no one solution, if there is a solution at all. BTW I can introduce you to many BMW's and Merc's of various ages and some have surface rust and some have not. If you look at an old Audi (10 years plus) you will see surface rust. This is only unsightly if you crawl under the car but this not a safety issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you mwcltd for consulting your brother on this - that really is a qualified opinion and gives me miles more assurance than anything someone from Audi could provide.

Your slope / draining theory is an interesting one and if correct maybe a contributor to my situation as my car is parked on the flat.
 

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Fwiw.
When I get a new (to me) vehicle I give it a good steam clean underneath the give it a good coating with zg 90 either silver or black depending on the area of application.
It's essentially a spray on galvanized coating.
It's especially useful on exhausts as it doesn't burn off. Never had one rust on me yet.

 
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