Wondering if it's time for new Audi A3 shocks for your 8P chassis? Is it necessary to replace my Audi A3 shock mounts, stops, and boots too? This post also provides you with a basic description of front and rear Audi A3 shock suspension set-ups and explains the difference between Factory Audi A3 Comfort suspension verses Factory Audi A3 Sport suspension options.
The Audi shock replacement information on this page applies to the following Audi A3 models:
- 2006-2013 Audi A3 Shock Absorber (US) 8P chassis
Is It Time for New Audi A3 Shocks?
According to a 2009 AASHTO summary report, only 1/2 of US major roads are said to be in good condition with more than 60% of roads in major cities in poor condition. This translates into an estimated $335 in vehicle maintenance and operation costs each year and up to $746 in major cities.
Bad road conditions may be out of our control, but you can be more prepared for them by replacing your worn out Audi A3 shocks. The importance of new shocks goes beyond mere comfort. Worn shocks can affect steering, tire wear and your Audi’s A3 responsiveness. New Audi A3 shocks and related suspension components (i.e. ball joints etc.) can improve your vehicle's ability to maintain traction, help it respond to quick turns, and emergency stops.
It's easy to tell when your brakes or wipers need replacing. Determining if your Audi A3 shocks need to be replaced isn't as simple. There is no "replace them every x amount of miles" service interval standards here. Customers in need of Audi A3 shock replacement often notice a soft spongy ride feeling around 90,000 miles. Although this soft feel may not seem that bad, it indicates that the Audi A3 shocks have already begun to lose their ability to dampen. In our own Audi service shop, experience has shown that between 90,000-130,000 miles you'll begin to see a considerable deterioration in ride quality. When going over a bump a good Audi A3 shock should compress and spring up / rebound only once. Whereas, a worn out Audi A3 shock compresses and rebounds several times, causing a bouncy springiness. Due to this loss in dampening performance a worn out Audi A3 shock begins to significantly increase the wear on the related suspension components (control arms, mounts etc.) quickly reducing their service life. Why? To reiterate... instead of 1 compression, the shock is compressing 3 or 4 times before it brings the wheel back into control. This is serious, due to the complexity of the 24 moving hemi / ball joints and bushings that make up the front suspension. Customers seem to stretch their Audi A3 shock replacement out a little longer than other scheduled maintenance. Do you really want to run the risk of wearing out all these suspension components or your whole front end? As you can see, it's very important to install a fresh new pair of shocks in your A3 when you reach this high mileage.
This spongy feeling and slow bump recovery time is one of the first signs that you're in need of new Audi A3 shocks. Other symptoms include bald patches on your tires, tire cupping, excessive shock oil seepage, vehicle pulling, poor steering response, or sharp knocks, such as when going over railroad tracks.
Is It Necessary to Replace the Audi A3 Shock Mounts, Stops, and Boots Too?
The importance of servicing your Audi A3 suspension the correct way cannot be overstated! In this economy many are trying to save wherever possible. However, think carefully before cutting corners in this department. When replacing Audi A3 shocks in our own service facility, we've seen that other suspension parts (i.e. Audi shock mounts, stops, boots, and hardware) show significant signs of wear or have already begun to deteriorate and are not reusable. Many customers who've replaced only their Audi A3 shocks, have found that they're still experiencing similar suspension problems as well as random front end suspension noises. This may be because other worn shock related components can simulate the same symptoms as bad shocks (see below section regarding the complexity of diagnosing Audi suspension system noises). Why go through the significant labor to replace the Audi A3 shocks only to realize a failure in one or more of the related items, consequently needing to redo your suspension job again? Many wish they would have spent the extra money up front than face this labor intensive job again. Consider the following:
Audi A3 Bump Stops and Dust Boots
Usually when an Audi A3 shock begins to go bad the seals start to seep oil. This shock oil leaks onto the bump stop eating away at the rubber foam material, affecting its density and ability to perform its job properly. If the bump stop isn't replaced, your new shocks have the chance of bottoming out, causing internal shock damage and premature failure. Replacing the stops helps protect new Audi A3 shocks from bottoming out when hitting potholes and rough roads. Leaking shock oil can also get onto the dust boots. Over time this eats away at and weakens the rubber causing it to deteriorate and eventually rip. Ripped dust boots allow road grime and dirt to contaminate the shock causing scarring of the shock shaft and seals, resulting in premature shock failure. Replacing the boots protects new Audi A3 shocks (shock shaft and seal) from dirt and dust, ensuring their long lifespan.
Audi A3 Shock Mounts
Nearly all A3 models that we've had in our facility for shock replacement needed new shock mounts. Audi A3 shock mounts are made of a rubber material and with age, collapse and deteriorate. This is especially noticeable in the front of the car since it supports the engine and endures the brunt of road impact. Worn Audi A3 shock mounts often cause a conspicuous clunking noise when going over bumps. Play at the top of the spring perch while the suspension is loaded (not un-sprung) may also be evident.
Audi models have one of the most complicated front suspension systems on the road today!
We often get calls from customers who are still experiencing noise after replacing their shocks and related components. This is because control arm and shock related noises can be very similar. It is a difficult task to diagnose front end problems; even for the most experienced mechanics that work on these special suspension systems. Only automotive technicians that are familiar with the complexity of your specific Audi front suspension should trouble shoot and repair it. Equipped with 8 control arms (each with ball joints), 2 tie rod assemblies (each with inner and outer joints), and 2 sway bar links; the front suspension has a combined 24 moving hemi / ball joints and bushings that make your front Audi unique in complexity. This also makes your Audi expensive to maintain. Stay tuned for a more detailed page regarding the common front end noises that can be associated with control arms.
Audi A3 Shock Suspension Set-up
The Audi A3 shock absorbers are a substantial part of the suspension system. Audi A3 shocks go beyond providing mere comfort. Shocks affect other related suspension components, along with steering, tire wear and responsiveness.
Front Audi A3 Shock Set-up:
The Audi A3 shock mounts, shock bump stops, shock dust boot / sleeves, spring perch plates, and lower shock nuts/bolts (connects to the lower control arm) make up the front suspension (as shown). In addition, the front suspension is equipped with 8 control arms (each with ball joints), 2 tie rod assemblies (each with inner and outer joints), and 2 sway bar links. That's another 24 moving hemi / ball joints and bushings that make up both sides of the front suspension. An Audi A3 has one of the most unique and complicated front suspension systems on the road today! We often get calls from customers who are still experiencing noise after replacing their shocks and related components. This is because control arm and shock related noises can be very similar. It is a difficult task to diagnose front end problems on these special suspension systems, even for the most experienced mechanics. Only automotive technicians that are familiar with the complexity of your specific Audi front suspension should troubleshoot and repair it. Stay tuned for our troubleshooting write up regarding the complexity of diagnosing Audi A3 front end suspension noises.
Rear Audi A3 Shock Set-up:
Audi A3 models have rear shock mounts, shock bump stops, and shock dust boot / sleeves and strut nuts/bolts that make up the rear suspension.
Factory Audi A3 Standard vs Factory Audi A3 Sport Suspension
What do I have? How can I find out? Starting around 1999 it became common for Audi A3 models to be offered with two suspension options from the factory. A 'Standard' comfort suspension systems (stock ride height), or a 'Sport' suspension system (lowered ride height). Some customers have contacted their dealer with their VIN to find out what type of suspension corresponds with their vehicle. Only an authorized Audi dealer can access the bill of material info, which reveals what suspension was used on your Audi A3. Blauparts is an independent Audi parts specialist and doesn't have access to this bill of material info. Therefore, we cannot determine or confirm your Audi A3 suspension setup.
FACTORY Audi A3 Standard Suspension
(1) Vehicles with 'Standard' comfort suspension have a stock or normal looking ride height and are equipped with shock absorbers that are valved to yield a standard softer ride quality.
FACTORY Audi A3 Sport Suspension
(2) Vehicles with 'Sport' suspension from the FACTORY, have shorter springs that results in a slightly lowered vehicle stance of approximately 1” along with shock absorbers that have been valved to yield a slightly firmer ride.
BLAU® A3 Shock Features:
1) BLAU Audi shock absorber kits make shock installation easier because they include the necessary related components (i.e. mounts, stops, boots) and assembly hardware that is commonly needed for successful Audi shock replacement.
2) BLAU Audi shock absorber valving is designed specifically for each individual vehicle application.
3) BLAU Audi shock absorbers feature both Japanese mono tube and twin tube designs. These designs allow for a free floating shock shaft piston with chambers inside the shock separating the oil from a high-pressure gas charge. You can expect reduced body roll when cornering and excellent dampening characteristics while you conquer demanding road conditions.
4) BLAU Audi shock absorbers are filled with Nitrogen gas, delivering superior performance. Nitrogen gas lessens aeration of the shock's dampening fluid. This maintains continuous shock dampening performance, reducing shock fade, resulting in less tire wear and longer suspension component life.
5) Unlike other popular name brand struts and shocks, BLAU Audi shock absorbers are filled with a long life, multi viscosity oil containing Mos2 moly lubricant. Mos2 helps resist fluid breakdown and maintains year round shock fluid performance under all weather driving conditions. Mos2 greatly reduces wear on all internal shock components, extending the shock life for years of great shock performance.
6) Advanced internal self-lubricating shock components from Japan result in less shock shaft friction combined with a Fluon banded shock shaft piston, increasing Audi shock life and improving dampening sensitivity.
7) BLAU Audi shocks meet/exceed the quality of original equipment.
Owners can expect a better ride quality when comparing our shocks to Audi Bilstein Touring Shocks, Audi Boge Shocks, and Audi KYB Shocks.
Proper Fitment Of BLAU® Shocks on Audi A3 Models
PLEASE NOTE: BLAU® Audi A3 shocks are NOT intended or designed to be used on vehicles equipped with AFTERMARKET lowering sport springs (i.e. H&R, Eibach or others). These spring kits tend to lower the vehicle too much which makes them dimensionally not compatible with BLAU's Audi A3 shocks. We've received many telephone calls from customers who ask, “If my vehicle is lowered just a smidgen more than 1 inch will your shocks work?” Our answer is, “No.” Do not purchase our shock kit if your vehicle is lowered even a little over an inch.
BLAU's Audi A3 shock absorber kits are designed to replace worn out shocks on vehicles with a stock 'Standard' suspension system. At this time our A3 kits are not designed to work with the factory 'Sport' setup!
Audi A3 models with 'Standard' suspension system have great over-all ride characteristics. Thus, BLAU® Audi A3 shocks have been engineered to provide similar stock OE type ride characteristics, only slightly stiffer. As a result of BLAU® shocks being gas charged, a firm ride is achieved without the harshness that is often associated with some sport suspension upgrades. BLAU® Audi A3 shocks supply the perfect amount of firmness to help you "Feel The Road".