The Audi S-Tronic is a dual-clutch gearbox developed within the VAG company. This gearbox is also commonly found on other VAG brands such as Skoda and VW and is widely considered as one of the best dual-clutch gearboxes out there.
However, no gearbox is without fault which means that there are always some niggles that tend to cause issues. If you maintain the gearbox as intended, you are not as likely to experience these, but if you are not, you are more than likely going to. These modern dual-clutch gearboxes are delicate pieces of engineering which means that they need constant maintenance to perform as intended.
The most common problems with the S-Tronic gearbox are a hydraulic unit fault, a burned clutch, a faulty gear selector sensor, solenoid failure, and the reverse selector fault. Some of these require a thorough strip of the transmission in order to repair it while others will do with only minor repairs.
All in all, the S-Tronic is indeed one of the best widespread DCT gearboxes out there because it is efficient, sophisticated, relatively robust and able to withstand a fair bit of torque. If you maintain your S-Tronic gearboxes, you are likely going to enjoy it for quite some time to come.
Audi S-Tronic hydraulic unit fault
The hydraulic unit, also named Mechatronic under the VAG umbrella is responsible for picking the correct gear depending on the situation. It also engages the clutch and monitors the performance of the gearbox in general. If the hydraulic unit starts causing issues, you will notice it because the transmission is likely to become lazy, jittery, or unwilling to engage a gear at all.
If you do experience these symptoms you should stop driving the car immediately as there is a great chance that your clutch is also going to suffer. These are typically followed by a “gearbox malfunction” warning light on the dashboard.
Audi S-Tronic burned clutch
The clutch is sadly an expendable component which means that you need to replace it eventually, no matter the transmission in question. However, if the gearbox was not maintained correctly, or if you tend to drive the car in an aggressive manner, you are likely going to burn the clutch a lot sooner.
Many owners of high-performance older Audi cars have reported that the clutch tends to get burned prematurely because the car is not able to withstand high torque numbers, especially if you use launch control.
Audi S-Tronic faulty gear selector sensor
A gear selector sensor is a unit that communicates to the car’s ECU that you have selected a specific gear. This sensor works in tandem with other in-car systems such as the ignition barrel in a way that it does not allow you to take the key out of the ignition if you don’t engage park mode.
However, if the sensor fails, you will not be able to take your key out of the ignition even if you have successfully engaged park. The issue here is that the car’s brain is unaware of which gear you have selected which means that you will not be able to drive the car until this issue is resolved.
Audi S-Tronic solenoid failure
One of the most common issues the S-Tronic tends to experience is a faulty solenoid. These are tasked with controlling the flow of transmission fluid and in essence enabling the transmission to operate. If the oil is contaminated or there is too much, or too little oil in the transmission, it is likely going to fail.
Replacing these is a common occurrence on many dual-clutch gearboxes these days so you should not worry about finding the right mechanic for the job as every VAG mechanic is able to replace it without any issues.
Audi S-Tronic reverse selector fault
Most pre-2018 S-Tronic gearboxes are known to develop a fault with the reverse gear selector unit which tends to manifest itself in the inability to select reverse gear. These are fairly common on older S-Tronic gearboxes while newer ones don’t often experience these sorts of issues, but are not completely immune from them.
These are often misdiagnosed as a Mechatronic failure, but in reality, these are completely separate. However, if this issue is not rectified asap, it is likely going to cause an issue with Mechatronic as well.
What are the benefits of the Audi S-Tronic gearbox?
There are many reasons why the Audi S-Tronic DCT gearbox is better than the older torque converter system. For starters, it is a lot more refined which means that it shifts gears faster and you are less likely to notice the gears being shifted. The S-Tronic is designed to work in the background which means that it completely eliminates the need to think about what the gearbox is doing.
A DCT gearbox enables faster 0-60mph times and is typically better controlled which means that it does not use any more fuel than a manual.
What are the drawbacks of the Audi S-Tronic gearbox?
A DCT gearbox is heavier and more delicate when compared to a standard torque converter. This means that it typically requires you to baby it a bit more as most DCT gearboxes are unable to withstand the same amount of torque as a robust torque converter gearbox.
The DCT might sometimes feel a bit jittery while manoeuvring at slow speeds. Finally, a DCT gearbox is much more expensive when compared to a torque converter which means that it also costs more money to maintain.
Is the Audi S-Tronic worth it?
Yes, it is. The S-Tronic gearbox is designed with sophistication and efficiency in mind which means that it is the most advanced Audi gearbox to date. The S-Tronic gearbox is also really fast to respond which means that they are far better when compared to a manual as they can shift gears in a blink of an eye.
The S-Tronic gearbox is a necessity when it comes to experiencing how a true modern-day Audi should drive. Even if you are a true manual enthusiast, you are likely going to appreciate the S-Tronic as it is so easy to live with on a daily basis.