Multiple defects with the sunroof drainage system are causing massive amounts of leak problems for Audi owners. The water is soaking headliners, creating unsafe amounts of condensation, and short circuiting sensitive electronic components. Audi has a long list of communications with dealers about the problem, but hasn't offered any solutions or compensation to owners.
Multiple problems can be found with the panoramic sunroofs sold by Volkswagen Group, parent company of Audi, over the last handful of years.
Most notably is stress cracks found in the plastic water channel that runs around the sunroof itself. The channel has a different expansion rate than its steel reinforced brackets, causing cracks where the two pieces meet.
It doesn't take much of a crack for water to leak through.
Other defects include an incorrectly assembled rear drain that owners say is "pinched shut" over time. And poorly designed outer sunroof seals that don't properly adhere to the car body.
Warranty claims for sunroof problems are usually denied ∞
Owners say that most, if not all, warranty claims related to the sunroof are denied by Audi.
It's a bad look, especially given the "People First" bumper-to-bumper limited warranty that came about following the dieselgate scandal.
Most damaging of all is the 20+ service bulletins, "tech tips," and special campaigns VW Group has sent through the years. It's a long list so get comfy.
September 2016 one of the first TSBs titled "PANORAMIC SUNROOF INSPECTION AND REPAIR PROCEDURE" is sent along with repair kits and sealant.
October 2016 a second TSB #2045672 titled "Water Leaks from the Rear of the Panoramic Sunroof," was released telling dealers how to inspect and replace the rear sunroof drain hoses and ensure the correct routing of those hoses.
November 2016 VW Group sent a "tech tip" to service technicians titled "Sunroof Concern Diagnostic Tree to address Water Leaks, Wind Noise, Mechanical Concerns.” The tip acknowledged the technician may not be able to replicate the issue, but they should clean the drains and adjust the sunroof glass just in case.
November 2016 VW Group issued a TSB concerning “Water Leak from Panoramic Sunroof” To date none of the TSBs reference Audi vehicles directly.
December 2016 New month, new TSB with more repair kits and sealant.
January 2017 VW issued Special Notice SM 14-2016 to “inform dealers to return all sunroof repair kits” labeled 5GM898041, and to order repair kit 5GM898041A including those sent in December and September of 2016. Whoopsies.
February 2017 VW issued a TSB clarifying the models, VIN range, and instructions for applying of additional foil patches to prevent leaks.
August 2017 VW issued an "Important Notice to Dealers – For Immediate Distribution" to inform dealers about an upcoming update that would provide specific repair instructions on sunroofs. Dealerships were told they cannot sell vehicles from their lots until the update is completed. Customers were not notified about any such repair.
August 2017 Later that month VW issued a 2015-2017 Golf and Golf GTI TSB telling dealers to “[p]erform this UPDATE on all applicable vehicles within New Vehicle Limited Warranty." Once again it was mandatory to complete the repairs for any vehicle on the lot, but not customers who came in with complaints.
September 2017 The Golf Alltrack was added to the list of previously covered models. Once again, no Audi models were mentioned.
March 2020 A letter is sent to a small number of owners providing them with details of a "special service" that provides cleaning and modification of the front sunroof drain.
OK, so you get the idea. In fact there's three more sunroof TSBs, three "Tech Tips", three "Service Actions," one "Special Notice" and one "Important Notice." all which allegedly show the VW sunroofs are defective.
It should come as no surprise that VW Group has been sued over this problem multiple times.
The lawsuits all boil down to the same grievances.
There are defects in the design and manufacturing of the sunroof drainage systems
VW Group has issued multiple technical service bulletins about preventing water leaks from their panoramic sunroofs, but have only offered a "cleaning and modification" service to a small number of owners.
The defect leads to considerable damage to interior components, such as the headliner and sensitive electrical components
VW fails to honor their warranty when making repairs related to the defective sunroof drainage system.
This problem has been reported by owners of the following generations. While there's no guarantee it affects all the listed model years, most years within a generation share the same parts, manufacturing processes, and problems.