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No heat from Audi a3 blowers (2014)


Elaine
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I’m having an endless problem with my Audi A3 (2014). The car drives like a dream but the heating just stopped working. The blowers/fans work fine... just blow out cold air. Over the last 2 months the car has been with 4 different mechanics including an Audi dealership. They replaced the timing belt and pump etc but it didn’t fix the problem. Apparently the heating matrix is in perfect condition and that’s not the problem. Last mechanic said that it may or may not be the head gasket and it may or may not need a new engine and to just get rid of the car. 
I love this car and am disappointed that I am not getting adequate guidance from the experts. 
Has anyone any thoughts on the potential problem? And is it worth bringing to another local garage to see if it can be fixed? 

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Hello Elaine,

Oh dear, dear. I just see proven needless expense in the wrong directions and fearful diagnosis from here on in. 

Can I just ask some questions:-

Does the car get up to an indicated normal temperature say within about 3 miles, and does it remain at that temperature during continued use, without the gauge dropping or moving towards the hot? 

Does the car play use any coolant? 

Engine type/size? Mileage? How long you have owned it, and was it once providing heating during your ownership? 

Kind regards,

Gareth.

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Hello Gareth, thank you for your reply. I’ve owned the car for 2.5 years and it has always performed well.

the car gets up to normal temperature when driving and the gauge does not indicate any issues at all. No warning lights etc to highlight any problems. 
The engine size is 2.0 and has 135k miles on it. It has had a timing belt and pump replaced recently and it still does not appear to use excessive coolant. 
Thanks again for your help. 
Elaine 

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Thanks Elaine, 

‘.........does not appear to use excessive coolant.’

Apologies for being pedantic, but how much coolant does it actually use over say 5,000 miles - or whatever your 6month mileage current is? 

Kind regards,

Gareth. 

 

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Thanks Elaine,

So I can guess we can say it’s not using coolant then, and this would discount any head gasket issues where the gasket has failed/partially failed between a cylinder and a water way. You say it performs well so it would be reasonable to indeed discount other head gasket failure modes. In simple words do not follow (the nonsense?) that your issues are due to head gasket problems. Also, discount (again the nonsense?) that you ‘need a new engine’. Of course, you must appreciate that no one on here has listened to, or assessed the engine/car, but.........

If it were mine, I would be steering well clear of all the garages you have visited to date, and find yourself a trusted and respected Audi independent - if you have such a place in reasonable distance. If not, bide your time and keep asking around for recommendations of good garages. OK you don’t have a working heater system - inconvenient yes- but liveable with in the short term, since the car runs fine. 

Stab at the cause of your problem? Possibly heater control valve?

Perhaps you could keep us informed on developments.

Kind regards,

Gareth. 

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Thank you a Gareth... appreciate your advice. 
I will definitely find another independent garage and ask them to check the heater control valve. 
mom not convinced the car is worth giving up on yet. 
Thank you again 

Elaine 

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I recently bought a 14 plate A3 with very high mileage for not much money, the only problem it had was the heating didn't work and apparently no-one could find the solution (someone gave up on it). The problem was the heater matrix was blocked. The heating system in the A3 (certianly the 1.6tdi) contains a sealant in a bag at the bottom of the header tank which bursts when the temperature strays outside the recomended temperature (according to an independant I discussed it with). It is there to prevent a catastrophic loss of coolant if there is a leak and "get you home". the problem is, if it bursts accidentally, it clogs up the collant system and typically finds it's way to the heater matrix where it sits - blocking it. You can check if this is the problem by finding the two pipes which go through the bulkhead and feeling them when the enginge is warm. On my little car, the top one of the two was nice and cosy and the bottom stone cold. when I took the matrix out, it looked imaculate but as soon as the new one was fitted and fluids topped up again properly, the car was right as rain and has been since. I tried flushing fluid through the old one from a tap and with pressure but nothing would go through it.

Can't say this is your definitive answer, but it's certainly worth checking! (As a side note, I was quoted £900 for parts and labour but did the job myself for around £90 in parts + half a day of my time). Hope this helps.

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  • 4 months later...
On 1/7/2020 at 4:21 PM, avtech999 said:

I recently bought a 14 plate A3 with very high mileage for not much money, the only problem it had was the heating didn't work and apparently no-one could find the solution (someone gave up on it). The problem was the heater matrix was blocked. The heating system in the A3 (certianly the 1.6tdi) contains a sealant in a bag at the bottom of the header tank which bursts when the temperature strays outside the recomended temperature (according to an independant I discussed it with). It is there to prevent a catastrophic loss of coolant if there is a leak and "get you home". the problem is, if it bursts accidentally, it clogs up the collant system and typically finds it's way to the heater matrix where it sits - blocking it. You can check if this is the problem by finding the two pipes which go through the bulkhead and feeling them when the enginge is warm. On my little car, the top one of the two was nice and cosy and the bottom stone cold. when I took the matrix out, it looked imaculate but as soon as the new one was fitted and fluids topped up again properly, the car was right as rain and has been since. I tried flushing fluid through the old one from a tap and with pressure but nothing would go through it.

Can't say this is your definitive answer, but it's certainly worth checking! (As a side note, I was quoted £900 for parts and labour but did the job myself for around £90 in parts + half a day of my time). Hope this helps.

Hi Huw,

Unfortunately I have found myself in a similar position as yourself, the sealant bag burst and has clogged the heater matrix. If I may ask, where did you get the parts and any tips on how to replace it.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 years later...
On 1/1/2020 at 1:13 PM, Elaine said:

I’m having an endless problem with my Audi A3 (2014). The car drives like a dream but the heating just stopped working. The blowers/fans work fine... just blow out cold air. Over the last 2 months the car has been with 4 different mechanics including an Audi dealership. They replaced the timing belt and pump etc but it didn’t fix the problem. Apparently the heating matrix is in perfect condition and that’s not the problem. Last mechanic said that it may or may not be the head gasket and it may or may not need a new engine and to just get rid of the car. 
I love this car and am disappointed that I am not getting adequate guidance from the experts. 
Has anyone any thoughts on the potential problem? And is it worth bringing to another local garage to see if it can be fixed? 
 

 

 

This might be a few years later reply but I have Audi A3 8v and the car still drives perfect. Coolant temperature stuck at 90 and not loosing any heat so it couldn’t be thermostat. If the thermostat was blocked car will over heat, if it was open stat the car temperature will fluctuate and will give heat when driving. The only time my heaters worked was when the blower was on level 1 and only get warm air. At first I thought it was climate control/ motors not moving, stripped the car to find out it was not that. While stripping the car dash I had access to the heater matrix both pipe was running hot. Searching all this up everyone was saying it’s heater matrix but not really any story just saying common issue so I took a chance and changed it and my heaters are working. Few advice from garage owners saying it not heater matrix because the pipes are hot… made me think 10 times just because the heat pipes are not hot doesn’t mean the heater matrix not faulty. The coolant will circulate even if it’s blocked. 
 

problem was heater matrix, coolant flush and when adding new coolant used a vacuum seal pump, drove it few miles and topped up coolant to normal level. 

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This might be a few years later reply but I have Audi A3 8v and the car still drives perfect. Coolant temperature stuck at 90 and not loosing any heat so it couldn’t be thermostat. If the thermostat was blocked car will over heat, if it was open stat the car temperature will fluctuate and will give heat when driving. The only time my heaters worked was when the blower was on level 1 and only get warm air. At first I thought it was climate control/ motors not moving, stripped the car to find out it was not that. While stripping the car dash I had access to the heater matrix both pipe was running hot. Searching all this up everyone was saying it’s heater matrix but not really any story just saying common issue so I took a chance and changed it and my heaters are working. Few advice from garage owners saying it not heater matrix because the pipes are hot… made me think 10 times just because the heat pipes are not hot doesn’t mean the heater matrix not faulty. The coolant will circulate even if it’s blocked. 
 

problem was heater matrix, coolant flush and when adding new coolant used a vacuum seal pump, drove it few miles and topped up coolant to normal level. 

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