Alright, I’ll admit it; when I first felt the barely perceptible jiggle on the steering wheel of our Audi A5, I mistook it for steering feel. I drove it up the motorway, felt the steering wheel wriggling gently at 70mph, and assumed that I was experiencing Audi’s new-made advances in driver involvement.
I wasn’t deceived for long though. As the miles passed, and the jiggle on the steering wheel slowly became a wobble, it became obvious that we had a developing wheel balance problem. It’s the only problem I’ve encountered in the A5 so far. And so I duly booked the car in to the local Audi dealership to have it sorted.
The conversation with the service rep at Audi Walton-on-Thames went like this:
“I’d like to book my Audi A5 in for a warranty fix, please.”
“OK, what’s the problem, sir?”
“There’s a wheel out of balance.”
“Right. You know that neither wheel balance nor wheel alignment is covered by Audi’s dealer warranty, don’t you sir?”
“No, I didn’t. But the car's had this fault since I took delivery. Shouldn't it have been checked during the pre-delivery inspection?”
“Yes, sir. Did you buy the car from Walton Audi?”
“No, I didn't.”
“Right, sir; well we wouldn't have done the PDI, sir.”
“Yes, I see.”
“Would you like to bring the car in on Wednesday morning, sir?”
“And how will you be paying, sir?”
And then came Wednesday. Having dropped the car off at the pre-arranged time, I was summoned back to Walton Audi a few hours later, carrying my credit card.
I sat down. I read through the invoice, which detailed how they'd diagnosed the problem, added 70 grams of balance weight to the front offside wheel, and road tested it again to confirm the fix.
And then I handed over my plastic, only to be told “don't worry sir, there’s no charge.”
“No, sir. We've corrected the problem under warranty.”
“So it does cover wheel balance then?”
Even now, I'm not sure if I that's the case, or if the guys at Walton Audi read the words ‘Press Office’ writ large on the A5's number plates and took the initiative to go the extra mile out of fear of a bad write-up.
Either way, the A5's steering wheel has returned to its more inert factory setting, and our rosy little existence can continue.