Not so pres­tige

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Editorial -

To­mor­row my 2004 Audi A8 will be pre­sented for an MOT test af­ter two years off the road. It’s my own fault – with so many cars avail­able for me to drive, prob­lem ve­hi­cles can be left un­touched for months or even years. With the A8, I was try­ing to find a low­cost so­lu­tion to a prob­lem but, as we all know, they can’t al­ways be found.

The prob­lem was that one of the four rear light clus­ters had started to mis­be­have. If I turned on the ex­te­rior lights, the near­side rear brake light would il­lu­mi­nate. For­tu­nately, the guys at Vasstech­nik (vasstech­ have ex­ten­sive VAG knowl­edge to help with stuff like this. Tech­ni­cian Lee Weafer went through the wiring to and from all the rear lights and con­cluded the near­side in­ner clus­ter was at fault. The brake lights and tail-lights are LED bulbs on this A8, with cir­cuit boards to con­trol op­er­a­tion. I did send the orig­i­nal clus­ter to a lo­cal elec­tron­ics re­pairer, but he couldn’t find fault with it.

Find­ing OE re­place­ments is dif­fi­cult. I did source a new Oe-qual­ity off­side in­ner unit on the in­ter­net but, as you can see from the pho­tos, they are re­ally not de­signed to last more than a few years be­fore they start to crack – due to UV ex­po­sure, ap­par­ently.

To me, my 2003 Skoda Oc­tavia is bet­ter built in cer­tain ar­eas than the pres­tige A8. Just don’t tell Audi!

The re­place­ment OE off­side in­ner boot light clus­ter has also started to crack – es­pe­cially on the clear re­vers­ing lens – af­ter only a year or so ex­posed to the el­e­ments.

This was the orig­i­nal 2004 off­side rear in­ner light unit be­fore I swapped it for a new OE re­place­ment. See how the lens has cracked, while the rest looks scratched.

I fi­nally bought a non-oe re­place­ment for the faulty clus­ter from Euro Car Parts for just over £200. Will it crack like the OE lenses? Time will tell.

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