Not so prestige
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 (vasstechnik.co.uk) 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.