If you are uncomfortable or inexperienced working on these projects, especially but not limited to electronics and mechanical, please reconsider doing the job yourself. It is possible on any DIY project to damage your vehicle or injure yourself and others.
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As your car gets older, there are routine maintenance issues that will have to be addressed. One of these issues I had with my 2013 Audi S6 was the rear air struts failing. I wanted quickly go over the steps and pitfalls that I faced while replacing them. One big thing I highly recommend is purchasing OEM parts. As I go through the step-by-step process and share my experience, you will see why.
- Flathead Screwdriver
- Needle Nose Pliers
- 17mm socket
- 13mm wrench
- 19mm socket and wrench
Safety first!!! Always put your car on jack stands if you are going to do any work underneath the car. Do not try to do this job without jack stands. Make sure to use your Audi MMI to put the car in Tire Change Mode.
My car’s rear suspension was leaking and would almost be sitting on the frame every morning. Jack up the car and remove the rear wheels and place them under the middle of the car. This is just something my dad always told me to do in case of some sort of jack stand failure.
Remove the airline with the 13mm socket. Pull the bottom retainer clip off of the air spring with the pliers and the flathead screwdriver. Keep the clips; you will need to reuse them.
Remove the track bar bolt from the lower control arm with the 17 or 19mm socket and loosen the bolt on the opposite end. This will allow you enough room to remove and replace the air spring and spring rock guard.
Compress the old air spring and remove it along with the spring rock guard. Install the new air spring along with the spring rock guard. Make sure you line up the holes with the guide on the air spring to ensure the spring is seated correctly.
Remove the airline connection from the airline. The new OEM springs come with the airline connections already installed. Take the airline and push it into the back of the airline connection until it is secure. Lightly pull on the airline to make sure it is locked in properly. Replace the retainer clip at the bottom of the air spring.
Reconnect the track bar under load and torque all bolts to the recommended torque specs. Do this for both sides. Install the wheels and find a sturdy place on the rear suspension crossmember that will support the weight of the car. On the crossmember jack the car up enough and remove the jack stands. Lower the rear of the car enough to where the tires are touching the ground but do not lower the car completely. This is an important step because if you lower the car completely on the new deflated air springs it could damage them. Start the car and take it off tire change mode to let the car start to level back out. Doing it this way also puts less strain on your compressor. Once everything looks good torque down your wheel bolt and take it for a test drive.
I mentioned at the being of my write-up to use OEM parts. I didn’t initially, I used aftermarket struts. As I went through the seven steps described in this write-up, during my test drive one of the air springs exploded. I had to remove the aftermarket air springs, work to get a refund for the parts, and repeat all seven steps again. I went to my local Audi dealership and purchased OEM springs. It will take about a week to get them if they are not in stock. And yes, the OEM parts are almost twice as expensive. Considering I had to do twice the work and my car was undrivable for about two weeks, it's worth spending the extra money for OEM parts. Knowing you have a quality part that you can trust is worth every penny.