Please warn your readers to carefully check their service indicators after a service.

I thought you would be interested to hear of a couple of things affecting my Audi A3s. I have a 2.0T FSI Quattro owned from new, serviced within the Audi franchise for the first three years and thereafter by APS of Brackley ( who incidentally do a great job at lower cost. I had occasion to use the spare key, the first time in the six years I have owned the car from new, and it opened all the doors and started the engine for a few seconds before showing SAFE on the dashboard followed by an engine cut out. My local Audi dealer would have me believe the key code got 'lost' through non-use of the key (it says nothing about this in the owner's manual) and wanted 30 minutes at £119 per hour plus VAT to sort it, even though it was evident from the key’s condition that it had never been used and could, had I been minded to check within three years of new, have been sorted under warranty. I eventually persuaded them to sort it at no charge because of problems with the second A3 but the lesson I learnt is that when you buy new, check all the keys. My wife has a second A3: a 1.4T FSI from new, a little over two years old and bought with a 3-year service plan and long life service intervals. The first oil change was done in March 2010, some 18 months from new. The next service should have been at the 2-year point but the service indicator was not set properly following a prompt from Autops who had not even seen the car. The Audi dealership conceded this, undertook a belated service and sorted the key code for my other A3 as goodwill. They also recommended a move to fixed service intervals (but why was this not done at the time of sale?) just like Autops and at my insistence they did a brake fluid change at this near 2-year period rather than the first change at three years required for 2008+ registered A3s. The lessons to learn here are check your service indicator after your service, be wary of long life service intervals for shorter than average annual mileage, and think more carefully about these 3-year, pay-up-front service plans.
The battery in the key would lose its charge after six years non-use, just as the battery in almost anything would. Audi is switching back to fixed annual or 10,000-mile service intervals because of the damage that the stupid Longlife service regime has been inflicting on engines. One of the reasons for Longlife was to reduce downtime on fleet cars, but due to the recession some fleets started keeping their cars longer and thus discovered what anyone with any sense already knew: Longlife servicing severely curtails the life of an engine after three years and 60,000 miles.
Answered by Honest John on

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