TORONTO — Christopher Sahadeo was driving home from an Audi dealership north of Toronto with his brother and friend Tuesday afternoon, never thinking he might not reach his destination.
“I almost died,” said Sahadeo, 26 of Brampton, shaking with emotion.
Sahadeo had just retrieved his 2011 Audi Q5 from the Pfaff dealership in Newmarket.
He said technicians had replaced engine pistons after Sahadeo had complained several times about excessive oil consumption.
In the last month, Pfaff also replaced the turbocharger as part of a recall by Audi. All the work had been done under warranty at Audi’s expense.
WATCH: A Brampton man saw his Audi SUV go up in flames on Highway 404 north of Toronto this morning. As Sean O’Shea reports, Christopher Sahadeo had just picked up the vehicle from the dealership where it had received another round of warranty work.
But minutes after leaving the Pfaff dealership, Sahadeo says the engine light on his vehicle went on and he started to see black smoke from behind.
He pulled over to the side of Highway 404 in Richmond Hill at the urging of motorists who pointed out he had a problem.
Almost right away, the car was engulfed in flames.
“I just picked my car up from getting serviced, from Audi — I just got service!” he said, upset as he watched his car burn.
Matthew Sahadeo, Christopher’s brother, was in the passenger seat during the ride from the dealership.
“I was thinking the car is fine; 20 minutes ago they tell us to drive away –with a fixed car,” he told Global News, which captured the fire on video.
H.J. Pfaff Audi, the company that serviced the Q5, said it couldn’t explain why the SUV would catch fire.
“It’s very rare,” said Hans Bigler, vice president of operations for Pfaff. “It’s hard to tell, no way of knowing.”
VIDEO: The brother of a Brampton man claims his Audi Q5 Plus burst into flames on the 404 highway a short while after being picked up from the dealership for service Tuesday.
Bigler added that there’s no reason a piston replacement could lead to a fire. Bigler also said he informed Audi Canada, the manufacturer, and expects the company will dispatch an investigative team to look into the cause of the fire.
Online discussion forums point to other fires involving the Q5, including at least one report of a fire involving a 2011 model.
Excessive oil consumption complaints with that model and year are described as a “common issue” according to some mechanics.
Sahadeo is just grateful his two daughters were not in the Audi at the time of the fire.