By on October 27, 2017

2010 Audi A4 Avant, Image: OP

Richard writes:

Sajeev, this is a 2010 Audi A4 Avant that is in like-new COSMETIC condition. It was purchased over my wife’s strong objection, as none of our four prior Audis has made it past 80,000 miles without suffering a complete and total meltdown. This one suffered an oil consumption meltdown at 65,000 and required a new set of pistons and rings – paid for by Audi! It now has 99,378 miles on it and a Blue Book trade value of $6,000.

The other day the check engine light came on. I correctly internet diagnosed a loose bypass valve on the turbocharger and was ready to write a $2,200 check to replace it. Not so fast said the Audi man! To get the light off it requires (1) a new turbo, (2) a new PCV valve, (3) a new cooling fan, (4) and some other new item at the back of the engine. On top of the typical A4 oil consumption and turbo failure issues, the Audi man says it has the third typical A4 issue – carbon valve build-up, which causes it to chug and spew vast amounts of smoke on startup periodically. Finally, it needs all new front end bushings. This is set to cost a grand total of about $6,000.

I like this car, but fear I am in for lots more heartache. Is it time for a new car – perhaps a LEASED GTI or Elantra Sport? One idea is to just run it into the ground or the next smog check without fixing this crap, which has not affected performance. What should a heartbroken Avant owner do?

And if I were to do this vast amount of work, how would you sequence it?

Sajeev answers:

New pistons and rings at 65,000 miles? Son, I’m not even mad with that – such an epic fail is seriously impressive! 

But you’ve clearly owned that beautiful, fragile machine past its expiration date. Speaking from personal experience, if you were truly heartbroken, you’d learn to turn wrenches on it to bring back the love via spare evenings and weekends. Check out this cool video on the PCV replacement. Looks like a fun job (sort of)!

I’ll indulge your keep and repair sequence query for a moment – that’s a terrible idea – and suggest this order:

  1. Get a second opinion on the work needed from another Audi savvy mechanic. Never hurts.
  2. Address the turbo, PCV valve, cooling fan and whatever the heck your mystery item is concurrently: that’ll save labor costs.
  3. Do some internet research about the carbon build up, it might not need to be done at the same time as #2.
  4. Unless the mechanic noticed play in the suspension bits, change the bushings later.
  5. Get your head inspected for even considering steps 1-4.

Go lease an Elantra Sport (which we quite like) and enjoy the big-ass warranty you’ll use sparingly. Time to get over the allure of fahrvergnügen: the Hyundai’s dynamics are close enough, the interior is decent and you’ll score mega-turbo-bonus points after thanking your wife for bringing you to your senses. Big win.

[Image: OP]

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

199 Comments on “Piston Slap: Escaping the Four Rings of Hell?...”


  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Is the Elantra Sport that good?

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    For that dollar amount, I can only assume they’re referring to the wastegate.

    I get irritated when people talk about replacing a <10 year old car when the repairs are worth more than the car. This is the most bass-ackwardsly wrong way to look at it. It's not whether the repair costs are greater than car value it's whether the repair costs are greater than **replacing** the car.

    With repair prone cars like VW/Audi and anything British or Italian, you probably want to put an extra buffer in there of tripling the repair cost before comparing it to the replacement cost.

    So, can you replace your A4 for $18k?

    (FWIW: My wife has standing orders to shoot me if I purchase another VW product.)

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      “Can you replace your A4 for 18k?”

      Probably…that’s a good chunk of cash for a used car.

    • 0 avatar
      sutherland555

      notapreppie: If you’re goal was to make me nearly choke on my food, you succeeded. Your VW comment is comedic gold and says a lot about you and your wife.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “it’s whether the repair costs are greater than **replacing** the car.”

      This is true to a degrer. but this isn’t a $1500 repair. This is an ugly 6k hit. Then you’ve got maintenance on top of that.

      This Audi is junk – that this type of repair need this early definitely feeds my somewhat irrational fears of boosted engines. At least those boosted in Europe.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Ever hear of “throwing good money after bad”? Buying a replacement car is far better than spending $6000 every few months to keep a lemon alive, and that’s not even counting dealing with the hassle of it making you late for work or renting/borrowing a car while its in for another repair.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      It would be stupid to spend as much as the car is worth to fix it, no two ways about it.

      What happens when it gets hit by another car on the way home from the repair shop? Yeah they lost every penny put into the repairs. Or when another big repair comes along in 6 months, now they will be forced to throw more good money after bad because they have a $12k car worth $6K so they’ll spend another $2K and end up with $14K into a car worth $5K.

      So yeah dump that sucker as quick as you can, the $12k Camcord will have a lot more useful life w/o big repair bills than the Audi.

      I may be about the only one, but back in the day I refused to fix some cars due to the fact that it was just throwing money away. I knew the customer would be married to the car and so would I.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        You’re not the only one. I had a mechanic who talked me out of major brake work on my’63 Newport, So beat up, it was worth nothing more than its 361 V8 and Torqueflite.

        He pointed me to a private sale of a ’80 Buick Regal in mint condition, and found a truck repair shop that wanted the 361 and paid more than the junkyard, er, recycling center. I ended up paying less for the Buick than the brake job.

        There are honest businessmen out there. Cherish them when you find them.

      • 0 avatar
        BC

        Calculate ownership costs (past and anticipated future) on a dollars/10k miles basis. A $6k car that you like could require $6k in repairs and it would makes sense if you think you’re gonna drive it for 40k-50k trouble free miles thereafter. This car does not pass that test. Dump it.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    What a nightmare.

    As a non-European auto owner is this typical? Can’t be. From what I can find this car had a base price of 36k new up to 50k-ish with options. Now with 100k on the odo it’s worth 6k? That is awful.

    Perhaps here at the truth about cars we start telling the truth. A lot of folks here love to hate on the CC pick up. But I assure you; a 2010 Ford, Chevy, dodge, Toyota with 100k on the odo and a MSRP of 50k with an actual transaction price of 36-38 from 2010 is worth far more than 6k. Late teens most likely.

    That type of depreciation is unacceptable and further why would anyone buy one new?

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      It is fairly typical. My 2010 550i was almost $90k new and is worth probably less then $12k now with 80k ish miles.

      However, for some people it’s worth it.

      • 0 avatar
        Znueni

        Horrid depreciation, wishful selling prices in used cars ads notwithstanding.
        My own experience: A4 Advant with V-6 and full options, punctually maintained per factory spec, after 8 years worth $7.5k retail. Didn’t matter since in year 9 with 99k miles had total engine blowout. Couldn’t stomach the $13k dealer recommended engine replacement, sold it as is for $2k, haven’t looked back. Enjoyed driving 4 Audis but every one had issues, after this one threw in the towel. You shouldn’t say “never again” but…

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      This story is why you don’t buy new or buy used. Buying new guts you with depreciation, buying used just fast-forwards you towards the repair bills.

      You lease these.

      This is also why Lexus exists and why some are willing to stretch to compare a V6 Accord to the Germans.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      “As a non-European auto owner is this typical?”

      Not with older Volvos.

      My 96 850 can go so long between repairs that I have to get out my big book of notes when it needs wrenching, because I’ve usually forgotten exactly how I fixed it the last time.

      But $2,200 for a bypass valve? I hope they at least bought him dinner first.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      The astonishing depreciation is one reason why leases are so popular. The popularity of leases is one cause of the high depreciation.

      That and the complexity, fragility, cost of parts, and baffling special tool requirements of these cars. I owned a B5 A4 for a few years and it didn’t nickle-and-dime me, it $5 and $10-ed me. I will probably never own a German luxury car again, new or used. I can’t justify the price new, and I won’t suffer the repair prices used ever again.

      • 0 avatar
        cbrworm

        We bought a B6 A4 new and it quickly bled us dry once the warranty expired. We sold it with about 67K miles on it and bought an’08 BMW 528i. It has been so reliable that we are hesitant to replace it with the modern equivalent. My wife also decided after the Audi that she would never drive a turbo 4 cylinder again, which means we would be looking at BMW x40 cars. I’ve tried to turn her towards Acura or Lexus to no avail.

        While ’08 was not a pinnacle year for BMW reliability, I don’t think any new(fangled) german car will be as reliable as her old one has been. It is a very simple car by today’s standards.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        “I owned a B5 A4 for a few years and it didn’t nickle-and-dime me, it $5 and $10-ed me. I will probably never own a German luxury car again, new or used. I can’t justify the price new, and I won’t suffer the repair prices used ever again.”

        I know. I owned one.

        And after that, I wouldn’t buy a German car with YOUR money. (Been there, done that.)

        And yes, I “get” German cars. German cars are the expensive, pouty, and high-maintenance mistresses of the road. Damn, they are a fine, fine ride…

        ….but then the maintenance and pouting kicks in.

        At some point, without unlimited funds, you are at a decision point: continue the high-priced, high-maintenance fun, or go back home and enjoy your reliable Lexus wife of a car, patiently sitting there waiting for you to get over the midlife crisis.

        Oh sure, she’s not as sexy as the German car, and she doesn’t handle at the edge like the German car. She’s also not as fickle and high maintenance and pouty, and she agrees with you much more of the time. She’s always there and never complains, and you come to realize there’s more to life than a high-maintenance relationship with a pouty, high-maintenance woman–no matter how sexy she is or how fun the nights out with her can be. Because when she lets you down and demands more of you than you have to give, and treats you like dirt, you’re standing there all alone outside the club, looking and feeling like an idiot.

        Your Lexus wife would never, ever do that to you.

        And the occasional fun night out isn’t worth what you end up paying for it, both financially and in time wasted while you wait for the German car mistress to be in the mood to play.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      In 2008, I bought a 4-year old BMW with 45,000 miles from the original owner at about 1/2 the original sales price.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        “In 2008, I bought a 4-year old BMW with 45,000 miles from the original owner at about 1/2 the original sales price.”

        Or, said another way: “In 2008, I bought a 4-year old BMW with 45,000 miles from the original owner at about twice what it was worth.”

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      With the notable exception of the post-7.3L Navistar diesel engine in a Ford Super Duty, none of those vehicle would require this level of “investment” to keep them on the road at less than 100k. But, people are stupid for buying an American vehicle because they all break down daily because nothing has changed since 1976. *eye roll*

      Things have changed in that back in 1976, a Mercedes or BMW was built to last, and American cars weren’t. Now, the opposite is true in many cases.

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        I maintain a number of cars in my extended family and have accumulated some experience dealing with european, asian and american cars. I have found that it varies greatly by car. Asian cars have issues, american cars have issues and european cars have issues. By far the worst car I have ever dealt with was a Honda Accord that was just a piece of junk. The few Ford Escorts were cockroaches of the road, continuing on providing reasonable transportation beyond all expectations. One Escort bought for under $300 mixed coolant with ATF and simply refused to die after I replaced its radiator/atf cooler with a $10 units from the local u-pull-it. The Cavalier was clearly an Opel, except for a few parts obviously made from substandard metallurgy. Most of my Euro cars have been extremely durable and felt as new, even with very high miles on them. I still think that my Volvo 240 Wagon was made by gods because no way anything made by men would feel and drive so damn good even after all the years and miles. Every BMW has been outstandingly screwed together with materials of amazing quality. My E46s were the best cars overall, simply perfect in every possible way. E90s were not nearly as good as E46s but clearly newer and safer. SAABs were comfortable and long lasting. Mercedes were not as good as BMWs, but still very good. I have owned 5 Subarus, all had significant reliability issues but were very nice to drive. Based on my experience, I would rate BMWs as best in every way, especially in quality and durability. Certain American cars I have dealt with had basic design that I would deem inferior from the point of view of durability. Such as the head gasket design of the GM 3800. Japanese cars I have repaired have had various issues with poor materials and chronic/recurring problems. The one VW I have dealt with was boring because nothing broke but I had to get rid of it because I was the worst driving car I have ever had.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al From 'Murica

        @johntaurus if I put 6 grand into even the worst 6.0 powerstroke I’d have a solid and reliable truck at the end that I’d have no issues driving for many years. I could make a Chevy Citation reliable with 6 grand.

        I spent 8 grand on my old Land Cruiser. Know what I got? A new from Toyota Short Block, a rebuilt head, a rebuilt transmission, a new front differential, and new rubber everything under the hood. 6 grand is crazy for rings and a new turbo.

      • 0 avatar
        Prove Your Humanity 2+9=?

        Well, kind of. American cars are built to last until the warranty runs out. German cars are not.

    • 0 avatar
      volvo

      Your comment made me check out used prices of Toyota and Honda appliances.

      2010 Toyota Avalon XLS New $36k. Now in excellent condition with 100K miles it has $12K value

      2010 Honda Accord V6 manual Sport coupe New $31K. Now in excellent condition with 100K miles 8K.

      Yes I would agree if you are getting a M/B/A or FCA product it is better to lease.

      You have to be ready to reach into your pocket if you plan to buy one of them and keep it past warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      rcx141

      VAG cars (VW, Audi, Seat, Skoda) have shocking reputations for reliability and yet people still continue to buy them. Look at the guy above who was on his fifth despite how bad they are. They are just so desperate to have a ‘prestige’ nameplate. I don’t know how much longer they can coast on the good name they had back in the 80s.

      • 0 avatar
        GPBooth

        “I don’t know how much longer they can coast on the good name they had back in the 80s.”

        What good name they had in the ’80’s? Are you under 30, perchance? I attended the University of Denver in the 1980’s, and the campus was chockablock with Jettas, Gti’s, and Audi 4000’s and Quattros that daddy had bought for junior. Hardly a day passed that one didn’t see an example of these stylish and technically superior Germanic automobiles leaving the campus on the back of a tow truck. Frequently more than one. Hell, the’72 TR6 I was driving then was sound as a pound by comparison. Before DU I’d had a classmate in prep school with a new Scirocco – same story. He often rode to school with his older brother, whose Alfa Spyder was more reliable.

        The VW and Audi products of the decade were certainly attractive – and less expensive – alternatives to BMW and M-B, but they weren’t a patch on them for quality or reliability (at least not back then. Things have changed for BMW and ‘Benz since). I was reminded of this years later when I bought an ’88 Golf off my sister (who traded up to an Accord. Smart). Not as much fun to pedal as a GTI, but not bad (espec for a saggy Westmoreland car). But I spent years chasing electrical gremlins and replacing poorly made components (usually more than once) until a hit-and-run put it out of its misery. And mine.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    If it makes the OP feel any better, we were beginning to look down the barrel of a probable $5000 transmission replacement on a Japanese appliance sedan with similar miles and 2 fewer years. At least you had an Audi for all your troubles. And you more or less expected the impending headaches.

    We got rid of ours. I’d suggest you do the same, pronto. Once repair costs approach the book value, it had better be a special car. This one isn’t and mine sure as hell wasn’t.

    As a testament to luxury car depreciation, our car booked for nearly the same trade-in value as this Audi despite a huge difference in original purchase price. That’s the one and only bright spot.

  • avatar
    ajla

    German cars are set to die at around 75k. That gets them through the lease period and the CPO owner.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      That certainly seems to be the case these days. Yet they ride on their “bulletproof” reputations to this day.

      That’s malaise-era American car territory.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        When did German cars ever have a bulletproof reputation? At least outside of VW, their only reputation is expensive.

        And this piece of junk surely lived up to that.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff Weimer

          Well, at least Mercedes Benz did, and the others kind of traded on that reputation. “German Engineering” and all that.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff Weimer

            I should add BMW did as well, at least up until the 90s.

            Audi never really had that, what with their close relationship to VW.

        • 0 avatar
          Add Lightness

          I was in Morocco a few years ago and the local taxi stand was ENTIRELY about 50 Mercedes W123’s.
          They had barely cooled off for 30 years.
          That was back when Mercs were very simple, tough and diesel.

      • 0 avatar
        cbrworm

        I’ve heard people say that. “Oh, that’s a BMW with only 120K on it? It should last forever.”

        It’s never been my impression.

    • 0 avatar
      Carfan94

      ALL European cars are set to die at around 75k. I don’t don’t know why people on here only talk about the Germans.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Because German car owners are the most defensive about it.

      • 0 avatar
        volvo

        I think they talk about the German cars because as far as I know their sedan suspensions are unmatched. Not worth the price premium for me but I always wonder why the american or asian manufacturers cannot reproduce the tightness and road feel of the standard German 4 door sedans.

        Are suspension dynamics that sophisticated or expensive to copy? I am not talking type R (street racing) suspensions. I mean a Camry or Accord with the suspension dynamics of a 535. Surely it cannot add $25K to the price of an accord to make it handle like a standard 5 series BMW.

        Is it that difficult? Is the market not there? I would like other’s opinions.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Japanese engineer things like suspension bushings to be lifetime parts (20+ years, 200k+ miles in my personal experience). Nicer handling/riding European cars are designed for smoother autobahns I guess, here in the states things like control arm bushings are a common wear item. And/or suspension complexity: an Audi front end has twice as many balljoints/arms as something plebian like a Camry or Maxima.

          It’s interesting to note that on the Hyundai Genesis G80, the front end suspension is quite Euro-like in terms of layout. We’ll see how they hold up longer term.

    • 0 avatar
      willhaven

      Does this include “American” cars designed in Germany (a la Focus ST) ?

      I’m approaching the 70k mile mark on my 2014 and it has been mostly flawless, but it *was* designed in Germany so perhaps I’ve still assumed the curse.

    • 0 avatar
      Sloomis

      “German cars are set to die at around 75k. ”

      My brother went through a BMW 3-Series phase. He’d buy ’em when they were a couple years old to take advantage of the depreciation, drive ’em 4 or 5 years and then repeat the process. He said they were literally impossible to keep running past 90k.

      • 0 avatar
        mmreeses

        My cousin was the sole owner of his 2006 330i.

        The car died last year with a bit over 100k miles. Transmission failure with a repair bill far exceeding the value of the car.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      Source? Right…. Didn’t think so. Thanks for the useless rhetoric, it’s just about expected at this point.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Repeat after me…If you don’t wrench on your own cars you have no business owning out of warranty German Iron.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      I’d love to get an old Mercedes W124 or W140 – with the complete and total understanding that I’m buying them as projects.

      • 0 avatar
        Verbal

        I own three W124s. They are daily drivers for myself and my two kids. Most parts are readily available in scrap yards or on ebay. For new parts, there are plenty of good quality non-OEM brands.

        For the DIYer, you can find a video or tutorial just by searching these internets that will show you how to do it. Things like brakes and tuneups are straightforward.

      • 0 avatar
        volvo

        You want built like a tank and dependable think W108. I had one and sold it at 37 years old 300K + miles. Original engine and transmission still in excellent condition. Cosmetics 8/10 with original paint, chrome wood. Only leather had been replaced over that 37 years.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Every time I start to consider looking at an older, used German vehicle (and I LOVE older BMWs), things like this make me turn and look at my Escape and Cruze and be rather satisfied with them. Heck, my son owns a 1997 Toyota Tercel with over 250k that I’d take back from him tomorrow without hesitation…original clutch, trans and engine. Granted, the little Tercel isn’t as sweet to drive, but it IS sweet to my son in that it’s paid for, gets stupid-good fuel economy and as a general rule, doesn’t break. He can afford more, but chooses not to.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    The only problems I had with my wife’s Rabbit over 4 years and ~40K miles was a wrongly chosen cooling fan which caused it to overheat, and a leaking vacuum pump which I fixed with a delete kit.

    As awful as VW ownership can be, I’m still pretty set on a GTI for my next car, though I have time. 2.0T (NOT a 1.5T or 1.6T), DCT (so my wife can drive it, and also for much better acceleration), true hatchback form, enough refinement for the daily grind. Perhaps if they facelift the CTR to sanity over the next couple of years I may go that route but GTIs look good. And I think I could afford a brand new one

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      The 5-cylinder MkVs were the golden nexus of over-contented VW and reasonable reliability. Mine was great over 85K miles, the only complaint being steeper-than-Honda depreciation that added another $1500 in cost at the 7 year mark. Worth it, though, it was a delightful car to drive and travel in compared with a tinny Civic.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Yea, we traveled quite a bit in ours, and it was pleasant. Surprisingly they do open up quite a bit with bolt ons… to be expected I suppose from a modern gasoline engine making a hair over 50HP/L lol.

        Tragically ours was totalled from a very small rear end hit that buckled the unibody. I had just slaved over that vacuum pump delete and we were hoping to keep it in the family as a spare car.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          That’s funny, I strongly considered Integrated Engineering’s intake manifold at the 5 year mark to wring more out of the apparently understressed engine, but decided against it because I figured I would be replacing the car in a few years.

          For that outlay I also would have liked more power across the powerband rather than turning the engine into a 7500-rpm screamer. I thought a low-pressure turbo like the Volvo 2.5T would be a great match for the car.

          Sorry to hear you lost yours right after spending time fixing it. Figures.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        All hail the VW 2.5L 5-cylinder. The little tractory lump of reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        TOTitan

        In 2008 I bought my daughter a new Rabbit. Nine years later it has 158,800 miles and it still dead reliable. In that time Ive replaced the battery once, The brakes twice, changed the transmission fluid once and the tires twice. That reliability is even more remarkable considering that she lives on a farm off a dirt road that is rough in the summer and a mud bog in the winter.

    • 0 avatar
      Lichtronamo

      I had a 2011 GTI/6spd. manual that I drove to 130K miles and currently have a 2015 GTI/6spd. manual with 90K miles on it. The 2011 was and the 2015 has been completely reliable, each car only having one mechanical repair beyond normal maintenance. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another one. In fact, I’m waiting for a the 2018 GTI to show up at the dealers so I can get one. Just because mine have been reliable doesn’t mean I want to push my luck with high mileage…

  • avatar
    Joss

    Consider a home charger and a used EV. You may have $6K battery issue and range anxiety. But little other mechanical.

    Audi is for realtor lease under warranty.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    (This is why you lease Audis.)

    As far as the Elantra Sport is concerned: I haven’t driven one so I have no idea how it would compare to something like a GTI. But I’d have to think someone who’s stepping into one from an Audi would not be very happy with the Elantra’s interior – it’s unrelentingly plain and dark. I’d go for a GTI on lease.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I would think that’s EXACTLY what someone coming from a German car would want. German interiors are hardly festive, aside from maybe the latest from Mercedes.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Here’s what he’s trading from:
        http://images.motortrend.com/features/auto_news/2008/112_0802_05z+2009_audi_a4_avant+interior.jpg

        And what he’s trading to:
        http://www.motortrend.com/news/2017-hyundai-elantra-sport-starts-22485/#2017-hyundai-elantra-sport-interior

        You don’t think that’s a big step down? I do. Audi interiors are terrific, and they’re a big selling point for the brand. I can’t see anyone who’s currently in an Audi being even remotely happy with the interior in any Hyundai (well, maybe a Genesis, but that doesn’t appear to be this guy’s thing).

        I think anyone who’s currently in an A4 would be FAR happier in a GTI, particularly one with the Autobahn package.

  • avatar
    Akiva Shapero

    went thru the same thing with a crapped out 2010 BMW 328i. Went and leased a 17 Subaru BRZ with performance pack. Damn, this is fun.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, has asked the critical information yet: is it a manual?

    I owned an Audi (admittedly v6) from 80,000 (at 8 years old) to 140,000 miles (at 12 years old). It cost me $4,600 in depreciation and around 4 grand in maintenance. In the process I did become friends with local mechanics, and I am glad I spent some money so local mechanics I respect made some money.

    You can keep your Hondas and Toyotas.

    “My 2010 550i was almost $90k new and is worth probably less then $12k now with 80k ish miles.” No my friend, it is not. You can barely get a clean E90 for $12 grand. More in the 15-20k range, depending on lots of things. Blue book doesn’t mean shit unless you’re over 100k miles and/or have no records, check engine light, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Tennessee_Speed

      I second you NIck.
      My daughter-in-law has an ’07 Audi A4 Avant, manual shift with 138,000 miles. Only problem: add a qt. of oil between oil changes. I keep thinking the car should be replaced, but it runs very well and she likes to shift gears.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick_515

        Tennessee_Speed – my Audi came from Tennessee! Just checked my records again, and one grand of the quoted maintenance was actually new tires. Valve cover gasket at one point, and weeping water pump and all belts and pulleys as preventative maintenance at another (but not the chain) was all I had to do to it. I know the guy that bought it, he has since put another 10 thousand miles not spending a dime on it.

        Your daughter-in-law sounds like my wife, who wants a stick-shift A3 badly.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      What the hell does the transmission have to do with the reliability of everything else? IT’s all the same stuff.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Wow I knew Audis were a money pit but had no idea this deep

    Reminds me of my German buddy who talked about the NSU rotary cars, when two approached on the road, the drivers would hold fingers out the window indicating how many times the engine had been rebuilt/replaced.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      I remember seeing a picture in some tabloid of Richard Dean Anderson stranded by the side of the road, standing next to his immobilized A6 Allroad.

      It’s not a good thing when even MacGyver can’t fix your car.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    Where did the myth about German egineering was superior? My ’14 Accord with the 6 speed manual, has 97,000 miles. Unscheduled maintaince wiper blades and tires. Shouldn’t an expensive car have parts that are better?

    • 0 avatar
      a5ehren

      Well, the stereotype is that they over-engineer things to be more complex than they need to be.

      They also aim for the edges of the performance envelope and require tight tolerances that can be met when the car is new, but maybe not after 75k miles of service wear and tear.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Weimer

        Not a stereotype. Vacuum-operated door locks? WTF? Half these cars are *diesel*, so that (and cruise control) require separate vacuum pumps to work. Absolutely unnecessary.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        The only envelope that is being pushed here is how many dollars can be squeezed out of development and assembly costs while still making it through the 3 year lease + 3 year CPO design lifetime.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      Remember, you can’t buy a truly BAD new car in America today – until you start pushing an MSRP of hundred grand or more.

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      Them Deutsche think that they are superior, not other people. They do that mostly to say it is someone else’s fault.

      What they did is to cut down the safety margin and to squeeze out another few % of advantage out of it. If that’s how you do things and work, good for you.

      Unfortunately the world is not perfect and that’s why we need those safety margin.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Dump it and buy a reliable Italian car.

    Seriously, the Audi 2.0T piston ring issue is a known problem. My SIL and a friend both had their engines rebuilt at 50k miles for free. My SIL’s car was burning a quart of oil every 250 miles.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      My SIL’s car was burning a quart of oil every 250 miles.

      I’m sure it was very effective at keeping the local mosquito population in check.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Had a coworker with a /09 A4 with the 2.0T. Good-willed shortblock at 60k miles, was burning up a quart every 500 miles, the supposed PCV system reprogramming (because of course an Audi has an electronically controlled PCV system rather than a $4 poppet valve). Another friend had a Passat 2.0T wagon he bought new, had issues with the high pressure fuel pump cam follower eating itself well before 100k miles. Yet another coworker with a 2.0T Passat likewise with a litany of bizarre issues at the 80k mark. 2000s+ VAG products = Lease new or CPO then they’re ready for the junkyard.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      Yup, and it was also solved like 5 years ago. No newer Audis have the ring issue.

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    German cars tend to be hit-or-miss. I’ve had a 2004 330i that was totally spent at 78K miles and a 2009 328i that still goes strong at 128K miles with nagging minor issues.

    I’ve also had two Jettas that were still going strong at 100K miles, although there were many small “fiddly bits” related to interior parts or exterior trim that had broken.

    On a somewhat related note, my Corolla iM is at 18K miles and has become a nightmare rattle-mobile. The dash especially… on rough roads it sounds like I’m making Jiffy Pop in there.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    When you’re a child, you have a child’s fears – the school bully, the monster under the bed, the big mean dog down the block.

    But when you grow up, you replace those fears with adult fears – gingivitis, the IRS, an off-lease A8…

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      That’s funny!

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      “But when you grow up and become a TTAC member, you replace those fears with TTAC member fears – anything German.”

      Confirmation bias, thy name is TTAC.

      Seriously, this is almost a caricature of a TTAC blog post:

      -unchallenged assertion by OP that car is worth only $6,000 – check.

      -unchallenged acceptance by OP of $2,200 bill inflated – by Audi mechanic! – to $6,000 – check.

      -unchallenged inflation by B&B of $6,000 bill to $18,000 – check.

      I get that German cars cost more to own…I own a mint 2011 GTI, that at 67,000 miles is apparently “set to die” at 75,000, according to unchallenged assertion by B&B #2 – but this is so over-the-top it’s unreal.

      A hoot. Carry on carrying on, please.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        For my part, it’s not fear – it’s more like Trust But Verify.

        Myths and legends get started for a reason.

        Owning that Volvo and doing all the work myself has removed any fear of owning an old German car. Frankly, a first-gen S8 looks like a fun project.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick_515

        Fordson – you win this thread!

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        My TDI just rolled over past 71000 miles and I just did its last oil change before I give it back to VW next year. So I guess I’ve got 4000 left? Sure things have broken on it that shouldn’t break on a 5 year old car, but I think it’ll make it to 80K when I’ll be done with it!

        Probably not buying another VW though, despite their new warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      Let’s not forget the elephant in the corner – ED!

  • avatar
    mikey

    Richard …I like your idea of running it to the ground. $6000 is all you can recover at this point ? Try and squeeze as much life as you can out of it, then dump it. Somebody “might” give you a few bucks at that point ?

    Find a vehicle you like, and lease it.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “Find a vehicle you like, and lease it.”

      Or find a vehicle you like, buy it used (preferably with a cpo warranty) and determine at warranty end if it’s worth keeping.

      Everyone loves new cars, but perpetual payments suck.

  • avatar
    WrittenDescription

    Our 2007 BMW X5 (purchased) was a money pit that we eventually abandoned because it was just too expensive to maintain. Our 2015 Macan Turbo (purchased) has already undergone major transmission repairs, along with a litany of other repairs and updates, all under warranty. We’re slow learners but not so slow to know that the Macan will be our last expensive German vehicle.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    I have had two older A4s. My tolerance for wrenching extended to replacing air filters and coilpacks. I have a good indy shop willing to do the rest at half what the dealer wants. Again, half the dealer cost. If you can’t or don’t want to do your own maintenance and can’t find a good indy shop, sell it.
    I sold the older A4, 1.8T, 5MT at 180Kmiles for $500. Far as I know the car is still soldiering on. The newer one is at 160kmiles and has had the check engine/abs kaput lights on for 30k miles. ABS failure takes out the speedo too – wheel sensor rather than cable used for the speedo. Wife won’t drive it. I will. I can figure speed from tach and MT gear and I don’t pass anyone.
    Would I buy a new one? No. They are too complicated. If they decontented these substantially and gave a damn about reliability and maintainability, I might, but that won’t happen.
    Hello, Camry.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Sounds like it will be a well-deserved divorce.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Sad, just sad. 37 years ago, I bought a new Audi 5000 diesel. In the first 4 years of ownership, it required: a new steering rack, 2 head gasket replacements, one clutch slave hydraulic cylinder, and you had to hold the shifter to keep reverse gear engaged. Among the lesser issues was a master A/C system fuse that failed regularly every winter and had to be replaced in the spring, an aluminum contacts on the one piece tail light assembly that (naturally) oxidized and then failed to conduct electricity in random ways that produced random electric gremlins infecting more than just tail lights and brake lights.

    Funny thing was, Audi already had a reputation for being a repair queen, but supposedly, the company had learned its lesson and the new 5000 (100 in Europe) was supposed to have remedied all that.

    Now, it appears these engineers’ children (and grandchildren?) are maintaining the family tradition.

    Not to many Europeans appear to be among the B&B, but for those who are, I would love to know why it is that you folks put up with this garbage? In the US (and, perhaps, Canada), the reason is manufacturer-subsidized lease deals and CPO programs. Is it that, for so long, EU protectionist measures kept the Japanese manufacturers out of your market? In the U.S., at least, by 1990, Honda and Toyota were delivering a very firm wake-up call to everyone else participating in the North American market.

    The truck in my avatar is a 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 that now has 61,000 miles on it. JB’s newly-acquired truck is a clone of it — big engine, 8-speed tranny, max tow package. Thus far it has required no service other than oil changes, and my best 400 mile average mpg is 24.7. Hell, even the tires are original, notwithstanding that about half of those miles were while towing a 7600 lb. Airstream travel trailer that put about 1,000 lbs. weight on the truck.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      All great until you have 1 repair that costs $225 then a good portion of the posting public here will tell you it is typical GM/American garbage and you were a fool for buying it.

  • avatar
    saturnotaku

    Why not an Elantra GT Sport?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I think someone who currently drives an Audi might not be very happy with the Elantra’s interior, which is a dark, depressing cave.

      • 0 avatar
        duncanator

        You’re so right about that. I have a 15 A3 and I sat in an Elantra last weekend and it might be reliable and inexpensive, but I’ll take my chances in my Audi with 56k miles. Time is ticking…

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    Typical German engineering. Why use 1 part when 7 will do.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Every year I keep saying I’m going to sell my cockroach 2007 Altima 3.5SE. Every year I keep putting off my next car because this damn thing won’t die. I bought it with 122,000 miles on it and just passed 162,000 this summer. Nothing but oil changes and wear-n-tear items for the past 40 months.

    I want a coupe or hatchback for my next car, and a voice in my head wants a GTI so bad, but this is exactly what I’m afraid of… which is why I’ll most likely wind up with a Forte5 SX (unless I find a nice price on an Accord coupe).

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Your CVT hooked to a big V6 is chugging along reliably at twice the mileage my CVT was being gradually shredded by a 4-cylinder. I would have thought the opposite.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        6-speed manual. Those CVT’s were time bombs! When shopping for my better half (who really wanted an auto for herself), I avoided anything and everything with a CVT.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Smart man. Smarter than me. I believed the available data at the time and it poked me in the eye.

          Your car would actually be a bit of fun, with that stout engine paired to the manual and the surprisingly capable handling of that generation. Nissan ruined an otherwise good car with those CVTs and given the 300K+ annual sales, I wonder how much consumer goodwill they’ve cooked off. That’s a lot of time bombs going off on people.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            30 mile was the CVT getting worse since we last discussed this? Or was it a matter of just calling it quits before something did rear its ugly head?

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Calling it quits. Our plan had been to own that Altima for another 5-6 years as a cheapo low TCO commuter then move onto something more fun. Perhaps the transmission could have gone along for several years before escalating but I wasn’t going to gamble on 5-6 years and 70K miles.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            Thumbs down to 30-mile fetch for not being the guinea pig!

            I kid; I kid. As you’ll recall, a friend traded in an ’05-ish Murano with about 9 years and 110,000 miles on the V6 and CVT. I’m really curious as to what the record is for trouble-free miles on these.

            The high-mileage Altima, wherever it is, has to be an ’07-’11 hybrid. Those were an interesting combination of the Nissan 2.5 and Toyota’s Synergy Drive. I haven’t seen one in awhile, but I’m guessing they were going well into six figures.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I really enjoyed my Accord coupe with the MT.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I worked with a guy who performed no maintenance (except oil changes and air filters) on his 3.5 Altima for 220k miles, at which point it began to misfire. He never changed belts, plugs, wires, transmission fluid, or anything else for 10 years or more.

      He subscribed to the ‘fix it when it breaks’ philosophy, and felt pretty good about how long the car ran until it acted up.

  • avatar
    DJM

    Audi owner here. A $300 Vag-com, the Audi forums and a weekend wrenching is all I need to get this thing ship-shape. I’m on my 3rd Quattro, love them in inclement weather. I purchase them from shell-shocked owners coming back from a dealership repair quote for cheap, then do the work myself. I’d rather go through all that then own a soulless camcord.

    The real issue that’s lurking under the hood is the timing chain tensioner. That’s a grenade with the pin pulled, just a matter of when. There’s a new design out for it though.

    • 0 avatar
      nlinesk8s

      Same here. I saw the list of things needed, and thought: “not that bad.” German cars out of warranty usually aren’t that bad to work on; they just require a fair amount of love.
      Last few cars were: ’09 Rabbit, ’00 A4, ’03 325i, etc.

      Having said that, my wife also has standing orders to shoot me if I bring home another BMW product (Mini blew up).

    • 0 avatar
      Add Lightness

      I’ve always been happier buying broken cars and fixing them myself than fully functional ones and getting that rude awakening when they first break for me.
      If you do your own wrenching, you can drive some pretty exotic cars for cheap and without fear due to the low purchase price.
      Think Maser Quattroport…..

  • avatar
    tommytipover

    Do you really need us to tell you not to own a VAG product that is out of warranty? I truly believe Passat and A4 owners get Stockholm Syndrome or something…

  • avatar
    Importamation

    Geez, my college-age daughter has been talking about a used A4. Nevermind! Pistons and rings at 65,000 miles is insane.

    My parents had a 1998 A4 they bought new and loved for 10+ years, but I do recall it had continual little problems. Despite their affection for it, they haven’t had another Audi.

    The S550 we covered here with the drivetrain vibration (now fixed) is at 203,000 miles and going strong. No leaks and no oil consumption. About to return to the high school parking lot derby with my youngest who has his permit now.

  • avatar
    DJM

    If this Avant wasn’t so far away I’d make an offer on it. Other than the peasant halogen headlights it’s a nice looking ride.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I don’t get it. I’ve owned over 30 European cars from Alfas to Peugeots. The only one that was remotely unreliable was the ’82 Volvo turbo that was a used-up heap when I bought it. That one caught fire and like an idiot I didn’t let it burn to the ground. I fully expect my 328! to outlast me.

    But, I will admit I have never owned an Audi. But I know an awful lot of people who do, and while I would not call them cheap to run, they don’t seem to be ruinous either. My Subaru owning friends seem to put up with a lot more crap than the Audi owners do. And in return they get to drive Subarus – blech.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Individual experiences with European cars seem to create a distinct binomial impression of reliability–some have terrible experiences while others have no problem. Mine was great but it was a bit of a dinosaur. With potentially flawed sources like Consumer Reports being the only data available, it’s hard to be too confident in which mode is correct.

      FWIW, the CR reliability report card on the A4 is brutal for MY2010, with red marks in Engine Major, Engine Minor, Cooling, Drive system and Fuel system. The only years to escape bad marks are 2013 and newer, which means they either improved or the problems don’t set in until 4 years down the road. I fear the latter, because the CVT in the Altima that (as of 2013) was receiving excellent marks on all years since the 2007 implementation is now showing red marks for 2007 and 2008. In 2018 and 2019 I wouldn’t be surprised if the 2009 and 2010 turn red as well.

    • 0 avatar
      turbo_awd

      @krhodes1 – I went through 3 VWs (’84 GLI, ’90 GTI 16v, ’94 Corrado VR6) before I learned my lesson(s). At one point, the entire family had VWs. One by one, we abandoned them. And we’re sleeping MUCH better at night, let me tell you. And my ’05 SUBARU Legacy GT has more power than any of my VWs, drives just as nice, is easier/cheaper to maintain/fix, etc.. I’ve upgraded/wrenched on it WAY more than my VWs, because it’s easier. Ever try to change an air filter on a Mk2 GTI? It’s a major undertaking..

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I put over 300K miles on an ’84 Jetta GLI. One of the very best cars I have ever owned. As reliable as sunrise, despite my rather “enthusiastic” college student driving style. I also had a ’90 GLI which was bulletproof, and an ’85 Jetta 2dr, ditto. Perhaps you are just good at breaking cars?

        Been a long time, but I don’t recall changing the air filter on either the A1 or A2 being more than releasing the clips and moving the top of the housing out of the way. Certainly nothing like the major disassembly required on my 328!. And even that is no big deal every 4 years or so.

      • 0 avatar
        dantes_inferno

        >And my ’05 SUBARU Legacy GT has more power than any of my VWs, drives just as nice, is easier/cheaper to maintain/fix, etc..

        You mean a 2005 vehicle has more power than a 1984, 1990 and 1994 vehicle??? You don’t say???? What a revelation!!!

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’ve seen way too many cases of German luxury cars turning into money pits at around seven years of age to dismiss the stereotype.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      European cars used to have a massive fun to drive advantage. That advantage is MUCH smaller today. Unfortunately for them, they’ve not figured out how to make reliability a priority the way transplants and domestics have.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        As one who owns a fleet of European cars but drive sundry Asian and Domestics as rentals constantly, I would very much beg to differ on that. Even the premium Asian and Domestics are no comparison in how they drive, never mind the cheap boring stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      I owned an Audi and there are currently 2 Subarus at my house.

      I won’t be buying either brand again.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      I have owned several Audis and I still own one today. Mine have been rock solid, requiring nothing but regular maintenance for the most part. I also owned two Toyotas that both cost me more money in repairs than any of my Audis.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I’d get a second opinion for sure. However my experience with a B5 Passat (Audi A4 = same thing) is this just the beginning of the end. With my it was lots of little problems I managed to somehow avoid the coil pack and sludge issues. I credit the lack of sludge to timely oil changes with full synthetic. Turbos are very oil sensitive I’ve noticed from past experiences with a Mitsubishi Eclipse. I also had a Volvo turbo that drove us into the poor house with constant expensive repairs. Parts are difficult to source and then to cost way more then the same part from a Japanese or domestic manufacturer. So personally I avoid out of warranty European cars now. This is one of those cases where those extended warranties are really really worth it.

    Just as a counter point: my brother is a loyal VeeDub guy, he has owned several of them. His current ride is a Golf R that he beats constantly on the track and has over 80K of daily driver miles… yet amazingly its only had minor issues. However he has “a guy” that is well versed in these things and thus can sort thru the FUD to put things right without breaking the bank.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      I do not understand the coil pack fear. On my B5 A4, replacement involved removing two each fasteners on four coil packs, popping same out of engine and then replacing them with OEM parts, Beru, from an aftermarket supplier. Along with the ignition control module, it cost less than $200 and took less than an hour. Everything accessible on the top of the engine. Never had a sludge problem – could be luck, could be synthetic oil every 6k miles or so.
      Replacing the air filter was more trouble – took as long as the coil packs and G*d help you if you fumbled one of the clips holding the box on.

      • 0 avatar
        tommytipover

        Yep, Stockholm Syndrome. What if I told you some people own cars where the ignition coil out lives the car’s owner.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          Yep. I had a 95 Saturn my family got new and I know the current owner. Still on it’s original coilpacks though it did get new pistons and rings like the Audi. Course that was at 265k miles, not 65k

      • 0 avatar
        northeaster

        I’d have to say, I’m on the same page as chuckrs. My B5 AWD 1.8T Passat consumed about 4 or 5 coil packs over about 3 years in the middle of its life span (now 14 years, 125k miles). The resultant misfires are trivial to diagnose and the hardware takes literally 2 minutes to replace for about $30. Sure, you wouldn’t have to on an Accord but this doesn’t exactly put me into crisis mode. Same for the oil, except I did mine at 5k.

        The car still makes me smile during winter snowstorms or everyday commutes though it’s going away soon, largely out of interest in trying something new. Still, I’ll regret giving up the manual transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      JMII, lots of people buy VWs and BMWs because they are ‘nice’ and status symbols. Then proceed to drive them 6 miles to work each way, gently. You know what will happen to those cars, eventually.

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    Ive never owned an Audi but my VW’s and BMW’s have been great. My 635csi had no issues during the 170000 miles I owned it and my current 335d was a CPO car with 30000 miles on it when I bought it for half of what it cost new. It now has 98000 miles and has been one of the best and most fun to drive cars Ive ever owned. The only thing that has failed was the glow plug controller which I replaced for $100 and changed myself. I know the crankshaft damper on the BMW 3.0 diesel will typically fail at 100K so I replaced mine at 90K for $250 and $300 labor. We mainly use it for road trips and with 425 foot pounds at 1700 it tends to make most other cars feel like slugs especially in the mountains like on I-70.

  • avatar
    bultaco

    I’ve had many BMWs, and all of them required constant upkeep involving parts replacement (especially suspension parts) that went beyond mere maintenance, which is why I no longer own BMWs. They drove wonderfully, though, and the basic engines and transmissions (all manuals) never gave trouble. Everyone I know who owns, or has owned Audis (or VWs, for that matter) has said that they were service nightmares that made my BMWs seem like Lexuses. New pistons and rings at 65,000 miles? Followed by a turbo replacement at 99k miles to the tune of six THOUSAND dollars? Your best bet would be to trade that crapcan for a 1971 Chevy Vega wagon and enjoy the comparative blissful reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      nlinesk8s

      The fun with BMW’s is the way they design things like the oil filter housing as external parts, with substandard seals. Generally, a seven year old BMW leaks oil like a 1960’s MGB. Rustproofing…

  • avatar
    nels0300

    $6K is 32% of what I paid for a whole entire 2017 Elantra Sport.

    I quite like the interior, I don’t like fake aluminum accents, so I appreciate the all black look.

    The gauges are straight Audi rip offs. Crisp, bright white, analogue, circular gauges with red needles. Really classy looking, unlike a Civic or Mazda3.

    The seats are nice, well bolstered, and heated.

    It has nice, usable power, the 1.6T is a torquey little motor.d

    It rides well, it does not beat you up at all, someone did their homework on the ride/handling. Pretty amazing to me when you look at the tiny sidewalls of the 18 inch wheels/tires.

    And if the turbo needs to be replaced in the next 10 years or 100K miles like that Audi, it’s under warranty.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I like Bulleit whiskey and age-appropiate long legged blondes. Neither are cheap; but they are enjoyable. The poster seems to like his Audi. His Audi is eight years old. The 2018 Audis should be on his dealer’s lot. I say trade in his A4 and buy (with extended warranty)or lease (maintenance is Audi’s problem) a new Audi. We are car enthusiasts who like are cars. Some for driving dynamics, some for TCO.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      It isn’t the years, his Audi has a partially rebuilt engine as it is and still didn’t make it to 6-digit land.

      One could have reasonably expected an ’83 Tempo to go 100K miles before crapping the bed so spectacularly – ten years or not.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        APaTtth

        It is the years. This is a 2010 we are talking about, not a 2000. It is beyond my comprehension that a 10′ model year with less than 100k that sold new for close to 50k is essentially ready for BPHP, the junkyard, or a shade tree mechanic special.

        My 08′ burban with 110k drives like brand new. The recently added 05′ Vette with 36k drives as new also. Both should give me another 10 years easy service, and the OP here has a car that is, as mentioned, ready to be a parts car. As I stated way above, it’s unacceptable for his car to be this bad this early and for a guy who has written in to TTAC so I think it is safe to assume he is not the change the oil once a presidential administration guy after putting black tape over the CEL.

    • 0 avatar
      nels0300

      “Some for driving dynamics, some for TCO.”

      They’re not mutually exclusive.

      The Elantra Sport is no A4, but it does drive well, and the $18.5K I paid for it is about how much an Audi A4 depreciates in 5 years.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    …Sajeev, this is a 2010 Audi A4 Avant that is in like-new COSMETIC condition. It was purchased over my wife’s strong objection, as none of our four prior Audis has made it past 80,000 miles without suffering a complete and total meltdown…

    Dude. Happy wife, happy life. Listen your wife or keep a good divorce attorney on speed dial. You think 4 bad Audis in a row is trouble, just wait until you find out what an emasculating divorce will do to your finances.

    Honey, what do you think we should do? I think the nice man on the Internet recommending the Hyundai makes a lot of sense. Yes honey I agree, let’s go buy the Hyundai.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I bought a brand new ’78 Audi Fox in September of 1978, and it was hands down the least reliable car I’ve ever owned. My two Vegas were light years ahead in reliability and durability.

    It’s good(?) to know that some things never change.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I’d get a second opinion on the wastegate or BPv(whichever it is). The oil ring issue has already been solved and cosmetically it’s already in better shape than 1/2 the cars on the road just by being a B8 Audi wagon .My brother has a B8 and apparently ’11-12 there was a redesign to cure the oil consumption.His is a CPO 2012, without any issues. He ante’d up for a second A4 after his B5 had the sludge issue, which was repaired under warranty.

    My personal experience w/ VAG was a bullet proof 1995 90q 5mt, with 170k trouble miles when I sold it.Original clutch even.

    We bought an 07 EOS the month after seeing one at at the 06 auto show. Not generally a good idea to buy 1st MY with complex DSG, folding hard top, but to date we’ve only done scheduled maint.It had 1 air oil separator failure this year as the only engine related issue. Had a loose door panel within first 6mon of ownership. As always YMMV.

    I really think that short trips, rush hour traffic is a culprit for a lot of these German car maladies. Italian tune ups are the answer, of course on a Sunday AM empty road.

    A safe bet is a 6cyl BMW , MB . With routine maintenance I have no doubts on running past 150k miles without issue. The 08 ML 350 we just sold had 100k and literally drove better than half the cars we test drove to replace it with.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    –this is a 2010 Audi A4 Avant that is in like-new COSMETIC condition

    this is the siren’s call of doom for some 2nd/3rd/4th Audi owners.

    They get lured by pristine interior/exterior and a decent price. Then hammered by failing mechanicals.

    friends don’t let friends be the 3rd owners of an Audi unless they know exactly what they might get into.

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    I have bad experience with Audi as well.
    Why does Audi score so high in reliability ratings?

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      I asked myself the same question, so I looked up their score on Consumer Reports. For the 2010 Audi A4 Avant, reliability was 1 out of 5, and owner satisfaction was 2 out of 5. Audi began turning the corner with its 2012 models.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “Audi began turning the corner with its 2012 models”

        Or, the problems don’t occur until the car reaches 4-5 years of age. Check back in a couple of years and see if the 2012s are still receiving good marks.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      “Why does Audi score so high in…”

      Um, who the heck takes those “studies” seriously? I mean *seriously*???

      When I see Porsche near #1, or at the top of some of those lists, that’s all I need to know.

      Do your own research, TTAC is a great place to start.

      All it takes is owners unhappy or confused with the infotainment system and the car goes straight to “unreliable”. Then ask yourself why the very last car to offer a cassette player was a Lexus.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    I have an older 1984 Audi 5000 Avant with the I-5 engine.
    I drive it 600 miles a week commuting to work on the Detroit freeway system. It seems like it needs something every few weeks!
    These are the old school Audi’s that many say are the reliable ones and can run to high mileage.
    Sure they can to high miles if you continually work on them and throw parts at them.

    My first Audi 5000 had a laundry list of repairs. I thought that was because it had higher miles and perhaps deferred maintenance from the previous owner. So I bought two more with low original miles to see how that would work out since I loved how they drove and looked.
    It turns out that all 3 Audi’s had the same laundry list of problems!
    So much for German engineering.

    Here is a picture of my 1984 Audi Avant commuter in it’s natural environment: (copy & paste) https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/36397862882/in/dateposted-public/

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    I thought Audi had impeccable reliability now, according to the different surveys? What’s up with that?

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    I don’t know why people buy cars like this. Now excuse me, I’m off to configure the Alfa Giulia I’m going to buy one day online.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    It’s such a nice looking and driving wagon, with a great AWD system. It seems like if it was worth buying in the first place, it would be worth fixing. At the very least, it should be worth a second opinion from an independent Audi mechanic.

    But only the owner can determine the value and true personal cost of this vehicle.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    Wow, I can’t believe how many sandy vaginas are around here. Some of you guys are clueless. Please stick with your Camry or Accord and leave the true drivers’ cars to those of us who understand why even a problematic German car is still better than a boring appliance like a Camry or Accord.

    I’ve had nothing but good experiences with the Audis I’ve owned. One of them was smack in the middle of the piston ring era, but my Audi never burned more than a 1/2 quart between oil changes, so the rings were never changed.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Lucky you. Your story is the only one that’s real, and all the others here are a conspiracy against Audi.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        Not sure if you bothered to read all the comments, but mine isn’t exactly unique. Plus, you don’t seem to understand the concept of anecdotal, so it doesn’t really matter anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “Please stick with your Camry or Accord and leave the true drivers’ cars to those of us who understand why even a problematic German car is still better than a boring appliance like a Camry or Accord.”

      You may think you’re dispelling a myth about poor Audi reliability, but what you’ve done is reinforce the stereotype of the Audi driver.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Easy to spot someone who thinks a $6000 repair is a pittance. Must be nice.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “Wow, I can’t believe how many sandy vaginas are around here.”

      *proceeds with defensive rant*

      Who’s the one with sandy lady-bits again?

    • 0 avatar
      Fighter835

      Ohh please! My NA is a drivers car. My 911 is a drivers car. My E30 is a drivers car. My wifes daily, an older A4, is not a drivers car in any way, shape, or form. It’s front heavy and plows like crazy, awd just slightly masks the front heavy nature of the chassis, it’s a terrible car to drive on mountain roads, no fun at all. The vast majority of Audi cars drive the same (terrible) way.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        I won’t disagree about the older Audis. I haven’t driven one I liked. But the 2010 A4/S4 was dramatically improved over the previous generations, in terms of suspension and balance. I have enjoyed a 2011 S4 MT on mountain roads.

        They could use more steering feel, of course. But the outright performance is impressive.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    Let’s play the game, fsck/marry/kill.

    Fsck: the Giulia

    Marry: the Camry (um, the new V6–I mean, 301hp…)

    Kill: anything German

  • avatar
    arcuri

    Very close friend of mine sold me his wife’s 99 Golf Gl 119,000 miles. Auto,AC,PW,sunroof in 2011. They purchased it new for her. Had all the required Maint/ Serv taken care of at Local VW dealer. A year after I had it, Water pump failed,(plastic impeller blades) AC comp seized in 2013. Transmission would only shift into 2nd or reverse, sunroof would open at random. ((did I leave it open overnight?)
    Bought a 97 Loncoln Mark VIII Dec 2013, 160,000 being wholesaled at a Lincoln dealer for $1000 ! Put new tires,alignment, Replaced air susp with reg kit. New headliner, fluids, recharged AC. cost me another $ 1000 !
    Car needs a paint job, but runs strong. Everything works !
    Btw I still have my 2000 protege with 347,000 miles original,engine, tranny, water pump., AC,.Needs a respray. Replaced Alternator 3 years ago, drivers side window regulator. Rear stabilizer links. Needs starter and front end replaced. Show me a German car to duplicate this on a consistent basis . I never see any.

  • avatar

    When our 1996 Acura Integra was showing its age with 345,000 kms on the clock, the wife thought we should get a BMW so I bought a 2009 328xi sedan with 50,000 kms on it in 2013 for about half its original cost. The car now has 184,000 kms on it and has had only two unexpected repairs: the evaporator failed at 80,000 kms, which required 13 hours of labour to replace, and around 150,000 kms the stupid plastic engine cover thing cracked, allowing oil to leak into the plugs. These two repairs totalled around C$5,000 but otherwise nothing except the usual wear items such as tires. I am surprised by this, frankly. The car is very enjoyable to drive and the AWD system works very well in Canadian winters. The wife wants to go with a domestic car next but I am not sure although my 2008 Corvette is incredibly reliable. As per the TTAC review of the Suburban and how good it is someone elsewhere has remarked that the Corvette is the kind of sports car built by people who build pickup trucks.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    This follows the tale of many a fancy-VW owner. Bail on it and get a car that’s reasonable to live with (not a VAG product).

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Turbo Audis are trouble. The NA models are great! A friend of mind has a C6 A6 Avant with the 3.2L. No issues. 160k miles and counting. I have a 2010 S5 V8 6MT. Only 49k miles, but again, no issues. Anecdotes, I know, but keep reading.

    Most of the guys on the Audi forums with the NA models don’t share the same horror stories of those with the turbo powered engines. What’s odd is that the Supercharged 3.0L V6 doesn’t have issues compared to the turbo engines.

    Sell the Audi. If you can help it, avoid the German turbo’d cars. New, they’re not reliable in the long term. Used, it’s probably been beat on and you’ll end up paying out the nose eventually.

  • avatar
    ryanwm80

    6 grand of repairs makes sense for several reasons. 1) This isn’t just “a car” it’s a small wagon with utility not matched by a sedan / hatchback. 2) The low profile and center – of – gravity give it a level of performance that SUV’s don’t have. 3) The styling is simple, minimalist, and purposeful. Those are the things that can’t be easily replaced, and only wagon owners get it. The rate of depreciation of a new Elantra will probably be $6k in the first year of ownership, so if the Audi is repaired and lasts another 3 years it makes sense to repair it. Fix the Audi, but start looking for a used car as a daily driver, and let that guy eat the cost of depreciation.

  • avatar
    DIYer

    Moneypit. Sell or trade-in on something requiring less m&r.

  • avatar
    s_a_p

    The best Audi (and probably universally true with VW products) is a leased Audi. I’ve owned 2 VW products. I had an 01 GTI vr6 that I loved, but didnt even make it to 20k miles before perpetual shop time kicked in. I recently had an A4 that was completely solid until the 50k mile marker. Then I got hit with several 4 figure service/repair bills. I liked alot about that A4, but I dont really miss it.

  • avatar
    spamvw

    300,000 miles yesterday ’02 TDI Wagon manual (not Brown)

    As with my ’99 7.3 Navistar, there are reliable platforms, we just don’t know about them until later.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • B-BodyBuick84: Buy the Sentra- fun to drive with the 6 speed and great greenhouse visibility. Drive the Corolla,...
  • rudiger: I’m with Syke. In fact, could be good opportunity to pick up an older, used Bolt with a brand-new...
  • ToolGuy: This is a good writeup on some bad legislation, with some thoughtful comments❗ Does this site still exist?
  • ajla: Seems like Acura missed the mark with the new TLX. Neither the 2.0T nor the Type-S are quick enough to draw in...
  • VWGolfGuy: The ancient Q50 is the better buy in the sort of sport luxury market

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber