Piston Slap: The Unfortunate, Teachable Moment (Part II)

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap the unfortunate teachable moment part ii

Mati writes:

Hello Sajeev!

Just finished reading your Piston Slap entry regarding the 2010 Audi A4, and I want to see what you think about my situation. Recently I relocated to the UK for work/travel and will be here for at least two years. I want to try something not available in the U.S. market and take advantage of the open roads here in the outskirts. I don’t live in a big town so no congestion/pollution tax to worry about.My budget is £5,000 purchasing price, and my search for an euro hot hatch gave me only one Japanese branded product , some Fords, and a lot of interesting European models. But all around the 10 year mark give or take. In my situation would it be any better to go with an European 10-year-old hot-hatch then, say, a UK-Built Honda or a Ford?A search on local classified and Bookface nets me a few nice results :
  • 2008 Honda Civic Coupe Type R
  • 2009 Ford Focus ST
  • 2007 RENAULTSPORT CLIO 197 F1 TEAM R27 LY 2.0
  • 2010 Citroen DS3
  • 2010 Peugeot RCZ
  • 2009 VW Scirocco
Looking forward to your reply! Cheers!

Sajeev answers:

Unlike Part I of this story, your biggest problem isn’t the vehicle’s national origin. It’s the fact you’ve chosen to buy a performance vehicle that’s likely been beat to hell in its past.

But let’s assume that every example you consider was driven maturely, as we need to minimize the number of variables in this equation.

The biggest problem with NW’s boyfriend’s Audi A4 was the fact that it was a German luxury vehicle being sold to an unwitting buyer in America. You likely know more about your future transaction, and you are not in America: there are plenty of skilled technicians available and parts should be cheaper and more readily available. Fingers crossed on that!

That said, there’s no doubt that you’d do far better financially in a mid-level Focus, a normal Civic, a basic Golf, etc. instead of any of your preferred hot hatches. And certain manufacturers make things better than others, like water pumps without plastic impellers. So do some homework (i.e. forum searches) to see which models have unacceptable level of repair issues (i.e. like Audi piston ring fails) for your taste.

If you gotta scratch that hot hatch itch, I’d recommend one that’s heavily based on a more pedestrian model (i.e Golf GTI instead of the Scirocco) so any possible repair will be cheaper, including body panel replacements after a collision. I reckon insurance rates will also be cheaper.

What say you, Best and Brightest?

[Image: Volkswagen]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.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.
Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

More by Sajeev Mehta

Join the conversation
2 of 27 comments
  • Manu06 Manu06 on Sep 21, 2019

    I’d second the the older Mini suggestion or if you will be driving others around, just leasing a vehicle for 2 years.

  • Jfk-usaf Jfk-usaf on Sep 24, 2019

    I'd love to try the Scirocco (sexy Golf)... Can we put an R motor in it?

  • ToolGuy "Mr. President, no government agency, no think tank, and no polling firm knows more about the automobile customer than us. We talk to customers every day. As retail automotive dealerships, we are agnostic as to what we sell. Our business is to provide customers with vehicles that meet the needs of their budgets and lifestyles.”• How many lies can you fit into one paragraph?
  • Spamvw Three on the tree, even Generation X would have a hard time stealing one of those.
  • ToolGuy This trend of cyan wheels needs to end NOW.
  • Kwik_Shift Interesting nugget(s) of EV follies. https://x.com/WallStreetApes/status/1729212326237327708?s=20
  • SaulTigh I've said it before and I'll say it again...if you really cared about the environment you'd be encouraging everyone to drive a standard hybrid. Mature and reliable technology that uses less resources yet can still be conveniently driven cross country and use existing infrastructure.These young people have no concept of how far we've come. Cars were dirty, stinking things when I was a kid. They've never been cleaner. You hardly ever see a car smoking out the tail pipe or smell it running rich these days, even the most clapped out 20 year old POS. Hybrids are even cleaner.