By on September 13, 2019

Image: Audi AG

NW writes:

Hello there Sajeev, hope all is well with you. I have an issue with a 2010 Audi A4; my boyfriend bought this car from a dealership (used). However, he didn’t even have the car six months before realizing there was a piston ring problem — he would have to top up the oil when driving the car. We informed the dealership about it, but they gave us the run-around and did not fix the problem.

The car is financed so he’s still paying for it and has about $9,000 left. The car is completely dead at this point; we know about the cost to fix the car but we’re stuck on what to do with the car. Working to pay to fix the car is a lot within itself and we can’t sell it because we’re still paying for it.

We also contacted Audi but they didn’t help us, really. Any solution to this problem?

Sajeev answers:

I hate writing responses with no sign of a happy ending. The only silver lining: lessons can be learned. (Thanks to a TTAC reader for the link!- SM)

Your boyfriend (or you, we’ve all been there!) will do one of the following:

  1. Pay for an engine swap, with or without a warranty: ask multiple shops for repair quotes with used motors and the longest warranty possible. Keep the Audi for a while if you get the warrantied repair, pay the loan down as much as possible and sell/trade it for a more reliable vehicle. (See #5 below)
  2. Do the cheapest repair, trade it in now and eat the negative equity. It’s definitely “kicking the can down the road,” but that’s what the last owner did! 
  3. Do nothing and let it get repossessed…a credit black mark for a long, long time.

Let’s lay out the reasons why I came to this conclusion:

  1. This Audi was traded in after the previous owner(s) abuse/neglect made the oil consumption problem very obvious. And perhaps they saw other common issues creeping up.
  2. Most (all?) dealerships do not keep a vehicle long enough to notice oil consumption. They simply clean it up, change the oil/brakes/tires, etc., and it sits on the lot waiting for a new owner.
  3. Used vehicles are sold As-Is, and federal law ensures there’s a big sticker on the glass making this point as clear as possible. This is when a dealer normally offers an extended warranty.
  4. Your boyfriend presumably didn’t buy an extended warranty, but I suspect everyone here agrees you need one for a nine-year-old Audi.
  5. Cars from the Eurozone are notoriously more expensive to repair (more expensive parts, specialized training/tools, etc.) and older VW/Audi vehicles are no exception.
  6. Manufacturer Goodwill repairs are normally limited to vehicles in a factory warranty, shortly after the warranty expires, or if still owned by the original owner with a service history from the (Audi) dealership.

Where’s silver lining? Here are discussion points to keep from being in this situation again:

  • At this age/price, do not buy a used car from European carmakers. It’s too damn risky for some folks.
  • Pay for a Pre-Purchase Inspection, or make friends with legit mechanics (i.e. not schmucks that write for a car blog).
  • At this price point, an extended warranty is peace of mind, even if you buy something with a great reputation for durability (like a Camry). You can’t trust the last owner, so get a warranty AFTER ensuring it’s a legit deal.
  • Do your homework: the FTC’s website is brilliant and every vehicle has an online forum. Don’t buy anything until you learn more about it.

And now it’s time to see just how constructive we can be in the comments, to see if we truly are the Best and the Brightest: how we handle situations like these is truly The Truth About Cars.

[Image: Audi AG]

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. 

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134 Comments on “Piston Slap: The Unfortunate, Teachable Moment...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    This is an unfortunately common situation. Young people with limited funds but big eyes see cheap used German cars and think “Score!” There is no one in the car buying sphere with a vested interest in telling these customers not to do it. All that can be done now is to truly learn the lesson and get a reliable car for the $9000 next time.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      This, exactly. Too many younger people want to look like they have a lot of money even though they are one paycheck away from broke. They go buy 3+ owner Euro cars, get some sticker shock from the insurance costs but figure they can absorb it. A few months later – WHAM – a major problem happens and some of the repairs stretch into the 5+ figure mark. Neither are affordable, so the car sits and rots. And the owner is now out even more money and calling a bankruptcy attorney. All of this would have been avoided with a used Camry or something similar.

      The owner should be able to get an engine rebuild done for $5-7k, assuming the engine hasn’t seized and scored the piston sleeves. If it has, it might as well be scrapped.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      Truth. I lived it. I did no research before I bought my 5 year old Audi. Fortunately I didn’t have anywhere near the problems of the car above. But it was a valuable lesson learned at a time I could scarcely afford it.

      If you can’t afford to buy a new high end car, you won’t be able to maintain a used one. I drove a 3 year old Lexus IS350 a few months back that was going to leave some poor love struck buyer with massive repair bills. So it’s not only limited to the German variety.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’m curious what was the issue? Was under the impression Lexus generally sold a reliable drivetrain.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        $40K+ cars have $40K+ car problems, it doesn’t matter what continent they are from. Choose wisely, know how to repair yourself, and for Dog’s sake don’t go into debt for any of them well used.

        See also why used cars are cheaper than new cars. It isn’t because the new car buyers are dumb…

        An hour on a model-specific forum will tell you what to look for and what to avoid.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Welcome to the wonderful world of VAG and their EA888 motors. If the oil burning doesn’t get you, the carbon build up, timing chain stretch, or HPFP/cam follower will!

  • avatar
    theBrandler

    Well here’s the thing, if nothing else is wrong with the car that you are aware of, and you otherwise enjoy the car, keep it and feed oil in as needed. I’m saying this assuming, based on the fact that it took 6 months to figure this out, that the oil consumption is noticeable, but not awful. Maybe you have to top it up every other refuel?

    If that’s the case, first off get a high quality synthetic oil intended for older cars. That will reduce the amount of oil consumed. Top it up with that as needed. Since you are regularly feeding in new oil, you can cut down on how frequently you change the oil as well.

    This will help keep the machine going as long as possible, and again, I stress, that if you otherwise enjoy the car, and this is the only problem, and the problem isn’t severe, which it sounds like it isn’t, and the consumption rate doesn’t increase, ENJOY THE CAR.

    ALL OLD CARS HAVE PROBLEMS. If you otherwise enjoy a car and can manage the problems, don’t worry about it.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “The car is completely dead at this point”

      I take this to mean that either the engine has seized or it suffered some other type of catastrophic failure. If that is the case they won’t be able to limp it along.

      • 0 avatar
        theBrandler

        I took this as hyperbole out of desperation. If it took them 6 months to realize it was consuming oil, AND the only reason they can’t sell it is because they owe money on it, how can it actually be dead? More I got the vibe it’s “dead to them” because they are scared of what’s wrong.

        Lets be honest, if it was actually dead, there’s no selling it, they’d have to pay someone to tow it away.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        My interpretation was that the oil level was neglected to the point that the engine was ruined, or the engine finally failed as a result of the previous owner doing so before trade in.

        If not, great; just keep topping it up! I wouldn’t use anything pricey in a serious oil-burner myself though. 15W-40 in a warm climate, 5W-30 conventional in a colder climate.

        If it took 6 months to notice oil consumption, then either it’s barely significant, it was seriously neglected over that time, or something bad happened to a ring during that period.

        My buddy’s Acura Civic, purchased used, always consumed oil and was a serious oil burner before it finally lost all compression in one cylinder at around 200k miles. He was adding a quart of oil every fill by that point. So we disconnected that injector and he drove it on 3 cylinders for a couple months until the B8 S4 he had already special-ordered arrived. Still got $600 for the thing.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Really grinds my gears these small powerplants are built to such a tight spec that a slight deviation by an owner can lead to catastrophic consequences. People didn’t suddenly get more on the ball in the past 10-15 years, yet the gas drivetrains seem to have gotten a PhD in terms of complexity and yet really are not so much better than yesteryear on ROI. My MY98 1.9 DOHC I4 (LL0)/4spd auto Saturn achieved 25/37-38mpg in 2006, in 2008 I hypermiled it past 40 on the way to Winchester, VA. Oh and those regularly ran on lower than average oil because of the known piston ring issue. I got 168K out of the ride my brother and I called the “disposable camera car” while selling it running. So now I get to spend even more for essentially the same thing outside of a hybrid but its as temperamental and reliable as the stars of MTV’s Teen Mom?

          Cui bono?

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      These 2.0Ts will typically consume a quart every 500 miles in this state. Changing the PCV valve to an updated part and using the right kind of oil can help somewhat, but truly it is a problem with the low tension oil rings. Not sure what the cats will look like after several more years of that kind of consumption, there’s probably a crap load of oil entering the intake as well, which will eventually really dirty up the intake valves (leading to poor seating). It’s not a pretty picture with these. Coworker has his ’09 good-will-ed by the dealer at 60k, he had bought it new and serviced there exclusively.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I would really think that second largest automaker in the world would have figured out to avoid such a domino effect on a product, yet here we are. I don’t even think GM is generally guilty of such a thing

        bad piston rings -> oil consumption -> dirty intake -> clogged cats OR oil consumption -> engine or timing chain failure.

        • 0 avatar
          johnny ro

          GM kills people with keys.

          The VAG engineering was wrong but the cam chain tensioner is worse than rings The rings were a MPG play. I agree they should not have got that wrong. The replacement tensioner is safe.

      • 0 avatar
        johnny ro

        GTEM is right. Soft rings is a design defect. Ran from 2009 – 2012.

        Another is cam chain tensioner. They fail and frag the top end. Same era.

        These are covered in deep depth on Audi forums. Other VAG products have issues as well. Not just VAG.

        Check the class action lawsuits, the OP will not qualify for settlement.

        The OP car was near worthless then they bought it, unless the engine repairs were in place which they were not. Meaning, trade in about $2k. The $9k price is reality check on what dealers make on used cars.

        I paid $4,866 for the cam chain assembly and new pistons rings at Audi Nashua for my 2010. The car had 112k miles and nothing else wrong. Audi said no on helping. This is a good dealer.I drive a nice loaner for a few days free, cool.

        She had burned oil and wanted new cam chain assembly. I have the cam chain plunger and one very modern looking used piston on the parts shelf on permanent display in my shop.

        The OP has decision, repair, replace, abandon, sue.

        If the thing is otherwise OK I vote repair. Pay the $5k.

        Mine is manual transmission, in nice shape now, a wonderful car.

        Good luck

        PS I pondered an 2016 A6 for $23k, which is what they sell for now. Minus the $2k trade, and $5k repair, net $17k outflow. I held off to conserve cash and the manual is engaging to use.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    As a former Audi owner, here’s my advice – don’t buy another Audi.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      If you can’t afford to lease a new Audi, you’re not going to fair very well with any other Audi ownership option. This is true of pretty much any European car or diesel pickup.

  • avatar
    TR4

    I can remember when some auto mechanics in the 1970s called Volkswagens “Hitler’s Revenge”. Sounds like his ghost is still at it!

    Seriously, I too would like to know why the vehicle is “dead”; this was not explained in the OP.

  • avatar
    SirRaoulDuke

    You could pay a crackhead $100 to set it on fire. Sure, it’s ethically and legally bad, but fire is the only way I know of to affordably and permanently fix an Audi.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    My first rule of car ownership is that cost of maintenance, depreciation, and repairs is proportional to the price of the car when it was new. If you’re on a budget, stay away from used luxury cars, buy something from a mainstream brand.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I’ve avoided Audis as long as I’ve been a Mechanic, some 50 + years now .

    I hate it when a newbie gets burned on another old German ‘luxury car’ .

    Everywhere I go in my 34 year old near 500,000 mile Mercedes folks look at it and say ” ! I want one of those ! ” and usually ignore me when I tell them to never, _EVER_ buy a ‘cheap Mercedes because it’ll be the most expen$ive car you ever own’ .

    I’m a VW Mechanic from the air cooled days and I don’t recommend any VWAG products .

    Maybe it they can get it running it’ll get stolen ….

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      I’ll be the first to admit I know very little about German cars. What is your opinion on a 2008 BMW 335i with 65k? Reliability? Common repairs?

      https://sierra.proxibid.com/Vehicles-Marine-Aviation/Cars-Trucks/2008-BMW-3-Series/lotInformation/50190889

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I think it’d have been great to lease, back in 2008. :)

      • 0 avatar
        Nick_515

        Jon, no. No N54s whose history you don’t thoroughly know. If you must 335, look for the models that received the N55. That’s about 2010 and forward.

      • 0 avatar
        mmreeses

        if I recall correctly, there was a problem w/those turbochargers. So much so that BMW extended the factory warranty (just for the affected parts) to ??? years and 100,000 miles.

        I imagine that warranty is expired by now. Don’t do it unless you set aside $1-$2k as a maintenance reserve fund.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        Jon, those are really nice cars, and they can be pretty reliable, but there are some expensive parts, and certain things will break.

        If you don’t do your own wrenching, or if you don’t have a good foreign car mechanic, I would skip it and buy something like an Acura or a Lexus. Even if you wrench, you will need a little reserve fund in case something breaks.

        If you are a car guy, then I would cautiously advise it could be a good buy, but you will have to read up on the common failures and check them out before diving in.

        I wouldn’t advise paying over $6,500 for a vehicle like that at auction, with question marks. And that’s at the high end.

        The main things I would say to check for are wastegate rattle, and signs of serpentine belt failure or skipped timing (which are related failures). Either of those failures is fixable, but it means stuff is getting torn all apart to fix it, and it won’t be cheap even if you do the work.

        There is a list of second-tier things that will eventually fail and cost you money, including high-pressure fuel pump and injectors, and water pump and thermostat. However, these items are generally manageable, just don’t be surprised if they fail.

        The automatic transmissions on these work great, and they seem solid, but they are expensive. So I would advise just making sure the transmission is in good shape, but that would apply to any used car.

        Source: I own one.

  • avatar
    ThirdOwner

    Sajeev: “They simply clean it up, change the oil/brakes/tires,”

    …and with less expensive cars, the tires would be the cheapest brand available. And they are fully expecting me to pay for this set in their marked up price; the set I’d have to immediately scrap for Michelins or another quality make.

    This becomes double the cost. One more reason I hardly ever buy from dealers.

  • avatar
    Jon

    If you can prove that the vehicle had the issue before you bought the car and that the dealer was aware of the problem, you may have some leverage to get the dealer to buy it back or fix it.

    If the vehicle was serviced at an Audi or VW dealership, the service history may (that is a big may) appear on a Carfax report. If the oil consumption complaint or any related complaint is part of the vehicle history report, you might be able to prove that the dealership has knowledge of a problem with the vehicle but did not disclose it when you bought it.

    You have two options to obtain the report.
    1. Buy it from Carfax. Although there is no guarantee that the carfax report will include service history.
    2. Go to an Audi dealership that you have not visited before. Tell them that you recently bought a used audi and was told by the previous owner that their dealership serviced the car. Ask for a vehicle history printout. Be flirtatious and respectful. Do not tell them the current status of the car. I suggest going to the dealership on a weeknight between 5:30 and 7. This is usually when most of the service advisors are gone and the rookie advisor or new guy is closing.

    Use the report to determine if the dealer that sold you the car was aware of the problem before they sold it to you. If they did, approach THE sales manager (not a salesman) or GM (you will likely have better luck with the GM). Have a solution before you approach the GM. Know what you want and respectfully ask for it. Do not make demands or threats (unless you are a lawyer or have litigation at the ready).

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Lots of “ifs” there, the first being the assumption that the car got serviced at an Audi dealer.

      • 0 avatar
        Jon

        Yes there are. This is something that a woman actually did at the dealership where i used to work. They crazy part is that it worked!

        Another dealer sold her a car and it broke within a few months. The car was serviced at my dealership. It had a known history of problems. She came to my store in desperation and explained the whole situation to one of my advisors. My advisor was more than willing to screw the other dealership for a multitude of reasons (past employer relationship, general dislike of sales departments, she was pretty, etc).

        He printed all the information that she needed and helped her prepare what to say. She presented the information to the GM at the other store and he bought the car back for what she owed. In the end, she bought a car from my store and my advisor had another loyal customer (who was pretty).

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I’m going to guess the flirting might have been key – this *was* a car dealership, after all.

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            Its amazing the uh… service, some women can get with the right outfit and a quick stroll through the garage with the advisor. Air tools stop. Vehicle lifts cease going up or down. Technicians suddenly agree to flag times that would make the service director cringe.

            And all for 5 minutes of talking cars to the neighborhoods’ next top model.

  • avatar
    Dilrod

    As soon as I saw “2010 Audi” and “bought from the dealership (used)” I knew where this was going. I really feel for them.

    If it was me, I’d just keep feeding it oil and pay it off as quick as I could, before something else goes wrong & it turns to shiny, leather appointed scrap.

    My Granddad had a Henry J (bought new, not used). Had to add a quart of oil every 20 miles! Who says they don’t build ’em like they used to…

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    My big question is whether the car’s running or not – I guess if it is, he could try continuing to feed it oil, but if that’s a problem, then eventually something worse is bound to happen, and the engine will get bricked anyway.

    Ain’t much else to do here but man up, reach into his pocket, fix the problem and move forward – there’s a lien on the car, so unless the guy’s willing to take a repo on his credit (which would be dumb as hell), it’s For Better Or Worse time with this car.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My few years of BMW products (an E46s 325i and three MINIs) had me happily running back to American and Japanese cars. If you absolutely need something a little more upscale, go with a used Lexus or Infiniti or Acura…

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I don’t even have to look it up to know if you owe 9K on a 2010 A4, regardless of condition or miles you paid too much. Hell my loaded Pontiac <100K is only two years older powered by Our Lord and its only worth $2500, so the cheap Audi is worth 4x? I think not.

    In addition to Sajeev's astute points, if you're going to play in the 7+ yo German marques space you should be doing it for cash and have the resources for the pay to play. If you like most, do not have such resources, you need to stick to well pretty much anything else as it will likely be more reliable. Zee Germans operate primarily on a leasing model to the first owner and then remarket to the second owners typically on year 3-4 as CPO on an extended warranty. I'd have to crunch the numbers but typically the CPO is the sweet spot depending on extended warranty costs at purchase, they of course trade in 2-3 years and restart their cycles. You do not want to be the third or later owners because most of the Teutonic stuff post 1995 seems to be designed to self destruct. This didn't used to be the case, you used to be able to get a sweet Benz which was built like a tank and as long as you were ok paying for parts dipped in gold the relationship could work. No more. Now it's zero to junkyard, I haven't been in yard for several years but the last time I went I was shocked at the number of 05ish Mercedes I saw there (mostly C and E klasse, some older S-klasse).

    In short, you don't have a good option. If it were me I'd probably go with the junkyard motor but I would research what the average tolerance is for that drivetrain. Its possible the motor in that year is not very good and would increase the chances of a junkyard motor crapping out before its time. I can't see anyone giving you 9K for an MY10 A4 in nearly 2020, S4 maybe but not the A4. Maybe it can get parked in a bad neighborhood and not come back?

    Additional: Audis used to use an exotic transmission setup for the AWD, and have service intervals on the tranny fluid, the differentials, and other undercarriage components specific to the AWD system. In the early 2000s I used to see mid 90s Audi A6s come through the block ultra cheap because something was wrong with the AWD system and at the time it was either too expensive or unable to be fixed. Do you have any records on service intervals for the tranny/diffs/undercarriage? If you’ve got deer in headlights face, I’d strongly consider dumping the car in the semi-near future. You could wind up putting the motor in and have the transmission crap out next.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Maybe it can get parked in a bad neighborhood and not come back?”

      I’ll call that the GAP insurance solution. One poster suggested buying GAP insurance and going tornado hunting. Not a bad idea, as long as you don’t end up doing a Miss Gulch with the car…

      youtube.com/watch?v=O2dvl7jOtzE

    • 0 avatar
      cimarron typeR

      actually a mid 90s audi torsen awd setup is the most bulletproof part of the car with 0 service required,I begged by audi indy mechanic to change to fluid at 120k on my 1995 90q 5mt. He told me he never saw a failure. It had 0 binding issues/noise. I sold it at 165k (?, I can’t rememb.) with no mechanical issues. One really cool feature was the locking feature up to 30mph or so. Pretty unstoppable in the snow.

      • 0 avatar
        ThirdOwner

        I had a 1990 Quattro 5mt with unknown (and, likely, very high) mileage. Drove it for 4 years with no AWD service of any kind. It worked perfectly to the day I donated the car due to it being overall worn out. It went away under its own power!

        If the Germans were still building their cars like this, I’d still be buying them. Instead, my last German product was a ’95 MB E300 diesel.

        I have zero interest in being a part of the lease->CPO->Money_Pit lifecycle. (Good comment, 28cl).

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          I agree, nothing too radical or weird about the older Audi AWD systems, but there’s plenty of OTHER stuff to worry about :)

          There are some days I miss my A4, a brief fling where I got out before getting burned.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          @ThirdOwner

          Thanks, I feel the same way. Those are at least worth putting the money into unlike today. The last Mercedes I considered purchasing was a pre-facelift W124, I believe an MY88 with the 2.6 I6 with the 4spd auto. This particular example had been in one family since new and was sold to a friend’s European wife who slowly started to replace the original worn out parts and got frustrated with it. I could have had it cheap but then I remembered the old adage, never anything more expensive than a cheap Mercedes. She ended up wrecking it which probably worked out for the best because of its -for its time- decent crash technology.

          I also had a C3 such as your 100 or 5000 (not sure what yours was called in 90, mine was a 100). The VAG I5 and manual in your case sounded like the right combination as
          cimarron typeR echo’s your comments although with a different platform.

          @gtem

          Based on this anecdotal testimony, perhaps it was the auto transmission more than the overall system which liked the go south? Both successful examples were manuals prior to MY97.

          A manual Audi C3 (5000/100) or perhaps manual B2 (4000) or B3 (80/90) sounds very tempting but I just don’t think they exist anymore. Even if they did I can’t imagine there is an aftermarket or ready parts supply, these things were near unicorns when they were new.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’m familiar with the Audi 90, yours was a VAG B4 my guess is the 2.3L I5 with your manual or did AoA offer a manual in the 2.8? The vehicles I refer to were either C4 or C5 (MY97+) A6s with either the 4 or 5 speed automatic (wiki says there was also CVT available in the C5 but I don’t remember if I ever saw one). The examples I recall seeing were all lit up with Christmas tree dashes and you could hear noises coming from the cars as they rolled down the block at 5mph. This isn’t to say every A6 of the period automatically had issues, but I do recall seeing several pretty ones going real cheap, esp at the public auction we sometimes frequented (aka the south hills sucker auction, today its a Copart auction). I also seem to recall something about the 2.8 being yucky but I can’t recall if it was the earlier 12v SOHC or the later 30v DOHC variant. I also thought the C4 or C5 also liked to chew through control arms but maybe I’m wrong.

        I myself had a MY90 Audi 100 (C3) with the longitudinal 2.3 I5, 4 spd auto, and FWD (evidently AWD was an option on the C3 as was leather as this one was VW cloth). This was probably my best el cheapo purchase ever, although I only drove it for a few thousand miles and four years as a Sunday car I think the only money I ever put into it other than insurance was Pentosin 11S, an oil change, an alternator belt, and maybe two tires. I don’t even think I ever changed the brakes, I never had it PA inspected because I had a guy who sold stickers, and it never broke down when I drove it, even when the alternator belt broke it still had enough juice in the battery to get me home down Route 28 (oh and the speedometer would only work occasionally, good times). Sadly after the winter of 2010/11 it developed some kind of electrical problem and wouldn’t start. Tried another battery to no avail, we could hear the pump, so I had it towed to my guy. My mechanic (a Volvo specialist) explained by the time they figure out what’s wrong with it, the money spent will exceed the value of the car. In hindsight I think he was right, but I also think he didn’t want to fart around with it either. Miss you C3!

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audi_80
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audi_A6

        • 0 avatar
          ThirdOwner

          Good on you for not giving up on the old girl easy.

          Mine was 2.3L with a 8v (not the 16v version), specifically sought out by me for its low-tech reliability. It sounded like a sewing machine, but kept going. It was my winter beater.

          I had several other, older West German-built cars before that one, another Audi, Golf II, a Scorpio (!), etc – all were good vehicles to me.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks, I miss her. There was a 5000 here a few years ago I saw on Craigslist but it looked beat as hell and was in zee ghetto so I figured it was on its last legs (for like $800 no less, as if). Mine had a good history and I knew the second and previous owner.

            Ah yes the 2.3, excellent motor, mine was also likely the 8v (I thought the 16v was for the 200 turbo but maybe I’m wrong).

            Good old West Germany, I was always amused when I saw that stamped under the hood on various parts.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    “he would have to top up the oil when driving the car.”

    No easy task, that.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    “But Tavarish said this was a great idea!”

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    At the risk of stating the obvious, don’t buy used German iron unless you can afford repairs.

    I once had a ~$9,000 repair bill on my used X5. But I had the money and didn’t mind so much paying it because those bills are baked into the low acquisition cost for these vehicles.

    Yes, one can buy a used Lexus or Honda and have low repair bills, but trust me, there are no Hondas as nice as my 12 year old X5.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      As many here know, I had a 2011 X5 xDrive35i Premium, bought pre-owned in 2015 from CarMax, with the “MaxCare” warranty. Good thing the warranty was so good, because in the four months before I ditched it, it incurred $8,000 in repair bills across 23 visits. The car itself was $31,000 after tax. Ridiculous.

  • avatar

    At one time, a used German luxury car was a good deal because one of the luxuries was that they didn’t break.

    NO LONGER.

    Maybe the WORST component of that equation was that MB actually had a meeting of top execs and CONSCIOUSLY DECIDED TO CHEAPEN THEIR VEHICLES.

    Why should BMW or Audi reach higher than they feel they have to?

    When it comes to so-called “premium” German cars, either buy/lease new or just walk away.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I think they still are a good buy – if you’re careful. All the research I did before I bought mine indicated the way to go was to buy one right off lease, with very low miles, a verifiable service history, an inspection. Warranty up, and you should be OK.

      If you’re lucky, you can find one with a prepaid maintenance plan the first owner popped for – Audi’s is transferable (this is where I doff my hat to the very nice lady who owned my A3 before I did – she bought the plan).

      But what you DON’T do is buy one that’s on its’ third owner without buying a warranty. That’s just asking for it.

    • 0 avatar
      jh26036

      Arming yourself with the right information/expectation is the only way to buy ANY used cars. I don’t recommend anyone buying a used car if they have absolutely no idea what they’re getting into, this includes everything from Toyotas to Alfas.

      Pre-purchase inspections shouldn’t be expected in only pre-owned German cars.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This is a known issue at Audi, and some Audi dealers won’t address it.

    I personally know two people who have had their Audi 2.0T engines rebuilt by the Audi dealer, for this exact issue.

    Both bought their cars used.

    My sister-in-law told us she couldn’t drive across PA to visit us because the car might not make it. Her A4 was an 09 with 50k miles on it, bought used with 30k on it. The dealer they bought it from refused to help them, but they found another dealer who did. The second dealer performed an oil consumption test to verify the problem (1 qt every 250 miles), and then brought the car in for a rebuild. They replaced the pistons, rings, and all the associated trimmings.

    Another friend had the same problem on his used 2010 with low miles. He found an Audi dealer to fix it also.

    Do some online research. IIRC, there are Audi technical service bulletins which address the issue. The dealer who fixes this may be able to keep a customer for the future, but the dealer who ignores it loses that customer for good.

    There is plenty of after-the-fact advice here about avoiding used German cars – which is true – but I believe you can get some relief from the right dealer if you work at it.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    What happens to the car after it’s repossessed? Off to auction? If so, the debt wouldn’t be wiped out unless it somehow sold for enough to dispel the lien. If the non-running car sells for only $2,000, the lender won’t stop coming after you for the rest of the money you owe. Plus all the fees and charges associated with the repossession itself and the cost of selling it.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Correct. And oftentimes, you can settle with them for a fraction of that amount, but it’s still a huge black mark on your credit. The only way you can get out of not paying is by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Well, it depends on how aggressive they want to be about collecting. They can send it to a collection agency, and they may just dun your credit and send letters until they give up. If that happens, then the collection just drops off your credit after a period of time.

        If they get a judgment, it’s another story – then you would have to probably bankrupt out of it if you wanted to avoid paying it.

        FYI, hospitals are going after judgments now, so don’t ignore medical collections.

  • avatar
    chris8017

    This is a tough learning experience. It hurts, but it’s supposed to because we all make mistakes in our lives and it teaches us to be wiser next time. Hopefully your BF learns from this experience, and doesn’t go out and finance another used unreliable money pit. Luckily it is just money, and not something irreplaceable like life or limb. Always research a used car you are interested in buying for known issues. This information is readily available on the internet and various car forums. Hopefully it all works out for you. If you end up getting the car fixed, dump that car the next day and move onto a reliable vehicle.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Lots of great ideas up there and stuff like this is reason for so much auto insurance fraud. Except leave it in Tijuana if you’re gonna do that.

    I suggest keep making the payments and get a cheap commuter car. Use the Audi for around the neighborhood, quick errands and or showing off in general.

    Parked outside your place, sparkling, clean, waxed, tires/plastics always dressed, the Audi will make it appear like someone rich and famous lives there, and obviously successful since they’re always home, apparently.

    Although for you the monument is a simple reminder. Leave the keys in it permanently if it makes you feel better.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Back in 2014 I looked into buying a BMW E60. Nothing wild, just an automatic 528i or 530i.
    Checking out the BMW forum showed me that the used 5-Series experience wasn’t for me though.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I’m casually looking at E39s at the moment just for kicks, vastly more repairable than the following generation of Bimmers (E60/E90) by shade tree guys… maybe once I have more garage space.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        I was working as a consultant for investment banks in Manhattan when the E39 was current. I had been a BMW enthusiast and owner for more than a decade. The E39 was beautiful, available with great engines that could be combined with manual transmissions, and was one of the most critically acclaimed cars in memory. It was also a completely frangible piece of junk that turned every new owner I knew from ecstatic to mute in a matter of months. M5s were particularly disappointing to own, but even a 528i 5-speed could sour its owner in less than a year of weekend use.

        I suppose only the good E39s are still around at this point, but by design they have cooling systems comprised of maintenance parts and minimal resistance to corrosion.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          I didn’t think they rotted THAT bad, certainly at this point I’d avoid northern cars but I’d say that about anything else including Toyota 4Runners, etc.

          In the research I’ve done it sounds like if you baseline the car with a whole refreshed cooling system (radiator, hoses, expansion tank, water pump) and put fresh control arms in, they’re largely okay, just a smattering of other stuff (VANOS valves, crankcase ventilation stuff, dead dash pixels). Which sounds like a whole bunch of stuff to go wrong, but to a DIYer used to old cars, nothing too extraordinary, and part pries are surprisingly reasonable for decent quality aftermarket stuff.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            These were the generation of BMWs where you used to see police tape surrounding cars in service bays to prevent someone from opening a door as the body computer was reset to accept a new sensor while hours of labor charges for the bay racked up. Even replacing the battery could cause expensive headaches, and good luck if you needed a jump or bump start.

            The thing that made these a bear to own when new, with the exception of the M5s that had typical exotic car issues, was electrical problems. Sensors failed with regularity before anything mechanical had time to age, clog, or wear. The dealers were struggling with the programming of new components involved, as it was a new technology. If you have access to BMW computers, there is probably enough tribal knowledge to deal with constant replacement of sensors and modules, but they ruined the ownership experience for new car buyers who worked sixty hours a week in the city.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        At this point if I buy a money pit it is going to be a Jaguar or Maserati and if I buy something that I need to spend a ton of time tinkering with it will be built before 1981.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    That’s why there are some people who are better off (financially) buying a cheap NEW car over a cheap USED car.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I think that’s conflating the issue with buying an “aspirational” German leasemobile and buying something more basic but with much better reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      PrincipalDan,
      Except that many cheap new cars aren’t very good cars, so really no one should be buying them.

      Nate,
      I like your comment very much. A lot of businesses have a vested interest in keeping people ignorant, so real-world “education” can be an uphill fight.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        Ignorance if different from stupidity, many don’t realize this fact but the movers & shakers who run America certainly do, hence charter schools .

        I notice many said the Nissan Versa was able to do what it’s supposed to do but that’s it .

        So, why cry ? not everyone gets to drive an aspirational vehicle….

        If you can afford a Versa, shaddap and buy it or ride the damn bus .

        -Nate

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        PrincipalDan,

        As I think about it more, your music teacher could likely repeat that battery mistake once a month and still be better off with the used car.

  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    I really don’t have any more to add that has not been said already except to say if you can use this as a life lesson to avoid future mistakes, to be out $9k, you are getting off cheap.

  • avatar
    CammerLens

    Yeah, there’s a huge disconnect between “The car uses oil” > “There’s a piston ring problem” > “The car is completely dead now.” Without more coherent information, it’s simply impossible for anyone to provide meaningful advice, despite Sajeev and many of the B&B trying anyway.

    With “the car uses oil” as the starting point, I’d first make sure there were no obvious simple causes for oil consumption, like a faulty PCV valve. If the oil use was definitely traced to bad piston rings, then I would follow the advice given by others just to keep adding oil as necessary. If there’s some other reason beyond the oil use to declare the car “completely dead now,” well, that’s definitely a problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      My guess is that the oil wasn’t kept up on and the engine has seized or has a serious knock from running out of oil.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      It’s a known Audi 2.0T issue:

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2019/09/piston-slap-the-unfortunate-teachable-moment/#comment-9802414

      Bad rings and pistons – replaceable if you can find a willing dealer who can backcharge Audi, even on a used car.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      I also don’t quite get this. Pump them for more info, Sajeev! :) What does “dead” mean, and how did it happen?

      The piston ring problem is real and potentially very serious. Apparently, tiny oil holes and a 20,000 mile oil change interval don’t mix. TWENTY THOUSAND MILES, are you kidding me, who dreamed this up?!

      If the car still runs and just burns a lot of oil, then I would try to ride it out and use some coping strategies. That includes a different weight oil, various solvent flushes, and so forth. Nothing shamanistic, but considering how expensive an engine replacement is, you have little to lose.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        Sorry, one more thought. To still owe $9,000 on a 2010 Audi means you paid a pretty hefty price. Above average, anyway. That makes me thing the mileage can’t be that high. So the dealer really ought to try to help you in some way (halfsies?), and if you have a service history, some concerted pestering of Audi corporate might get you somewhere.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Not necessarily as it seems the inmates are running the asylum.

          Oh and cars.com is calling every one of these a “good” or “great” deal. Caveat emptor! Given the EA888 evidently is a known issue, every one of these is at least 60% overvaluated. Since most of these dumbbells are likely buried higher than that figure, run, run, away.

          115K miles for 9K are you kidding me?

          $8,995 115,781 mi.
          2010 Audi A4 2.0T Premium Plus quattro

          $12,500 41,305 mi.
          2010 Audi A4 2.0T Avant quattro Premium

          $10,495 81,646 mi.
          2010 Audi A4 2.0T Premium Plus quattro

          $8,999 117,775 mi.
          2010 Audi A4 2.0T Premium Plus quattro

          $9,890 97,546 mi.
          2010 Audi A4 2.0T Premium quattro

          https://www.cars.com/shopping/audi-a4-2010/

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      CammerLens,

      Agreed. If this engine turns over and if it were mine, it would be introduced sequentially to every oil additive known to mankind over the next 6 months – what’s to lose?

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    I fully agree with everyone that buying used German cars is playing with fire. I am one of those people.

    I have yet to be burned though. A past A4 with the 3.1l and a current E90 328i with the three liter have been very good to me. I get them cheap and put aside $2,000 a year for maintenance and repairs, and neither have claimed all that cash. The BMW has been shockingly reliable, but we’re not even up to 80k yet, so maybe it’ll begin later.

    I now have a 2010 A3, but only for a few more hours, since it has a buyer. I took it from 60k to 80k miles in the last year. The rear main seal leaked, which was unexpected and expensive, and I put new tires on it, which was reasonable and expected. I just want something like it but a little longer. I really love the car actually, but it does make my mechanic nervous, and we figured we’d sell while there was still value in it. I’m coming ahead on what I own, because once again, it’s very easy to buy these cars cheap and reasonably clean.

    If I had walked into this as a newbie and found myself in place of the boyfriend: I’d find a mechanic, and source a used engine with their help. They didn’t mention the cost they were aware of, but I’ll guess around $4k. Warranty that and drive the car.

    These cars are nice and special, and they cost an arm and a leg when you know what you’re doing, and your first born when you don’t. That’s the deal. A lexus IS is a nice car but not a special car to me. Acura? Please. So going the reliable route is not a solution to me… it’s just a different route.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    At this point it should just be about minimizing how much money is lost.

    If you can obtain a personal loan that will pay off the vehicle, you can do that and then sell it. You can probably get $500 or $1000 from an Audi enthusiast who has the needed engine from the one he wrecked. Loss = $8k and you have no transportation.

    If you can pay cash for a used engine and installation. Say $3k once you are out the door. To use a term I’ve heard used by people from down under the car will owe you $12k so the question becomes can you now sell it for more than $4k? If you could realistically get $6k for it then you only have to figure out how to eat a $6k personal loan but still be w/o transportation.

    Or you put the engine on a credit card and try to ride it out. It will still owe you $12k but you will have transportation for the time being. The problem with going this route is that it is likely that the car’s value will reach zero before the amount owed does. But hey maybe you make it 2 or 3 years and you’ll only need to walk away from $4 or $5k.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      If the car is still functional then he’s probably around $4K underwater. He could likely get that rolled into a Mitsubishi, Nissan, or H/K product. It would be a comparatively big monthly payment on a not very exciting vehicle, but it would give him a warranty and transportation and after 6 years he’ll be largely out of the mess.

      If the car is not functioning then he’s screwed out his mind and will have to dig am even deeper hole to get back on the road.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Nissan, Hyundai, and Mitsu-how-are-we-still-in-business-bishi? That’s a yikes to me. Every dealer is going to look up that Audi model, see that its a known problem child, and low-ball on trade even lower than the normally do. If we’re taking a bath the risk needs to be the lowest it can be: Toyonda IMO.

  • avatar
    MeJ

    I would just say chalk this up to “life sucks”. I, like everyone here (I would imagine) has made a bad deal on a used car. I know it stings, but you have to try to use it as a learning experience for your next car purchase.
    And I will also add in, like many here have, and say don’t buy a German car without an inspection or extended warranty. I did the latter and it saved me a fortune on repairs to an 07 Bmw I bought. I still ended up paying ridiculous money for repairs that weren’t under warranty though.
    Other sound advice from other posters is, if you must have a luxury car, buy Japanese. A Lexus is still a reliable Toyota underneath…

  • avatar
    AutoPatriot

    I hate to read about this, 9 thousand bones is a lot of money to pay for something that doesn’t work.

    My main questions are:

    1. Is the car able to run at all.
    2. Mileage of Audi.
    3. Boyfriends Credit score.

    If the answer is no which I’m going to imply the A4 is indeed toast. Go ahead and get all of his personal belongings out of the car, get the license plate and most importantly all of the paper work( keep everything he signed that will be very important later on!) Get the car positioned to be picked up by a tow truck, keys all set aside ready to hand off, but don’t call any one just yet!

    Now my next step of advice comes from personal experience a few years ago,in 2014 I financed a total of $5,500 for a 2004 Beautifully fully loaded Grand Cherokee v8, it had all kinds of red flags,hell even the dealership was extremely sketch for various reasons,( ended up taking 3 months to get a license plate!) I didn’t care, It was my fifth Jeep and this one was by far the plushest of them all it had 130,000 miles logged. A amazing amount of rust, I could tell it wasn’t a southern Jeep by the conditions of the drivetrain, poor, rust holes on the lower rocker panels, not good. However that metallic black paint still shinned, the interior, oh that interior looked like no one except a driver ever was inside, really impressive, things like the leather conditions/ carpet conditions blew me away I had to have this Jeep imported from Chicago. I knew it was bad but mechanically it was sound, I had it looked at by a good shop before hand, immediately flushed fluids, bought some matching tires for her( another red flag of previous maintenance) about 8 months later out of no where she started over heating, that’s a whole other long story. Poor thing didn’t like our southern summer. In the process of finding the issue with the cooling system she blew a head gasket and warped some valves, toast really, at least to me in my situation, it was my daily driver, and I still owed like $4000. Just like our lucky Audi owner, things like an engine swap or even a trade in at a dealership was out of budget.

    It is not a a win win situation but I can advise you on how to make it a win lose situation.

    Okay So the Audi is now ready to be picked up. This is where my 3rd question becomes relevant. Make sure you don’t miss any Audi payments! Depending on boyfriends credit, he might need a co- signer. Time to go car shopping!
    Credit/What cash he has for a down payment. I recommend that next months Audi payment if he has nothing. Just not any car notes that currently are due!

    Lots of great advice out this site how to pick his new whip. My advice is to pick something known for realibility and fuel economy with as low of miles that he can find.

    Now if your still with me, The Audi is ready to be picked up, the Boyfriend as found a more realistic means of transportation, time to buy it now while his credit is still good. Well if not it stays where ever it is, he needs to lock in the payment he want before his credit takes the hit.

    Finally he has a new car, with a decent monthly payment. Now he needs to call the financial company that loaned him the money tell them he wants to do a voluntary repossession. They will pick it up. Done. No more Audi.

    Okay almost done many months and letters later he will have to go to court, sounds terrible but if you have all the paperwork you a ready to plead your case. Now my final question of milage will come into play, the higher the milage the better your case. The financial company played dirty loaning him the money if it is something that has many miles. Reguaurdless chances are very good he will be likely to settle for way less than $9000. The Audi will go to auto auction and what ever it sells for will be takin out of the loan. In my case a year later I settled out of court for $1,200. Now I only owed $3,800 for the Jeep after everything. Credit score saved…Now don’t get me wrong $9,000 is a lot more money and interest. With that amount it could be harder to find something new enough to actually still have a manufacturer power train warranty.

    I wish y’all the very best of luck finding the best outcome for him.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      How bad would a “voluntary repossession” hurt his credit score though? Your plan gets him transportation but if he nukes his credit in the process that’s going to have a big impact on his insurance prices, his ability to buy/rent a place to live, and possibly his employment opportunities.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        @ajla

        I have a background in behavioral assessment/behavioral interviewing and until recently was an IT manager. I strong believe in behavioral selection and ***hate*** even the concept of pulling a credit report for anything other than a financial transaction. I can get all of the information I need from a behavioral assessment and pre-employment psych test. I would seriously volunteer my time toward a legal project dedicated to suing the f*** out of these companies who play these games.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I’d say that depends on the industry, 28. In IT, yeah, I can see where credit score doesn’t impact someone’s employability much. In my business, though (banking/mortgage finance), we’re working with private information. If you submit a mortgage application, all the ingredients are there to steal your identity, or flat-out drain your accounts. And if that happens, the company’s open to a massive amount of civil and criminal liability. I’ve seen it happen a couple of times, and both times, it was someone who was in financial trouble. The temptation is there. Given that, do you want someone handling your information who’s responsible with money, or someone with a 350 FICO that has six judgments and five garnishments on him?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I would think the judgements or garnishments show up on the background check, but HR handled those so I don’t know what’s on them.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        A “voluntary repossession” makes no difference to your credit score, versus a regular one. It’s still a repo. The only way in which it might help you out is by minimizing some of the lender’s recovery fees, for which you would be responsible.

        Suppose the lender recovers (read: repossesses) the Audi, and gets $2,000 for it at an auction, in its current non-functioning state. The boyfriend would then be on the hook for $7,000, which would show up as a collection on his credit report and almost certainly prevent him from getting a loan anywhere that isn’t a BHPH or that doesn’t have insanely high rates and crazy stipulations.

        If the lender hasn’t yet pursued or received a judgment against the boyfriend…he might be able to call and settle with them for a fraction of that $7,000. Say, $2,000. If that happens, the collection reports as paid, with a note that it’s “settled for less than the full balance.” That doesn’t help his score, but it does remove the liability to pay. If part of his settlement negotiations include the lender removing the negative account altogether, or at least the repo/collection part of it–and I’ve heard of that happening–he can basically start over for a relatively small amount of money.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Devious plan, and it might work…IF…
      1) The guy has a high credit score now.
      2) His DTI (debt-to-income ratio) is low enough to carry two car payments. If not, he’s not going to get the second car loan approved.

      If that works, then, yeah – pick up something new and reliable, preferably with VERY low APR. I’d recommend Hyundai, Kia or VW – all have VERY long warranties that would cover the entire financed period. The Audi goes bye bye and he still has the new car.

      As to whether the repo kills his credit…maybe, maybe not. I underwrite mortgage loans, and if that’s the *only* issue, and I have a very good explanation as to why it happened, and I’m working with a forgiving program (FHA, for example), the issue isn’t insurmountable. But the story would *not* need to include “voluntary repossession” – that’s equivalent to the clowns who speculated on real estate in Vegas in 2005, and then walked away from their upside-down houses and mailed their keys back to the lender two years later. If I had it my way, I wouldn’t lend those motherless f**cks a buck to buy a McCafe with. What that says to me is “unwilling to pay,” and that’s something I have a real, real hard time with. Something like “my employer went bankrupt / medical issues / Mom lost her job and I had to put her on the payroll” works better for me. It’s a crapshoot, though.

      And then you have the issue of the lender coming back on you for the money they got screwed out of when you gave the car back – that’ll end up as a collection, so you now have *two* black marks, not one. If they secure a judgment, then, that’s a BIG black mark.

      In the end, I think he’s better off just getting the car fixed and paying it off, or paying it down to the point he can dump it.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I very much like your plan, very pragmatic. I would point out though if its not running its scrap value at best, so a few payments assuming high interest might take it down to 8K. So 8K maybe becomes 7,500. I would call around and try to find cheap counsel for +/- $500 and do the following:

      LAWYER: Hi, I represent Audi dude and due to some financial hardships I am preparing bankruptcy proceedings. I am reaching out to you as a goodwill measure to negotiate Audi dude’s debts to reduce or prevent his bankruptcy. We can offer you 20 cents on the dollar and this is a one time offer. What say you?

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    It took me many, many years and terrible automotive decisions full of negative equity, costly imported parts, and a garage full of specialized tools for a particular make and model that I was into at a given time to realize the truest statement about buying a used car:

    If you can’t afford it new, you can’t afford it used.

    If you are a fan of German cars, get this tatooed on your body somewhere that you will see it regularly.

    Now back to shopping BMW 850’s on Bring a Trailer.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    IMO, Sanjeev is too kind to aftermarket warranties. I’d argue one is better off just getting the warranty quote and then depositing that $xxx into a savings account as a reserve fund (but obviously that takes discipline: insert fist-shaking comment about kids and their 10 y.o. German cars)

    As with everything, read the fine print w/the contract. Especially be aware of any deductibles.

    Do schools still teach caveat emptor?

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    Sorry, but you’ll find sympathy in the dictionary between sh*t and syphilis.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    HA ! .

    ? Remember I said to never buy a cheap Mercedes ? .

    Tuesday I finished the rebuilt injection pump and injectors on my 34 year old Mercedes to the tune of $2,857.00 .

    It no longer smokes out the exhaust but on the way home the alternator died…..

    Yes, I can fix that my ownself at home but I also see the battery has a date sticker on it that’s 6 years old…..

    DO NOT EVER BUY A CHEAP GERMAN CAR ! .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      I have this friend whose murdered husband worked on old cars. Years after he died, she still had an ’84 or ’85 300D turbo and a W124 300D 2.5 turbo sitting behind her husband’s shop. The dude I used to sail with and I got them both running in a matter of hours with a battery charger. I don’t think the W123 made anywhere near as much power as it was supposed to while running on six or seven year old fuel that was probably water contaminated and the W124 turned out to have a badly bent right front control arm mount, but they ran enough to sell. I pity the fools who bought them.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Tuesday I finished the rebuilt injection pump and injectors on my 34 year old Mercedes to the tune of $2,857.00”

      Were the pump/injectors encrusted with diamonds in a box from King Tut’s tomb and delivered by unicorns being driven by a talking dodo bird?

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        Well you know ;

        It’s _German_ so lots and lots of tiny little precision bits inside it (!$!) and of course, there’s a $80,000.00 calibration machine to properly adjust it once they’ve rebuilt the damn thing….

        The pump itself was $1,800 and that’s about the same price as BOSCH charged 15 years ago, it came with all the special sealed certified bits on it, I didn’t think that stuff was even still available .

        Blah blah blah, it’s a $2,500 car I think and it screws me less often than S.W.M.B.O. but she’s _far_ more enjoyable….

        I think I still love the damn thing, God alone knows why .

        I see you think there are no more old Cadillacs around ~ just come to South Central Los Angeles or any Ghetto and the many dead or barely running older luxury cars will astound you .

        -Nate

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Well yeah, you bought a German car without a warranty. There’s literally only one way that can go.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    This is the Audi strategy, instead of being like Cadillac of 1980-90s where every ghetto had multiple old dilapidated cadillacs all chugging along; Audi decided to make sure their cars incapable of reaching that age and hurting brand image.

    Outside of some M5s, V-series, BOF SUVs/cars, AMG, LS series cars all other “luxury” cars adopt the exact opposite of prestige at the 6-7 year mark. They present to onlookers an individual with poor credit, zero higher education, and dire understanding of finances.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I have suspected this for a long time. GM’s modus operandi of “our cars run poorly longer than most cars run at all” leaves plenty of rusty, crumbling old junk (probably with wheels more valuable than the car itself) in the hands of people you’d rather not associate with.

      I think a lot of Mercedes fall into this category as well, as least from the past 15 years or so. BMW and Audi, not as much.

  • avatar
    TS020

    There’s only one answer: LS-swap

  • avatar
    ryanwm80

    Geez! And here I was thinking of asking Sajeev about how / why the windshield wipers don’t retract below the hood on my 1988 Mercury Sable!

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Ryan, I think that vintage of Ford wiper motors will do that when the motor gets worn out. The motor has the park switch circuitry inside it. Either the switch contacts wear out, or the motor develops enough axial play in the shaft that the contacts no longer touch properly.

      You probably need a new or rebuilt motor to fix it, but they aren’t all that expensive. I believe that is what they used to call the “2 plug” motor, to distinguish it from the later motor that had external controls for the plug switch. https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=4777380&cc=1203534&jsn=475

  • avatar
    MWolf

    The only advice I could offer at this point is carefully weigh your options. You could sell it as is, you could find the cheapest way to fix it (and, very important, GET RID OF IT DIRECTLY AFTER), either way is a loss. If you’re hellbent on keeping it, expect other repairs. But, I’d rid myself of the potential headache. It sounds like a known issie

    If buying a used car, especially over 5 years old, make it a popular model and not a luxury car. You want to be able to find parts easily and cheaply and be able to get it fixed anywhere. Research its reliability, have a mechanic check it, and if there are any engine issues that can’t be fixed easily and cheaply, or if there are -any- transmission issues, skip it. Lastly, get it from a dealer that lets you take it back (say, within 30-60 days). That will give any pre-existing major issues time to make themselves known.

    I learned such lessons the hard way, and now that you can get damn near anything with heated seats and navigation, I’ll take something as cheap and easy to fix as possible, thanks.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    There is a chance that all of us are “fighting the last war” here, and that the correct answer is…. Uber.

  • avatar
    s_a_p

    after owning a 2001 GTI and 2014 A4 I came to the conclusion that VAG vehicles are not for me. I generally like the look of them, but they arent worth the spend. You can get 36-50k miles out of them pretty well but then be prepared for 4 figure repairs 2 times per year. Its funny that I bought an FCA product to replace my Audi (Jeep GC SRT) thinking I was jumping out of the frying pan into the fire only to find that my Jeep is damn reliable compared to the A4


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