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Audi A4 Maintenance and Repair

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  • yikes, all of these problems that people are having make me wonder whether getting an A4 is a good idea at this point. but then again, the bmw 3 series seems to have its share of reliability problems (although at least the bmw doesn't have a consistent problem like the ignition coils on the audi). sigh, maybe i should stick with a japanese car....
  • mjc440mjc440 Posts: 76
    I feel the same way you do. I'm no longer considering the A4 because of its poor reliability. The BMW's probably not as bad, but if you still want Japanese reliability and if you can wait until the fall, the Infiniti G35 Sedan will be available with AWD. I just confirmed this with the dealer yesterday. I also test drove the G35 sedan and couldn't believe how fast it was - loads of power, great handling and braking.

    My advice - test drive the G35.
  • anetaaneta Posts: 4
    I have been considering buying/leasing an Audi A4/1.8 AWD, but I hear lots of bad things about it, surprisingly to me. Friends of mine have recently returned their 2 months short of end of lease due to numerous problems with coils, transmission, bearly burning chair (while driving it on a highway!), lamps burning in a row, and so on.
    I thought they managed to get a lemon on their hands, as I believed that this is a great little car for the NE, but I see that reliability is a real issue.
    Also heard not very good things about service in terms of efficiency and public relations. Perhaps as a Lexus owner I got spoiled.
    Yes, I know it looks great, but for +$32K I need many years of smooth and inexpensive maintenance.
    Any feedback on reliability would be extremely appreciated.
  • goralgoral Posts: 138
    If you are looking for a reliable car, I think you should look elsewhere. I consider myself fairly fortunate A4 owner ('98 1.8TQMS) - put 41K miles in 1.5 years (currently at 81K), but still the following had (or still have) to be fixed:
    -control arms - replaced 2, may need to replace some more soon.
    -headlight switch - went out 3 months ago. Just couple days ago, the same thing broke down again. Dealer wanted $99 for diagnosis. Since the switch is $150 and I did the labor myself, I decided to just get a new one... I've taken it apart and I am completely disgusted by its design!
    -door moulding replaced
    -heated seat literally burns me - won't even bother fixing it - I've heard several complaints about this one.
  • I'm ready to buy a 2003 Audi A4 Avant 3.0 6-speed but I'm not sure about all the problems attached to the manufacturer and the low resale value on a new lease offer(53%).

    How unreliable are these vehicles? I've owned 4 cars since 1990(Toyota Celica GT-S, Ford Explorer Sport(2) and a Toyota 4-Runner SR5) and I've never really had any problems to speak of at all with these cars. Before I drop 39K on an AUDI I need some reassurance about my purchase otherwise I'm going to Volvo, Honda or Nissan.
  • I bought my car new and even ordered it. Yes, the front control arms died and had to be replaced on Audi's nickel. They groaned mercelessy. By the way, I have 51,700 miles now in Feb 2003. I had 2 engine light issues. One, under warranty, just a sensitive switch or something, then a vacuun hose a year ago which had to go thru diagnostics to isolate. Yeah, I also had a seat burnout which they repaired and replaced; I'm careful not to put too much pinpoint pressure on the seats which could damage the fragile wiring. Saab uses a denser wire but only has one setting not 6. In the 9-3. I havent heard anything worrisome about the coil. What's got me a little perturbed is Audi's maintenance calender to change the timing belt and I guess other belts at 60,000 or in my case, 6 years. Has anyone got any indicators for that? I have most services done at a private mechanic's shop; Audi for unrequieted diagnostics, maintenance switches that only they can turn off and they replaced my battery for me last summer only because I was there and it needed it. All in all, I have been very happy with the car. I did full brakes at 40,000 and all new tires too. I reground the rotars. I also stick to 2 year changes of brake fluid and anti-freeze regardless of what they say. A buddy of mine with 250,000 on a Mercedes says I should change the transmission fluid at 60,000 and forget about that $1,200.00 service for belts in the spring when the car hits 6 years. Any comments?
  • After trying for months Audi informs me that they will not pay for a software upgrade. I take this as a seriously as a wheel falling off.
    Therefore ,I can arrive at only one conclusion. After buying 5 Audis and enjoying them that Audi's arragonce leaves me on other choices.
    1. No more Audi's
    2. Picket the dealer who sold it to me.
    3. Take Audi to court so I can at least get my money back for an incomplete Nav system.

    The companies attitude(German) shows that they do not give a tinkers damn about serious concerns. It will shortly become their problem. I can no longer advise people to buy the product when they will not own up to poor software and even more importantly incomplete software.
    I can appreciate leaving out some small town but to leave out Vancouver Island which has the capiticl(Victoria) and leave out a major city in the interior of British Columbia(Kelowna pop 200,000 +) is not accatable.
  • I suggest that before making your next purchase that you thoroughly check the map detail of the Nav system BEFORE you buy, if this item is so critical to make you want to switch brands after owning five Audis and "enjoying them." I personally would not spring for the Audi Nav system until it features a map display and becomes DVD-based. Even then, any software will become outdated as existing roads change names, and new ones are built. I've seen complaints even in the Lexus and Acura boards about software updates not being complete, and others because they are not made available frequently enough, or they want too much money for them when they are released.

    On the other hand if you have a malfunction and the software doesn't work even in Vancouver, and the dealer will not acknowledge it or agree to fix it, then you have a legitimate complaint.

    P.S. On my portable Garmin unit, there are different software packages (maps) you can buy or download, and in my case one of them is excellent in the large metro areas, but with very limited detail in smaller towns and in rural areas. Another CD has much better detail in areas that are away from the big cities, but is not as accurate inside the metro. To address this I purchased both sets to cover my bases. But if I wanted British Columbia, I'm sure I would have to buy another map set (haven't checked as I have no plans to go there soon - loved skiing Whistler and Blackcomb, though, when I was there about 20 years ago).
  • Thanks for the input. The problem is this is a 5th Audi. Yes the treatment is shabby and yes I complain from my dealership to the company. They refuse to send me an upgrade without me shelling out the $$
    I must now look at suing them in a class action or taking them to small claims.
    I will probably end up picketing on Friday evenings and Saturdays(their busy day)
  • gusharlsgusharls Posts: 18
    I was driving my wifes 2001 home from an evening at the theatre when the oil light comes on. I'm close to home and use Royal purple 5-30 so I know the car can make it.
           After checking the dip I have to add 2 liters. I cannot see any leaks or puddles on the floor. Something I should know about?
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    When was the last time you checked the oil level? Any prior history of the car using oil? If it lost this much oil in a very short time, you may have a leak somewhere. I don't know anything about "Royal purple" but I've always used Mobil 1 and the car uses very little oil in between changes. I would monitor the level closely over the next couple of weeks, and if you continue using/losing abnormal amounts of oil, have the dealer check it out.
  • toreromdtoreromd Posts: 1
    As an owner of a '96 A6, I recently pushed my mother toward the purchase of an '02 A4. The car died on her yesterday, and now she is getting push-back from local dealer saying that they can't replace all coil packs due to supply issues. Was the '02 A4 purchase a good idea after all?!
  • ludegirlludegirl Posts: 1
    After much thought, I had made up my mind to purchase a used Audi A4 1.8T, probably a 99 or 2000. I thought that it was a combination of everything I wanted basically in a vehicle...looks, comfort, and performance. However, I have heard reports of numerous problems with the A4, and this board seems to confirm that. My question is, a lot of the problems seems to be on the newer models....are these problems prevalent on the 99 and 2000 as well? Thanks for any help, I don't want to make the wrong decision, but not too many other cars appeal to me right now.
  • bigmike5bigmike5 Posts: 960
    Hi to all- I just popped over from the Chrysler 300M board where I usually reside. My daughter recently dumped a Mazda MX-6 with tranny and brake issues, and after a test drive fell in love with an 03 A4. Against my advice, [do they ever listen?] she bought one. After just browsing a little here to see what other owners were saying I guess getting an extended warranty on her new A4 is a no-brainer. Hope she has better luck with hers than some here have had with theirs. And just to let you know, the 300M is not perfect either. We still have similar "defective part" issues after almost five years with essentially the same model. Adios.
  • Sorry to hear all the heat here in this forum. You folks have challenges with your Audi's like I have with my GMC Envoy.
    I've had a '98 A4 1.8t Quatt 5-speed w/sport suspension since new and have done numerous mods to it too. The two only problems I ever had were a water pump and a leaky valve cover gasket (under warranty). Other than that I have the original rear brakes still on the car, original shocks still on it. Replaced the front brakes at 60,000, replaced the original tires at 50,000. I can honestly say it's been the most fun to drive and the most reliable vehicle I've owned, besides our old '95 VW Jetta GLX.
  • I just purchased a certified, pre-owned Audi A4 1.8T Quattro less than two weeks ago, and just this evening, I encountered every used-car-buyer's nightmare... while at a stoplight, my car began idling as though someone had thrown a live animal into the engine block. The irregularity in the RPMs was enough to cause the car to rock side-to-side as I waited for the light. It was awful! Then, seconds later, my check engine light lit up in the console, with the oil icon illuminating as I thought it might. Needless to say, my reaction was immediate-- first heartbreaking disappointment that my beautiful new car-- well, new to me -- had something wrong with it, and secondly, an intense, if not understandable, wave of anger at the emergence of this problem so soon after my purchase. I'm trying really hard not to freak out about this, but I'm pretty upset about it. I know that regular oil changes and grease-jobs are my responsibility as an owner, and I generally take extremely good care of my cars -- but I was absolutely dumbfounded to be reckoning with an oil light and possible cylinder/rod damage a mere two-weeks after I pulled the car off the lot! I'm terrified that the violence in my idle indicates serious damage, and I'm extremely scared that my Audi Warranty isn't going to cover it. So, my question is this... if anyone out there has purchased a used A4 and has had it serviced under the pre-owned warranty, could you please respond and hopefully reassure a new owner who's completely mortified at the prospect of having to shell out for a new engine block for a car he's had on the road less than a fortnight? I LOVE the way the car drives/drove, but I have to say I'm more than a little disconcerted about having to deal with this problem, given the recentness of my purchase. If anyone has any information about the comprehensiveness and quality of the Audi-certified, pre-owned warranty, I would be ridiculously grateful. I was so excited about having such a wonderful car, and so looking forward to driving many spirited miles with my new A4, and I'm genuinely crestfallen to think that my new baby might have permanent damage, due to what I assume was dealer neglect; the only explanation I can think of was that they let me drive off the lot in a car with no oil in it.
    Any experiences, suggestions, advice, etc., that could shed some light and help assuage my fears would be FANTASTIC. Seriously, it would be a HUGE weight off my mind to know that I was going to be well-taken care of. Thanks SO much to anyone who can help! Honestly, I will name my first-born offspring after you! I'll mail you your own weight in chocolate! Whatever it takes! I have a sister who's very good-looking, it that entices anyone. Hee Hee. But in all honestly, I would be unspeakably appreciative of any help you might offer. =)
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    This is why you bought a certified car. If you haven't already I would make a service appt ASAP, and have the problem thoroughly diagnosed. Did you say that you checked the oil level and there was no measurable oil in the engine? This doesn't seem possible, unless a leak somehow developed after you bought the car, as the dealer would have surely checked the oil level in going through the certification process (at least, one would think they would have). At any rate I would want to see a complete service history of the vehicle and assure myself that your episode did not cause any further damage. Insist on a full explanation and if you have any doubt maybe even press for a refund/exchange. Until you know exactly what the issue is, do not try to drive it and have it towed to the dealer at Audi's expense.

    I don't mean to alarm, as it's very possible that the issue is something relatively trivial, and just a minor adjustment is needed with no damage done. And it's entirely possible that what happened is due to the much discussed coil problems (read back on this thread) which should be easily and permanantly fixed with a quick replacement of the re-designed part. Insist on complete satisfaction, and good luck!
  • Okay... so I win the contest for "car owner in most desperate need of thorazine".... I feel like a giant doofus now, after having freaked out so thoroughly in my last post. I checked the oil this morning in the daylight-- as it turns out, actually being able to *see* the dip-stick aids a great deal in determining the oil levels, go figure =) -- and it looks to be okay. I called the dealer as well, and according to their service guy, the symptoms I described are more likely the result of pistons misfiring due to a bad ignition coil, rather than a thrown rod or something else equally abysmal. He said that the noises and "engine wobble" I detailed in my frazzled phone message were fairly indicative of what I've recently learned is a common problem among the 1.8Ts-- crappy coil packs. After poking around on the board for a while, hoping to find just such an explanation, it sounds as though my engine woes are very similar to those reporting bad coil packs, so I'm *really* hoping that's it.
    In the meantime, I will cross my fingers... and giggle a little in shame that I overreacted so badly. =P I dunno... I had a HORRIBLE experience with my last car, and now I'm a bit paranoid. I took my old Isuzu Rodeo in for an oil change at Jiffy Lube, and the brainiacs down in the bay simply "forgot" to fill the thing with oil after draining it. Yup: They just "forgot". In a room *surrounded* by oil cans, in a uniform covered in oil, standing in a lake of 10W30, in a building with "LUBE" on the marque, these geniuses "forgot" to put oil in it. Oops. I'm sure MENSA is eagerly awaiting their applications...
    Anyway, a day later, my oil light comes on, and immediately the engine starts rattling as though a WWI machine gunner is squeezing off rounds at the Red Barron from behind the fan cowl. A rod had broken loose and was flopping around the engine block like a piece of popcorn. Needless to say, I went OFF. I threatened them with legal action and exposure to local media, and they ended up having to spring for a brand new V-6 for my SUV that had 50,000 miles on it... an SUV that my sister now drives, worry-free. =)

    So... aside from feeling a bit sheepish about whigging out over what might be nothing, I feel much better. The dealer contacted me immediately, had the car towed in AND set me up with a brand-spankin new loaner without so much as batting an eye. Aside from being mildly peeved about having to get service so soon, all my fears amd misgivings completely evaporated... providing of course they don't inform me that my ventilation system is crawling with the ebola virus or something. =) So... if anyone's like me is overly skittish and prone to emotional outbursts regarding their cars, I HIGHLY recommend Prestige Imports in Denver, CO... they seem to be very good at dealing with dorky, irrational customers. =)

    Also... uh... I hate to say this... but I like my 2001 A4 WAY, WAY, WAY better than the brand new 2003 one they loaned me. Is it just me, or did the interior suddenly become very "plastic-y" and pre-fabricated feeling in the newer body style?
    I felt like I was in a Passat... which is by no means a bad a thing... but honestly, I was shocked at the large amount of flat, hollow-sounding plastic in the dash. Weird... Anyone else notice this? Just curious...

    Thanks for the sane, level-headed advice. Next time I'll settle down a litte before I go pounding on my keyboard like a mad man.

    I just hope the service manager was right, and that it's an easily solvable problem. I just want my new toy back. =) I miss it already... how sad is that?

    Thank you very much for your insight though... I really appreciate it. That was very nice of you. I'll let ya know how it works out. =)
    Take care!
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    Glad to hear that it's probably just the coils, which unfortunately for Audi has given them some very bad publicity due to how widespread the problem has been, and their inability to quickly get the problem remedied. If you haven't read much about it, a supplier manufactured thousands of defective coil packs, and has had some difficulty in catching up, despite having worked around the clock. It's just too bad that VW/Audi wasn't more pro-active in addressing this problem sooner, before it became such a huge problem. I think otherwise once this problem on your car is fixed that you will really enjoy the car - just watch the oil level and change it often. Also go easy on the gas pedal until the car is fairly warmed up, and don't shut it off immediately after driving it real aggressively (to let the turbos cool down some).

    P.S. I completely agree with you on the interior of the new models. Although it's improved in terms of interior room and some ergonomic touches, there was a definite cheapening in the quality of some of the materials which to me was very noticeable. My wife drives a '98.5 2.8Q with grey leather interior and to me at least the materials (both plastics and wood) seem much richer than the new model's.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    can you tell us a bit more about this good-looking sister of yours? Age, marital status, do you have a digital camera...... :)
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