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Audi A4 Reliability

fkuciapafkuciapa Posts: 12
Just wanted to share my frustrations with the quality and reliability of Audi A4 1.5T Quattro which I bought in 2000. The car is 60000 miles and I am ready it call it quits. Here is why.

From the driving perspective I love the car, it has tremedous pick up and very nice handling. Unfortunately, the maintenace cost and time wasted at the dealer is killing me :sick:

When I bought my 1.8T AWD, dealer insisted it would last over 100k with no problem. As soon as mine went off the warranty it several major failures: headlight switch (common in all Audi's), tensioner gasket (huge oil leak demanding entire engine disassembly), instrument panel (dead horizontal lines), and 2 secondary air pump failures. Not to mention the quarterly visits to the dealer while the car was still before 30k to fix Check Engine light (leaking hoses). A few times, the light came back on as soon as I left dealer's premises.... :cry: Driving this A4 was lots of fun but I can't deal with thousands of dollars in repairs and repeat visits to the $120-an-hour labor dealer who is always ready and very eager to rip you off.

The dealer (Jack Daniels Audi) had replaced the SAP once already - two years ago. Now it failed again but this time the combi valve also needs changing. Dealer will not assume responsibility because it is past 12 months repair warranty. Of course they will not exercise a possibility they the misdiagnosed the original problem from the getgo ... unqualified technicians on dealer premises - who could have conceived such an outrageous idea??

I tried escalating the failures and asking for some help and undestanding but Audi USA seems not willing to stand by their product. Actually, they would rather stand by the dealer who tried cheating me out of $650 by attempting to charge a separate labor for SAP and combi valve. :mad:

If anyone is thinking about buying one, do it at your own risk knowing the car is most likely not going to last beyond the warranty expiration.

My sister owned a 2003 Jetta 1.8T (same engine as my A4's) which turned out to be a lemon. Personally, this is my last German car - or at least the last bearing VW touch on it! Once I get rid of mine, I will be a happy camper again :shades:
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Comments

  • I feel your pain however posts like this are a waste of time (e.g. "my uncle bought a Honda and it was a lemon; therefore, all Hondas are lemons). For every disgruntled owner of ANY car there are plenty of satisfied customers. You got a bad car. Sell or trade the car and move on.
  • Hi Rascal - great advise - this Audi is history as of last week. :shades:

    True, the Audi car handles great, has tremendous pick up and is generally fun to drive but they fall apart and are crap after an average of 40k miles. :sick: So if you are one of those "plenty of satisfied customers - read "3 year 12k miles per year lessee's" then yes you may be plenty happy because you have not reach the tipping point yet.

    I dare you to purchase the car when it comes off your lease and deal with it without a supplemental warranty from then on. Let's have a chat on the same topic when your Audi reaches 70-80k miles and check if you still maintain the same position on Audi's quality and reliability...I am willing to bet that you will be as disgruntled as I had been until my 2004 Audi got traded in a week ago.. ;)
  • dmandman Posts: 17
    I personally wouldn't own anything German without some kind of warranty whether it is a factory one or a good extended one.
  • waygrabowwaygrabow Posts: 210
    Our 2003 Audi A4 Quattro has over 50,000 miles and has had NO problems; not a rattle or other noise, not something that needed adjustment, not a feature that failed to work perfectly. We have changed tires, oil, and and windshield wipers; that's it. Very comfortable, well handling, and stylish. It's our first German car since a 67 Beetle, and we are very pleased.
  • Great thread. At 50k miles you are the cut off where some feel Audi A4 begin to show problems.

    If anyone has had their Audi A4 for 60K+ miles, please post your experiences. Is it still smooth sailing, or have you had to take out loans to keep the car rolling?
  • My 98 A4 Avant has been great. I have had one air sensor go, and the check engine light comes on periodically. Apart from that everything else has been routine.

    I get it thoroughly checked every 10,000 miles and stay on top of the maintenance. I am thinking of a newer vehicle, perhaps an A6 2003/4, because we have a growing family.
  • I thought I'd share my own experience having owned a '98 A4 2.8 for just shy of 10 years and 140K miles.

    I completely agree with fkuciapa's perspective on driving the car. The ride and interior comfort please me to this day. The engine is 100% reliable, smooth and fuel efficient, and the AT is simply the smoothest and most intelligent shifting of any car I've owned. Automatic climate control, other than not allowing recirculation when outside temp is near freezing, is near perfect.

    Now, the total ownership experience. Within the warranty period, no problems except a front-end suspension repair that was a common defect in the model year and the defective part was replaced without any hassle. Just after warranty, while checking the vehicle, noticed the coolant in the reservoir had turned to a brown sludge. Seems that someone had mixed incompatible coolant types, and of course, since I had the car maintained at Audi dealerships across the country, no one would take responsibility. In the end, Audi USA covered a new coolant reservoir ($120) and that was it. I paid for the chemical flush, new coolant, and sure enough, within about 10K miles I needed to replace a leaking water pump, and in another 10K I had to replace the radiator. I should note, that during this I needed to purchase some extra coolant, and another Audi dealership maintenance department sold me the wrong type!

    Around the same time as the radiator leak, the cruise control started going intermittently, and within 15k was completely inop. Around 90K the gas gauge lost its accuracy, reaching empty at 1/2 tank (now rely on trip odometer and fuel light). Add to this more expected repairs: engine light due to leaking fuel tank vent tube, tie-rod replacement, a couple of post-warranty brake jobs at approx. $900 (aggressive brakes are nice, but these typically eat rotors and generate a lot of dust), and a couple of front axle replacements (one under warranty) because of cracked CV grease boots, and finally I should mention I had the timing belt replaced during the water pump replacement.

    Anyways, that's the full story. Total ownership experience seemed to match something out of 1970's - early '80s Detroit. But in all fairness, the strong points of the car are strong enough to make me somewhat consider buying another, but I definitely have to plan on replacing it at the end of the warranty period. Difficult to do if you like taking care of a machine and owning it for a long time.
  • boozooboozoo Posts: 1
    I have owned every German make sold in the US except for Porsche(sigh) and Opel(no regrets. I've also owned a number of American makes and Japanese makes including Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, and Lexus. They all are expensive to repair these days and my experience is none of them are free from repairs and maintenance. Without question the German cars have provided the best engineering, materials, workmanship, driveability, safety, and durability provided one is prepared to maintain an automobile with the same diligence expected on a passenger airplane. Treat them with care and they will outlast your willingness to keep driving and servicing them. As for the American and Japanese cars, they may seem to require less attention but as they age they become less easily restored to good as new condition. Both skimp on material quality and it shows when they are pushed beyond the usual 10 years or 150,000 miles most Americans believe to be the end of life. I've owned two A4 1.8Ts --- a 1998 and 2000. The 2000 has 144,000 and runs great and still provides great driving pleasure. I plan to use it as a daily driver at least until I cross 200,000 with it.
  • I have a 2001 A4 with 110,000 miles. Echo the theme here - drives like a charm. My maintenance schedule has been oil change, tire rotation and dealer checkup every 10k. So far, have only had minor problems. Never a service over $1000. Dealer now tells me I need the timing belt changed (for preventive maint per Audi recs), about a $1200 charge.

    Also have a 2002 A4 with 60k miles, the only major service has been a brake job.

    Highly recommend the car, and will buy again.
  • crlvercrlver Posts: 1
    My Audi A4 3.2 Quattro only has 27,000 miles. We've had it in the dealership 3 times in the last 2 months. They said the problem was with the gas cap...ha! Then they had it for 21 days and couldn't figure out what was wrong. Now it's back for the 3rd time and they say it could be the gas cap. I could have lost my mind! This experience has been unbelievable. The dealership, Barrier in Bellevue WA, will never give updates or say what is wrong, except "a gas cap problem". Audi USA has not been helpful either, they call me back with the same information I've given them,but at least Barrier talks to them. They do not escalate any problems or issues and are only concerned that I have another car to drive.
    I love having an all-wheel drive sedan, but this car isn't worth the time and problems. I've had other German cars (Mercedes most often) and always had great service with them.
    My advice is DON'T BUY AN AUDI!!!"
  • I'm sure that in the last 2 months, it was the first time in your 27000 miles you have had to go to the dealer out side of scheduled maintenance. If you like Chrysler so much, keep buying a Mercedes, that way at least when you go to the dealer every other month from day 1, you will get another Chrysler to drive in the mean time!! People like you probably know next to nothing about cars and you bought your Audi just because someone told you it was cool. This is a site for honest opinions on the vehicle overall, not the inability of the techs at the particular dealer you go to. And guess what, believe it or not, it probably is a gas cap problem!! If you keep getting a check engine light and the car runs fine, its a gas cap sensor!!!
  • 604doc604doc Posts: 182
    Beside the problem with your car, how was the sales experience at Barrier? I'm thinking about buying a 2009 A4 when they come out with the restyle. In the Seattle area, we only have two Audi dealers, and I've heard some negative things about the "other guys". Thanks for your opinion.
  • schweikbschweikb Posts: 111
    The original poster (crlver) said his car was in the shop 21 days - doesn't that sound like a bad thing to you and a reason to feel that Audi's are not very reliable?
    How can you have an "honest opinion" about a vehicle (whatever make) without considering dealer service and responsiveness as a principal component of the evaluation that leads up to your opinion?
    You say: "If you keep getting a check engine light and the car runs fine, its a gas cap sensor!!!" I have to strongly disagree. It could be that, but there are other possible causes, and the dealer would have to be a real idiot-shop not to try replacing the cap from another A4 in stock to see what happens while crlver's A4 was there for 21 days.
    Why did you buy your Audi (assuming you have one)- did someone tell you it's cool, or is there some other reason? Just curious - you sound so sure of all your opinions I'd like to understand how a person like you decides on a car.
  • Found this thread quite interesting, so I thought I'd reply again. I have to agree with boozoo's comments completely. If you are willing to maintain an Audi with the same diligence (and cost -- shop rates and parts considered) as an airplane, you will be very happy with an Audi, or any German make for that matter. While I'll agree that Japanese makes are more mechanically reliable, repairs are just as expensive. The basic trade-off is long-term reliability vs. driving experience. I'm not necessarily talking luxury here, I'm talking about steering response when correcting in a difficult curve; brake response and pedal feel in a hard stop, the timing of automatic shifts. I will also completely agree that German makes restore to new-like condition better than any other cars. A well-maintained Japanese cars might easily deliver a repair-free 150K (even 200K in some cases), but you will experience a gradual decline in the driving experience that dollars spent cannot make up for. A 10-yr-old Audi with new tires, struts, springs, shocks, brakes, steering rack & linkages will deliver the exact same ride as new. Again, your choice, a car you drive to 200k with no repair costs, or a car you spend some money on and still smile at the way it corners and shifts after 10 years of driving it.
  • My 2001 has 70K and is going away. The level of serious and less so mechanical failures is unacceptable. Under warranty the coolant recovery tank leaked into the chassis wiring harness which took 3 weeks to repair. In the 20k miles out of warranty the following has failed: an electric window actuator, coolant temperature sensor, the parts that control the variable valve timing. I had all of these fixed. The AM radio doesn't work. The air bag light is on for the drivers bag which could be as simple as a sensor or as worse as the whole thing. The thermometer reading on the dash is occasionally coldly pessimistic. This is a problem as it turns the heater on even if it is 95 outside. I envy those of you who are fortunate enough not to suffer this low quality but this car has as many if not more repairs in it than any other car I have owned in 35 years.
  • Is this engine an "interference engine"? In other words if the timeing belt breaks will the valves hit the piston?
  • I would also love to share my frustration with my Audi S4 that I bought several years ago, and recently gave up on. That worthless piece of crap was in the shop every other month, seemed like. Countless engine problems, broken tie rod, ESP problems tire wear problems, audio (speaker) problems, Oil light, Engine light, etc. etc. Who knows if the airbags would have worked? Audi is so poor in reliability that they are a waste of money. During the 50,0000 mile warranty, Audi took care of everything: that must have cost them upwards of $25,000 to fix all the problems, who knows. After the 50,000 mile warranty was over, it was my turn to pay. I dumped the car after the first $5,000 in repairs, and I consider myself lucky to have escaped. You have to be an idiot to buy an Audi, from a reliability standpoint. :mad: :sick:
  • I would love to share my frustration with my Audi S4 that I bought several years ago, and recently gave up on. That worthless piece of crap was in the shop every other month, seemed like. Countless engine problems, broken tie rod, ESP problems tire wear problems, audio (speaker) problems, Oil light, Engine light, air conditioner would not work because temperature sensor went haywire, etc. etc. Who knows if the airbags would have worked? Audi is so poor in reliability that they are a waste of money. During the 50,0000 mile warranty, Audi took care of everything: that must have cost them upwards of $25,000 to fix all the problems, who knows. After the 50,000 mile warranty was over, it was my turn to pay. I dumped the car after the first $5,000 in repairs, and I consider myself lucky to have escaped. You have to be an idiot to buy an Audi, from a reliability standpoint. "German engineering" I've arrived? Yeah, at the repair shop. Never follow? Yeah, except the tow truck taking your car to the repair shop. You have been warned.
  • I am looking to purchase a car for my daughter, turning 16, and I have found an attractive 2000 Audi A4 AWD with 100K, for $7000. What is the reliability of these cars. Are the safe?
    Do they break down alot, and are they expensive to fix?
    Please help!
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Which engine, the 1.8T or the 2.8?

    FWIW, if it has the 1.8T and unless it was meticulously maintained with frequent oil changes of synthetic oil meeting at least the VW 502.00 oil spec, that little beastie is probably a bit sludged. The 2.8 seems to be far less susceptible to sludging, even when it hasn't been cared for as well as it should have been.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • Audi and Volkswagen in general are great driving cars but have horrible reliability. I have a 2000 Audi A4 Quattro Automatic that has 68,000 mile on it.

    During the first 3 years, I only had the following issues: bad keychain remote, noisy climate control, bad antenna connection. Once the warranty ran out, all kinds of things started to go: driver's side airbag ($850), driver's side window ($500), engine seals, drivetrain seals, transmission seals, differential seals ($1500), then the throttle body, o2 sensor ($400), more seals ($900), Instrument Cluster ($900), rear control arms ($500), all 4 fuel injectors ($1000), etc.

    I fortunately had an extended warranty, which has alread paid more than $9000 in repairs. This car is not a lemon, it just shows the terrible parts durability in volkswagen and audi cars.

    In contrast, our 6 year old subaru legacy has never had a single repair. Stay away from audi unless you lease it.
  • Nary a car anymore has "horrible reliability". You just oulined your own personal experience, which cannot be extrapolated over all Audi/Volkswagens. They may not be as realiable as a Lexus; however, I hardly classify them as "horrible". Look in the forums for every car sold and you will find the same statement. Sorry...just tired of people making such statements.
  • Sorry rascal99 et al. but I am just tired of people taunting Audi as reliable when they aren't. Speak to any used-car dealer and they will tell you that due to serious problems with variety of components (read NOT JUST ONE) all cars made by VW which include VW and Audi have a terrible resale value.

    To give example, 1.8T engine is just a plain piece of junk and everybody knows it - if you are unsure then read up on their problem with oil - sludge accumulation. Electrical system is not much better and god damn "Check Engine Light" seems to be coming on every month requiring a trip to the dealer.

    Audi Dealers in NJ stink. Example : Jack Daniels or Princeton Audi. They are a bunch of thieves trying to rip you off doubling their labor rates every year. Jack Daniels charged over $120 an hour in May of 2006 deliberately misquoting the necessary work and not willing to stand by repairs they made themselves a year earlier.

    AudiUSA is not much better. Not willing to stand by it's own products and disregarding all customer complaints asking to purchase a new Audi vehicle in the next 6 months in order to be refunded the cost of the most recent bunch of repairs. "We understand your concerns but unable to anything. We stand by our Audi dealers" - they say. This is not just my experience - read what others have to say about this.

    Extended warranty - yeah right. What I was offered was not even a manufacturer policy but rather something like a third party insurance policy that was so complicated I needed a lawyer to read it and explain it to me in plain English. I suspect that at the end of the day whatever I needed to be repaired would not be covered under this policy because of this or that paragraph.

    The truth of the matter is that Audi is a very expensive car definitely not your economy line. As such, it is expected to be somewhat reliable than any car you can get for 15k-20k less. IT ISN'T.

    No other car can probably match Audi's ride quality but even this short lived pleasure cannot make up the fact that you have to be at the dealer shop almost as frequently as you do grocery shopping.

    AUDI and VW (they all share components) is ABSOLUTELY 100% HORRIBLE UNRELIABLE CARS not worth your money. Strongly recommended to stay away and consider ACURA or LEXUS instead. :sick: :lemon:

    Unless you have a bag of cash and are willing to spent your precious time eating donuts at your local Audi dealer STAY AWAY from Audi - SELL SELL while there are still buyers thinking that this car is worth any money at all.

    I did, just in time last year - 2000 A4 1.8T - 67,000 miles - got $5,000.00 for it from an Acura dealer. It's rediculous amount but better than nothing - covered my downpayment on Acura which has not given me a single problem for over 12 months. :P :shades:
  • My recommendation and advise would be to stay away from Audi's - particulary with this milage.

    There is a reason why the asking price is so attractive....you or your daughter will have to shell out much more in repairs very soon if you buy it...

    Repairs are VERY expensive too - Audi dealers charge over $140 an hour in my area. Parts seem to be somewhat expensive as well.

    Used Honda's are great and reasonably priced - reliable and nice - capable of handling 140,000 of milage without issues.

    Good luck!
  • Say what you want. Go to audiworld.com and read about the reliability of audi cars. I love driving the car, and keep it only because of the extended warranty. My independent audi shop owner says that audi's on average need about $7,000-$8,500 in repairs from end of warranty to 8 years old, not counting routine maintenance. You cannot compare audi reliability to japanese, korean, or even US manufacturer cars. That said, the car will not strand you, but will empty your wallet.
  • It is never surprising on these post sites to hear horror stories. Our family is on our 4th Audi, and getting ready to look at a new A5 once they are available. (The S5 price is a bit steep!) My current 2002 A4 3.0 has been a truly great car. Now at about 100k mile, and I'm getting ready to replace the timing belt (which is expensive, I'll admit) but a necessary preventive item. The car has never stranded us, and the only repairs out of pocket have been brakes, tires, etc. It was hit in the back end once by a cell-phone-using teenager at close to 50 mph. The car crumpled where it should, and was repairable. I was fine. Great cars.
  • I think you just proved my point with all that writing. You obvioiusly have an axe to grind.

    All I am saying is people who get burned are the ones who complain, and loudly. I know I would; however, I would rather look at empirical evidence than get scared by rantings on a message board. No offense.
  • rjorge3rjorge3 Posts: 138
    Hi gang, this past Saturday I went to my dealer to clear a check engine light on my 2005 A4, Quattro 1.8L (5 times already yeeepeeeeey, I think that by now, I am an expert in clearing the "code"). Since I was the last car they service that day, I got to talk to the mechanics for quite a while and they shared with me something that I don't know if some of you guys have hear before. He indicated that the 3.0 and the 3.2 (06 and 07) are virtually trouble free or at least have far less problems than the 1.8 or 2.0. He went as far as to tell me that he would have bought a used 3.0/3.2 than a new 1.8 (at the time I had bought mine in 05) or a 2.0.

    Have any of you heard this before? and for those of you that are 3.0 or 3.2 owners, have you have a good experience with your car aside from the regular maintance?

    R :confuse:
  • Don't even THINK about buying an Audi, new or used. You have been warned.
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    Any new Audi with the new grill and engines 05.5 on up is far superior to anything they've done in the past. Even the 02-04's are not that bad. It's the older 90's models thru 2001 that had more problems that I would try to stay from.

    Even consumer reports which is usually hard on German cars and Audi now recommends the newer A4 2.0T. Audi is having record sales and profits in the US market in 2007. They wouldn't be selling all these cars if they were junk.

    Stay away from older 01 on down used Audis, and be selective about used 02-04's as well.
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