Repair and keep it or unload it?

acbjracbjr Member Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Audi
Just found out that our 98 Audi A4 Avant Quattro wagon needs about $2600 worth of repairs (steering rack & ps pump). 68,000 mi. decent shape. we own it outright. I Hate to get rid ofit but hate to put that much coin into it. Any opinions?


  • vidtechvidtech Member Posts: 212
    i would get several estimates and seriously consider repairing and keeping this appears to have a lot of life left in sure is nice not having a car payment too.i feel your repair estimate is on the high side for the repairs needed.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    In almost every case it's cheaper to fix a car than replace it with a new one. Let's assume that you get another entry-level sport sedan; what's the monthly payment going to be? $400? $500? That's about $5000-$6000 per year. Will your A4 require that many unscheduled repairs every year? If you like the car I'd say fix it- you'll be ahead of the game IMNSHO, anyway...;)
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    Not a slam toward Audis...but...It seems these don't age well. They can become money pits very quickly.

    I would have a good shop do a total inspection of the car. If everything else checks out good it may be worth spending the money.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,177
    is to divide the cost of the repair by an estimate of what the monthly payment would be on a new car that I'd consider replacing the old one with. For instance, if that Audi needs $2600 worth of work but a replacement car would cost $500 a month, then I'd figure that if the car lasted me about 5 more months, I'd be even.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    but who's to say that before those 5 months are up you would not have another repair?

    I agree with above: have the car thoroughly professionally checked to get an idea of other things about to need repair.

    While Audis do not age well, I would not think it would already become a money pit at 68K. I must say I find it a little shocking that a car with that few miles would need a new steering rack?

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,177
    you never know what else might be lurking a few months down the road! I've been burned a few times, by not bailing out when I should!

    I'm kinda shocked too, about a car with 68K miles needing a new steering rack. And is a rack and power steering really *that* expensive nowadays?!
  • acbjracbjr Member Posts: 2
    Thanks all for the input. Came to the same conclusion last night to keep and repair. Best...
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    Yea, the cost seemed pretty outrageous. I had a P/S pump go south on the M6 and it was @$300 including labor. I know that there are numerous shops that rebuild BMW racks and I suspect more than a couple also recondition Audi racks. I can't see the job costing more than $1000-that's with oem quality rebuilt parts and a good independent tech performing the work.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    is that if the first rack goes at 68K, it seems not unlikely that the next one could go around 135K, and so on and so forth. By that time there will have been other mandatory repairs too, and what repair on an Audi is cheap? The car just does not wind up sounding like a worthwhile long-term investment.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Sounds a bit suspicious that the pump and rack go out at the same time, doesn't it?

    I'd get a second diagnosis.

    Definitely keep the car. You'll never get much selling a cripple anyway.

    My rule of thumb is that even 50% of a car payment into repairs each month is worth it.

    I've had some of the worst cars in the world and they never cost me more than $200 a month to keep running, averaging it out over 3 years say. I keep very good records, and that's the worst I've ever done. That's cheaper than any loan or lease.

    The above chatter presumes a car that is cosmetically still nice. I'd never sink money into a rust bucket or heavily damaged car.
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    for an Audi. Back to the XJ for 04 or TC.
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    15-16 cents per mile driven [Annually] in hindsight might be a good maintenance and repair number for an out of warranty aging lux or quasi performance car.
    My 248,500 mile 1990 Q45 has cost around $22,500 in maintenance and repairs/replacements in the last 6 years [150,000 miles]...3750/yr.....$312.50 per month to keep mechanically perfect like brand new.

    Sure there was one $6,000 year [when things piled up at 100-125k] but almost every thing replaced then is still fine....except shocks and brakes and some suspension parts.

    What kills most people is buying [financing] used THEN having to deal with the previous owners abuse or non replacements.......making a car payment and equal mainteance and repair payments.

    Why does a car depreciate by +50% in the first 3 years and +75% in 6 years.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    You are hysterical! A TOWN CAR??? Be sure and get the "Cabriolet" roof and gold package.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I don't see a Jaguar as solving anyone's maintenance problems after the warranty period. Another very expensive car to keep up.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHMember Posts: 22,926
    I have the same car going strong @ 95k+. I'd say get another estimate and fix the car. Youi've probably got another couple of years in it before running into serious expenses.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Maybe the car will nickel and dime you but an Audi can easily go 150K+ miles no problem. The quattro system and the engine's bottom end are particularly bullet-proof.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    or dollar and five-dollar you? If repairs like that rack are anything like routine, you could finance a brand new A4 on the same money over five years...

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    there are going to be some parts that you can get nowhere else than the dealer, and they are likely to be pricier than for your standard old 92 ford pickup. but there's no law saying that you HAVE to get shocks or plugs or light bulbs from Heinrich's Haus fur Deutschewagens. no reason you can't go to a tech who left the dealership to start his own shop and charges less with all the training and tools, either, if you have some locally. both should save you money.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Exactly---German cars have a great aftermarket and there are many specialty repair shops with mechanics as good as or better than the dealer. You have to shop around with German cars---I've always done this and saved bundles of money. I just bought a rotor/brake pad package for my Benz that was an outstanding value, and good German parts, too. I even got brand new Bilsteins for around $48 apiece. Ebay has some nice deals on new stuff as well.

    I go to the dealer for oil changes and light bulbs.
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    you need a lot of patience with a BMW. A friend brought home an 03 528i and the assembly is better than the TC, but she has to drive over 100 miles R/T to have it serviced. However, it is a rather cute little car with a great paint job. If we lived in either Portland or Seattle, the 04 XJ would do very well.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    You need to work on making up better stories; there is no 2003 528i.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,177
    it's better to just used words like "3-series", "5-series", "7-series", etc when making things up. Sounds more generic and less chance of getting busted ;-)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    5 series is my favorite BMW. Fabulous car and while I appreciate the qualities of a Town Car for livery service, these two are not in the same league.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,177
    because it was the smallest (and cheapest) BMW that I could fit fairly comfortably into. For all intents and purposes, the 3-series used to be about as useful to me as a leather-clad Chevette...I can't get excited about a car if I can't fit in it!

    About a year ago though, a buddy of mine bought a new 3-series, and took me for a ride in it. Big, big improvement over the older model. I honestly can't remember which year 3-series I sat in though, that gave me the "leather-clad Chevette" feeling!
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    Her trade was a 93 Lexus Coupe.
  • audiman4audiman4 Member Posts: 2
    Anybody else having a problem with broken timing belt and massive repair costs on their A4? I have a '99 1.8T with only 57K that sustained a broken timing belt a week ago,and now I'm told I need an engine!!! I hear, anecdotally, that this is a problem for this engine with Audi (& VW). Has anyone heard of this problem with Audi/VW (at similar relatively low mileage) or experienced the same problem??
  • tmt1961tmt1961 Member Posts: 14
    you should look up the manual, most car does not replace until 60k,you have a good case to audi to pay for replacing the engine.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    interference engine, according to the online Gates belt catalog. if it went before the recommended inspection time, lean on audi for a crate engine, installed, gratis.
  • crashtestdingocrashtestdingo Member Posts: 81
    We have a '90 Olds Trofeo with less than 53K miles that we have been unable to drive for over thirteen months now (long story). No preparations whatsoever were made prior to the car being stored. True Market Value, according to this site, is $2,004 as a trade-in, $2,545 if sold to (or bought from) a private party, and $3,447 if bought from a dealer, assuming it's brought up to "clean" condition.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Okay, do the math. Let's say $2,500 for a clean, good running example, no excuses, turn the key and go.

    How much would you have to spend to make your car that $2,500 example?

    If $1,000, then maybe---any more than that and it gets very iffy, since you could just sell it as is (presuming you could at least get it started) for maybe $1,000 or so.
  • crashtestdingocrashtestdingo Member Posts: 81
    Then what needs to be done to this neglected car? Only what you wrote in this post: Mr_Shiftright "Experience storing a car?" Aug 19, 2002 2:32pm ?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I think those things but also we have to factor in the cosmetic condition of the car when deciding whether to hold 'em or fold 'em.


    I've been shopping for a second car for my summer place. Well I go look at this Subaru Legacy AWD wagon, right? It needs a clutch, the paint is peeling, and the right door is dented badly enough that it won't open. No radio, needs tires, a/c not working This is a circa 1990 car.

    To me, this car is ready for the scrapyard, because I could just go out and buy a perfectly decent example for $2,500. This car isn't worth $100 dollars, much less the $1,000 asking price.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    because the parts are in an easy-transport container. but in hillbilly condition, the value of any car is what the junkyard is paying, if anything, when they come to tow it off.
  • abc128abc128 Member Posts: 1
    I bought a brand new 1999 A4 (back in 99) and it now has just under 51K miles. I have been religious about maintenance. Never had an accident. Never had a speeding ticket! Right after the warranty was up I had to replace the brake roters (sp?) and all four tires. Now, my airbag light is on and the car is giving me whiplash as it shifts into 2nd and 3rd. Dealership says I need a new transmission for $6500 and the airbag module needs to be replaced for $800. I asked the Corp. to pay for it all since it seems to me to be a defect in the car considering I haven't done anything to the car. They want me to pay $500 to diagnose the problem and maybe they'll pay for half of the repair cost. Am I wrong to think I shouldn't pay for any of this? Should a transmission go on any car much less an Audi at 50K miles?? Any advice on how to proceed with the dealership, the repairs, a fight with the Corporation? I have not authorized the diagnosis yet -- waiting for some help. Thanks.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You can't "fight" with the factory because you are out of warranty. Anything they do for you is already a favor. They don't owe you anything according to the warranty contract. can "negotiate" with them and work out a give and take that might save you a bundle of money.

    I don't see why a diagnosis should cost $500 unless they mean a "teardown" to determine the exact cause of the transmission malady. This is RISKY, however, unless you've worked out an agreement about WHEN and IF and WHY you pay this much $$$ or they pay that much $$$. The LAST thing you want is to have your transmission lying in pieces on the floor and someone saying "nope, it's all YOUR fault. What do you want to do next?"

    If you got a 50-50 deal on the transmission, I'd accept it if I were you. If your trans went at 150K, you probably would accept that. So you got 1/3 of a lifetime of use, and that is worth something. You've received some use, in other words, on this component---you got 1/3rd your money's worth on that trans. So I don't see why you shouldn't fork up at least 1/3 the cost.

    By the way, who is coming up with the RIDICULOUS price of $6,500 for a transmission? That's another thing you have to clear up and negotiate.

    If they double the price and then pay half, well you've just been suckered.

    I'd advise you to get to your homework regarding actual costs and very precise stipulations as to how this "factory participation" is to proceed.

    If none of this works to your liking, you could hire an attorney and ask legal counsel, but quite frankly I don't see as you have a legal case, in my own amateur opinion on warranties. If you are out of warranty on time and on mileage, and this has no concern for emissions issues, I don't see how you have any legal claim here. Ditto the airbag issue.

    I'm not saying this is pleasant or the "norm", but I think every good negotiation starts with looking soberly at the facts of what you do and do not have going for you.
  • cutehumorcutehumor Member Posts: 137
    have you had the transmission fluid and filter changed? if not, I would invest in a $100 dollar service before sinking in a ton of money. not sure, but most manufacturers have a powertrain warranty of 5 years/ 60k on the engine and transmission. I would investigate that if they cover it and yes $6500 is way too high for a transmission.
  • gobabygogobabygo Member Posts: 1
    I drive a 1990 Audi 200 with over 220,000 miles on it and have had it since almost new. While an Audi may be more expensive to maintain, it will give you years of driving pleasure, not to mention safety. I still enjoy driving my car. It feels solid, runs great, no squeaks or rattles, and looks almost like it did when I bought it 11 years ago, even though it has spent its entire life outside. I have done regular maintenance, but nothing overboard, and drive it hard. This car has had two major accidents and certainly saved me from serious injury the first time. I bet your A4 has at least another 150,000 of great driving left in it. Get a second opinion on the transmission, preferably from an Audi specialist not affiliated with a dealer. 6500 is just plain crazy. I say keep it, drive it, love it!
  • hansiennahansienna Member Posts: 2,312
    Reading in this forum reinforces my opinion that Toyota reliability is a fact and not fiction. I could not afford to drive a German or British car.
        How can any vehicle be fun to drive when it is chewing up your bank account?
        Perhaps it is better to repair one of these money bottomless pits as a new one will soon cost as much to keep repaired as an older one.
  • hansiennahansienna Member Posts: 2,312
    My first car, a 1964 VW Beetle, was very reliable, cheap transportation. By 1976, VW reliability had nose dived so I kept the 1976 VW Bus only 4 years trading it in on a 1980 Chevy Van that served us far longer than did the 76 VW.
        My opinion of German cars is much different than it was until we got that 76 VW Bus. Toyotas have been as reliable as was that 64 VW Beetle. The most recent purchase, 2001 Chevy Blazer had a very expensive repair that was mostly covered under the extended warranty. Never did have a major problem with any Toyota.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    and not only because of the infamous $900 mufflers. I have had good luck with domestics since 1971, and figure on staying with 'em. besides, I can cuss 'em in their own language, and we all know that counts for another 2 or 3 HP when it really counts ;)
  • hansiennahansienna Member Posts: 2,312
    Two reasons:
        #1. German cars require expensive routine maintenance.
        #2. Most dealers of German cars are arrogant and feel they have a right to rip off the public with expensive repairs.
        Volkswagens were initially cheap transportation but the dealers charged so much for routine maintenance and repairs that it often cost more to drive a VW than a Cadillac since any money saved in fuel economy was quickly gobbled up by the maintenance and repairs.
        Too bad domestic reliability took a nose dive in the 70's.
  • craigoncraigon Member Posts: 8
    In reponse to Audiman posts 28,29,30.

    This happended to my A4 timing belt at 84,000 miles, 6000 befoer it is recommended to change the belt.

    I need a new cylinder head & valves totalling $3000.

    Let me know if audi gave you any help with the repairs.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    YOu know, it's a free market. If all German cars sucked and all German dealers were scoundrels, then all German car dealers would be out of work drinking beers in cheap bars with Renault, Fiat and Yugo dealers.

    Obviously, the majority of the public is satisfied and the technology, styling and driving superiority of German cars seems to be enough to outweigh Toyota's advantage in reliability stats.

    Truth is, car buying is as much emotional and psychological as it is logical. Japanese cars just bore some people to tears and they want no part of them.

    This is probably why serial-production Japanese cars have never become significant, first-tier, high dollar collectible cars despite 35+ years of being in America. Once they seriously fail, or are badly cracked up, they are generally destroyed.

    I think people are more apt to repair a European car and more apt to unload a Japanese or American one (with a few exceptions) once a major repair looms. That's been my experience in the appraisal business these many years anyway.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    we could also have a bad run or two of belts, too. but.... NAH, nothing like, say, ignition coils or window cranks ever gets made badly, right?

    everything has a weak point. congratulations on finding another one. sure stinks when it isn't something like the decal won't stay on the front of the cupholder, and it's serious enough to stop the engine.
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