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A4 quattro Timing belt snapped at 84,000 miles!!!

craigoncraigon Member Posts: 8
edited March 2014 in Audi
I have a 1997 A4 quattro, bought second hand (no warranty).

My timing belt has snapped causing what I can only guess is 1000's of dollars worth of damage to the cylinders and engine. The car is in the garage now and I find out what the real damage is tomorrow.

The audi service manual recommends replacing the timing belt at 90,000 miles. Surely this means that is is guaranteed up to 90,000 miles. the car has done 84,000 miles.

I spoke to Audi and they basically told me that they could not help with the repairs because the car is out of warranty.

Does anyone know wher I stand on this or do I just have to cove the repairs myself. They guy on the phone told me that the service manual was only recommendations!!!, what then are you supposed to go on if it is not the manufacturers recommendations. I think they should pay for the damage to my car!! (and change their manual to recommend changing the timing belt at 60,000 if the cannot guarantee it for longer).


  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    90K is their recommended service internal (maximum), and many people change the timing belt before then, on purpose.

    You may not know how the original owner drove the car, and if they drove it hard, they shortened the life of the timing belt.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Why I'm not an Audi fan...

    I don't think the driving habits of the previous owner could have an effect on the life of a timing belt.

    I would call the regional headquarters for Audi and explain your situation.

    If you had exceeded the 90K interval that would be one thing but this didn't happen.

    State your position politely but with conviction.

    Good luck...let us know what happens.
  • craigoncraigon Member Posts: 8
    I did contact Audi USA and they basically told me that because I was 3 years out of the warranty they could not help with the repairs.
    If the timing belt is not guaranteed to last up to 90,000 miles it should not be in the service manual. If they say 90,000 surely they are pretty confident that it will last longer. They should change it to say 60,000-90,000 miles. I could have saved myself a lot of money if I had known. The garage told me it could cost anywher in the range of $1500-$3500 to repair. Great, thanks AUDI.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    but a service interval isn't a "guarantee" at all. There's no relation.

    I'm sorry for your trouble, but that is just the cost and trouble of owning an Audi. Cool cars, but not cheap or easy to fix.
  • tmt1961tmt1961 Member Posts: 14
    you have a good case against audi, i have a lexus es300, the manual recommends to replace timing belt at 60k, i still driving it at 88k if it breaks it is my fault. the manual usually recomends on conservative side but not audi. may be they will learn and change the recommendation for the future cars
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    "you have a good case against audi"

    There is no case against Audi, unfortunately - the person is 3 years out of warranty.
  • tmt1961tmt1961 Member Posts: 14
    if you buy a product and follow the manual instruction to operate its product . the product's manual gives you bad information how to operate its product. you have a good case to go for it. audi should do more study before write a bad manual recomendation.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,148
    The manual is a guide, not a warranty. I bet that nowhere in the manual will you find a statement that indicates following the recommended service interval is a stated or implied warranty against bad luck.

    My manual says to change the oil every 6,000 miles. If, at 95,000 miles, my car eats more oil and I need to re-fill or change more often, will the manufacturer pay? If my transmission goes out before the next service interval, will they pay? Of course not. You have to take the manual as a guideline for a car under average driving conditions. As always, YMMV.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I'm very sorry for the owner, but there is no case against Audi because the warranty is up. Whether the belt gave way because of age, abuse, a defect in manufacturing, is pretty irrelevant at this point, since the car is way way out of warranty.

    You buy a used car, you take your chances. This could have happened (and does) to any automobile from any manufacturer.

    Think of trying to hold manufacturers of computers or personal electronics to three years over warranty!

    You can complain if it makes you feel better to do so but you don't have a snowball's chance in hell on this one in my opinion. So be brave, bite the bullet and hopefully enjoy this car in the future. Repairs are still going to be cheaper than replacing the automobile, and if you amortize this expense over the next five years it's not bad at all.

    It's not your fault, it's not Audi's fault, it's just the random bad luck of life and that's it.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    just on general principles. an engine is a terrible thing to waste.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Who take chances. Took in a 91 Accord last month with 171,000 miles on original belt.

    Customer thought replacing timing belts is a "racket".

    Now he is REALLY convinced he was right!
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    and you get to pick your own crate engine from a list of all those in town.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    This is an ABSOLUTELY true story:

    A lady friend of mine called me up one day and asked about her BMW 325.

    HER: "Should I replace the belt like they say at 60,000 miles? It's a fairly expensive job and I'd rather wait until my tax refund check."

    ME: I'd do it now if I were you.

    At 61,100 miles it snaps, in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge. Bill comes to $1,600.

    Question is---if it were the Audi due at 90K and she called me up at 84K, what would I have told her? Probably to do it at 90K, which would have been too late but still good advice.

    So what if someone's Honda goes to 170K without a belt. Now and then people fall out of office buildings and land in a pile of discarded mattresses. So he got lucky. Still no way to run a maintenance program.

    TIMING BELTS ARE NOT OPTIONAL is what I'd tell anyone who asks.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Still, the guy who went 170,000 miles is probably telling all of his buddies that it's foolish to replace something that isn't broken!

    Can't you just hear him...

    " Them crooks at Honda wanted to replace my perfectly good timing belt at 90,000 miles...glad I saved my money!"
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    while driving with an old timing belt - I'd have my eyes half-closed and my ears plugged, just waiting for the flurry of ugly noises.

    I had the timing belt break in my '87 Toyota Corolla FX-16. At 42,000 miles. Ugly noises, top end rebuild, luckily, it was under a Toyota extended warranty.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Having driven over the Golden Gate Bridge many times, I can't think of too many WORSE places to have a timing belt snap!
  • craigoncraigon Member Posts: 8
    How about the bay bridge, thats where this happended

    Come to think of it I am Quite glad it happend where it did. Because it was the bay bridge the tow truck came within 10 minutes and towed us back to San Francisco, Free!!. I am also glad it didnt happen further away from home as it would have been more expensive for the tow,

    Anyway the car is still in the garage, the valves are getting presure tested, and some other bit is off at the machine shop, cant remember what. Probably gonna cost in the region of $2000-$3000 to get fixed.
  • craigoncraigon Member Posts: 8
    The guy at the garage is syaing that there is damage to the cylinder head gasket and that it will cost $2200 to repair. I think he means the cylinder head right?

    He says $2200 to repair or $1500 for a new one.

    What would you recommend, new one ore repair the old. Would there be any problems with a new one in an engine that has done 84,000 miles or is this the best option. It is cheaper, which I dont quite understand.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Hunter's Point on a Saturday night! :)

    Sorry about all that expense...bummer!
  • craigoncraigon Member Posts: 8
    Apparently I have bust 19 of my valves, which I didnt think was possible?

    The new cylinder head is actually Factory re-manufactured, rebuilt core with new valves and a 12 month or 12,000 mile warranty. this costs $1500 + labor.

    He is suggesting I go for that, what should I do?

    If I dont go for this he says that I need 19 new valves $1500-$1700 and the cylinder head machined $600 + labor.

    The "new" cylinder head is cheaper, does anyone think this is the best option?, any comments on the prices? anything smell fishy?
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    less labor money for the mechanic, though, but a better situation for you, and cheaper.
  • craigoncraigon Member Posts: 8

    $1500 for factory re-manufactured Head & valves.
    $1500 labor!!! (inluding replacing timing belt).

    Think I am going to become mechanic they earn more than I do.

    At least the timing belt will be done and when I do the 90,000 service it wont be as expensive? I hope.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    don't think that's what the mechanic makes. optimistically half, realistically a third of the hourly rate is what I would expect. if you gasp at the hourly rate at Hans' Autohaus, expect the mechanic is making maybe a quarter of it. and they have to buy their own tools.
  • craigoncraigon Member Posts: 8
    I doubt it, this s the Audi servce center.

    Anyway I am not debating how much the mechanic makes, just pissed off at how much I have got to pay.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    that's just the unfortunate breaks :(
This discussion has been closed.