Buying a Used A4

lowendlifelowendlife Member Posts: 1
Hi everyone I'm looking at buying a ~1997 A4 2.8 Quattro and I'm wondering if it's a bad idea. From the reviews I've read about reliability, this car sounds worse than a Jeep! I absolutely love the look and feel of the car and I'm just worried that I'd be throwing my money away.

Is it stupid to think about buying one with 150k on it? How long do you guys think these cars will last?

Just FYI, I put about 4000 a year on my car, I'm out of town a lot. I do all my own repairs and take great care of my cars. Not sure if that even matters with the these though...

All opinions appreciated!


  • jeep53jeep53 Member Posts: 49
    Hi, Guys: I just purchased an '03 Audi A4 convertible. This is my first Audi. It's a really nice looking convertible. I was just wondering, can you get away with regular fuel or medium grade? Also, are the Pereli tires decent tires for this car? I have the 1.8 turbo. What kind of oil is the best for this car?

    Thanks for your input.

  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Okay, so let me get this straight, you want to buy the "best" oil for your car but not the "best" fuel. Correct?

    I'll tackle the oil issue first. Short answer: Use Mobil 1 0W-40 or Castrol Syntec 0W-30. That said, instead of regurgitating what has already been written; please take a peek at the following two discussion threads. They should answer any oil related questions you have, and if they don't, it's probably best if you post your new questions over in one of those two discussions.

    geewillie, "Motor oils for A3 and similar Audi/VW turbo 4s" #1, 4 Jun 2007 1:31 am
    pat, "Volkswagen Passat Oil Changes & Issues" #1, 13 Mar 2006 12:52 pm

    As for your gasoline, yes, Mid grade and Regular fuel will work, but at a cost of roughly 6% more (Regular versus Premium) why would you bother? The fact is that for each reduction in fuel grade, there is a commensurate reduction in fuel economy. Scientific studies indicate that burning Regular in a car that is optimized for Premium will reduce fuel economy by 10-15%. Said another way, it is a "fool's economy" to burn anything other than Premium in your car simply because while each tank of fuel will cost a little less, you'll be filling up more often costing you more money in the long run.

    I hope this helps.

    Best Regards,
  • jeep53jeep53 Member Posts: 49
    Thanks for the good advice, Shipo. I appreciate it. I'm still learning a lot about this car. I had a 2001 Jetta which I actually traded in for this Audi. I notice there are some simlarities as they are both German made.

    If you can think of any other advice, I would appreciate it very much. Thanks again.

    Steve (NJ)
  • jeep53jeep53 Member Posts: 49
    Well, I just took the car out for a nice hour and a half run and everything was fine except when I started going around 50 or 60 miles an hour there was a shimmy. The car started shaking. I'm hoping it just needs a wheel balance or wheel alignment. I'll be taking it back to the dealer soon. They still have to detail it. Hopefully it's a minor problem. Any input would be appreciated.

  • ezenezen Member Posts: 2
    I found a 2000 a4 quattro with 86000 miles on it. The asking price is quite low, so I plan on taking it to an Audi dealer for a total inspection before purchase. I was just wondering if there were any major trouble issues i should be aware of. Thanks
  • jeep53jeep53 Member Posts: 49
    I just purchased a 2003 A4 convertible. So far it's a fun car to drive, especially when the turbo kicks in. I'm still getting used to everything. I just had a question about the ESP. Is that supposed to be on all the time or just in certain conditions? This is my first Audi and I'm still learning about the car. Any help anyone can give would be appreciated.


    Steve ([email protected])
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    You know what, more people will probably see your question if you post it here: Audi A4 2004 and earlier.

    Congrats and enjoy!!
  • jeep53jeep53 Member Posts: 49
    I just recently purchased a used 2003 A4 convertible. So far it's fun to drive and looks great. I'm still getting used to everything on the car. This is my first Audi. My question is does the ESP switch have to be on all the time or just in certain driving conditions? Any help anyone can give would be appreciated. Thanks!!

    Steve ([email protected])
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Did you see my post above yours? That link really will take you to a better place to ask your question since you've already bought your car. This discussion is aimed more toward helping people decide if they want to buy any particular used A4. Check it out! :)
  • emw3296emw3296 Member Posts: 1
    I found a used A4, low miles (57K) at a fair asking price. The carfax report came back clean and the dealer has been pretty upfront about the car history. I am seriously considering it but I am now a little reluctant based upon some of the reviews posted on this site. I am currently a Honda driver and do basic care on my car...if I buy an Audi will I need to do more than just your regular oil changes, brake pads, etc?

    Thank you for your input.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    While I am a fan of the blown VW/Audi engines, I would suggest that you do a little research first before buying your car AND get a complete service history from the car. If there is no service history, then it is a potentially risky buy.

    You can start your research at the following link (which includes other links that you should explore as well). Once you've sifted through the various posts, you'll be much better able to make an informed purchase.

    geewillie, "Motor oils for A3 and similar Audi/VW turbo 4s" #1, 4 Jun 2007 1:31 am

    Best Regards,
  • a4quattroa4quattro Member Posts: 3
    I just bought a 2003 A4 Quattro 3.0 with about 55,000 miles. Clean as a pin, looks and drives like new and even still smells new. Clean carfax report and the local Audi dealer ran the VIN history which confirmed that the previous owner completed every scheduled maintenance at his/her Audi dealer. I bought it at a good price and am loving it. Sports package with Bose Symphony! :)
  • pjb2pjb2 Member Posts: 2
    I am in the market for a '03, "04 or '05 A4 and have been trying to decide between the two different engine types. I have driven both and like the feel of the turbo, but like the heft of the 6 cylinder. Should I base my decision solely on feel? Are there any concerns with turbo and/or is the 3.0 a gas guzzler. Please advise. Also what about the AWD option any concern there as well. This will be my first Audi. Thank you.
  • 604doc604doc Member Posts: 182
    I think it depends on what you want to do. The turbo cars have a lot more options as far as modifying goes. There are performance chips, bigger turbos, exhaust systems etc. Very little modding can be done with the six cylinder cars. That being said, the 6 cyl cars have more power than the turbos without mods. They idle smoother, and if you don't have a lead foot, mileage isn't bad. Also, I think the non turbo cars are a bit more dependable at higher mileages than the turbos. Just my opinion though. A well cared for turbo can be very dependable too.
    The quattro AWD is the only way to go with an Audi. Excellent system, and dependable.
    Remember, most European cars are going to need more maintenance than Japanese cars. A lot of people have mentioned that they would never own an Audi without a good warranty.
    A good place to get the scoop on Audis is Lot's of knowledgeable folks there.
    Good luck!
  • pjb2pjb2 Member Posts: 2
    Thank you for that advice. I really appreciate your perspective and insight on what can be done to engines in the world of after market tweaking. I was not thinking that way at all. I was more thinking reliability and trade-off. I really want the AWD but I was not sure that it would really make that much difference. I am leaning that way now. It really did not take much to convince me of the AWD.
    As for the service, I am usually a stickler for maintenance so I should be ok on that front as long as the previous owner was diligent. I will also think of that extended warranty. Thanks for the link.
  • mastiffs2mastiffs2 Member Posts: 1
    Hello all,
    Quick question. I currently have 3 months remaining on my 36 month A4Quattro 1.8L turbo lease. I pay $449 per month. The buyout is $20,525. I am currently over my mileage limits by 4000 (@.25 per mile). Should I buy this car outright and try and sell it via a private transaction or should I park it in the driveway and just use my Minivan for the next 3 months? I do not plan on releasing an Audi. I am going to be purchasing a different car. I figure if I continue using it , I will put another 6K miles on it for a total of 10k over or $2500 in mileage overages. that plus the the $450 @3 months is $3850. I'm thinking I can get 19K for the car and only take a small hit vs the $3850. It is leather, heated seats, multi disc, sunroof, auto windows and seats, cargo net and 1st aid kit. thanks for the advice....
  • clescartclescart Member Posts: 1
    Thank you for your posting. I noticed that you just purchased the 2003 A4 Quattro 3.0 in July. How is it working out for you? I am considering purchasing a 2004 A4 Quattro 3.0, but my current mechanic for the BMW I have now says the maintenance is expensive and very frequent, and typically start at 60,000 miles

    Can you please share your experience so far and let me know how many miles you have put on it so far?

    Thank you!
  • fkuciapafkuciapa Member Posts: 12
    Hope you didn't buy it :) but if you did I would be interested in hearing how the car held up since then...

    Judging from my own personal experience as well as my friends who owned various Audi models....Audi's are not very reliable and are expensive to maintain both from time and money perspective.
  • jeep53jeep53 Member Posts: 49
    Well, just for your information, I bought my 2003 Audi convertible about six months ago and so far it's been a great car. It's my first Audi. I know what you mean about reliability and maintenence. I have a mechanic I've been going to for more than 20 years and he takes great care of our cars. So I'm praying this one lasts a long time. Thanks for your post though. I'll let you know how it holds up in the coming months.
  • silverback4silverback4 Member Posts: 3
    Check the manual for the car in regards to fuel. For a turbo, I sincerely doubt anything but premium should be used unless you want problems. The clowns at Jack Daniels Audi in Upper Saddle River sold an A4 3.0L to me and told me it uses regular. It does not. I found that out after I had the car.
    Perelli tires are pretty good, and so far they seem to be a good match to the car.
    Whatever oil Audi suggests is best, but you can't go wrong with a good synthetic oil. My Corvette only gets Mobil 1, but Royal Purple has been used by alot of guys I know, and they swear by it.
    Whatever you do, stay away from Jack Daniels Audi. They are terrible as far as service, and their sales department are the worst. They are true to all the stories you hear about what low- lifes car salesmen can be.
  • ptineptine Member Posts: 2
    I'm looking to spend in the 'low 20's" for a car, and have the option of either buying a new Sentra, Scion, Altima, etc. or perhaps a 3 yr old A4 with appx. 30,000 miles. I'd like for the car to be a bit of fun...Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

  • randylfrandylf Member Posts: 12
    Hey guys,

    This will be my first semi-new car purchase and I am looking heavily into the Audi A4 or possibly the infiniti G35.

    Im basically trying to get some advice as far as buying and maintaining whatever car I choose.

    Im looking for a somewhat low cost of ownership past the initial payments.

    I have already been financed with capitolone auto, up to 16.5k, @ 5.94% APR.

    From my research, I believe this is a pretty good deal, and I wanted to get privately financed so I can just buy the car w/ cash.

    Im going to look into some dealerships, but I feel that the car I want will cost too much at a dealer, but I also would love to have a certified Audi warranty.

    The cars I'm looking at on auto trader are generally 2003-2005 and have around 50-65k miles, but have been meticulously maintained and the previous owners have all documentation relating to the maintenance.

    So my question is, would it be a wise decision to purchase a used audi with that many miles, as long as the previous owner has babied it, and as long as he can prove ALL scheduled maintenance with documentation.

    Can anyone help me weigh these options?
  • pats1pats1 Member Posts: 36
    I just traded in my 2006 A4 quattro 2.0 with 37K highway miles. It was a great car, just didn't meet my needs anymore. The dealer put it on the lot with an asking price of $22K, and I'm sure he had room to come down. That car would be a great deal/car for anyone. If you bought it, you'd be in a completely different world driving it than the cars you mentioned - there could be no comparison. Take your time and check or other sites regularly and you'll fine one. You'll never regret it. Try to find one that is Audi certified and you get a great used car warranty to boot. Good luck.
  • pats1pats1 Member Posts: 36
    Don't mess around with the 1.8 turbo - use premium fuel every fill-up like the manual says. Believe it or not I used the dealer's service department for oil changes. They were competitive and I used synthetic oil. Enjoy the car - they are great.
  • ptineptine Member Posts: 2
    Thanks very much for your reply. I'm taking delivery in a few days on a 2004 3.0 convertible with 27,000 miles for 24K. Car is in fine shape. Took a test drive and was very pleased with the ride. Thanks again for your input and advice!
  • cole3404cole3404 Member Posts: 1
    We are currently looking at a 2006 A4 3.2L Quattro with 22,500k. It has a clean title and the regular maintenance was performed at Audi dealer per Carfax. Most of the nightmares I have read involve the 1.8 and 2.0. Is the six cylinder a little more reliable? Have there been less problems? Thanks for any replies.
  • maigremaigre Member Posts: 16
    A local dealer has a couple of '09 A4 2.0T Quattro service loaners. They've got a bit over 10K miles on them. Both are certified. The one I saw and drove looked clean and drove well. I like the idea of paying less than I'd pay for a new one.

    Still, the idea that the car has been driven like a rental for however many months gives me pause. Are my concerns reasonable? Should the fact that it's certified make me feel more comfortable?

    Thoughts, anyone?
  • jc112jc112 Member Posts: 6
    Try and get a copy of the car's service records. Carfax too. If it looks clean and the car looks to be in good condition...sure.

    Just bought mine CPO 15000 it was a service loaner...just had it checked out and everything was good to go. Looking foward to a long life with this one...but so far Ive loved all my Audi's
  • cjsuncjsun Member Posts: 3
    Hi, jc112,
    Do you mind telling me how much you paid for your CPO loaner car ?
    I got a dealer loaner 09 A4 2.0T Quattro premium pkg + heated seat, BT, homelink, IPOD with ~10K miles on it. they listed it as $29500. do you think this is reasonable ?
    Thanks a lot. (u may email me [email protected] if you don't like to post it here).
  • cjsuncjsun Member Posts: 3
    Hello, maigre,
    Do you mind telling how much you were offered or paid for this loaner ?
    Thanks a lot !
  • mitchfloridamitchflorida Member Posts: 420
    It's funny to hear the words Audi A4 and Nissan Sentra in the same sentence. LOL

    How reliable is the A4? I have only owned Hondas and Toyota recently, and am afriad to buy a German car because of repair cost. Should I be worried?
  • ccc16ccc16 Member Posts: 2
    I'm looking at a Silver 2012 Audi A4 Premium Plus with 18500 miles from a dealer. It is NOT Audi certified pre-owned, but carries it's original 50000 mile factory warranty and has a clean car fax. They are asking $31677. I'm looking for an opinion on the asking price versus what it may really be worth or what I should realistically be able to get it for? Side Note: It's coming from a KIA dealer and the salesman didn't know much of anything about the car or Audi's in general when I met with him to look at the car. Thanks in advance!
  • ccc16ccc16 Member Posts: 2
    Can you purchase an Audi Care Plan on a 2012 A4 with 18000+ miles? If so, how do the costs look compared to buying it on a new car which I believe is around $800? Also, to what point (mileage) will the care plan cover? Thanks in advance!
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