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would you recommend an A4?

Ask the People Who Own One:

2009 - 2012 Audi A4 / S4
bdilkes

A friend of mine is selling his 2011 Audi A4 Sport - loaded - manual tanny. 120,000 kms or 74,000 miles
He has had no problems with this Audi and loves it - fun to drive. simply time to get another new car.
I am looking for advice.
should I run from this car? especially because it is an Audi A4?
or
Are the repairs reasonable, and is the engine solid on the A4 now?
Generally I have no issues buying an older used car. I like the fact that it is fully depreciated.
but this is not a Honda Civic, so I am looking for advice.
should I jump at the opportunity or run from it.
looking for advice on the reliability of an A4 once it is past 5 years of age, and the cost of repairs.
much thanks
.brad

Thanks for your honest reply and the information you have shared. I truly appreciate it. Audi's have had a bad rap for a long time. I don't think that bad reputation is necessarily justified. I have done a lot of research over the past month and I think that a used Audi is only as good as its original owner (and how well the owner took care of it) Generally speaking people want to talk about their bad experiences more than their good ones. The internet is a prime source for bad raps. From disgruntled owners ? many of whom do not look after their car. Hence I like sites like True Delta.

My research this past month tells me Audi's are fine, and to purchase this car, and I plan to. 120Kms and 6 years old does not scare me. If it turns south on me, then I will deal it. Thank you to everyone who has shared their comments .brad

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Response from bempey

11:12 pm January 4, 2017

You mean, should I run TO it, because its an A4 !! The only Audi issues that I know of, other than insanely expensive timing-belt changes in the V6 models, are occasional Tiptronic or DSG issues.
My current Audi is a 2.0t DSG 2006 Quattro Avant. My wife likes an A/T otherwise I'd have the 6-speed like you're getting. "Are Audi Engines reliable now?" They were always reliable. However, turbo-chargers are cooled by motor-oil. Turbo motors are very hard on oil. I bought the first TDI Beetle in Western Canada, and an '09 Jetta TDI/DSG Hi-Line wagon. And I've owned a highly modified '08 GTI with the 2.0T and 6-speed. You MUST spend the $$$ for the proper oil for these cars. Its about $15/litre. Put in the correct oil, and your car will go forever.

Audi's are NOT reliable when you chince out, get a $39 oil-change with the cheapest oil money can buy, that oil goes through your turbo-charger, turns to GOO when it gets cooked, and then plugs up the filter screens in the engine (the 2.0t has over 30 little screens sprinkled about through the block). When the screen on the main oil pickup in the pan gets blocked off with goo, then the engine is starved of lubrication and seizes.
That's not a way to save money!

This is the infamous "sludge" problem with the 1.8t in the 96+ A4, 98+ Passat, TT, etc.
As typical of German engineering, the cars will go 500,000 miles with routine maintenance IF you follow the instructions and use the correct oil.

I bought the 2006 when it was knocking like a diesel with a "low oil pressure" warning on the dash.
I paid asking price with taxes IN, plus a new timing kit (With water-pump) because it had 117,000 kms on it and was due for the big, major $$$ service. I'm sure that's why the original owner traded it in.
Anyway, to get an idea of service costs, the timing belt was changed at a VW dealer at a cost of $1500 (all CAD prices) with taxes. I then took the car to my German mechanic (Werner's Auto Klinik in Delta BC) and had them pull the pan, pull the oil pickup, clean everything out, re-install, add a factory high-volume oil-filter (The optional one) and the correct oil. And they did all that, and fixed a few small items, for just over $600 including shop supplies and taxes. CAR RUNS LIKE NEW! Just to be sure we drove it from Vancouver to southern California for a test. The only problem was hydro-planing in heavy rain, and that was solved with new Cooper tires when we got back. (I put on taller than stock tires ... they raise the car 1/4" because they're 1/2" taller, but it looks lower because they fill the fenders ... less fender to tire gap. Handling is the same. Mileage slightly better. 225/50/17 (a stock BMW size) instead of 235/45/17)

SERVICE COSTS COMPARED TO YOUR BUDDY's CIVIC or TOYOTA MATRIX
At 120,000 kms, an Audi is due for replacement brake pads.
(I went 193,000 kms on the factory brakes in the '98 Beetle TDI).
A Civic will typically be starting into the 3rd set (second replacements)
A Toyota Matrix will be wearing out the 4th set of brakes, because there are no brakes too cheap or too small for Toyota!
(Toyota fans don't like to talk about stuff like that. They prefer the myth of low operating costs)

Your Civic driving friends hitting 120,000 kms are probably buying tires AGAIN,because of that rear-alignment design problem that Honda fans don't like to talk about that causes Honda's to eat rear tires in 40 - 60,000 kms when rotating regularly.

If your A4 costs more than $500 in maintenance costs, then you're doing something wrong!
But its a heavy car, so depending on your roads, you might be replacing suspension bits up front by 200,000 kms.
The 10-piece Meile kit (8 control arms with new bushings and ball-joints, plus 2 tie-rods with new ends) is under US$500 online, mail-order.
Then 4 hours or so to completely replace your front suspension. While its apart, have them install the Koni Sport shocks (I did that with my twin-turbo, 6-speed A6 that I bought with 180,000 miles on it, and drove for 5 years with just a fuel-pump replacement and O2 sensors for repairs).
But that's another 80,000 kms down the road. 2 or 3 years from now.

I had a Volvo V70 wagon with the 2.5 Turbo, AWD and sport suspension with 17" wheels. Fantastic car, the most comfortable seats on the planet, and crazy cornering capabilities (with Michelin Pilot Sport tires) but at 150,000 kms the front suspension was worn already, it needed a timing belt, and had leaking cam seals and shit that was going to cost thousands. I traded it for a Focus Wagon, which we had when I nabbed the A4.

LONG TERM you'll spend a bit more on maintenance than your buddies in their tin-can Japanese cars (pray they never get in an accident) but at 300,000 kms you'll have replaced the front suspension, shocks all around, and maybe the clutch. It will be like a new car. Their cars will be in the scrap-yard, OR they'll be spending $1,000 a month to keep them on the road, like my in-laws "bought new and babied" Camry that fell apart after 220,000 kms ... radio quit (its Japanese? Huh?) exhaust manifold (who builds a cast-iron exhaust manifold so thin that it wears out? WTF?) fuel system, cooling system ... it was a west-coast Camry and it was junk by 240,000 kms. I've seen guys driving Audis with > 700,000 kms with no major repairs. Just routine maintenance, tires, brakes, and eventually suspension.
Cost per mile, there is no cheaper car from Japan, except maybe the Toyota Land Cruiser diesel, which has a Hino truck engine in it.
But the bodies rust out on those. (not the same grade steel as a VW/Audi product)

Nuff said. Get the A4.

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Response from A4REHATL

11:31 pm January 4, 2017

I would recommend the A4.It is a very nice care. I have had very few problems with our A4.It is fun to drive yet comfortable enough to be daily driver. The A4 does well both in the city and on the highway. It has good performance and fuel economy. I get 23 MPG overall and from 31 to 35 MPG on the highway depending upon how fast I am driving.

I have almost 75K miles on my 2007 A4 2.0T with manual transmission. At the beginning the oil usage was a bit of a concern, but it has now leveled out to where I put in a liter of oil between 5K oil changes. Some might think that is extensive. However, I put less than 7K miles per year on it (my work compute is zero miles). So, my 5k oil changes are at about a 9 month interval. I don't think that is too bad.

My 5' 10" daughter does complain when she has to sit in the back seat of our A4. As a result, we generally use our A6, for family trips of more than 40 minutes. However, the 2011 A$ that you are considering is a little bigger both inside and out than our 2007 A4.

Until recently, I have taken the A4 to the dealer for service. As you might expect, service and repairs costs by the dealer are high. However, I now take the A4 to an independent shop that specializes in Audi and VW products. The indy has given me very good service at very reasonable prices. I will be taking my A4 to the indy soon for the timing belt replacement as the recommended service interval for the timing belt is 110K miles or 10 years of ownership. However, I think the 2011 A4 may have a timing chain rather than a timing belt.

One concern about the 2.0T is the carbon build-up problem. However, I have not experienced any of those issues yet. The carbon build-up, when it occurs, seems to generally occur in the 110 - 130K mile range. Removing the carbon deposits is labor intensive. The dealer quoted me a price of close to $1500 (I was got an estimate just for info purposes, not that I needed the work done). However, I think an independent Audi shop would be more reasonable.

I do have a couple of mods on the A4. I had the indy do the APR Stage 1 chip upgrade. I also had the indy install a set of Hotchkis sway bars. I am pleased with both upgrades. The chip upgrade gives a noticeable improvide in low-end torque and the sway bars help the car respond quicker in the curves.

The Audi A4 is a nice car. i would say go for it.

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Response from safetywork

12:10 am January 5, 2017

Brad,

I can't speak for the A4, my current ride is a 2013 S4. Different drivetrain. This is my first Audi and I'll admit I was hesitant because Audi's has had a reputation of being costly to maintain and poor reliability. I think things have changed, cost of maintenance isn't as high as a BMW or Mercedes (my experience - it depends on model) but will be more expensive than an import from Japan.Fit and finish is terrific, no rattles or squeaks to speak of. The car has aged better than my expectation. The car is as solid as the day I drove it off the lot.

Things I wish Audi would have done better..... (1) Larger fuel tank. I average around 320 miles tank of fuel, it would be nice to get 400+;(2) The infotainment system is a tad slow to start up; (3)More legroom for the rear seats; (4) Better headlights. I come frommany BMWs and I have to admit, BMW's headlights are better. They also swivel, an awesome feature that I miss and wish Audi would make available.

Thingsthatdrawn me to Audi..... (1)Spare tire - it HAS ONE!;(2) Sport rear diff; (3)quattro; (4)Acceleration. This thing can move!;(5) Handling. With the quattro, the s4 is very stable and handles terrific. The mechanical grip is very impressive; (6) Interior design and use of material; (7) Exterior design; (8) Large trunk; (9) No turbo lag: S4 employs the use of a supercharger.

Overall I'm very satisfied with my S4. Reliability has been better than anticipated, cost of ownership really hasn't been that bad. If you friend has taken care of his A4, I think you'll be alright. Good luck in what ever you decide. Just remember that this isn't Japanese or a domestic and thus when something goes wrong, it'll cost $$$.


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Response from avshelden

8:57 am January 5, 2017

So, my first comment is, have you looked at the available stats on this site for the A4? Are you comfortable with those? http://www.truedelta.com/Audi-A4/reliability-7

The 2009-2012 A4 gets a green happy face at just a little above average in terms of repair trips per yer per 100 cars (118). Price and costs for the reported repairs are here (for the 2011)

http://www.truedelta.com/Audi-A4/problems-7/2011

My experience with my 2007 A4 Avant manual has been ok. I've had some issues, worst was a failed oil pump, and any single repair has been more expensive than my wife's '03 Jetta (1.8T). Things like tires (I run dedicated winters) aren't cheap, but that has to do with the size difference, at least compared to our Jetta and our former Hondas. I have minor interior issues that haven't been worth the expense to try to fix (hinge on glove box, latch on arm rest, latch on liftgate compartment, rear seat ash tray, non-functining driver seat heater).

I think the rear seat room is tight if you are a taller driver. I'm 6' 0" and it's tight even for my 5' 2" mother in law behind me, but with only 1 child, that seat isn't used often.

You can see my total maintenance costs here:
http://www.truedelta.com/rh-results-by-vehicle.php?vehicle=18584

I'm averaging about $1000/year lifetime total maintenance including wear items like tires and self inflicted body damage. The oil pump was $2K and I've had to replace one rear light assembly twice @ ~$250 each time. Like another response, I have to add oil once between scheduled oil changes, usually about 1/2 a quart @ ~3000 miles. I'd look through the repair info on this site and judge for yourself what you think you can live with.

Overall I'm satisfied with the car as it's fun to drive and I like the assurance of AWD to get me to the ski slope when it's dumping snow. I am very impressed that at 10 years old and >100K miles there's not a spot of rust on it through 10 Vermont winters. Would like a little more interior room and the interior to have held up better, but obviously it hasn't been importatnt enough for me to fix. I am planning to drive it at least 15 years total, hoping for 17+ just so I don't have to replace it at the same time as the Jetta

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Response from Member65

9:10 am January 5, 2017

We recently sold our 2011 A4 manual transmission, S-Line. Very nice car to drive, but was not a great car to own. Car was always dealer serviced and well taken care of. Never abused, raced, modified, etc. Never skimped on oil changes and always top quality synthetic oil.

The significant problems we had:

- excessive oil consumption: more the 1L every 2,000km. Took a year of fighting with Audi before they replaced the pistons, rings, tensioner, etc. Very common problem.

- Peeling paint. Around both front wheel arches and the back corner of the rear wheel arches. This is paint flaking off, not stone chip damage. Well documented problem (particularly in the S4 discussion groups). Fought with Audi and got no where. Talked with some owners who did get Audi to repair, but only where their mileage was under 80,000km.

- Carbon build-up on intake valves. My experience is that the head will have to come off to be blasted to remove the carbon deposits (resulting from direct injection) at around 120,000km. Not a unique problem to Audi.

- Waste-gate issues on the turbo.

- Premature clutch wear.

I gave up on the car when I was quoted about $7K to fix the waste-gate and replace the clutch (when the engine was already out for rebuild).

Also found that with the S-Line suspension and larger wheels that the summer tires would become very noisey quickly (like after one season) due to uneven wear from the way the suspension is setup. Getting the suspension alignment done (multiple times) did not help. Tire brand made no difference (tried Michelin, Pirelli, Continential) Dealer said it is "normal" and suggested buying cheaper tires and replace them frequently.

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Response from Member2442

9:57 am January 5, 2017

I recently sold my 2007 A4 Avant with around 40,000 miles on it. It had very few problems apart from living in LA and thus suffering the oil sludge problem as I am continually sitting in traffic.it had a seat belt sensor replaced under warranty along with the crankcase pressure relief valve.

This was the best car I have owned from pleasure and practically perspective. The 4WD in snow (obviously not in LA) is incredibly competent, it is fast enough for moat purposes and is reasonably economical out of town. Brakes and handle are inspiring.

Overall I would recommend. The only reason I sold it was the Takata airbag issue with no date to fix...

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Response from Member4772

10:29 am January 5, 2017

With any German car, the newer it is the better. I keep them 4 to 5 years and then get a new one. It pays to have a warranty. Except with Porsches (911), mine have always been super reliable and actually the cheapest to have in the shop, strange. Audi's have expensive parts, especially the suspension components. Very well made suspension components but pricey to replace. Having a warranty you tend to get every little hiccup you come across fixed for free so you dont notice the cost envolved. I did buy a used 2008 Bummer W 335ix once, w/out warranty, I happened to pick the worse year for that car and oh did I pay for it, literally. Overall my Audi experience has been great. My wife loves it and wont change brands now, so Im stuck...hehe. We drive in snow and the Quattro system is by far the best AWD system on 4 wheels for snow. But in 4 years of owning a '13 S4 it hasnt had any major mechanical issues at all, nor has it had any glitches with the electronics on the inside. But the S4 is a different car than the A4 by a big margin. The supercharged V6 in the S4, in my humble opinion, is one of the best engines ever made by Audi. It won engine of the year like 3 years in a row. So the moral of this story is that if you buy it used with no warranty, pay to have a PPI done on it. They'll check it over and tell you if anything is wrong. Out a little money now instead of possibly a lot of money later.

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Response from bempey

12:21 pm January 5, 2017

Hey, all great responses!
I wanted to mention 2 things that are very important if you own a VW/Audi turbo car:

OIL CONSUMPTION Nowadays we're used to cars that don't use oil between services and with platinum plugs that outlast nuclear waste. These are generalities that do not apply to Audi turbo engines.
They make a LOT of power from a small engine, but in the process they do use a bit of oil.
Its a tiny expense long term, but a big problem if you run out.
Fortunately, the car will nag you if you're getting low long before its a problem.
And then will flash lights and chime if the oil pressure does get low (I've experienced that with the A4 that I bought with the incorrect oil in it) So, check the oil level every 3,000 kms or 2,000 miles.
And carry an extra litre/quart of the proper (expensive) oil.

SPARK PLUGS

These cars also manage to eat plugs if they're driven hard.
I bought a heavily modified 2008 GTI that was putting > 300 HP to the ground.
It has 80,000 kms on it (and VW put their full bumper-to-bumper warranty on it as a CPO, even with engine mods, aftermarket suspension, aftermarket exhaust, in-dash DVD player/nav, etc. and the only thing they wouldn't warranty was the radio-head-unit! )
Anyway, I replaced the plugs shortly after getting it.
Actually it was mis-firing and I took it in and they said it needed 2 coil-packs, but that was a known issue and not covered by warranty.
I replied, "so, if you have an engineering or quality problem that is known, then you don't cover it under warranty?"
The service manager paused, then agreed to replace all 4 coil-packs for free.
But they also checked the plugs and the electrodes were mostly gone.
I'm sure the prior owner had a lot of fun with this car. :)
Anyway, if modified and driven hard you need to change plugs occasionally.

OBVIOUS STUFF

once you sit in the back you know that there is no leg room.
If you carry adults regularly get an A6.
Vision for tall people is limited.
Seeing traffic lights is a challenge (I'm 6'5")
Fortunately, I'm in Canada, and we have an extra light at a lower height at the left side of the intersection that Americans don't get.
It saves a lot of neck strain ;)
STYLE: I have a 2006. Whenever I mention that my car is 10 years old people are invariably shocked, and I get: "Really! ?? It doesn't look like an older car." Some don't believe me.

ENGINE TURBO LAG

Turbo lag: if your's idles at 600 RPM like mine, then this is a big deal.
No issue at speed, but starting out its a pig.
But you also need to know how to drive a turbo.
You DON'T stomp on the accelerator, right to the floor, if you want to go fast (like you did with your 4-bbl carb V8 years back)
You gently push down to avoid "flooding" the intake turbo with air.
If the throttle body opens up, then the dense air "stalls" the turbo and delays spooling up.
If you give it a bit of throttle, it can spin up quicker.
Less throttle gets you more power, sooner.
Totally counter-intuitive, but after you try it, you'll get used to it.

DSG LAG (I wish I had a manual, but my wife ....)

This annoys the crap out of me!
The DSG starts in 2nd when its in drive.
Unless you floor it. (which increases engine lag ... see above)
If you're at a stop sign at a major street with fast moving traffic, and start rolling, then nail it when there's a gap, the car does not move.
As soon as the tires started to rotate the DSG shifted into 2nd gear.
When you hit the gas, I think the DSG sends an eMail to Germany requesting permission to shift down, and then waits for a reply.
Meanwhile, an over-loaded 1-ton plumber's van is approaching at twice the speed-limit and threatening to end your life on the spot.
Eventually the car takes off like a rocket.
You later change underwear at the earliest opportunity.
Put it in S, not D, at low speeds. You can shift into D once you're moving.
Or use full manual mode.
If you really want to go quickly, put it in S, press your left foot on the brake, press on the gas a couple seconds before you want to launch.
Then floor it as you lift your left foot.

RADIO

Radio/electronics lagged behind other makers for technology.
I'm buying a new radio with DVD player, BT hands-free, GPS, antennae, backup camera, OBD (can bus) interface for diagnostics, etc. for under $400 on eBay.
It does everything that the newest cars do.
Its running Android version 5.1, so Google MAPs and NAV will work with the GPS.
It is styled to match the interior, with RED LED back-lighting.
Integrates with dash-light controls, steering-wheel-controls, etc.
And it has a USB port in the back that I will plug into my phone.
(be sure to install the USB cable before the install is done)
That will charge the phone AND give me a live DATA link so I can listen to Google Play Music, Spotify, rdio, etc. with only 1 data bill. http://www.ebay.ca/itm/111746832071?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

BROKEN GLOVE-BOX HINGE

Someone else had this too!
Mine came that way.
REPAIR KIT IS US$4.86 WITH SHIPPING!
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/111460468909

BODY RUST

Will not happen. Unless you live by the ocean, maybe.
All VW/Audi vehicles have a 12-year rust warranty.
Best in the business.
Because they use better grade steel, and then fully galvanize the bodies.
I also own the last VW truck sold in North America (1992 Transporter double-cab 1-ton) that I bought new 25 years ago this October.
And it was used for new home construction for years, installing electricity to rural house sites, often before the driveway was put in.
It was off-road half the time.
There is no rust on it.

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Response from Member4518

7:05 pm January 5, 2017

The A4 is a great car, but I'd budget for repairs and maintaince with any Euro with 120000ks.

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Response from bdilkes

9:22 pm January 8, 2017

Thanks for your honest reply and the information you have shared. I truly appreciate it. Audi's have had a bad rap for a long time. I don't think that bad reputation is necessarily justified. I have done a lot of research over the past month and I think that a used Audi is only as good as its original owner (and how well the owner took care of it) Generally speaking people want to talk about their bad experiences more than their good ones. The internet is a prime source for bad raps. From disgruntled owners ? many of whom do not look after their car. Hence I like sites like True Delta. My research this past month tells me Audi's are fine, and to purchase this car, and I plan to. 120Kms and 6 years old does not scare me. If it turns south on me, then I will deal it. Thank you to everyone who has shared their comments .brad

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