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Audi A4 on Oahu Any Suggestions for Honest Mechanics or Just Sell for Parts?

edited February 2012 in Repair and Maintenance
I have an 2005 Audi A4 and live on Oahu. Wondering if there is an honest mechanic out here that works on these cars? The last time I took my car to the dealership for service I was informed that it would need brakes and that it had a leaky engine mount which would cost BIG bucks. I lost my job and ran out of unemployment benefits so I don't have tons of cash to dump into this car. I don't drive the car regularly and it has less than 50K miles.

Recently the gear indicator light has been flashing and the car has been shifting from Drive to "S" all by itself. The dealer charges $175 to diagnose it. I researched online a bit and found out these cars have known faults. Of course the car is out of warranty! I called my son, a mechanic on the mainland) and a quick internet search resulted in: that it is called the "flash of death" or, the Transmission Control Module is bad. Yes, a problem so common it has a nickname!

I started my own search and found this usually results from a flooding problem. Flooding problem? I found water on the floor of the back seat when I first purchased the car (used in '08). Guess what is under the that area, Yup, the TCM. So I called the service department back and told them what info I had found. He still insisted it would have to come in for diagnostics, and I probably should have it towed in for safety purposes.

Now I don't know what to do. I love the way the car drives (when I can drive it). I figured I would go to someone other than the dealer. All the places I contacted do not work on Audi's or haven't returned my phone call. I don't know what to do at this point. Should I just sell the car for parts or try to find an honest mechanic that won't bleed me of what little savings I have left?

My husband works but is visually impaired (legally blind) and recently lost the privilege to drive. I drive him in his '09 Ford Focus to and from work every day. Driving his car is like driving without power steering to me after driving my Audi. I have arthritis and it actually hurts to drive his car. I wish I could repair and drive mine but at this point I don't know what to do. We also have loans out on these vehicles. So I am paying for a car I can't drive at this point. Geez Louise! Hope someone has advice for us.

Aloha,
Jozee

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Comments

  • FYI: The flooding in the back seat is from the sunroof. It seems the drains get clogged or something and it backs up into the passenger back floor, another known problem.

    Jozee
  • At least the Focus does what it's designed to do. It provides you with transportation at low cost. Audi's are problematic vehicles. When they are located on Oahu, they become a nightmare to own and maintain..
  • Thanks for your reply, Caddyman. You are right. The Focus is reliable and low cost. I'll check on why it seems difficult to turn the steering wheel. As for the Audi, I guess I will have to pay for the diagnostic and see what horror story the dealership gives me this time around. I will call the bank to see what options I have with the loan. I feel, if this is an ongoing problem, I shouldn't have to spend thousands of dollars to fix a design flaw.
  • I wouldn't necessarily consider the Audi to be a problem car at this point. Audis have known faults? So does every other car on the planet but brakes are a normal wear and tear item. Bad brakes does not mean the car is inferior.
    Clogged sunroof drains often mean that someone was parking under trees that were shedding. Again, this does not mean the car it bad. That's someone's poor choice of a parking spot is all.

    In theory the motor mount should not have failed at 50k miles and at a young age but parts do fail prematurely on every make of car out there.

    The reason why many shops appear to be evasive to you is because it's impossible to make a guess at the problem over the phone. I would also recommend that you do not adopt an attitude that a high price means you're getting ripped off. A high end car often takes high end cash to fix and seeing as how this car is going on 7 years old that brings up the timing belt replacement issue, something that is not cheap either.
  • Honestly, if I were in your situation, finances having changed drastically to where maintaining the Audi is unaffordable, I'd consider selling it with full disclosure and looking at the possibility of trading the Focus foo one that's easier for you to drive. Audis are nice cars, but they do cost more to support than most. Meanwhile, you could raise the air pressur ein your tires a bit above the recommended amount (perhaps 5 psi) to help eas the steering pain a bit. I have a friend who does this. She realizes she has to sacrifice tire wear, but it's a small price to pay to prevent pain.

    Unfortunately, once the warranty expires we all end up having to pay for correcting any design mistakes that then present themselves. You could write to Audi, but don't get too optimistic.

    Nice work on your research, by the way.
  • ok4450,

    I realize brake jobs are normal wear and tear. I am sorry you misunderstood my post.

    Having never owned a car with a sun roof prior to this one, I was not aware that flooding into the rear passenger floor was a problem that many cars have. My search was limited to Audi troubleshooting.

    As for someone's poor choice of a parking spot, I don't know where the car was parked prior to my purchase. Unfortunately most people here do not have a choice of where to park their vehicles. Many, myself included, are assigned parking spots. We don't have many deciduous trees on the island, at least not where the car was parked. Of course the wind could be a factor.

    My concern is that; if it is a known problem that could lead to other very expensive problems, perhaps I should have been informed how to periodically clear out the drain line.

    Anyway, as I stated, I do like the car and would consider repairing it if I could find some that was an independent mechanic. I don't mind paying a mechanic a fair price, my son is a mechanic, however; the flat rate and shop fees of the Audi dealership are making continued repairs out of my budget.
  • Aloha mountainbike,

    I agree that selling may be my only option at this point. I would love to keep the car. I start a part time job tutoring soon but there are no guaranteed hours.

    Unfortunately, the 36 month extended warranty that I purchased expired in November. I wasn't feeling well at that time, ignored symptoms due to my husband's needs. I ended up in surgery. Some things got away from me, like paying attention to the warranty expiration date! Oh well, these items probably wouldn't have been covered anyway.

    I take the Focus in next week and will mention the steering issue and see if they will add a little extra pressure to the tires for me. I'm sure the Ford dealership would be more than happy to find us a new vehicle too.

    Mahalo,
    Jozee
  • Maybe you could check Hawaii vehicle registrations by make of vehicle...Vehicles with few registrations will have limited service facilities supporting them..Everything becomes more difficult..

    You live in a special place..But it presents special problems..
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