'02 Audi A6: My car is dying...and i'm POOR! HELP!

Hello, all:

Greetings from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Here’s my predicament:

a) A few years ago, I was given an A6 as a graduation gift. I had an A4 before that, and had loved it, so I’m sort of familiar with the consequences my driving has on Audis…I have really improved my driving–I think! During college, I’d go on wild country drives that left my CV joints and control arms in need of replacement; since I’ve had the A6, though, I’ve made the GIANT mistake of lending out my car to several friends who “needed” it, some of whom have RUN IT THROUGH HELL and back - I once found the big plastic piece that goes underneath the front end in a parking lot, in the middle of a HUGE pot-hole! I’ve decided to never again loan out my car…

b) In March, I was having a new key made and the dealership was VERY adamant that I not drive it back. I was about to leave for several months, though, so I told them that I couldn’t fix it. The guy seemed offended that I rebuffed his car advice, so he explicity wrote out all the things that were wrong with it and gave me a hefty estimate of $4,000. Shocked and scared, I vowed to never visit that particular dealership again, live or die…I figured I’d fix it at a local shop upon my return…

c) I’m back, and:

1. my battery is dead. I tried to recharge it yesterday, with no luck. I’m going home to try and remove it and take it to the local AutoZone where a guy told me he’d recharge it for free, or sell me a partially-used battery (I don’t want to buy a new one, because I have a warranty on this battery that is only valid if I’m in San Antonio, where I’ll be taking the car in about a month before my next year-long absence from the country);

2. according to the dealership mechanic’s estimates, the only things I can remember that were important were: CV boots, tie rods, and rotors. There’s gotta be more, but I can’t remember now and I don’t have the estimate with me…

…WHICH BRINGS ME TO MY QUESTION: I plan on buying whatever parts they say I need online - they seem cheap - I’ve seen tie rods for $55, CV boots for $25, and discs (rotors?) for $60. Is this stupid? Also, how long should it take these guys to do these jobs? I’m tired of being lied to and swindled! It’s happened sooo much in the past, and it’s so frustrating that I’m contemplating just driving it into the ground…

If anyone’s been patient enough to withstand my long-winded request, THANK YOU SO MUCH…I will be back with my estimate, if need be…

Thanks again.


Nice graduation gift!

I suggest you DO NOT remove the battery from this vehicle yourself unless you have the security code for the radio, or are absolutely sure it doesn’t need a code to make the radio work again.

I also suggest you stay away from used batteries. They are not worth messing around with. If you need a new battery, you need a new battery, that’s all there is to it.

What do you plan to do with the parts you want to purchase online? Are you planning to install them yourself? If not, I suggest you reconsider. Many mechanics take a dim view of installing customer-provided parts. You may be able to find one who will do this, and it’s worth a try, I suppose, but I wish you luck.

The Audi dealer, any Audi dealer, will be the most expensive place to have the car serviced/repaired. An independent mechanic will be less expensive, in most cases, although if you go to one who specializes in VW/Audi vehicles (recommended) there may not be a huge difference.

It sounds like you’ve been delaying or ignoring maintenance/repairs on this vehicle, and now it needs a lot of work all at once. This is what happens when you don’t keep up with maintenance on a timely basis.

CV boots are not expensive, but depending on how long they’ve been leaking the CV joints themselves may be shot, in which case you need new CV joints, which will cost more money.

If you plan to be out of the country for a year, maybe you should consider selling the car, rather than pouring a bunch of money into it right before you leave. If the car will be sitting somewhere, waiting for you to return, this might be the best option, because parking a car for a year is not something you just do without preparation.

What are you going to do with the car while you’re away?

It would be helpful to know ALL of the things the dealer claims the car needs.

Thanks, MC. I am planning on parking it at my parents’ house in San Antonio…I’ll be back with the list.

You know, you’re going to have to realize that driving a car involves certain expenses whether normal wear and tear or abuse.

Trying to cheap out on a “used battery” is not the way to go. Jeez, you can get a new battery (1 year) from WalMart for 35 bucks and they’ll install it for free.

Tie rods, brake rotors, are wear items, or possibly abuse in some cases, and are to be expected.
List everything needed and let’s go through the list. And try to get rid of the “always swindled” attitude.

Here’s the list. Mind you, it’s hard to “get rid of the ‘always-swindled’ attitude” when I’ve been quoted the below prices:

  1. 2 outer tie-rod ends $460
  2. LF/RF upper guide links $ 1,000
  3. differential input seal $350
  4. 2 CV boots $600
  5. coolant reservoir $100
  6. 2 rims/tires $900.

6. 2 rims/tires $900.

Gold plated rims and designer tyres???


Bottom line: I would sell this car as is before you leave. Let the new owner deal with the issues the dealer has brought up. Let the new owner determine which issues are legitimate, and how best to deal with them.

If you just store your car at your parents while you are gone for a year, it will be worth significantly less when you return. Figure about $2700 less according to Edmunds.com on the difference between a 2003 and a 2002.

What you are discovering (or relearning), is that there are more costs to owning a car, than just the cost to purchase it, and fill the gas tank. While you received the ultimate deal on the purchase of your 2002 A6 (free - it’s a gift), that did not make the other ownership costs go away. Any car will have both maintenance expenses and repair expenses. An expensive car like the Audi A6 will have higher (than average) expenses for both maintenance and repairs.

If you are still poor when you return, consider purchasing a car with lower total cost of ownership, like a used Chevy Prizm, Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla, or Honda Civic.

If you don’t want to live with the less pleasurable driving experience of these lower cost cars, than you have to fund the additional expense of the A6 style ride from somewhere else in your budget.

I find it is a recurring life theme: You will be happiest if you fund the things that give you the most pleasure. You have to decide if the A6 style ride is one of the things that gives you most pleasure.

Best of luck.