175000 miles too much?

My 17 year old son has saved all summer and wants to buy a 2000 Audi A4 1.8l turbo for $4300.00. The car is in really good shape. The body is sound and all the gadgets work. The timing belt was replaced as well as the turbo, and it comes with winter tires and wheels. It is really a nice car for a 17 year old (I am more than a little jealous!). The sticking point is the miles, 175,000!! My brother in law the mechanic looked it over and drove it and gave it his seal of approval but MAN 175,000 is a LOT of miles! Am I over reacting to this? What would you do? He really has his heart set on this car. We are getting pressure from both sets of grandparents who are on opposite sides of the debate. UGGGGG.

Having dealt with European cars for a number of years and being familiar with the motor on that car it’s a tough call for me. That car in general is not particularly reliable and requires frequent maintenance. I know your son probably wants it because you can easily boost the power of the motor by increasing the turbo boost, so that’s what’s on his mind I can tell you that now. If the car has a solid maintenance folder and your son likes to tinker with cars he may give it a go, but the turbo on that car is coming to the end of its life very soon depending how it was maintained.

If I was 17 again though I’m sure I wouldn’t care about reliability-in fact I know I didn’t care. Tell your son this-if he REALLY wants the car badly then he’s responsible for all the repairs and maintenance that come his way. He’ll learn a lesson if he has to blow $2000 for some repairs on this car. The next time around he’ll be more open to buying practical cars with any luck.

I know a high level VP at a major company who buys Audi A4’s used in the 150k range and runs them typically into the 250k-300k range without serious problems in general. He has a good and reasonable mechanic. If he runs into problems he usually dumps it and simply gets another. They are really nice cars. Just find a good independent mechanic around.

I will say though he gets the 2.8L versions not the 1.8t.

Wow. It is a tough call. If it were well taken care of, then I would be tempted. It sounds really good. Hopefully the maintenance is good, too. While I agree with DaveG, I can also see going ahead and purchasing. I hope brother in law can help do most repairs on this one. Labor is a killer on most European car and their mechanics.

One observation: Turbo plus 17 yr old is not a good mix. Turbo can mean too much speed.

jayhawkroy’s comment of “Turbo plus 17 year old is not a good mix”, rings loud and clear.

Not long ago (North of where I live in Ontario, Can.) there was a young fellow (23 years old) and three friends heading home along a 2 lane road (well traveled and maintained) when he lost control and went across the road, took out a steel guardrail, hit a tree and finished up in a river (drivers side down).

He and two of his friends drowned while one other friend (a young lady sitting in the back who was wearing a seatbelt) managed to escape from the vehicle through a rear door smashed window.

The investigating police determined the vehicle (a late model Audi) was traveling at about 75 mph in a 30 mph zone (Later investigation showed they had consumed 18 drinks between then just prior to the collision) when it left the road.

I’m NOT implying your son would do this, but a lack of experience and too many distractions (drinking and driving is another ugly issue) can result in horrible consequences.

If it were MY son? I’d say no. Not until he has a few years driving experience and is more mature. Kids don’t look ahead to or understand the possible consequences of things that can happen. (Some adults too for that matter)

Speaking as a European/Asian car tech, I would be a bit antsy over this. A 9 year old car with 175k miles and already having gone through a turbocharger?
A turbo replacement usually means:

  1. Lack of regular oil changes.
  2. Driving the beejeezus out of it.
  3. Running it low on oil to some extent.
    None of those are good options.

One thing you should be aware of is that this is a less common high end car and any parts/repairs are going to cost you more than a garden variety vehicle such as a Mustang, etc. (Not to mention whatever the insurance company may have to say about a 17 year old with a turbocharged car).

It’s a tough call but you should be aware that if you can’t handle the day to day problems yourself, and the BIL is not going to work on it on the cheap, then you should stash money back for repairs. I guarantee you that at 175k miles a thorough going over will detect some problems right now.
I’m assuming the phrase “looked it over” means just that.

He may be enamored by looking at it and driving it, but when it’s sitting in the driveway with a four-figure repair bill in sight the love may disappear real quick.

Oops I missed that the turbo has already been replaced-listen to what OK4450 is saying here.

Thanks to all for your thoughtful responses. It is always tough to say no to your kids, I guess I just wanted to be certain I was on the right track.

This will be a valuable learning experience for you son. Go with it, but DO NOT bail him out financially when it goes sour.

Audis are not cars for people of limited financial means. They are cars for people who can afford to maintain them, aka, people with money. Is your son a person of means?

When I was young I spent ALL of my money on my cars. I didn’t know any better, just as you son doesn’t know any better. He will learn from this, and in the future he will make better financial decisions.

Right now the only thing he’s concerned about is his image. He wants to drive an Audi, which is great if you can pull it off, and for a short while he will be able to pull it off. Then reality will set in, and he will have to come up with the money to keep this car on the road. It scares me just to think about it.

175K miles? WHEN was the timing belt replaced? It’s almost surely due for another replacement, and that’s going to cost some money (BIG money).

Isn’t having teenage kids fun?

It’s a 3000 pound car with 150 HP. It’s not a particularly powerful car by any means. I think it’s a good choice for a 17 year old. Since it’s “cute”, stylish and european most high school chicks will dig it. It does have alot of miles, but the VW 1.8L is built like brick outhouse, and is reliable. You could take this car to a VW mechanic since it shares many parts with VW’s. That said it will still be more to repair than your average Malibu or Taurus.

Personally I would shy away from this car simply because of the miles/age/price. But thats just me. With that said let me ask, does a 17 year old really need an Audi with a turbo? Your son is being a normal teenager but don’t you think he wants this for the "cool factor? When my kids asked about something like this, a first car, I encouraged them to try something more practical. Then when they gain more knowledge, grow in maturity and financially establish themselves thats the time to get the cool car, as long as I can drive it now and again.
Also, can he afford the repairs?

Personally I have heard that after 60,000 the Audis start to have problems. Once the extended warrenty goes out and its on your dime . . . Things like Audi only batteries for $150 etc. I wouldn’t do it but suspect your kid isn’t going to listen much.

I have to say it; with that many miles it could cost $4,300 a year to keep it on the road. That’s a lot of money just to drive in the Fall. Maybe if we told him that the car can’t be driven over 65 MPH without falling apart. We can’t threaten him with retiring on too little money because that won’t happen for fifty years. He has started out well with the saving part, but he and everybody else has a hard time seeing that the money disappears a lot faster than it can be earned. He has to look for cars that he can unload at a profit. It’s hard to do the work. It’s easy to just spend. Five year planning was the key to my success at not being broke repeatedly. You may have to negotiate with him. Paying you for room and board is a good start. If he has a plan for saving money and actually does it, he will get discounted room and board. If not, you will have more money to bail him out when he reaches his 40th birthday. You have to show him that you are willing to make tougher decisions. You are his first teacher and you have little time. It’s enough, just not infinite. I hope I have been a good example here. I lost $14,000 by bad planning, mostly by getting a cargo van and moving to a place with steep hills and snow. Had to trade it for a 4WD truck.

If he’s earned the money and can afford the insurance(you HAVE priced insurance for the vehicle, right?), why not let him figure it out how hard it is to maintain a vehicle like this.

Honestly my initial reaction was that as a high end car miles may matter less, it would be well built with a good safety record. The “FLASH” factor meant less in pursuing this car. You can find a clean Taurus for sale on every corner and I have encouraged him to look there as well. I think this whole process, without actually buying the car, has been a learning experience.

“You have to show him that you are willing to make tougher decisions. You are his first teacher and you have little time.”

this is why I asked the question. thanks for the advice pleasedodgevan

“You have to show him that you are willing to make tougher decisions. You are his first teacher and you have little time.”

this is why I posted the question in the first place. thanks for the advice dodgevan, it is greatly appreciated!

There is a great probability that if your son purchased this car, the transmission will be shot before it needs a oil change. Then it will be a $8500.00 car. Does it still sound like a good deal?

The initial responses to my question were both thoughtful and helpful. Starting now they are just self serving and condescending. Thanks to those who wanted to help, offering information and advice instead of judgement. No thanks to those who just want to prove they know something about cars and use forums like this to feel superior. “Does it still sound like a good deal?” NO, we were sceptical about the car to begin with. If we were as stupid as you seem to think we are we would have just bought it and not sought out advice.

As long as you’ve made him aware that it wouldn’t be surprising for some repairs to be needed in the near future and that these repairs could easily cost double or triple the price of the same repairs on a basic domestic car, I’d say let him go ahead.