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2006 Audi A3 - Just $7K

My Mom has a 2006 Audi A3 which was purchased new from a dealer, which has roughly 10,000 miles on it. Obviously is has not been driven much. Over the past several years, she has had to replace the timing belt, and in the process an engine mount was broken, which the dealer repaired at no cost. Then it was returned for an air bag recall, and now the air bag warning light went on. The dealer refuses to diagnose/repair the air bag as part of the recall or warranty on the original repair. Now the check engine light went on, and the dealer said there are “bearing type metal fragments” in the oil plan, and they want to charge her $7K for installation of an engine with 80K miles. Needless to say, she will not be putting an 80K engine into a 10K car. We willbe getting a second opinion, but has anyone heard of similar problems with this car, and any repair suggestions would be appreciated.

For the airbag light, a dealer or other shop will diagnose but expect to pay $100-200 for the diagnosis.
For the CEL, have the codes read and report them here, can be done for free at many parts stores like Autozone. The CEL might be causing the airbag light.
This car should have had, at the minimum, annual oil changes, which I doubt were performed. Maybe bearings were affected, by lack of oil changes. The oil could be sent for analysis. Try an oil change. Get the codes read. Then proceed from there.

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Unfortunately, with the type of driving she appears to do, less than 1000 miles a year, she has done more damage to her engine than an engine with 80K on it is likely to have.

Like @Purebred said, She needs to be changing her oil at least once a year. The condensation and acids building up in her oil are killing it.

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A 2006 A3 with any number of miles is not with $7k. Since you can buy one for less, I suggest not taking that path (of paying $7K to fix it).

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I would completely ignore the dealer about the metal particles in the oil. If you look hard enough, you can find them in just about any oil change on any vehicle, especially with lower miles as there is more wear as the bearing get broken in.

Did the airbag light come on immediately after the airbag recall? If it did, the dealer should do the diagnosis free. AS for the repair, if the diagnosis relates to the repair, then that should be free. If it is totally unrelated to the repair done under recall, then they are entitled to charge for the repair.

If there was significant time between the recall repair and the airbag light, then they should charge for the diagnosis. If the diagnosis turns out to be related tot he recall, then they should do the repair free and refund the diagnosis, but go in expecting to pay for the diagnosis and repair.

Do go to an auto parts store like AutoZone but make sure to get the actual code. It will start with a letter followed by 4 numbers. It could also have a letter added at the end or in the place of the last number… The free code checks generally only include generic codes so if the CEL is due to a propriety code, then you have to pay a diagnostic fee at a dealer or an independent mechanic that has a paid subscription to the manufacturers codes.

BUT DO NOT let the dealer replace this engine.

Somehow, I also doubt it, but I am willing to be proven wrong.

For reasons that I will probably never understand, a huge percentage of car owners focus solely on the odometer mileage factor for maintenance, while ignoring the elapsed time factor that is also clearly stated, along with the standard wording of “whichever comes first”.

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Do you know what the code was that triggered the check-engine light? I’m curious.

The second opinion is definitely a good idea. It’ll be interesting to see what they say.

As others have asked, how many oil changes has this car had?

The car did have regular oil changes, and was maintained by the dealer exclusively. The timing belt was also replaced, whcih seems odd for a car with less than 10K miles at the time. FOr some reason, as stated, one of the engine mounts broke and was repaired. Could that have caused the metal in the oil, ecxcessive shaking or something?

No, a broken motor mount will not cause “bearing type metal fragments” to crop-up in the oil pan.

I previously asked if the elapsed time maintenance intervals were used for the maintenance of this car, and you never answered specifically, but your question about the timing belt indicates that the car wasn’t maintained on the basis of elapsed time. The maintenance schedule calls for the replacement of the timing belt at ~8 years regardless of odometer mileage, so if that vital part was replaced only recently, this particular maintenance item was overdue by ~5 years.

Now I really have to wonder if the oil was changed on the basis of elapsed time, rather than on the basis of odometer mileage.

Having owned an Audi in the past, my suggestion is to get wrid of it because her wallet will suffer. To me, it doesn’t make sense spending 7k on a new engine when the car value after repair is around 4-5K.

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14 miles /week is my math. Or 2 miles/day. I wonder what oil would look like at each yearly oil change?

That is an excellent question, assuming that the oil was actually changed once each year.
So far, the OP’s explanation regarding oil changes is that they were done “regularly”, but that doesn’t indicate anything specific as to the interval.

The timing belt was changed in 2014 on a recommendation of the dealer. The oil & filter were changed annually.

I don’t think you get any useful answer here (other than do not replace the engine) unless you get the CEL code read and post it here

I for one would take the metal shards very seriously

If you could post pictures of the metal shards, that would be great

As VDC wrote , timing belts are replaced by miles or time ( usually listed as x amount of months ) . That makes me think that maybe you should look at the service schedule in your own vehicle .


you would have this with a 3.2. the 2.0 timing belt looks easy instead

Agree, stay away from anything made by the VW Group, unless you are made of money.

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Holy s***! I remember doing the timing belt for the first time on my Caravan with the V-6 3.0, what a piece of cake compared to this setup. Oh, and the 3.0 was non-interference, so even if you made a mistake, no permanent damage.