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Audi A4 Avant Quattro Caught on Fire! Please Advise

My 1999 Audi A4 Avant Quattro’s exhaust pipe caught on fire while driving it to the repair shop!

It all seemed to happen really fast. My check engine light came on on the way to a local Starbucks, and by the time I was driving it back it was stalling and not accelerating very well. As soon as I got home I called a local repair shop to see if I could bring it in for diagnostics.

The repair shop is about 3 mi from my apartment and up a fairly steep hill. About halfway up the hill it was stalling at every light unless I put it into neutral as soon as I parked. About 3 blocks away from the repair shop I noticed smoke, which I first thought was some funky exhaust but quickly realized it was REALLY smoke… as in fire.

Still not sure if I made the right decision but I just gunned it for the repair shop. As soon as I pulled into the lot I got out of the car and saw actual flames coming from the back exhaust area of the car. The repair guys ran over with a fire extinguisher and put it out.

Smoke was also coming from the engine at this point and when they opened it there were no flames but still some smoke…

I know I may have damaged my car more by not stopping immediately on the way to the repair and having it towed in, but since the flames licked up when the vehicle stopped, if I had pulled over on the side of the road and not had an extinguisher handy I’m almost certain the car could have blown up…

I’m waiting on the repair shop to get back to me with a diagnostics and estimate (brought the car in late on a friday and assuming I won’t hear until Monday afternoon) but I am hoping to get some opinions on why this happened, if it’s happened to anyone else, and what they think the best and worst case scenario’s are for fixing the car ($$$$?)

The car has been well maintained and at 118,000 miles I had planned on “driving it into the ground” and then buying a new car. I thought I would have a little more time with it though, and I’m afraid that the expenses to fix after the fire will be more than the car is worth.

I think your catalytic converter failed. When they fail they block the exhaust and heat up extremely fast. Have the shop check it out.

Is it possible that the Catalytic converter won’t need replacing after a fire? I thought for sure it would be toast but the repair shop is saying it is not damaged.

Diagnostics is saying my ignition control module failed. Wondering if that means I have to get coil packs replaced as well as the ignition control module… anyone?