Repairing a '98 Audi A4


How much should I invest in repairs on my '98 A4? Car has almost 118k miles on it. Engine has less than 60k (it was an oil sludge victim so replaced the engine, but not the turbo, at about 60k miles). Speedometer doesn’t work, ABS doesn’t work (regular brakes are fine), it won’t hold windshield washer fluid, and something seems to be ailing the a/c (fluid leaks from underneath when I run it – but it’s winter, so I just don’t run it). When I had an alignment a couple of years ago (where I bought tires), they said something about the camber being out of whack and it needed some kind of examination only the dealer could do – I wrote the words “cradle shift” on the receipt as a note to myself (??). But it’s paid for, and dinged-up enough that I never worry about it in parking lots. I work at home, so don’t drive much and want to put off buying a new car as long as possible – several more years, if possible. I’m sure when I take it in to the shop, they’ll identify a lot of things that need to be fixed that I don’t even know about yet. What is worth investing in, and what should I just leave alone? thanks!

Its a money pit. Drive it until it won’t go and then buy something that’s nothing like an Audi - like a cheap little 4 cylinder domestic car. I wouldn’t spend any more than it takes to get the oil changed.

Agreed. This car sounds like it’s been rode hard and put away wet.

If you use the correct oil you shouldn’t have any more sludge problems . I have over 150,000 miles on my Passat ( same engine ) and no sludge - Mobil 1 0-40 oil every change .
The ABS can be rebuilt for around $200 , it takes half an hour to pull and another half hour to reinstall .
Check the drains in the engine compartment - under the master cylinder and under the battery - rubber plugs that you can remove and throw away .
If the tires wear evenly don’t worry about the alignment .
Check out Audiworld on line for lots more information .

It may have some more miles in it. You could just ignore the AC problem. Maybe even have the AC uninstalled if you like so it doesn’t leak. As long as the brakes work normally, you don’t need to have any work done on the ABS. Just live w/out the ABS. (I’m assuming that is safe to do, don’t have any experience with ABS here.) If there are no steering or pulling right/left problems and the tires are wearing normally, you can probably ignore the wheel alignment. I’ve never heard of oil sludge being aproblem at 60K, That’s a weird one. Going forward, keep the car in good repair and it may have many more miles on it. Maybe change the oil every 7500 miles or more frequently with a name brand oil, and at least once a year if you don’t drive it much. Every 36 months, new spark plugs, check the ignition timing, and a new air filter. And check all the engine compartment fluid levels every three months. The windshield washer fluid leaking – if that is abother to you – should be fairly inexpensive to fix. That’s something a handyman could do probably. You probably don’t need no Audi-technician for that.

Recently someone asked about repairing a '97 Honda Civic. My advice was to fix it. Here you are asking about a '98 Audi A4 and my answer is completely opposite. This car is just going to cost more and more money if you keep it. Run it as long as you can without fixing anything. When it quits get something else. Or, put it up for sale now and unload it.

Oil sludging occurs at mileages of far less than 60k miles and sludging can occur even with synthetic oil. The lowest mileage motor I’ve personally seen that was damaged due to oil sludging had a shade over 20k miles on it and there’s no doubt that engines with under 20k miles have been damaged or even wiped out due to sludging.

I have to agree with cigroller that this vehicle is and will be a money pit. I would dispose of it and go on with life, driving something more reliable, cheaper to fix, and with better “genes”.

Volkswagen/Audi wants to be the world’s largest car company by 2018. Most of their new sales increase will come from develping coutries. In the US their value for money and quality will prevent them from achieving that. They are the biggest in Europe, but Europeans don’t keep their cars as long as Americans.