I am looking at an A4 Qauttro Wagon. It is a 2010, low mileage and seemingly in great shape. The owner disclosed an accident that was fixed and Carfax indicates that there was structural damage.
The owner has documentation from the reputable, local body shop that did the work that there was no structural damage. We are having a mobile mechanic inspect the car to verify this. I believe that everything is probably fine; but I’m concerned about having a car that I won’t be able to sell in a few years.
Please let me know what you think.
I believe you should walk away from this car
There appears to be a possible misunderstanding about the severity of the accident
Look on the paperwork from the repair. What was the total cost?
Will the mobile mechanic be able to put the car on a lift and go over it with a fine toothed comb?
Right…How much did it cost to fix it…Also, there are pictures of the car taken before it was repaired. Find them. If you can’t find them, that’s because nobody involved wants you to see them…I would never buy a used Audi. But if you MUST buy one, find one that hasn’t been wrecked…
It’s definitely a gamble. Me, I’d walk. But I imagine at this point you love the sight of this car and you imagine yourself in carefree drive-abouts, and so I suspect you remain interested no matter what I or anybody thinks. And it’s certainly possible the prior wreck did little serious damage to the car. But it is possible it did some very serious damage, and that this damage isn’t evident to the casual observer. So veryify that by having your own mechanic – at your expense – put it up on a lift for a look-see. It is probably a good idea if there is any question after your mechanic does his work to have an alignment shop look at it too. Verify it isn’t un-alignable in other words. There could still be a dozen or more wreck-related problems – like the fuel tank could be damaged but not leaking (yet) – but it isn’t economical to test every single possible thing that could go wrong.
You could do this little experiment too. Ask a shop how much it would cost to replace the gas tank in this car vs in a Toyota Matrix. You need some idea of how expensive repair costs are going to be. I think you may be a little shocked.
Even if all the inspections turn up ok, you should expect a significant discount in price from the Kelly Blue book midrange point (halfway between the private seller price and the dealer lot price). A 20% discount from that I’d say. If the seller is asking any more than that, better look around some more. Maybe there’s a better car posted on CraigsList just today.
Probably enuf said, but if you are new to used car buying, maybe ask someone w/more experience to help you out on this. There’s a bunch of general things you should do when buying a used car, like looking at the dash guages as the car warms up, looking for anything unusual happening w/the guages. And remember to make sure the check engine light comes on when the key is in the “on” position but the car is not yet started. And that it goes off immediately after starting the engine.
Why not get a clean (uncrashed/repaired) used car? Not worth the gamble to me.
I don’t have much confidence a “mobile” mechanic can evaluate the car for structural integrity. For a structural integrity inspection you go to a good body shop.
I’m assuming the price is several thousand less than the going market, or book, price based on the accident damage. Whether you go for this car depends on the price you can negotiate. You can sell it later if you get a good price on it now. I wouldn’t worry much about resale value, be concerned about how you pay for it now.
Body shops are not equal, some do a better job than others. Always the body shop paint does not hold up as well and for as long as the original factory paint job. So, if a lot of the car was repainted the new paint won’t look as good in 5 years as it does now. Otherwise a good body shop has to put the car on a lift and look for signs of cheap work to evaluate how well the car was repaired.
If the price you negotiate is 30-40% less than the going market, or book, value I’d consider the car. If the seller is trying to get close to full value, walk away. If the asking price is 20% off, keep negotiating based on the inspection results.
I’d RUN away from this car. Even if the damage repair checks out clean, this is an immensely complex car, not all that reliable, and extremely expensive to fix if anything goes wrong, which it will.
Walk in the direction of a more reliable vehicle. This one is a crap shoot at best.
Count my sentiments as agreeing with @missleman.
Body shops don’t always reassemble the car correctly. There will be electrical problems. (I didn’t write that part, it’s just an echo that’s gone around for years). Can’t really tell you what you already know; accident damage. Take your lucky coin and flip it: Heads he wins, tails you lose.
If it ran the same as before the accident, the owner wouldn’t want to bury this treasure.
I have two questions:
- Why do you want this Audi wagon?
- Will this be your main vehicle and what kind of driving do you do?
To elaborate on question 1, do you like the fact that it is a wagon and you need the utility? Does the looks of the Audi appeal to you? Do you want the prestige of driving a car with an upscale nameplate?
For question 2, will the car be used to commute to work? Do you need a reliable vehicle? How far is your commute and can you find alternate transportation if the car is out of service?
I’ve always liked the looks of a Jaguar sedan and I lived only 2 miles from my job. I could ride with my wife if the Jaguar was in the shop. Even so, because of the poor reliability record of the Jaguar and the possible inconvenience, I never seriously considered owning one.