How likely is fixing this Audi to be cost effective?
June 13, 2010 8:37 PM   Subscribe

How likely is fixing this Audi to be cost effective?

My cousin has an older Audi sedan with 4WD. I believe an A4 B5 that he is looking to give away. The issue is that the car will currently cut off when idling at a light or turning. Complication the car is in DC and I live in Atlanta. Given Transport costs(if I have it sent down here)and repair costs. The car is I think around 80000 miles but I'm as fuzzy on that as the make. They did take the car to Pep Boys and got an estimate for $4000 for the repair. What do you think the whole thing will end up costing if I was to repair it?
posted by Rubbstone to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total)
There is absolutely no way that anyone can answer this with any accuracy. There is not even close enough information.

Look at how much the car is worth. Look at the cost of the repair + cost of driving it to you. A-B = Yes or no. It's that simple without any further information. It is not possible to diagnose the repair or judge accurate quoting of it with the information you give.
posted by Brockles at 8:44 PM on June 13, 2010

Pretty vague information. Best bet is to find a well regarded Audi repair specialist (not a dealer), contact them with the precise year, mileage, and as much specific information as you can get your hands on, and ask for their advice. Audis in general are NOT inexpensive to maintain, so if low maintenance cost in general is a concern, you should probably look for a late model Honda or some such thing. On the other hand, Audi is a nicely engineered vehicle that offers an excellent driving experience.
posted by jcworth at 8:46 PM on June 13, 2010

*addendum. Find a well regarded independent Audi specialist in YOUR area and ask their advice. As Brockles contends, their is simply not enough information in your question to render a quality answer.
posted by jcworth at 8:48 PM on June 13, 2010

If it were me, I'd have it taken in to a local (DC) independent Audi repair shop for an estimate/diagnosis. If it's too much, let the shop have the car for their trouble, assuming they want it. If it's not too much, have them fix it and drive it down yourself.

I would say no way to shipping it to have it fixed.
posted by maxwelton at 8:52 PM on June 13, 2010

Huh. I'm in Atlanta and own a B5 Audi A4 with 80,000 miles on it :)

You might try posting your problem, with a well titled post like "stalls when idling, should I ship?", to the A4(B5) forum at .

Pep Boys, very funny.

Per the recommendations above for talking to a well-regarded Audi specialist, here are the two that I've used in recent years:

Autobahn Performance
4-5 man shop in Doraville, owner Paul

RWL German Imports
2 man shop in downtown Atlanta, gearheads Bob (owner) and Brendan

Definitely have the info that jcworth listed above at your fingertips when you call.
posted by intermod at 9:35 PM on June 13, 2010

First: $4000? So, what, they're replacing the engine, fuel system and electrical system? Who the hell goes to Pep Boys for that kind of repair? Actually, I can answer that: an idiot.

So, you really have no idea what's wrong. Pretend they never took it anywhere.

Now, take intermod's advice, and suggest to your cousin that they get estimates at those places, or at least one. Specifically warn your cousin not to mention Pep Boys or anything else, beyond the symptoms of the car. It'll likely turn out to be something far, far cheaper.

Then your cousin will get it fixed, and you will not get a free car, but your extended family will think you're a wonderful person and a hell of an armchair mechanic, and that's worth its weight in gold.
posted by davejay at 10:33 PM on June 13, 2010

There is no possible way that this will end up falling anywhere within a hundred miles of 'cost effective'. The last time 'cost effective' and 'Audi' occurred in a sentence that could be considered true was 'It cost the same to tow my wrecked Audi as a wrecked Yugo'.

The asking of this question provides the evidence to answer it. You are doomed.

Giving family members or close friends mechanical advice never ends well; I would never in a million years attempt what davejay recommends. I agree that what he says could very well work, but even if things go well, no good deed will go unpunished.

Sorry to be a downer. This could be an emotional trainwreck.

Tread carefully, and good luck.
posted by Skrubly at 10:56 PM on June 13, 2010

I'd like to get a gallon of gasoline and a match and torch my wife's 2003 A4 1.8L Turbo piece of shit Audi sedan. The car was recently recalled for ignition coils, which was about a $350 repair. It stalled, stumbled and had no power. That was just the latest in a series of expensive repairs. Avoid these cars, but if you must, Pep Boys is not the way to go.
posted by fixedgear at 3:06 AM on June 14, 2010

Pep Boys to diagnose an Audi? Uh, that's not the first place I'd pick. Seconding or thirding that your cousin should take the car to a non-dealer Audi garage for a real diagnosis and estimate.
posted by zippy at 3:08 AM on June 14, 2010

Take the car to an AUDI dealer who will give you a huge ass price, but also a professional looking sheet that has everything that is wrong with the car.

It will cost a few dollars...but it might prevent you from making a huge mistake.

I'm also guessing that a lot of people in your car situation make huge mistakes this way.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:16 AM on June 14, 2010

As far as locating expert Audi technicians, visit and use their repair shop finder to help you locate a shop.

(The following is only my experience and, YMMV)
Pep Boys is basically a dumping ground for the C+ Tech School students who managed to show up every day. None of the Pep Boys in my area make any sort of effective repairs on any make or model vehicle, nor do they distribute knowledgeable or expert advice. I worked at a shop around the corner from a Pep Boys and we fixed many of their terrible mistakes. "I took my car to Pep Boys and now there's something else wrong," was the story we heard pretty frequently.
Of course, they can't all possibly be like that. But the likelihood of your local Pep Boys having some sort of Good Will Hunting secret car genius working there is pretty unlikely.

Now, getting back to your problem. It'd be really helpful to know exactly what year the car is and what engine it has in it. But, off the cuff, stalling at a stop or when the car is turning and, I bet it'll also stall when you turn the AC on, I would bet, knowing Audis and their common problems, that there's a malfunction with the electronic throttle control (likely contamination) or the idle control system if this car is pre-electronic throttle. Also, a failing Mass Airflow Sensor is a common source of poor performance on many Audis. But, either way, get it checked out by someone who knows what they're doing, not Pep Boys.

Also, if your cousin gives you that car, that means he hates you. What ever's wrong with it now, even if it's relatively cheap to fix, something expensive will inevitably happen to it. Having worked as a technician at an Audi dealership, I can tell you absolutely that there are NO CHEAP AUDIS.

Here's a quick way of knowing if you can afford a used German car. Go to the bathroom and close the door. Look in the mirror and ask yourself one question:

Am I a mechanic who has no friends or hobbies?

If the answer is yes, than owning a used German car sounds perfect for you. If the answer is no, then buy a Honda.
posted by Jon-o at 4:10 AM on June 14, 2010 [8 favorites]

If money is at all an issue for you...DON'T TAKE THIS CAR!

I purchased an '94 Audi with 80,000 miles...right when a boatload of preventative maintenance is recommended. You can't just have any garage work on it because it requires some specialized knowledge and tools. So, first you'll be encouraged to change the timing belt because it will destroy the engine if it breaks while you're doing 80 on the highway. Oh yeah, getting access to the timing belt is a huge investment in labor (because they take off the front end or something) so they're going to suggest replacing the water pump as well. You'll spend $2,600 and your car isn't even broken. By then, you might actually need a brake job and it's going to be $800. Yep, parts are insanely expensive and labor isn't much better. Oh yes, even the power steering fluid is expensive and hard to find. It's $25 a bottle (yep, I'm not kidding) and not everyone carries it.

Anyway, I still have the Audi but I won't ever buy another one...unless I buy it new and sell it to some sucker once I put 80,000 miles on it.
posted by victoriab at 1:47 PM on June 14, 2010

Well, I'm kind of bummed that my perfectly informative answer didn't get a gold star, but then again the two answers above are probably more relevant.

Five years in I started telling everyone who inquired "never buy an Audi". In addition to the expensive upkeep, a lot of stuff broke between years 3 and 5 (3 yr warranty), and I will never forgive Audi for it. Bye bye!

Also, my next car will be electric, and Audi/VW are waaaay behind the ball on that.
posted by intermod at 7:51 PM on June 22, 2010

Ultimately I wasn't able to purchase and fix the car due to some miscommunication. My uncle is currently trying to get it fixed for cheap.
posted by Rubbstone at 1:04 PM on July 18, 2010

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