When buying used cars, a used Audi A4 can make a good choice of luxury vehicle and are generally much more reliable than popularly thought. Although not a car for those with limited budgets, a used Audi can still be relatively inexpensive, with older ones generally going for $3500 to $10,000 and up. However, before you buy you should be aware of the likely expenses you’ll have to face. These include common maintenance problems like timing belts and oil sludge, as well as mods, assuming you want to do them.
On A4s before 2000, the timing belts need to be replaced earlier than normal. If this isn’t done on time, serious engine damage can result. This is a repair that will run between $500 and $1000.
More a problem with the 1.8 engine than the 2.8, oil sludge is gelatinous material in the oil that can also lead to serious engine damage if left unchecked. This can be avoided by using synthetic oil and doing changes frequently.
Again more of a problem on the 1.8, ignition coils frequently go bad. This will lead to rough idling. Expect to pay $100 to $400 on this repair.
On convertible A4s, sometimes the rear window begins leaking. Gluing it back to the canvas might work, and might not. If not, a roof replacement may be necessary, which can cost $2000 to $4000.
The Engine Control Unit (ECU), or “chip”, is one of the first mods you will want to do, if doing any. This will give you better horsepower and fuel efficiency for a decent price, around $400 for the better name brand ones.
Another mod, so not necessary, but a good name brand exhaust can give you a small boost in horsepower. Expect to spend $300 for the more expensive brand name exhausts.
The only way to get serious power out of the 2.8 A4, a supercharger will cost $3000 to $4000.
Always have a grand or two put aside for repairs before you buy your vehicle. Of luxury used cars, Audi A4s can be a good choice and a solid car, especially if you do a bit of modding.