1999 A6 avant - opinions

Thinking of purchasing an 1999 A6 quatro wagon, but with 70,000 miles on the clock, (although there are 1 or 2 others in that 'neighborhood). They are
all in the $12000 range. I really hadn't considered a car like this, but when I sat in it, (I'm 6' 4" and it has the best leg room ever) and drove it......wow!!. And of course, the interior is, well, really cool compared to what I'm used to. Could this be a silly and costly infatuation? If I could afford a new one, the matter would be closed. Sadly, that's not case. Thanks in advance. rb
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Randy, unless you are real handy and have a high mechanical aptitude and lots of time, you may get sticker shock at the cost of keeping a 6 yr old A6 on the road. Lacking in any of these attributes? You might think better of buying. Take a look at average maint cost on consumers or Edmunds or one of the other car sites. You might change your mind. No question that the Audi is a great road car with plenty of creature comfort. But there is definately a price to keeping the car running at a level that allows you to enjoy all of the do-dads and ride quality and engine reliability.
I own a '99 2.8Q. Bought it used with 12K on it in 2000. Now has 105K on it. Fantastic ride [especially in the winter with lots of snow] when all the parts are in working order. As much as I love this auto's handling and comfort, if I had it to do over, I might go for a Honda or Toyota based on cost to maintain.. Make sure you go in with your eyes open.

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Thanks Dale. Sounds like solid advice. I just hope I have the sense to follow it. I'm looking at some newer ones that are 'warrantable' without going over $16,000. Unfortunately I'm only interested in the a6 wagon. Realistically I should start shopping for something else... like a Chevy Cavalier..

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Randy Browning wrote:

It is true that some Audis are like that. Not all. I have a sedan that has over 200k miles, and an Avant with 185k miles. Maintenance and repairs have worked out to about $250/year of ownership, each. This includes wear items like brakes and tires. When you start getting high up in miles (70k ain't hardly even broken in yet, LOL), stuff like fuel pumps and radiators and alternators begin to show up as repair items. Like my own recent fuel pump adventure. :) But I expect a 200k+ mile car to have some hassles every now and again.
The key is to pick a car that has FULL SERVICE RECORDS. (Important enough to shout.) And those records should show all sorts of timely service, for all sorts of things. If it doesn't have records, and you don't know anything about, oh, say the last timing belt change (it's due for the conservative Audi owner somewhere near 70k), then you could be in for a huge bill for engine repair when it lets go. Maybe that's why it's being sold - the current owner looks at the mechanic and says, "$650 for what? Screw that."
Even if it has all the records, I'd take it to your local independent shop that knows Audi inside and out, and ask them to do a pre-purchase inspection.
Saying that an Audi *will* cost a whole load of dough, or that it'll be unreliable is just not true. While the odds are higher than with Honda or Toyota, you can also get fantastic cars at reasonable prices. But if $12k is at the high end of your range, I'd stay away, especially if the records aren't there, or the pre-inspection comes back with any problems, OR if the records do not indicate a recent timing belt change.
HTH,
E.P.
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1999 A6 Avant was the best damn car I couldn't afford to maintain ... did I mention I'm a PHYSICIAN????
Superbly competent in ALL weather conditions, and at *most* speeds, the A6 Avant will carry a surprising amount of gear in/on it. Brilliantly over-engineered mechanicals, as one would expect in the Germanic tradition, but when the self-dimming rear-view mirror didn't any more, the part was $CDN450 alone, and $CDN for the driver's side when it succumbed at 110,000km (less than 70k miles).
After four (4) control arms were replaced under warranty (yes, they were groaning and needed swapping out, not just a warranty grab by the dealer..), I decided I couldn't afford it for the longer run. Traded at the dealer (for another marque), and they still can't move the car 15 mos later, despite being in immaculate shape, and having a fully new tranny under the last month of warranty, as neither they nor ZF could solve the "clunk" into gear that it had developed....not at all a safety problem, they said, but "it really shouldn't *do* that".. so they popped in a reconditioned tranny to the tune of $CDN12,500 FOR THE PART !!!
Your mileage may vary, as they say, but these vehicles are more like 767's than Toyotas or Hondas... Best of Luck
K.

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K Bourke wrote:

Sounds like you had a bit of a hassle. And were out C$450. Isn't that about US$300? A whole heck of a lot for a mirror, I have to agree.
The control arms didn't cost you a penny, nor the tranny. I find it hard to believe that the auto tx cost more than an entire 2.7TT motor replacement. Even in CDN dollars. We're talking somewhere near US$9500, right?
In any case, most Audi cars are advanced in comparison to most of the contemporary cars. If absolute reliability is your goal, then Honda (Acura) or Toyota (Lexus) would be the best choice. I have never found any of those marques to be as a good a fit for me or my driving style. And I think I'd buy your car - with a new tranny and a fixed mirror - along with the replaces suspension bits - it sounds like you took care of the depreciation for me (thanks for that,) and kept it up. I'll bet the next folks that have it will get 100k+ miles out of it with no hassle.
But I haven't had many unexpected problems over the 200k+ miles I've driven my current Audi stable. (Tires, brakes, the odd mechanical/electric part over a decade old, etc.) and I'm quite pleased at how much luxury we were able to afford for the used car dollar spent. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
E.P.
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