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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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