|Answers To Questions I Frequently Receive (Updated January 22, 2001)|
|Over the last
years in which I've maintained my web site I have fielded many, many questions from A4
owners and potential owners. Whenever possible I've tried to answer them as best I could
but I've found that many folks are looking for the same information. For this reason I put
together my own personal frequently asked questions page. Hopefully this will answer
some of everyone's more common questions. As always, feel free to contact me
if you need to as I always enjoy reading mail from and corresponding with other
How reliable will my A4 be in the long run?
Many people have heard about nightmares related to owning Audis in the past. Stories about the new technologies in Audis going bad and costing a fortune to fix. All manner of mechanical problems are another theme frequently heard. These stories lead to anxiety and concern about whether or not the A4 will follow in its predecessor's footsteps. I can't comment on older models since I have never owned one so I'm as much in the dark as anyone else on those issues.
How long will an A4 last? Will it be trouble free? In my nearly four years of owning my A4's I am very satisfied with the quality and low-maintenance nature of the car. The problems I have experienced have been relatively minor: malfunctioning mirror heaters, oil leak, warped door trim, a bad engine sensor and a bad seat bushing are about it.
Another factor that is in Audi's favor is the Audi Advantage program where virtually everything including scheduled maintenance is covered under warranty for 4 years or 50,000 miles. Not bad in my opinion.
Rumor has it that Audi is working hard on bringing their parts prices down to a more reasonable level. If you are out of warranty and start having a lot of problems this can become a very large issue.
Is quattro reliable? I have had no problems and I have yet to hear of anyone reporting a problem with the quattro drive-train. If you read the Quattro List then you will find that the general consensus there is that quattro is bomb-proof.
Finally, the last thing I can say is that only time will tell how reliable the car is. My experiences have been fine. Yours may differ. Just remember that when you surf the Web and read about problems with the car that you are usually finding a concentrated number of complaints. People with no problems rarely make posts in the various forums saying how their car is running fine but you always hear about every little problem anyone experiences. I'm not saying that the car is perfect (brake dust, brake squeal and other minor annoyances come to mind) but it has been a very good buy in my experience.
Which engine should I
purchase? The 1.8T or 2.8L V6?
If you want more performance but don't want to modify the car then the 2.8L may be your best choice as long as it is within your budget. The 1.8T is a very capable engine but simply throwing a chip into it definitely changes things tremendously for the better! Are you planning on buying aftermarket wheels right away? If so, then the fact that the 1.8T comes stock with 15" wheels might not matter.
If modifying your brand new expensive car doesn't cause you any concern (or you're content with 150 HP) and you aren't set on getting leather and wood trim then a 1.8T is probably your best bet. If, however, you are flush with cash and find the car acceptable as delivered (and you've just gotta have leather!) then the 2.8L may be the way to go.
With the 2002 A4 redesign on the horizon there will be a greater selection of engines to choose from making it even more difficult to decide!
What oil should I use?
Is there a break-in oil that should be left in the crankcase and/or should you change the oil after the 1000 mile break-in? I have never heard a definitive answer to these questions so I rely on the owner's manual for guidance.
The issue of the weight to use largely rests on where you live and the temperatures you expect to see. I would, once again, follow the recommendations in the owners manual on this issue.
How often you change the oil is once again a personal decision. The harder you drive a car the more often you should change the oil. Some people feel that you should change the oil more than the factory recommended schedule and especially so if you have the turbo. If you chip your engine this puts more emphasis on frequent oil changes as some people view it.
For my '97 A4 I changed my oil at the 7500 mile mark as indicated in the owner's manual. The dealer used 20W-50 Valvoline which was acceptable to me. At my 15K oil change I switched to Mobil 1 15W-50. This is because with chipped engine and the number of track events and autocross events I have attended I felt the extra measure of protection (real or imagined) was worth the extra cost. With my '99.5 A4 I once again switched to 15W-50 synthetic but did so at the 10k oil change. I ran this 15W-50 for about 10k miles but then there were reports (primarily with newer S4's) that this was too thick for the turbos. Apparently, the newer owners manuals recommend 0W-30 or 5W-30. At my 20k oil change I switched to 5W-30 Mobil 1 synthetic.
In a nutshell, you must consider your own driving style and local environmental conditions to help come to a decision. For more information on oil check this Oil FAQ.
Will chipping my engine void my warranty or
hurt my car?
Which chip should I purchase? There
are so many choices.
What aftermarket CD changer will work with
my factory stereo?
Since Audi switched to a Panasonic based system in the 98+ model years the option of adding an aftermarket changer is now a reality. The Panasonic changer model CX-DP610 will work with the Audi Concert head unit. An adapter must be used to connect the two but unlike the adapter for the original Alpine unit this adapter does exists. Crutchfield has the changer for $259.95 (stock #133CXDP88). An interface adapter (stock #541AUPAN98) which costs $19.95 is necessary for this changer to work.
If you are intent on using a different changer than the factory unit your 96 or 97 A4 the only option at this time is to use an FM modulated unit that has its own controls or completely replace the factory head unit.
What aftermarket suspension and body kits
are there available for my A4?
For my '99.5 A4 I elected to buy the factory sport suspension which lowers the car a little bit from the standard height. I like the fact that it is lowered but it could go down some more. The big benefit is that I'm under warranty for the suspension (for now, anyway. Heh, heh!). Who knows, I may jump for some coilovers soon. We shall see.
Which dealers are good and can offer me
great prices and service?
I purchased my '99.5 A4 from through Rector Motor Cars in Burlingame, CA. I had a wonderful experience with the dealer and the Internet buying service CarOrder.Com. Check my logbooks for details about this purchase. Unfortunately, CarOrder.Com did not survive as a retail car seller and has since stopped making consumer sales. :-(
With respect to dealers in other areas, since I don't have first hand experience I would be reluctant to recommend any. I would suggest (as always) that you check the Forum at AudiWorld. There is a wealth of experience and knowledge that people are willing to share.
Can you send me pictures and other A4
Can you tell me more about the garage door
Edward Palisoc, another A4 owner, has completed a similar modification but kept detailed info on how it was done. Check out his Garage Door Opener FAQ for details and pictures.
What are the differences
between the '99 and '99.5 model years?
How do I reprogram my
Valentine One radar detector?
Where can I get the
four rings brake light decal?
Where did you get
part XYZ for your car?
Other sources of information