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a list of broken things on my a6

we have a '98 a6 quattro.  got it last november.  we have 9k miles on it 
by now.

here is a list of all things that went wrong with the car in the last 6
months in order of occurance, with probable cause and the resolution:

1. cd player was not working when we picked up the car.  apparently it
was not hooked up right.  took 3 days (over the weekend) to fix.

2. side mirror control knob housing broken.  defect in the plastic housing.
took a few weeks to get a (wrong) replacement part, then another 2-3 weeks
to get the right part.  got fixed in 1 day along with some other stuff.

3. driver seat controls died (in the worst possible position, so the car
was hard to drive).  there was a known defect in the early version of the
seat computer.  2 hours to fix -- essentially an ALT-CTRL-DELETE of the
seat computer.

4. right rear window not closing.  apparently something got hooked on a
cable in the door assebly.  1 day to fix (along with the mirror ctrl knob).

5. creaking and popping noise in the dash.   the dealer looked at it and
tried to make repairs.  1 day.

6. the creaking and popping did not go away after all...  there was
some problem with the dash/front windshield/some sort of manifold
design which audi sent repair instructions for.  1 day to fix (along
with 4 & 2).

7. problem with the seat computer again.  the whole unit got replaced.  1

and the latest problems still to be fixed, which had shown up in the last
2-3 days:

8. the right rear window is not closing on its own again.  same symptoms --
when trying to close the window, the auto-pinch detection gets kicked in 
and the window goes back down.

9. the driver seat belt lost the plastic button that holds the belt buckle
from sliding freely down to the bottom/end of the belt.

10. the driver door map pocket, where i keep my driving glasses, lost one of
the hinges.

all in all, not a terribly impressive track record of quality.  audi does
fix everything that goes wrong and provides a free loaner car (not an audi,
however) while the car is in the shop, but it's a major nuisance to have
to make a trip to the dealer once a month.

(a friend who also got the '98 a6q had the creaking/popping problem and
his dashboard led display died and had to be replaced)

over all, the car is a pleasure to drive, although another 20-30 hp would
be quite a plus.  and the car is much more pleasant to drive than other
cars we had rented or owned recently.  but it has a lot more things going
wrong than our previous cars in the first 2-3 years of their lives, and a
lot more than i'd expect from a $40k near-luxury german product.

we are now again in a market for a car, this time for something more
"practical", like an suv.  for what it's worth, the comfort and handling of
the a6 have set a new benchmark for us in our search.  the awd is a
non-negotiable requirement.  despite liking our a6, i have been very
hesitant to trust another audi.  i don't like things breaking left and
right.  i don't want these little annoyances adding stress to my life.
so we are most probably not going to get the a4q avant for the 2nd car,
despite a4q being quite a real joy to drive (stick + less weight = a lot
more fun than a6).

since audi doesn't yet have the "allroad" a6q out and we need this 2nd 
vehicle *now*, and since a4q does not quite have the luxury level and the
cargo capacity we've been looking for, it makes it easier for us to look 
at other brands.  we'll probably lease a lexus rx300 and wait for the a6
allroad with a bigger engine (i can't imagine audi being too dense to
notice that a6 is underpowered and all interesting suv manufacturers are
coming out with more powerful versions of their vehicles).

Oleg Kiselev                                        oleg at veritas dot com
VERITAS Software