4 hours of repair and $500 later

David Conner conner at cfm.ohio-state.edu
Tue Jun 7 10:38:17 EDT 2005

Dear Fay,
You need a car that is reliable and enjoyable to drive ... not a source of
endless expense, worry and frustration.  Relying on distant "experts" to
maintain your aging Audi is not a viable option.  As you know, many are
expert in taking your time and money but not much else.  Here are some
options for you to consider...

a) become self-reliant, doing all your own maintenance and troubleshooting,
scrounging used parts, and shopping on-line for the best parts prices.
This works best if you have a garage, a back-up car to take the pressure
off while waiting for parts to arrive, etc, etc.

b) find a local mechanic who is trustworthy >and< competent in servicing
your particular car (89 200 turbo FWD w/automatic trans?).

c) Get a different car, preferably something more reliable!  Either a
new/newer one under warranty, or one that can be serviced by a local
mechanic who is trustworthy >and< competent in servicing that particular

I understand you and hubby don't really want to do your own maintenance, so
lets rule out option "a" and move on to "b".  How does one find the elusive
trustworthy >and< competent mechanic who is expert in maintaining your
particular car?   One thing you could do is look for similar cars around
Flagstaff... older German cars including Audi, VW and Porsche.  When you
see one that looks well cared for, ask the owner where they have it
serviced.  Sometimes you find there is a local wrench in some hidden
location servicing these cars who takes pride in their work.  They probably
don't advertise much or hang out a fancy sign because they always have
plenty of work due to repeat customers and word-of-mouth referrals.  These
guys are worth their weight in gold.   

Your car, being a turbo, is by it's nature a finicky beast with much higher
maintenance requiremenst than a similar non-turbo Audi.  Even if you do
find the elusive person under option "b", you need to be prepared for
on-going expense and the reliability issues associated with the complex
nature of the turbo engined Audi.  I don't think it's a written rule, but
it seems that it's almost impossible to drop a car off for service anywhere
these days and get away for under $300.  Also, option "b" means you'll
probably pay dealer list price for all parts they install, even though the
wrench is not the Dealer and you could have bought the parts yourself via
the internet, at a much lower cost... that's just the way it works.  They
have overhead costs and need to make a living, etc.

I see by your most recent post that you are considering buying another
Audi.  Audi's can be great cars, I love them myself.  But, assuming you are
thinking of buying another older car I think your first order of business
should be to find a trustworthy >and< competent mechanic... if they don't
service Audi then find out what they >do< service.  Ask friends and
neighbors who drive older cars for their advice.  Consider what cars
besides Audi might serve your needs.  How about Subaru?  A few Audi folks I
know have happily made the switch to them... AWD with Japanese reliability.
 I bet there are a few of these around Flagstaff... maybe they are a
reasonable alternative for you. 

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
Dave C.
89 200q
89 100E
87 5ktq
87 5ks

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