[A4] timing belts and "interference" engines

Rick Fister rick.fister at gmail.com
Thu Sep 28 16:46:01 EDT 2006

Hi Audi Fans,

I have a 1998 Audi A4 Quattro with the 1.8T engine and it recently had a
timing belt failure (86,000 mi).  I was surprised because the dealer had
performed a related recall ("JK Campaign") just four months earlier.  In
fact, the service invoice clearly stated that the timing belt had been
inspected and did not need to be replaced until 90,000 mi (this was when the
car had 82,000 mi).  After telling this to the guy at my local shop, he said
that since the belt broke at high speed (~60 mph) the "inteference" engine
would likely need to be replaced and he advised me to call Audi.  The
customer service advocate at Audi was nice enough and he verified that my
wife was the original owner of the vehicle.  He opened a case and asked me
what I'd like Audi to do.  At first I thought he was joking!  So I told him
politely that I'd like Audi to pay for the cost of the repair and the other
expenses I had incurred related to this breakdown.  So he took down more
information and said he'd call back the next day to let me know what they
could do.  The next morning he called back and said that if it was in fact
the timing belt that failed, then Audi would pay for the repair and even the
towing costs.  But he said I'd have to get it towed to the nearest Audi
dealer (about a $300 tow charge).  Since my local shop is good and I knew
they wouldn't mis-diagnose a timing belt failure, I had it towed to a dealer
for warranty repair.  It took over a month, but the dealer did replace the
engine (head and block) and there was no charge at all to me.   About a
month after that, I got a check reimbursing me for the towing charges and a
charge for three days of a rental car.  (They refused to pay for the rental
car gas and my one night stay in a hotel, though).  While the car was in the
shop, I bought another vehicle (needed something a little bigger anyhow), so
now I'll probably sell the A4.  Does anyone know what sort of value a new
engine would add to the resale value of the car (it's a 1998)?  The dealer
said it was a $7,000 - $8,000 repair.  FYI: Audi said that this special "JK
warranty" covers the vehicle up to 105,000...  The only warranty I had heard
of before this was the standard 3yr/36,000 mi bumper to bumper.


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