'96 A6 purchase

Roger M. Woodbury rmwoodbury at downeast.net
Fri Dec 13 08:25:45 EST 2002

Sounds like a great deal to me.  Contrary to what others have said, I do not
consider the price point for this car to be the major concern.  Certainly,
if you buy it for what the seller is asking, AND have to do tires, AND
timing belt, AND brakes immediately, then paying full "book" (ANYbody's
'book') isn't a good deal.
But if you are buying from the original owner, AND he has full documentation
for all services performed since time of delivery, AND the mileage is
correct and can be verified through the Audi dealer in addition to Carfax,
then I would not hesitate to grab the car.  The mileage alone is worth a
considerable premium, all things being equal.

A year and a half ago, I ended a six month search for an automatic
transmissionr replacement for my aging 200 wagon.  My wife cannot drive a
stick, and the car was to be hers, and I was absolutely certain about what I
wanted to buy:  either a 100CS or the best A6 wagon that I could find, with
perfect service history.
For the most part, I found that there were lots and lots of '97 A6s coming
off lease, but all were simply too expensive on any basis, and most did not
have verifiable service histories.  Also, in Maine, they were very, very

Finally, I found a lovely '94 100CS at a BMW dealer.  The car was one owner,
and had 39,000 miles.  Unmarked, and the dealer had replaced the original
tires, as they were simply dried out.  They knew the owner...turned out to
be a member of the family that owns a national trucking firm....and the most
recent service record was in with the car with all books and stuff.  The car
did not have a trip computer, which was a bit of a disappointment, but I
figured that the car was superb....from the photographs.

I exchanged MANY emails with the dealer, and they sent me MANY photographs.
They were not really willing to give more than the used car warranty, which
was 1,000 miles, and weren't really willing to budge much on the price.  I
paid about what you are being asked to pay for the A6, incidentally.

I put down a deposit, and flew out to see the car and to buy it.  Did it and
drove it home.  Sight unseen.  This is the third time that I have done this:
bought a car sight unseen, and I have not regretted it.

I live in eastern Maine, and enjoyed the "virgin" voyage in this wonderful
long distance cruiser.  I bought it from a dealer in Kansas City.  What I
have learned through three purchases like this:

1.  Verify mileage and service history.  ANY gray areas, run away.  There
are lots of cars.
2.  Buy from an authorized, or franchised dealer.  SOME franchised dealer.
They have a lot of money invested in their franchises, and normally, don't
go out of their way to screw one customer.  Talk a lot and listen to what
they have to say before buying, but I have bought from Audi dealers in
Minneapolis and Philadelphia, and one BMW dealer in Kansas City, and had
perfect experiences.  I paid a bit 'more' I suppose, but I was quite open
about it, telling them that they didn't "need" to sell me a "bad" car,
coming a long distance, because the Internet gets "the word" out so
effectively, that burning me would come back to them.  In each case, the
dealers' attitudes reflected their understanding of the effectivness of the
Internet and the Audi ownership "community".
3.  If you buy long distance, be prepared to walk on your deposit.  If you
actually get to see the car, and find that in fact, something really isn't
right, and you have, say $500 down....if the car isn't right, walk away,
call a cab and go back to the airport.

I am certain that my '94 was driven relatively low mileage trips, and
conceivably, mostly "in town".  I used a quart of oil in 1500 miles driving
it home.  Shortly after getting the car registered here, and checked out by
my mechanic, the car began to lose Pentosin.  It was finally traced to a
leaking high pressure line that ran around the back of the engine.  Three
hours of labor, and the part cost $180 or so.  And that was it for the first
twenty thousand miles.

Now, my car uses no oil to speak of....perhaps a quart in 3000 miles.  I
just had the timing belt and all that jazz done, along with a switch in one
door that was interfering with the functioning of the interior light delay
and alarm system.  Oh, yes.  The radio malfunctioned a year ago.  The on/off
knob died, and I ended up raplacing the head unit with a Nakamichi head
along with two speakers while in Florida.

It is a great car, and was an excellent value.  It would have been nearly
impossible to buy a car like this in Maine, and the same car through an
authorized dealer (there are three in the state), would have been at least
2000 more.

I think you will love your A6!


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