A6 Breakdown Record (was: type 44 breakdown survey)

David C Kumpf dkumpf at optimetra.com
Wed Sep 18 20:00:49 EDT 2002

Mike Veglia wrote:
> In a message dated 9/17/2002 David C Kumpf writes:
> << Actually, I have compiled a MBTT (Mean Time Between Tows)
> on my '98 A6,
> which is much worse. It's 6300 miles between tows. But I've concluded
> that two of my four tow events are very likely due to the dealer's
> services department repair quality (!) on the other two events... >>
> Care to elaborate? Even doubling the number to eliminate the
> dealer service
> screw-ups (reminds me why I do as much of my own work as
> possible--it is not
> just because I like to) 12,600 miles between tows is rather
> extreme. That
> brings reliability to about as bad as it gets IMO.

Well, I've yammered about this before, but here goes (sorry for length):

Bought the car (1998 A6 2.8Q) in August 2000 with Audi Assured coverage
at about 38k miles. Around 65k now.

1. 43k. No start problem. This is described in an Audi TSB. Backed it
out of the garage, shut it off, would not restart several hours later.
Towed, replaced plugs, various sensors, injectors, thermostat.

2. 55.5k. Water pump failed catastrophically on freeway. Towed, replaced
water pump, replaced timing belt and tension rollers since they were in

3. 56k. Had car back three days from #2, tension roller failed, timing
belt slipped, bent valves. Towed. Replaced several intake and exhaust
valves in head rebuild.

4. 62k. Oh, this one is lovely. Is it my fault? Had car back from 60k
service, drove about 30 miles, dies on freeway. Towed. Replaced plugs,
sensors, et al. Still not running. Discovered NO FUEL coming up rail.
Ah, no gas in tank! But the gauge reads full. Hmmm, mechanic thinks
"must be sender", replaces that, puts $5 of gas in, pronounces it
solved. (Both fuel sender recalls had previously been performed...)

Fortunately, I avoided a #5...I'm driving the car quite a distance after
#4, and notice the gauge creeping toward F, not E, as I drive. Gee, must
NOT be the sender, huh? Turns out that during the 60k service, the
instrument cluster was replaced (LED display going out). But they put in
the wrong part...looks identical externally but not intended for that
exact model/year. Cluster replaced again, I'm back in business.

The car has been in 5 other times to dealer for other repairs and
regular maintenance (including the sender recalls); oil changes every
3-4k miles. All of the repairs HAVE been paid for by Audi Assured; no
complaints about that. But in two years, car has been in the shop over
90 days.

Lest someone think "ah, gee, one of those guys who has bad luck with

1981 924 - owned for 19 years (since new) and 85k miles until I sold it,
on a tow truck one time for fuel pump failure.
1985 911 - owned for 12 years so far and 35k of the 85k miles, on a tow
truck one time for a very strange alternator failure.
1984 Nissan 4x4 pickup - owned from new to about 45k, never towed
1988 Pathfinder - owned since new, 203k on it now, on a tow truck one
time, bad starter
1987 5kcsq - owned from 85k to 135k (when some nitwit ran into it while
I was stopped at a light), on a tow truck one time - because I hit a
curb during an ice storm and broke the control arm on the right-hand

(OK, if I seem a bit defensive, it's because I'm cranky after looking at
my repair spreadsheet again... ;-))

Dave Kumpf
dkumpf at optimetra.com

More information about the quattro mailing list