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View Full Version : 18yr old college student looking at b5 a4



chapterfour08
11-02-2012, 01:37 PM
hi i am currently looking into the b5 a4 and was wondering if you think it would be a good car for a college student. i travel around an hour to and from college so i need a reliable car. the one i am currently looking at has 138k miles 1.8tqm they want 4k$ for it at the dealer. what do you guys think?

MadAudi
11-02-2012, 01:40 PM
Make sure it has had all it major maintenance done, Timing belt, front control arms, fluids changed.

I just sent my brother off to college in a 1.8T A4 with that same mileage, with no worries because it's all up to date. If it checks out, go for it!

Artiemas
11-02-2012, 01:50 PM
Go for it, man; aslong as what ^ said is all right. Even if something does go a little wrong, there's a great community here that helps each other out in a heartbeat.

It's certainly sporty, and somewhat roomy. Trunk has nice space, and the rears fold down. Gas mileage is pretty decent from the 1.8s, I hear. I get around 18-21 with my V6 2.8, and it's also never left me stranded anywhere.

crazexr7
11-02-2012, 02:21 PM
i travel around an hour to and from college so i need a reliable car.

I would say stay away, unless you can work on your own car. If I had to take the car to the shop for everything that went wrong on mine I'd be in a massive amount of debt and wouldn't be able to keep it.

seanj130
11-02-2012, 02:27 PM
You are looking at driving an hour... You are not looking at a b5 a4..

4k seems high.

I would buy one for 2k, and do 2k in service to make it in top condition.

howardfootball
11-02-2012, 02:27 PM
You definitely need to be able to do the work yourself. Labor cost is the real killer for these cars. And have a reputable shop that specializes in German/ European cars do a PPI for you.

walky_talky20
11-02-2012, 02:28 PM
I'd say the same. A 1.8T-engined Audi is not really an ideal car for a broke college student (I'm just assuming he's broke because he's a college student). If *anything* goes wrong at all, it's pretty much guaranteed to cost at least double what the same repair would be on a Corolla (if said Corolla even broke to begin with). The only way it makes sense is if the student has sufficient tools, time, and space to do the work on his own (or isn't broke, obviously).

/IMHO

When I went off to college, I was specifically forbidden to take my Audi. I was required to take a Toyota instead. Only trouble it gave in 4 years was a bad alternator which I diagnosed and repaired in my dorm room with a diode pack fedex'd from back home.

revolution337
11-02-2012, 02:31 PM
^ but then you have to be seen driving a corolla [down]

chapterfour08
11-02-2012, 02:51 PM
my dad can do most of the work im just worried about being broke down on the side of the road, and not having transportation while the car is in my dads shop

JAM3S121
11-02-2012, 04:05 PM
If your dad owns a shop I'm sure you will be fine..most of the problems I've had that I couldn't fix my local mechanic who works on any car knows whats wrong with mine and a lot of the problems with b5's are common to passats and jettas.

I would just check those control arms, timing belt/waterpump maintance don't be paying $4000 unless it was replaced within 10k miles.. same with clutch imo.

I am 20 and I bought my car at age 19 thinking it was going to be easy to fix it up, but other problems have happened. I bought my car knowing it needed tires, two rear wheel bearings. So far I've replaced... two rear wheel bearings, 4 tires, two new front axles (one got messed up so i got both fixed), fuel sending unit (Cheap diy), and right now a coolant flange leak, thermostat needs to be replaced and I believe my cam chain tensioner is possibly no good. Car has 144k miles. None of these problems made me not be able to drive the car or pull off the road immediately.

Nateness
11-02-2012, 04:56 PM
my dad can do most of the work im just worried about being broke down on the side of the road, and not having transportation while the car is in my dads shop

I really enjoy my B5 A4, but I would not recommend for a college student with a long commute. There are easier and more economical cars to choose from. You probably won't want the financial drain or distraction of mechanical or electrical issues when you're focusing on school.

To put the B5 A4 1.8T Quattro that I have owned for years in perspective, I have spent less money overall on my 1993 FD RX7 twin turbo rotary than I have on my A4 (including the cost of both cars). Granted, I have a built 2.0 motor, head, etc. but that was because the original motor failed on the highway due to oil starvation. I changed my oil every 3k and even went through the anti-sludge products and I still ended up with oil pressure failure with less than 90k on the motor. The problem is that you never know the entire service history of a used car and there is a lot of things that can go wrong on a B5 A4. My rotary has never broken down or required a tow. My A4 has.

andyrew
11-02-2012, 08:02 PM
The Audi B5 is a very well designed car in this price range. If its a 1.8 then keep the following parts on hand, Coil pack, MAF sensor, Code reader. If you want it for reliability keep it stock (change the exhaust if you want...), Dont chip it, if its chipped dont buy it unless you can negotiate a $750 turbo/exhaust manifold change. The clutch can go bad around that milage if it was driven hard, the control arms will need to have been replaced, and the motor mounts will have need to be replaced. Timing belt/water pump will have need to be done a second time at that mileage. After that you should be good to go! Respect the turbo, dont get in boost (get a boost guage) unless your fully warmed up and let it cool down (dont get in boost 5 minutes prior to shutting the engine down or let it idle for 2 minutes).


They are good cars that just need to be treated with respect.

coolgraymemo
11-02-2012, 08:39 PM
I'm a college student.
I commute about thirty miles to school (sixty round-trip).
I haven't had major issues (knocks on wood).
I don't beat on my car though.

shinamura
11-02-2012, 08:52 PM
i was going into my 3rd year of college when i got my b5 a4 2000 1.8tqm. 137k mi. got it for 5k, with some help from my dad. i've put in a probably almost another 5k in maintenance/minor mods out of my own pocket. i love my car to death, but i'm broke as f@ck because of it. i'm lucky my gf isn't high maintenance.

as a college student, i would say go for it as long as you are willing to SAVE money on the side for unexpected maintenance. if you can't afford to put the extra money on the side after buying the a4, go with something way more reliable i.e. NOT european

walky_talky20
11-02-2012, 09:02 PM
^ but then you have to be seen driving a corolla [down]

Actually, I got lots of compliments on my "corolla". People left notes on it all the time ("I LOVE your car!, etc), something I don't get with my Audi. And it got nearly 40mpg highway. The car was kinda special:

http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4040/4337764449_240de49f48_z.jpg

BlackLock_A4
11-02-2012, 09:37 PM
Looks like back when they had the RWD corollas?!

I bought my 1.8T sophmore year in college (3 years ago) and still love it to death. I have had a long commute the past couple summers, and drive about 300 miles/ weekend. That being said, I do all my own work and have been one of the lucky college kids that have had a garage and the tools to do it.

biketsai
11-02-2012, 10:44 PM
IMO, not worth it. You'll want to spend your money on many more other things and if your car needs parts, then you better have some saved up. If you were looking for a nice car to drive daily, id look into a Japanese car. This car begs to be modded ($$$)

Avant Nate
11-02-2012, 10:52 PM
I've talked a fair amount of people out of Audis. People like the styling and the name, but explain that they cost a lot to maintain, and if your not prepared to turn a wrench, it will be a pain in the ass. I consider it a little bit of a labor of love. And stock mode, slow as balls.

crazexr7
11-03-2012, 05:27 AM
If you're seriously after a b5. I'd try to find a 1998 and below 24V v6. Supposedly it's the most reliable engine. My 30V v6 has sort of been reliable besides my valve cover gaskets, and a ticking noise which high mileage oil seems to have fixed.

Nollywood
11-03-2012, 05:50 AM
For a college student??

The B5 A4 1,8T is a great car, but upkeep could be pricey. The K03 turbo is a weak point, and sludge / oil pump failures are not uncommon. If it has to be a B5 A4, I would be looking more at a 2,8 V6 30V QMT. It's well appointed, has more punch than the 1,8T in stock form, and generally more reliable.

A 1,8T is easy to extract more power from, and can become a money pit, as the urge to bump the power up will be hard to resist, and will chew through $$$ in a very short time. One mod leads to another, some B5 1,8T owners have poured more $$$ into their cars than B5 S4 owners.

chapterfour08
11-03-2012, 08:20 AM
You guys are killing me haha i really want an awd turbo stick thats somewhat reliable and gets halfway decent gas mileage. Thats in the 4k$ - 6k$ area

Edit: im not a huge fan of jap cars. Theres just something about european cars

AudiNFS
11-03-2012, 08:40 AM
Gotta choose your battles. Not exactly what you're looking for/reliable/cheap to fix vs. what you want/possibly being stranded/repair$$$. That being said, I drove my S4 2 hours to college and back, 2 hours to my gf's college and back multiple times without issue. It left me stranded once and that was due to install error of an axle. Although, this was all after control arm replacement, gaskets and seals (not as much of an issue on the A4), Spider hose, and some other fun maintenance.

As others have said, stay away from chipped A4s, check maintenance records (if they can't be provided walk away), and check oil change intervals and type of oil if possible. I'd even almost go as far to say if you really need the car to be very reliable then make damn sure it is by ordering a valve cover gasket or two and when you go look at the car pop the valve cover off and look around. I know it's extreme, but it'll give you a great idea of what you're getting into

Nateness
11-03-2012, 09:51 AM
You guys are killing me haha i really want an awd turbo stick thats somewhat reliable and gets halfway decent gas mileage. Thats in the 4k$ - 6k$ area

Edit: im not a huge fan of jap cars. Theres just something about european cars

It's going to be very hard to find: cheap, euro, AWD, turbo, and good fuel economy.

If you can compromise on the euro vs. Japanese item, then you may find better odds. A ST165 and ST185 Celica Alltrac may fit most of what you're looking for. The 3SGTE engine is extremely reliable and easy to make power from. The parts aftermarket for the 3SGTE is arguably more mature than the 1.8T market and cheaper to upgrade. I daily drove a 3SGTE powered car (MR2) for 6 years through high school and university. Extremely reliable and reasonable fuel economy. I also have a timeslip for a 12.9 sec 1/4 mile run with cheap Kumho MX 225 tires and the OEM CT20B turbo. Maintenance was also much cheaper than the A4.

biketsai
11-03-2012, 01:03 PM
You guys are killing me haha i really want an awd turbo stick thats somewhat reliable and gets halfway decent gas mileage. Thats in the 4k$ - 6k$ area

Edit: im not a huge fan of jap cars. Theres just something about european cars

Understandable. That's what we all want right? Just make sure you learn how to work on this car and you will be fine. But being a college student, it's hard finding places wrench.

Symon
11-03-2012, 01:36 PM
The k03 is definitely the weak point of these cars with more than 100 k miles. I'm learning that the hard way. But with $250 and a couple hours you can swap Em easy. I payed too much for mine considering I'm replacing a shit ton of stuff in a small amount of time I'm at the point where I just want it to work for 10k more miles before I have to spend the rest of my savings on it haha.

But it's hard to beat an awd audi. Winter makes me appreciate this vehicle.

viceprp
11-03-2012, 01:39 PM
12v A4 would be best bet. Sluggish but its a fucking tank. I had my car with me at college and knew it was well maintained, so I had no problems. Blew through several inches of snow in Mountaineer country with no problems.