1996 Audi A4 B5 1.8


Pre-2002 Audi sedans should only be purchased if you are absolutely mechanically competent


Worst purchasing decision ever!

Stupidly bought an Audi A4 1996 about 4 years ago for $4000. It has been the worst car I have ever owned. An absolute nightmare.

Repair bills:

Breather hoses = $240.

Compressor for A/C parts and labour: $280.

Oil cooler (massive oil leak below the car). I successfully diagnosed it, and found the leak to be from the oil cooler, when many mechanics said it was the rear main seal, and thanks to an Audi forum, I was able to install the new cooler that I ripped off a VW at an auto salvage yard for $20 and 1 hour labour. Once again, thanks to the advice from users at the Audi forum (I'm not a mechanic by any means).

Cabin vibration (engine mounts), the most annoying problem with the car. I was told that they usually fail, but I was reluctant to spend $800 to have them replaced, so I didn't.

OIL... the oil in the engine had been hardened into bits of black pieces. After several oil flushes, roughly 20-30 pieces of this hardened oil drained out of the sump. They even had grooves embedded into them from parts inside the engine. DISASTER. I think a chimp must have previously owned the car.

Poor fuel economy!!! 13-14 litres would only go for 100kms, tried to fix this by replacing the oxygen sensor and air flow sensor, but failed. Mechanic quoted $950 for the job. I was able to do it myself with salvaged parts for $70. Still didn't fix the problem (oh well, at least a $70 loss is better than $950).

Buzzing muffler / exhaust system. Embarrassing sound to have a car make when taking off. No leaks were found by mechanics. Gave up.

Power steering hose failed. Replaced it myself with yet again salvaged parts from other Audis.

Heater failed due to the water pump starting to fail. No heat in the car as well as A/C (never got the A/C fixed). The replaced compressor also failed, so I gave up.

The list goes on and on...

General Comments:

Don't buy any new or old Audi unless you're willing to fork out $$ on repairs in the future. Trust me. I wish I had listened to the advice given to me.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 25th October, 2012

25th Oct 2012, 18:44

You could have these issues with any car of this age, which has been neglected or badly maintained.

19th Nov 2012, 22:10

Why did you give the car 7/10 on reliability if you feel so strongly that this Audi gave you so much grief?

I would say it sounds average for a car of that age and km. So 5/10 might be more appropriate?

16th Jan 2013, 19:49

What did you expect? You bought an old, high mileage car.

1996 Audi A4 1.8E 1.8 16v


My fifth Audi, so far so good


Oil leaked from the oil filter/oil cooler base.

Centre muffler baffle is rattling, will need to be fixed.

Central locking plays up -- lets me lock and unlock with the keys outside, but from inside, sometimes will not central-lock with the driver's door plunger unless I slam the door then lock it immediately. I suspect a faulty switching unit combined with the door latch.

Front apron lip caught in a concrete wheel stop at a public parking lot when I backed up the car, unsnapped the bumper fascia at the sides.

General Comments:

Great looking car, especially in non-metallic red. Refreshing to have a modern car which is not silver metallic.

This is a used Japanese import Audi, hence the automatic. I'd have preferred a manual, but you can't have everything.

As with all my previous four second-hand Audis, solid and built like a tank.

Finally, they've fitted a telescoping steering column. I'm long-legged and with the previous cars, I needed to move the seat forward to comfortably reach the wheel, but have to bend my knees, not very comfortable in long drives.

4-speed automatic with DSP is weird - I still need to get it serviced, but the gearbox and I appear to be trying to outsmart each other. My older Audi 80 had a transmission that was less conspicuous with shifting. In saying that, a friend's A4 2.6 with a 5-speed automatic had excellent shifting, silky-smooth.

Economy is better than my previous car. I average about 9-9.5 km/L, but when I use the motorway a lot, it can reach 10 km/L, and on a long out of town drive, manages 12 km/L.

Automatic climate control works very well. I was suspicious of it at first, having been used to a manual temperature dial, but it's great -- I keep it at between 20 and 23 deg C.

Engine appears to warm slowly in the mornings. Perhaps the thermostat needs to be looked at. It does eventually reach 90 deg C as most Audis should, but on shorter trips, like 15 minutes to work, sometimes it would reach only 70 deg C.

Got the cambelt done after purchase -- it was on its last legs, and because it needed the updated belt design and tensioner plus roller, that was pretty costly. My other Audis only cost $42-54 for the belt; the kit for this one cost $540. Why don't they just design it to have timing chains like BMWs?

I'll see how it runs after the auto transmission service, but for now, if you must buy a second-hand A4 automatic, get the 2.6 V6 instead.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th June, 2004

1996 Audi A4 1.8


Expensive to service and maintain


Vehicle was always very well serviced (through Audi dealership), however I have still spent an average of $3,000Aus per annum servicing and repairing it - and that's only relatively minor things like brakes, air con, CV joints etc. Imagine if the transmission or a master cylinder goes! Perhaps I was just being ripped off by the Audi service dealer?

General Comments:

Vehicle itself is a joy to look at and drive. Non turbo 1.8 relatively lively (quicker than equivalent year BMW 318i) but still doesn't live up to its sporty shape. Excellent interior and apparent build. But boy do those servicing and repair costs quickly add up! How does $2,000Aus for a major service at 90,000km grab you! I have friends with top of the range Mercedes Benz and BMW models (of similar age) who have found their cars far cheaper to run and maintain. My previous BMW cost far less to service and maintain.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 12th August, 2003

9th Sep 2003, 06:17

Hmmm. Sounds expensive. Funny how Audi gets expensive in all markets. Its also funny how those service and maintenance costs start to mount once the car is out of warranty. Perhaps the style masters at Audi don't want us mere mortals driving used-by date examples of their magnificent marque.

19th Dec 2003, 09:23

I completely disagree on that. Audi A4 parts are very cheap to get, even at the official VAG dealers in Europe. I mean, I needed the leather that is around the gearstick, at mercedes it costs about 100 euro for a Vito VAN. At VAG I payed 20 euro for a brand new one for my A4.

Don't buy alloy wheels and floor mats etc. they cost al lot at VAG. But the rest is al very acceptable.