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  1. #1
    JohnC's Avatar
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    AVS Horror Story.

    Dear All,

    I thought I'd share this rather unfortunate tale with you all, and would welcome comments or advice from anyone else out there who has experiences of, or concerns about the AVS (Audi Variable Servicing) programme.

    Since buying my first Audi (2001 B6 A4 1.8T quattro Sport, warranted mileage of just over 26,000 miles) in July it has been a pleasure to own and drive, and fault free as I would expect. The only time it has seen the inside of a workshop was to have two outstanding recall jobs done: coil packs and handbrake grommets. These were taken care of by Millhouse Audi in Bath. However, last week a very serious problem arose which came as a very unpleasant and unexpected shock.

    In September I visited the Audi Driver International event at Castle Combe, during which time I attended a Q&A seminar chaired by informed people from various tuning companies and the magazine itself. One of the subjects discussed was that of AVS, and the fact that there are seemingly widespread concerns that these 'long life' oil service intervals can have an adverse effect on engine health. Scott Evered from AmD recounted several instances of customers' TTs with the 225 1.8T engine on AVS having oil which looked like "sludge" after it was drained during servicing, which is obviously far from ideal.The general consensus of opinion was that fixed service intervals of 10,000 miles/12 months were preferable, and someone from the assembled group (who seemed to know what he was talking about) claimed that Audi UK were now acknowledging this problem and that there was actually a recall going out on 1.8Ts on the AVS for this very reason. However, when I booked my car in shortly afterwards for the recall work to be done, I asked about this and the operations manager at Millhouse knew of no such recall.

    As my car's three-year Audi warranty has now expired, I'm free to use independent specialists for servicing etc., as prior experience with them has always been better than that with dealerships for me, not to mention cheaper. Therefore, having decided to revert to fixed intervals for peace of mind, I booked my car in at AmD for the work to be done last Wednesday, as I would be in Bicester anyway. My car had its one and only oil change under AVS at just over 14,000 miles, with 33,000 or next March as the maximum allowed interval until the next one. Sure enough, the service indicator was showing 4400 miles until the next service, with about 29,300 on the clock. AmD duly carried out an oil and filter change and reset the car's computer from AVS to fixed intervals. After driving the fifty or so miles home I noticed a loud rattle coming from the engine bay at idle, so after calling Craig at AmD (who heard the noise over the phone) I left the car to cool down for an hour or so, and then checked the oil level which turned out to be fine. After reporting this back to Craig he insisted I bring the car back immediately, which I of course did. Upon inspection it was unanimously agreed that the rattle was a sign that the cam chain tensioner was in need of replacement, and that the car should not be driven further until this could be done. As you can appreciate, this came as quite a shock and apparently the simple process of changing the oil had been enough to reveal the problem. I left the car at AmD, and Craig kindly drove me home that night. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/beerchug.gif[/img]

    The following day Craig contacted me to tell me that closer inspection had revealed excessive carbon deposit build-up in the engine, which he felt was typical of a car which had covered 129,000 miles and not 29,000. He said that this had been seen before quite often on relatively low mileage cars which had been on AVS. He was also concerned about a quantity of swarf found in the sump after its removal.The strainer on the oil pump was found to be clogged with these carbon deposits, and this could've led to the cam chain tensioner's premature wear due to oil starvation.It is not clear at this stage whether or not the swarf is a result of that, or something more serious. AmD are currently waiting for parts to arrive: a new oil pump, con rod bearing shells and a new cam belt (which isn't due until 40,000 but may as well be replaced while it's accessible.) After the parts are fitted, they intend to run the engine for a while and then flush it through again to properly assess the severity of the swarf deposits. This should be happening today or tomorrow. Digital photographs have been taken at each stage of the strip-down, as evidence of the problems found.

    Naturally I am gravely concerned, as obviously this is NOT what one expects after buying a low mileage Audi. Prior to owning the A4 I clocked up over 40k miles in two 1.8T Passats, both of which had well in excess of 100,000 miles on the clock when I sold them. Neither of those cars ever even sneezed. I am currently looking at a 1700+ [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cry.gif[/img] bill from AmD for the replacement parts and labour, and I cannot believe that Audi UK are standing by the AVS programme if owners are experiencing these problems at such relatively low mileages, as this is obviously not an isolated incident and the car has been 'properly' serviced - by an Audi centre - at the correct interval. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]

    They (Audi UK) basically didn't want to know when I contacted them about this. The car's warranty expired in July, and the three-month 'grace period' just over a month ago. Having decided against taking out an extended warranty, I guess I can't expect otherwise. However, I will be writing to Audi to see what they have to say about the matter. Having owned four high-mileage Passats in just over ten years, without experiencing a single significant problem with any of them, surely one can expect peace of mind when moving up to the premium sector - and paying the price of admission. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img]

    Any comments or feedback would be very welcome.

    John Carter


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  3. #2
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    I contacted 4 dealers for servicing prices, they all told me different stories as to what you get for a 30,000 mile service, one told me it was just a lube service only, others told me all the fiters, and at one dealer (wont mention names) i spoke to the service manager, and he couldnt say for sure what would be done, the only thing he knew was it "was about 250 for a 30k service- so shall i book you in?" and that was it.

    In the end I found a local mechanic who come well reccomended, who uses genuine parts, and decent fully synth oil (inc flush) diagnostic print out (VAG type) and washes and vacs the car when he's done.
    and it cost less.

    my advice is once the cars out of warranty, dont bother with them.

  4. #3
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    Well ive had my car 4 weeks now, or should i say owned 4 weeks now! and drove it for 4 days! the car is a 2002 A4 with 39k miles on it and its broke down 15 times, currenty been at audi 18 days!

    I phoned audi tyneside, service manager today for him to say they still havent found the problem, the diagnostic machine says all is good, do i want to pick the car up and see how it goes!

    When i said NO I want it fixed, his first reply was its a very complicated piece of machinery and the problem may take a while to fix! surely a cutting out problem doesnt take more than 3 weeks!

    So i have no faith in audi, just like you. and wont be taking the car back in even under warrenty

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    Yeah i am more and more increasing worried about the professionalism or lack of it with some Audi Techies. A guy at my work owns a 2.8 A6 (P)reg lovely car. He was having some sort of problems with the car it wasnt driving properly so he brought it to Audi Dealership. They had his car for a month and told him that they had run extensive tests and the problem was unfixable. He picks his car up and brings it to an Audi techie who he hears about through a friend. The guy fixed the problem in 4 hours. All it needed was the ECU replaced [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img]

    I love my Audi they are great cars but why should we pay over the odds extortionate rates for second rate servicing and workmanship which we could get at any dodgy backstreet garage for alot less!!!!

  6. #5
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    well, I hear a new law thats just come in to force that theres nothing stopping you using an independant garage to service your car so long as they use genuine parts.

    i'd check though.

  7. #6
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    i also hear that you can refuse the car if you return it more than four times, there is a phrase for this but i dont know.
    A friend told me he had bought a new S4 from a main stealer which constantly kept blowing up turbos, in the end he refused it back and they replaced it.

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    Yeah they have that law in America but not here yet. No dealership will accept an independant garage workin on their cars even with original parts they will invalidate the warranty. It wouldnt make sense. Be better for us though [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  9. #8
    imported_Macduff
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    [ QUOTE ]
    CJ B6 2.0 said:
    Yeah they have that law in America but not here yet. No dealership will accept an independant garage workin on their cars even with original parts they will invalidate the warranty. It wouldnt make sense. Be better for us though [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I think you'll find that they have changed the law now. As long as the person is qualified and the parts are of an equivalent standard then the manufacturer must honour the warranty.

    Dave

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    Ok if thats the case then cool. Better for us then. Bet if you go ask Audi dealership you know what their answer will be straight away...lol

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    All this talk is putting serious doubts in my mind that i should buy a Civic type r (not a single engine failure in over 1 million units...so they say) over my first choice an s3!

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    I was going to buy a Type R too i owned a civic b4...never let me down but at the end of the day its still a honda. Audi like any other car is only as good as its looked after.....its the dealerships which are letting us down we need value for money and satisfaction guaranteed not second rate service at a first rate price!

  13. #12
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    I too went by my cars computer when it came to servicing my 2001 1.8T 150bhp B6 A4, I bought the car second hand from a main dealer, it was 15 months old so they gave me 1 yrs waranthy. They told me to service the car when the computer told me. This I did but I brought it to my local mechanic who uses the genuine parts but charges half what the dealer charges for a service. This service turned out to be its first sinse the car was new, it was at 20000 miles as I do alot of long distance driving. The mechanic said if I left it any longer it could have been serious, he showed me the back of the oil cap; it was like it was dipped in road Tar, there was a thick black sludge built up, you could even she the same sludge built up on the over head cams. When he drained out the oil it was as black as coal and had lost all its viscosity, it was like water. He said there was alot of sludge build up so he said I would be safer going for 2 x 5000 oil changes using semi synthetic oil, this would help flush out the system. This I did and never looked back, every oil change after that the oil was clear and tacky and the oil cap never built up with sludge. I recently traded that model for a new 1.8T 190 B6 and I can assure you I will be ignoring the computer screen and servicing every 10000 miles which will work out every 8-10 months and to keep the waranthy sweet I will let the main dealer do the first service and everyone after that will be my normal mechanic.
    I'm also a member on AudiWorld.com, this is an American forumn, they are currently receiving leters from Audi of America saying they will extend their waranthy on any 1.8T engine that are showing excesive build up of sludge. I'll see if I can get a copy of the letter, maybe you could use when your talking to Audi England....Good Luck.

  14. #13
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    John,
    I have a copy of that letter, don't know how to post it on forumn, can you give me your e-mail address and I will send it to you, its worth reading!

  15. #14
    imported_lewiscsfb
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    Scary reading ... Does this affect other engines as well? I have a A4 Cab 2.4 V6 that's only a couple of months old. At the moment the car is saying I have two years til service. Would you recommend me ingoring this and servicing at 10K/12Mnths or is this only a problem with Turbo engines?

  16. #15
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    AVS was introduced in the 1999.5 model year cars AFAIK and at the time the dealers had little apparent awareness of the new service intervals.

    I had an A3 at the time which had its warranty voided as I went past the 10,000 interval (although the car would insist that another 9,000 miles were available. At the 15,000 service (which I opted on early and agreed to switch to standard intervals) the garage performed an AVS service but used standard SYNTA oil (not long life) and reset the computer giving me 19,000 miles to go - I was told the technicians were not made aware of my request to switch to standard servicing, so it was a bona fide AVS service, just with the wrong oil.

    This lead me to wonder whether or not the tech guys were getting confused about which oil to use on different services, and I guess some of the issues could be attributable to standard oil being put in at an AVS service leading to it's overuse and consequential damage.

    I bought a used S4 shortly afterwards which was 2000 model year car, and I noted that it too had had it's manufacturers warranty voided in the past due to apparent non compliance with servicing intervals - so my intial A3 problem was not unique.

    My remedy is to change the oil on my cars myself at 5,000 mile intervals and use fully synthetic oils. The S4 still ran AVS, I just took the oil out 5,000 miles after the service and replaced it myself. My S3 runs the 10,000 intervals with mid term oil changes done manually.

    Personally, I think that any car in a fairly high state of tune needs extra attention, and trusting the dealers (no matter how competant) may mean you get bitten and charged for a failure you may not be able to prove.

  17. #16
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    [ QUOTE ]
    Frank G said:
    John,
    I have a copy of that letter, don't know how to post it on forumn, can you give me your e-mail address and I will send it to you, its worth reading!

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Hi Frank

    I am very grateful to you for this - thank you. My e-mail address is as follows (remove 'NOSPAM'):

    john.carterNOSPAM@ecolab.com

    Cheers [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/beerchug.gif[/img]
    John

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    John,
    Sent you that via e-mail at 11.58am
    Good Luck.

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    This sounds horrible...

    I've treated my A3 really well since picking it up in October, and still have 17000 miles (allegedly) til the next oil service. Now I'm really worried!

    David, that's horrendous that Audi filled it with standard Synta Gold and reset the AVS. I'm surprised it worked though - I thought AVS needed a very specific type of oil viscosity/conductivity/something, otherwise it can't make a mileage assessment?

    How can anybody on AVS be sure Audi filled it with the right longlife oil type? I assumed AVS would complain if the wrong type was used, but obviously not!

  20. #19
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    You cant go wrong with an oil change every 10,000 miles it doesnt matter what audi reccomend coz i comes out of a franchise handbook!! so long as you can find an honest mechanic who will use quality oil and a gen filters, who would know better?
    Nothing else matters in an engine than the quality of oil and so if you control your oil changes instead of that silly computer then i reckon you cant go wrong.

    My last car had 190,000 miles when i sold it and i run mint and i think it was down to the 10,000 mile service / oil chane rule!!


  21. #20
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    well guys ive been tod another week at least for the car as they cannot find the fault!! (29 days in total)

    [censored] off is a understatement!!

    Im considering selling, over bad service, bad techies, stories ive headr and over all customer service!

    Im currenty writing a letter to Audi UK,

    1st) A complaint about the fact i own a 18k estate- and i only get a A2 curtosy car for 4 weeks +

    2nd) car doesnt come with a full service- which is poor the last owner could have put any thing in the oil/engine system and this should be replaced!

    and a few other things!

    Im not a complaining person so dont know how to go about this but i hate the fact ive payed 18k on a car they have wasted a months tax/insurance. And ive no rights!!!

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    Sorry to hear about all the hassle you have had,several years ago i had problems concerning rust on a c class. Mercedes started to take more of an interset once the problem had been printed in What car, sling some muck in the press, and see what happens.
    Hope you get some result.

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    McGough sorry to hear all the crap your going through. Your absolutely right it aint on FULLSTOP!!! Dont bother with the letter call headoffice ASAP and demand that action is taken immediatley. I would make a list of complaints so you dont forget anything and then i would ask what form of compensation you would be receiving for the unsatisfactory level of service which is being offered which doesnt comply with what AUDI stipulate in their service agreements! Dont leave it at that if you are unhappy with what they offer or action they take then just state that the papers and Watchdog programme for consumers will be more than happy to hear your crys for help which is going to cost them a whole lot more in lost revenue for having bad press than it will to fix your car and reinburse for inconvienence caused. After all nothing ventured nothing gained mate! Good luck [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

  24. #23
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    Haveing covered 5900 miles, and i do drive the car hard.
    priced 1st service audi at 275 near sh-t . ?
    left car into local shop had car serviced for 40
    inc silkolene fully syn oil, filter,air filter + pollen filter
    stamped my book, and i"m very happy i"ll be back ?

  25. #24
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    Bloody hell thats a a cracking deal!!!

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    [ QUOTE ]
    VACINC said:
    Haveing covered 5900 miles, and i do drive the car hard.
    priced 1st service audi at 275 near sh-t . ?
    left car into local shop had car serviced for 40
    inc silkolene fully syn oil, filter,air filter + pollen filter
    stamped my book, and i"m very happy i"ll be back ?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    BEWARE stangers baring gifts ... that's all can say!!!

    The stamp is worth sh!t, if it's not an Audi approved shop!!!

    Good-luck [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/froggie_red.gif[/img]

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    Yeah know what you mean but if your car is outta warranty then what the hell.....any garage can do an oil and filter change so why pay the premium if you know the garage is good!

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    [ QUOTE ]
    CJ B6 2.0 said:
    Yeah know what you mean but if your car is outta warranty then what the hell.....any garage can do an oil and filter change so why pay the premium if you know the garage is good!

    [/ QUOTE ]

    1st Service , 5900 miles ... if you can' afford the service .. you can't afford the car [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/burningmad.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/burningmad.gif[/img]

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    Yeah i agree with you there theres no way i'd get my brand new car done anywhere else but the dealership. But why first service at 5900 miles....very odd!

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    First Service @ 5900 miles = Total sh!t driver ... wot?

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    To drive a brand new car that hard and not afford the Dealership prices.....very weird what did u do drive it in a mini WRC !!!!

  32. #31
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    yea well any one got the address, email and telephone number for customer services, im going to do all three, and im gona vent a seperate lettter and phone call for all you guys on here about the increased unsatisfactory service we are all recieving, i recieve a better service from Vw when i get my van serviced or warrenty work done!! and that thing was only 5K!!!

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    Yeah but this is the flip side....when u buy a nice car Audi pressume that you have an endless supply of money to sort it out when it goes wrong!!! How wrong can they be! Listen mate i found out that Audi Head Office for UK is in Bletchley - Milton Keynes. Thats as close as i could get to an address. Hope it helps you a bit anyway and good luck. Let us know what happens!

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    Wayside Audi
    3 Denbigh Road, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK1 1DF

    Tel: 01908 840000
    Fax: 01908 841111

    Here you go McGough from what i've read on the net this is Audi Head Office UK address and number. Once again good luck!!! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

  35. #34
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    brilliant mate, great!!

  36. #35
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    well people ive sent off a fax, letter to way side and a email to the customer services audi uk!

    Ill put a responce up soon!!

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    Nope. Wayside are a regular dealership.

    Audi UK and the VAG head office is as follows:-

    Audi (UK)
    Volkswagen Group United Kingdom Limited
    Yeomans Drive,
    Blakelands,
    Milton Keynes
    MK14 5AN

    Good luck

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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    I was just going by what information was coming up for Audi Head Office UK! Thats what it was giving me.

  39. #38
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    [ QUOTE ]
    lew2 said:
    Scary reading ... Does this affect other engines as well? I have a A4 Cab 2.4 V6 that's only a couple of months old. At the moment the car is saying I have two years til service. Would you recommend me ingoring this and servicing at 10K/12Mnths or is this only a problem with Turbo engines?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Following my experiences I would say yes, ignore the computer and get independent advice from someone like AmD. As I understand it this issue concerns mainly the 1.8T engine but that's not to say others couldn't be similarly affected. Better safe than sorry!

    John

  40. #39
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    [ QUOTE ]
    AndrewB said:
    How can anybody on AVS be sure Audi filled it with the right longlife oil type? I assumed AVS would complain if the wrong type was used, but obviously not!

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Exactly. It was my understanding that the whole point of AVS was that the software intelligently monitors driving style, engine performance and (most importantly) the condition of the oil, and determines the next service interval based on those parameters. A lot of R&D was apparently poured into developing this technology, but I can't help thinking that the ball has been dropped somewhere if this software allows the oil to deteriorate to such a point where the strainer on the pump becomes so clogged with sludge that other engine components are starved of oil, leading to premature wear/failure.[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]

    It will be very interesting to hear Audi UK's take on this if and when I receive a reply. I'll also be writing to the service manager at the stealership who did the 14,000 mile oil change service to see what they have to say on the matter.

    Just to update you all, I collected my car from AmD on Saturday. They're satisfied that the engine now has a clean bill of health, but advised me to change the oil again in 5000 miles time in order to be completely rid of any residual crap. After that I will revert to the conventional 10,000 mile/12 months regime.

    I have to say the service from AmD throughout this unfortunate episode was exemplary, and I have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone. Thanks Craig [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/beerchug.gif[/img]

    Cheers for now,
    John


  41. #40
    Mcgough's Avatar
    4th Gear

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    Oct 2004
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    Re: AVS Horror Story.

    Hi there anybody who is reading this i am currently talking to audi about major conserns i have read on this site over, poor workmanship, delay in service, costs involved in service, and AVS!

    I will be putting up a post on which i would like any one to reply on with details of any of the above to which anyone has a consern over- and i will be passing a copy onto audi uk!! thanks and sorry to jump in the middle of a conversation!

    Mr Mc

 

 
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