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Buying an S3

HTC Feb 13, 2009

  1. HTC

    HTC Active Member

    Mods, some guy sent me a PM as he can't post.

    Anyways he wants a thread so others can chime in regarding buying an S3, seeing as I don't actually own one.

    I'm sure you'll be able to post soon. Maybe there is a waiting time to stop spam posts?

    Do the normal checks as you would any car. Eg first check body work is straight, no overspray, look under the car for bumps and scraps or odd welding etc. There should be no rust as audi produced these cars with a 12 year rust warrenty and body is galvanised. However, some cars can have rusty lower doors and the roof gutters can bubble.
    Specific S3 stuff, would be check the trims at the bottom of the doors aren't loose and operate the electric windows to see if they move correctly as there are some plastic clips that can break causing the window to jam.
    Make sure leather seat adjustment motors work, but generally the interiors are pretty hard wearing. Look for general obvious signs of neglect.
    Check engine oil level, colour. Coolant level. Should be bright pink. Check for sludge under the oil filler cap etc.

    When switching on the ignition and starting, make sure all the warning lights go out. Sometimes the dash display pixels can fade. If so, you can haggle some money off. It won't effect the operation of the car but if it bugs you it's a couple of hundred £ fix.
    Starting the engine listen for a rattle. The hydraulic tappets in the cylinder head might well make a noise. This is fine as long as it disappears after a few seconds. The engine will tick alot from cold. This is fine as it's not actually the engine, it's the charcoal emmissons filter (front drivers side of the engine bay and the injectors which are just behind the inlet manifold. Any other knocks, walk away.
    You may hear a whirring noise like a jet plane. This is the secondary air injection (again emmisions) this will stop when the car warms up. Lumpty idle would mean a vacuum leak, ie a split hose.

    When driving the engine should be smooth with good pull from quite low revs. If the engine feels lumpy or hesitant then this could indicate an electrical problem. Usually it would be the mass air flow sensor. These can be fragile and if faulty cause the engine to be down on power.
    Changing into 2nd gear can sometimes crunch. VAG cars don't have the best synchros. This is up to you whether you can live with it or not. The gearbox won't explode and it's generally considered a characteristic. Some synthetic gear oils can help.
    Engine should warm up to 90°C and stay there. You have to drive the car to get it to warm up which is normal. It will take ages just idling. If the water doesn't get up to temp after about 5 mins or it drop when cruising, this will mean the thermostat is faulty and requires replacing.
    Turbo should spool with a light whir and then a hiss when it's up to speed. Any grinding surging and generally weird noises, leave the car alone. Turbos are gerally good and strong on these engines. Look for smoke on heavy overrun.
    Check for clutch slip, ie revs rising out of synch with vehicle speed. Some S3s suffer with this.

    Suspension should be okay, but you may hear squeaks over bumps. This would be front ARB bushes. More annoying than a problem. ARB bushes will wear with age. Turn the steering from lock to lock. Any twang noises would be a broken spring actually quite common. Also check rear springs to see if they are okay. Check for inside tyre wear.

    Brakes should be sharp. Some feel a little too sharp, but that's another disscussion. Nothing overtly specific to the S3 regarding issues, just made sure the work. Check for disc and pad condition.

    Check VIN numbers, service history (cambelt is very important). Get one of those new SMS txt vehicle checks done. You can also get the service history from audi if you have the reg number.

    There's probably many things I've forgotten. Have a flick through the forum or search for issues and then you'll get a feel for the types of problems that often crop up. Also read the FAQ in the A3 8L forum section.

    See here for info about options http://audi-sport.net/vb/showthread.php?t=5163
  2. SkimpyBeardy

    SkimpyBeardy Always Choose An S3 'Simples'

    Thank you that really helped, I will most likely be doing a print off and taking some notes when I go to look,

    Is AA/RAC inspection worth doing?? with one better than the other?

  3. HTC

    HTC Active Member

    Welcome. I can't comment re. AA/RAC inspections. I've never used them as I'm an ex mechanic.

    Hoping others may add comments on specific 4WD tests or issues.
  4. nick-barnes07

    nick-barnes07 Member

    aa rac inspection is definatley worth doing, they pick every fault with the car, made a old car of mine look like a pile of ****, lol, definately get one done if u r buying a car

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