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Is high miles a big issue like people think it is?

J17_KNO Jan 20, 2013

  1. J17_KNO

    J17_KNO Member

    Hi folks,

    So i've decided to start looking for an A3, a 170 tdi s-line Quattro to be exact. However all of the ones at the price that I would like to spend, that I have seen on the net so far have slightly higher miles, ranging form 70k-80k with full audi service history.

    I said that I would settle for one with 60k but i'm beginning to wonder if I should open up to a car with that wee bit more miles or just try and save some extra cash.

    The mk4 golf tdi I currently have is at 122k miles (I got it at 60k), gets oil and filter changed every 6k (with all other filters every 12k) and it still goes like it did when I first got it. This would continue with the A3 and is what is making me lean towards the car with slightly higher mileage.

    Just looking for general opinions on this?


  2. spencer361

    spencer361 Member

    Its a tough one... I bought my sportback 26 months ago, I had a 11k budget and was looking around the 60k mark. I got an '07 with 62,000 on the clock for £10,700 with full audi service history. It now has 110,000 miles on (it did have a new engine 10,000 miles ago with 44,000 due to blown turbo and bottom end oil starvation (long story)). It still feels like it did when I bought it and I have no doubt I will see 150,000 out of it before i consider swapping it

    If one has done mainly motorway miles then the chances are the engine has been ticking over at 2000-3000 rpm and things like the clutch, brakes and suspension have had less wear and tear.

    If you find one you like see if you can get hold of the chassis number and reg, pop into your local audi garage and see if they can look up its work history..... turbos, clutches etc.
    robbiemac likes this.
  3. Ash187

    Ash187 Audi-Retrofits.co.uk Site Sponsor VCDS Map User Gold Supporter quattro Audi A5

    High mileage cars are not a problem so long as they have been looked after. My A3 was high mileage and was regularly serviced, and has been very well taken care of since and thankfully i haven't had any major issues... i have since done 80k on it and it is still going well.
    just make sure you have a good look around the car, sniff around the engine, listen to noises while the engine is on etc... and it really helps if you have someone that has VCDS to scan the car.
  4. gixerson

    gixerson Member

    Agree completely.

    With modern cars 100k miles is absolutely nothing to them as long as they are looked after and serviced regularly.

    Personally i would not touch a low mileage car with a barge pole.
    If it's low mileage then it means:
    a/ It's been clocked
    b/ It's only been used on short journeys (about the worst thing you can do to a car)
    c/ It's only been used every now and again (not as bad as b/ but not far off)

    You do need to be cautious with higher mileage cars though
    It's absolutely essential that they have been serviced well and on time.
    If i found a car with a high mileage and no service history then it would either have to be REALLY cheap or i knew the car/driver, even then i'd go over it with a fine tooth comb.

    If your looking at higher mileage cars them spend a good 5 to 10 mins inspecting the service book.
    Look to make sure the ink is different colours or different shades, ideally it will have different signatures even better still if it has different stamps from different garages.

    When i bought my A3 i looked at a 911 going cheap, the log book had the same signature from the same person in exactly the same ink.
    To make matters worse you could see where the garage stamp ink was thinning out between stamps, then was re-inked on the next stamp only to start thinning out again.
    It wasn't in bad condition and it was at a great price, but there is no way i'd buy from a seller that was dishonest, if he was trying to get away with that what else was he hiding?
    _G_ likes this.
  5. monster_munch

    monster_munch Member

    I think it is going a bit too far advising people to avoid a low mileage car.

    I have a 2004 2.0 TDI with 53k miles on it. 1 previous owner who only put a few thousand miles a year on, and full Audi service history. I have had it 2 years, no major problems so far, best car I have owned.
    I could have had a much newer car for the same money, but with higher mileage.

    If mileage wasnt an issue, it wouldnt be the main factor in the pricing of used cars.

    I do think Audis, and modern cars in general, are capable of very high mileage and long life, provided they are serviced and looked after properly.
    However, I would still go for as low mileage as I could afford. Less miles = less wear on the engine and every component of the car, how that is a bad thing I do not understand.
    Paul76R likes this.
  6. SAiLO

    SAiLO Well-Known Member VCDS Map User

  7. cmgreen

    cmgreen Member

    All depends on servicing i guess. i had a vw bora on 225k before it got written off (bought it at 100k), i serviced that every 5k and it never missed a beat, only problems where suspension and starter motor. Now i have a a3 bougbt it 2 years ago on 77k now on 105k and service it myself every 5k and in theroy it should last the same amount of time
  8. _G_

    _G_ Active Member

    The neighbours b5 had 147,000 miles on it when he brought it for business use... it now has 190,000... original engine.. the only thing that ever went wrong was the turbo, bushings and the fuel pump. Its been maintained properly throughout as far as he knows and he keeps it serviced.

    I was getting paranoid about my a3 2.0 tfsi hitting the 80k mark and made a similar thread on here... it made me feel reassured. I've had various cars in the past and the worse would be the Polo 9N (two engines that went at 20k and 40k) which is way too early but they suffer from that problem... so I would expect an engine and gearbox to last at least 150k miles if not the lifetime of the car.
  9. Ste_Nova

    Ste_Nova Active Member

    my passat did 184k before i sold it, over and above regular servicing it needed turbo & gearbox bearings
  10. davesimmo

    davesimmo Member

    Well, I always thought a well serviced car that has had everything it has needed without been tight fisted will keep going for quite a while.
    We bought our A3 Sportback 170 TDI Sport in Oct 2012 (Reg Dec 2008) with 73k on it. With the intention of being the last owners of the car other than a scrap yard.
    So we are hoping it lasts for a substantial amount of miles.
    It will be serviced properly and have what ever it needs.
  11. N8

    N8 Kowalski Details VCDS Map User

    As long as it's been serviced regularly, then you should be fine :wub:
  12. WAFTER

    WAFTER Member

    If only one could examine and judge the owner(s) as well as the car.
    LOW MILES = could have been thrashed from new by un-caring oik yet serviced as per schedule. Turbo/gearbox/transmision about to fail because of mis-use.
    HIGH MILES = carefully driven and serviced regularly but increased likelyhood of major component failure. Subsequent cost not viable but car rebendered unsaleable if work not done. Think new gearbox or transaxle.
  13. davesimmo

    davesimmo Member

    yeah some good points made.
    It will be interesting to see how long our A3 does go on for, I do approx 25k a year so wont take long to tick up.
  14. gixerson

    gixerson Member

    Could you please point out where is advised anyone to avoid a low mileage car?

    I stated a personal opinion based upon my own personal experiences.
    Experiences from around 30 years of being in and around the car trade.

    I am very happy that your car has proven to be trouble free :icon_thumright:
    I do know of some low mileage cars that have been like that, likewise i know of some Fiats that have proved to be both rust and trouble free.
    Generally though in my experience low mileage cars are more trouble than they are worth.

    Cars are designed and built to be used and used regularly.
    If they sit the damp seeps into electrical connection, bearings etc and surfaces corrode.
    If they are used in short journeys continuously the it wears the engine internals drastically quicker, it puts more wear on the battery and things like diff, gearbox oil etc don't get a chance to warm up and operate at correct temperatures.

    Was talking to a mate of mine last year who was doing nothing but complain that his 930 series 911 was one of the worst cars he has ever owned, he went on the list all the problems he'd had with the car and how often it had let him down.
    I asked about the age, service history etc and it all seemed fine, so just on a gut feeling i asked him how often he was using it.
    It was only doing around around 50 km a month.
    So i told him to try taking it to work a few times a week and the odd long drive.

    He has since been THAT happy with it, it's now his daily.

    I could list hundreds of other examples of this and if you speak with anyone involved in the trade that's NOT trying to sell a car 99% will agree.
    Next time you visit a garage take a look round the back at the mechanics cars if you don't believe me.

    Obviously we are all different with difference experiences and lives, but me personally i would not buy a 2004 car that only had 53k miles on it, i don't care how cheap it was i would not get any further than reading the mileage before i skipped to the next ad.
  15. NICK-C

    NICK-C Nick

    Ash is right mate as long as they have been looked after they should be fine. My S3 has done almost 53k miles in just over 2 years from new and has been fine and always serviced as scheduled.
  16. sliced

    sliced Drive safe, stay alive.

    nah my a3 sounds ragged on cold starts, 100k+ mileage club.
  17. monster_munch

    monster_munch Member

    Gixerson, I think it can be safe to say that voicing your opinion on a public forum is a form of advising, when it relates to a subject the OP would like to know more about.

    So, are you suggesting a car that does 4-5k miles a year, will suffer more corrosion, bearing and electrical failure etc. than a car that maybe does 20-30k miles a year?
    You only have to look through alot of the threads on this forum to see that alot of problems, such as turbo failure etc are usually linked to the mileage of the car. It is a fact that the more a car is used, the more wear is put on the components.

    Just because a car has low mileage also does not mean it only does short journeys. I am in the military and my car doesnt usually get driven in the week at all. Yet at weekends, if I visit family it is a 400 mile round motorway trip, and if I go on a mountain biking trip, its usually to Wales or Scotland (from East Midlands). Oh and I also drove to Paris last November. Does this make my car a lemon, because of its low mileage to age ratio?

    I still stick by buying the lowest mileage car you can afford, as long as it is still spec'd how you want it etc.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  18. _G_

    _G_ Active Member

    I once brought a Polo 6n2 (2001) with 14k on the clock in 2007. The underside was so clean you could eat your dinner off it. They were genuine motorway miles. Similar, owner driving motorway on weekends and driving once a month in small town. I took it up to 68k (all motorway miles) without any problems bar the lamda sensor! I only got rid of it as I wanted a 5 door car with air con eventually and I could not leave anything of value in it because the 6n2 is just so easy to break into (no dead locks). Low miles are not a bad thing either as the engine has hardly been broken into. It never missed a service by me or the previous owner. When stored by the previous owner on the farm it was kept garaged, battery charged up, owner had oil changed by VW every 3k miles due to low mileages. All verified by VW and genuine history.
  19. gixerson

    gixerson Member

    I have no control over how you interpret things, all i can offer is advice when asked for it and opinions to back up my posts based upon real life experience.

    Some people convince themselves that smoking offers more gain than the damage it's doing, other people spend most of their spare time getting and keeping fit.
    You could start a thread and it could run for years with each side trying to persuade the other is wrong, i will guarantee it won't make one single person change their opinion though.

    You've been lucky with low one single mileage car up until now no sarcasm or snipe here i'm honestly very happy for you.
    I on the other hand have personally witnessed hundreds of problem low mileage cars over the years.

    It's really up to members to read both our opinions and make their own mind up on whose opinion carries the most weight with them and influences their buying choice.

    I stand by my first post in that high mileage on a good sound car with what i feel is a honest service history would not put me off as much as a low mileage car.
    It's my experience, my opinion, my money, my time, my choice, others are welcome to think differently :icon_thumright:

    The only thing i will say is to think about who you are taking your advice from and their experience.
    If you don't believe me i can understand that as no one on here knows me yet, so go and ask a mate who is a mechanic or someone who works on cars for a living (but not selling them) and see what they say. [​IMG]
  20. Spider

    Spider Member

    My previous car was Vw R32 mkv
    4 years old with 31k on the clock bought from main dealer and have to say it was one of the worse cars I've ever owned
    In its first year of ownership it had
    2 new engines
    2 flywheels and clutches
    Transfer box
    Air con compressor
    New engine and gearbox mounts
    And a couple of suspension bushes
    All done under warranty luckily :( ImageUploadedByTapatalk1358802721.973513.jpg
  21. Rodney5950

    Rodney5950 Member

    in the past 6 years me and my mum have owned four 2.0tdi 8p's and never had any major issues apart from engine mounts on 3 of them, her last two MY05-06 sportbacks were sold at 160k and 145k and her current MY07 is on 142k and no issues at all while my 3dr MY04 is now on 206,000miles, same engine, same gearbox but my flywheel is on its way out along with some engine mounts. i know a lot of people are concerned about servicing on these and all ours have been on longlife intervals from new although im going to start doing mine every 8k now. Basically, looked after, i think these can go on and on. i plan to keep mine indefinitely.
  22. davesimmo

    davesimmo Member

    Well that sounds like you have had some good ones mate.
    It is reassuring because I plan to keep our 2008 Sportback TDI 170 until the very end of its life.
    I understand that there will come a time that expensive parts need to be replaced. But sometimes with cars its worth spending that money rather than changing it. Better the Devil you know and all that jazz!! :)
  23. Rodney5950

    Rodney5950 Member

    They are very reliable cars, every car has its issues doesnt it but i rekon you'll be fine with yours.as for parts, theyre not that expensive depending on where you go, i havent had to spend anything over £300 for anything on mine, even the flywheel was £180 ;) and yeah youre right, Better the Devil you know indeed, i have plans to spend £££s on it this year. dont ask why
    davesimmo likes this.
  24. davesimmo

    davesimmo Member

    Plans to spend £££ in what way? Modifications :)
    I would like to do a few subtle changes been as though I am keeping it. Like Black edition grill etc.

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