Buying Advice A3 TDi


Registered User
Feb 16, 2004
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North East
This is also in the diesel section, but I know it'll get read here quicker, and it is A3 related anyway /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Ok this is the crack. My old man does a lot of miles and I've finally persuaded him to get a new car - something more comfy/safe and economical. He's always driven Audi's (granted not always the nicest of examples - but having 2 kids I guess makes things pricey - heh /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif) Anyway he loves my A3 and he now wants an A3 Tdi. This is great! I've had a little search around and prices are still high. Ideally something like mine, maybe a bit newer with lowish miles.

The help I'm after is what to look for/watch out with diesel engines. I urgently need any and as much advice on the diesel versions. ANYTHING will be gratefully appreciated.

Thanks everyone. The last thing I want to do is buy one that is gonna have endless amounts of problems, I know this can not be guaranteed of course, but knowledge is the key /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

rob /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/beerchug.gif
What's his budget and what sort of spec is he looking for....

You can get almost 10% discount on a new A3 if you know where to look and if you phone a dealer then you'll find many new models sitting on forecourts. My dealer has at least 3-4 2.0 TDI's of various specs.

Of course if he wants an Uber spec then my cancelled order could be interesting (I ordered a 3.2Q instead) and includes DVD Sat Nav, Leather, Xenons, Light Sensor Pack, Interior Light Pack, Cruise, etc. all for £23476 @ Whites of Camberley.

The discount is available at every dealer I spoke to, just get a print out of the car you want from and take it to your local stealer and say match this bitch!
As said you won't find much wrong with the sturdy VAG TD units and ideally will want a 110 or which a chip goes very nicely!

It's also worth looking at the other cars in the VAG range, as in they tend to have slightly better handling characteristics than the A3, and the equipment levels are normally higher for less money. The SEAT's still have a nice modern look when compared to the old type A3's and Golf's.......all just a thought. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/beerchug.gif
A work mate of mine has a 52 plate passat estate tdi (25k) which ran rough and was very vibey, which got worse and worse but sometimes was fine. On ocassion at tickover it was like the engine was going to jump out of the bonnet.
After serveral trips to VW they changed the flywheel(plus killed the starter when they put it back together!)
He was told this was a common fault on TDI's, it seems that the fly wheel is balanced with grease and that the flywheels have a habit of cracking and leaking grease.
This then makes the flywheel run out of balance.
Seems strange i know, but thats what i was told.
Hope this Helps
X50JAS said:

What kind of TDi is your old man after? 90/100/110/130?

As far as I know, there are no major flaws with the TDi engines, other than the same ones you get on petrol versions. I've done over 30k in the last year in my TDi 110 Sport, and apart from the good old MAF, have had no real problems.

Would get a minimum of a 110, as anything less is going to be slow! A 130 is by far the best if the budget will stretch.

So far as running costs are concerned, I've been managing to get up to 30k between the AVS service, and around 55 mpg.

Other than that, I'd just check the same things that you did when you looked for your car. I think the engine's themselves are fairly bullet proof.



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Cool - well I've been doing the looking and a 130 would be lovely, but a 110 will do spot on me thinks. We are lookign at around 8kish give or take. Doesn't want anything too extravogant. Though I'd like him to have a few extras such as leather and an arm rest, oh and CC. Found one which sounds ok actually:

A3 TDi SE (W Reg) 110BHP 3 Door, gleaming black, 62k audi service history (not sure if it's full /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif yet) climate control £8.5k so that means it's a 2000 model and not a facelift /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif not sure if it has alloys either, but looks like it's worth a trip to see /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif No pics of it yet, but I'll get a few if we decide to go.

When is the cam due a service? Is it diff for diesels? We worked out about 35k a year he'll be doing, so I'd like it to be something reliable and comfy but I don't know if it'll be worth buying anything for that sort of price as if he comes to sell it, it's gonna have a queer old mileage and be worth nothing!

Any suggestions/comments? Fanx the other replies too guys. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
Doesn't sound bad at all, you can soon put in a CD player. The suede is quite nice in the SE's, I prefer the black/grey interior instead of blue, but then that's down to personal choice! I think the SE's come with alloys like this or 12 thin spoked 15" alloys. Having climate is a must, just make sure the ******'s working!

As for the price, I've just had a look on Glass's for you, and it books at around £7500 for a trade-in in excellent condition so 'tis a little on the pricy side (unless it's a dealer selling it), but at the end of the day, you get that 'gut' feeling when you see it and you'll know if it's worth the money!

Best of luck mate, I'll find out about service intervals/cambelt etc tonight.


thanx again X50JAS, yeah I was just looking into the wheel and I think ur right. seen another one with a chip and 18's like mine, but too many miles means 4eva replacing and that's no good. I'm wondering is it has the Driver Information Display DIS, could anyone confirm on that model? Apparently the armrest is standard on the SE along with the auto dipping mirror. It's a dealer selling (well not an Audi main dealer - but ya know what I mean). Yep - gonna look at trying to get the price down a bit. 8 I think would be ok...

my sister has a a3 tdi 100 se on a 52 plate she has the suede interior (which looks quite good imo) and a armrest bought brand new and it wasnt an option.... hope this helps

cheers tony
recomdos said:
thanx tony /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

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no problems mate.... /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/beerchug.gif
What about these all from Autotrader...

5DR, 01, Y reg. FSH, silver met, black cloth int, PAS, RCL alarm, 4x EW, EM, ESR, r/cass, CD, Xenon lights, f/fogs, ABS, a/bags, alloys, 1-o, super cond t/out, v.econ, any trial. £7,995.
Tel: 07990 893496or 07800 559196
Distance: 8 miles (from Leeds)
Price: £7,995


2001 51 Reg AUDI A3 1.9 TDi 100 SE
5 Doors, Manual 5 speed, Hatchback, Diesel, 94,000 miles, Metallic Black, 1 Owner. suede interior, 12 Months MOT, ABS, Adjustable seats, Adjustable steering column/wheel, Alloy wheels, Anti theft system, Climate Control, Colour coding - Body, Driver airbag, Electric mirrors, Electric windows, Head restraints, Folding rear seats, Immobiliser, Passenger airbag, Power assisted steering, Remote locking, Radio/Cassette, Full service history, One Owner., 07768 383337 £7,995.


2000 W Reg AUDI A3 1.9 TDi 110 SE
67,000 miles, Metallic Blue. Climate Control, ABS, Alloy wheels, Central locking, Computer, Electric windows, Leather upholstery, Passenger airbag, Power assisted steering. All Usual Dealer Facilities, E-mail any questions or queries to £7,999.
lol - how on earth u find all them? I've checked the trader loads - will have another look now. they mostly based round yorkshire?

cheers. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
Sorry m8 - Know nothing about cars, maybe check and as these usually have common problems listed for most cars when doing a used car valuation.

Main recommendations, get the car reg and chassis number and do an HPI check BEFORE you go, and if clean, then check the chassis number quoted to that on the car. Some companies do a combined HPI check with a mechanical check for ~ £100 which maybe worthwhile once you have found a car you like.

Read any garage backed warranty very carefully and check for any consequential damage clauses. (e.g. Cambelt breaks so they'll replace that but not the engine that was riuned in the process).

And I've always found that being prepared to travel a bit further can really widen the selection available to you. Also using this expanded list of cars can help you haggle on price.

And finally do consider the VW Golf and Skoda Octavia for comparisons, not as much cachet but cheaper to run, as well as being a bit cheaper to buy. Haggle hard for all three as each is replaced by a new version so is effectively old-shape and not as desirable.


01(X) SKODA OCTAVIA 1.9 TDi Elegance,
5 door, Diesel, Hatchback, Red, 51361 miles, Anti-lock brakes,Twin air bags,Manufacturers alarm/immobiliser,5-spoke Skoda alloy wheels,Climate control,Internal headlamp adjustment,5-Speed manual gearbox,Full service history,Electric glass sunroof,Warranty,CD player,Front fog lamps,Dual electric mirrors,Headlight washer system,Colour coded bumpers,Cloth interior £7995.

Hope this helps...

Hi Ian,

Yeah - cheers, that's sound advice and pretty much exactly what I did when buying mine /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif The only thing is my dad is in a rush to get one, which is annoying me as I want to hold out and get a 'bargain' . He wants to get it straight away, as he needs it on the road ASAP. I mentioned the others, but he's stuck on the Audi - parents eh?

I'm sure I'll get there with him eventually!

Looked in the manual last night and the cambelt on TDi's is due at 60k. Which is good for you, because the one you're looking at should have just had it (I think you said it had). Bad for me because I've now got 48k on the clock, and in a few months I'm gonna have to shell out some cash. Yes, I'm the sterotypical tight Yorkshireman!! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Oh, and the service should be on AVS so anything up to 30k between services. If it's not on AVS, then the manual recommends every 10k. You can soon get it put onto AVS if you have an AVS service done.


Hi bud, well u wouldn't believe the hassle I had looking at that particular Audi - total mess, read here for the full spec of what was up with it and the dodgy fecka sellin it. clicky linky . So anyway, in the end, the old audi packed up yesterday and my dad ended up with a spankin new Rover Zr 2.0 TDi jobby, it's perfect for what he needs criteria wise, fair play not exactly what he wanted brand wise, but he likes it and it's got all the warranty blah blah blah - worked out a good deal in the end.

cheers for asking anyway, and all the help/advice bud /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/beerchug.gif
That didn't sound good matey!! Glad he got a car he's happy with in the end.

X50JAS said:
That didn't sound good matey!! Glad he got a car he's happy with in the end.


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yeah - he really wanted the audi -but I was like wait for a new shape to drop in price a bit /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif he'll be chuffed, I just took it out for a spin and she does go (didn't wanna flog it too much of course - not mine and brand firin new) but I was quite impressed with the 'powa' and the seats really hug ya - interior build is crap like /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif turns a few heads - nice blue colour. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

thanx again fella /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

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