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DIY Servicing

meph137 Sep 12, 2018

  1. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    Are there many of you who service your cars yourself? I've got an S4 and would like to get a bit more hands-on with things (hence the jacking thread I started) and am wondering about servicing - it seems pretty insane to pay dealer prices for what is basically an oil and plug change but I'm curious to know what others do as I would be concerned about resale value if I went down the fully DIY route.

    Also, any gotchas to be aware of? I would need to reset the service internal, I think this can be done via Carista though?
     
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  3. spartacus 68

    spartacus 68 Active Member Team Ibis Audi A2 Audi Avant Owner Group quattro

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    I've been servicing my own cars for 30 years. Partly to save money with a number of cars in the house, but I genuinely like to know how things work mechanically. Some things I would mention, so you can weigh up the pros and cons.

    I service my cars on the drive. There's a boat in the garage, much to my wife's annoyance, so I'm out in all weather. That can be a complete pain given the unpridecatibilty if our weather, especially half way through a job when it starts to pour or snow!

    Secondly, tools. Whether you like it or not, the right tools for the job are invaluable. Start with a decent socket set, Halfords Professional set is excellent and comes with lifetime warranty. Don't buy cheap parts. If you're going to the bother of servicing the car yourself, invest in trusted brands. It doesn't have to be stamped Audi either. I've used Meyle HD suspension components, FAG or SKF bearings, Brembo brakes, Mann filters, etc.

    Buy VCDS software. With cars now, it's all electronics. For scanning, releasing parking brake and of course service reset. It's also a huge time-saver in pinpointing issues. It'll pay for itself very quickly.

    Work safe. That means a decent 2-tonne trolley jack, axle stands, wheel chocks, eyeware if the grinder comes out for stubborn bolts and disposable gloves.

    You'll take longer than you expect because you're learning as you go along, plus the older the car gets, the more issues you encounter on what's meant to be 'routine servicing'.

    I have no problem with cars without dealer servicing, especially over 5 years old. Show me the receipts and plenty of them, detailing mileage, items renewed, etc.
     
  4. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    Sounds pretty much why I want to do it really.

    I just went and got that very same set actually. I was umming and ahhing for ages whether to go for a Baco 6 point set or the Halfords one - went Halfords in the end,

    I was considering this, could maybe get away with Carista until I can shell the cash out.

    Any recommendations on a trolley jack? Seems the Costco Arcan one comes highly recommended. Also will probably go for the jackpoint stands I've mentioned in another thread. A lot of cash but I'll have them for life. I love the look of the quickjack but I think I love it because it's a toy - it costs a crapload which I doubt I'd see back for a while!
     
  5. spartacus68

    spartacus68 Active Member

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    I've got the Costco Arcan one, and can highly recommend. I also use rubber jack pad that the sill drops into.

    The jackpoint stands look the business, but you could buy a lot of tools for the money. In addition to the standard Halfords socket set, you'll need oversized sockets for oil filter, wheel hub socket, extension bar, Draper or Laser multi-bits for 1/2 drive including splined, hex and TX star-hex, torque wrench, rubber mallet, laser coil spring compressor, claw-grips (the oversized ones that can wrap around a shock absorber), Draper 7mm brake hex tool, electric multimeter (cheap but invaluable). That should do the majority of servicing items, but anything more specialised, you just buy as you need it.
     
  6. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    It's always out of stock online, did you get it in-store?

    The Halfords set seems to come with these I reckon.

    Thankfully I have a bunch of the other things from doing the very same I'm about to do - e.g. do it myself to "save money" but end up spending loads of money on tools meaning I may as well pay someone else to do it :D ah well, it means I have tools for other jobs I guess!

    Oh yeh - when you've sold your self-serviced cars have you noticed people being cautious, or noticed that you've sold them for any less? I suppose it's very hard to know if you sold them for less because of servicing them yourselves but I reckon you'd have a decent idea based on peoples attitude when they came to view it.
     
  7. jdp1962

    jdp1962 Grumpy Old Moderator Staff Member Moderator TFSI Owners Group Team V6 Gold Supporter Team Tornado Audi S4 Black Edition quattro S tronic

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    I have un-ending admiration for anyone who has the skill and confidence to do their own servicing. As I demonstrated only this week, I struggle to change a fuse without breaking something.
     
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  8. rum4mo

    rum4mo Well-Known Member

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    One comment I would add in respect of a trolley jack is, if your are thinking about buying an alloy trolley jack, do you really need it to be that light in weight? If not save some money and buy a steel one, annoyingly heavy but if you are only using it in your own garage or driveway they are okay and as I said a lot cheaper.
    Personally, if you can afford it, I'd even suggest buying 2 identical trolley jacks as that lets you jack up one side at a time, and at the same time, so saving flexing a lightweight mass produced car's body too much - for some reason I have that stuck in my head and will never lift my cars at one point again(each to their own curious/strange ways of doing things).
    My historical buy of trolley jacks goes like this:- bought a Halfords 2Ton trolley jack roughly in 1980 and that covered all my needs, for work use, to make my life easier and way of operating more flexible, I bought a long chassis Sealey 2Tonne trolley jack in 1990ish, I was so impressed with it that I bought an identical one for home use from Machine Mart, branded Clarks, when my work closed that operation and we moved to a bigger one, I knew that that trolley jack would get "grabbed" and taken home by someone - so I decided that I should be that someone, so I ended up with 2 identical 2Tonne long chassis trolley jacks that have a very low min height and a "good" max height, so that in part influences what I think/say about trolley jacks.
    Buying garage tools can not be done at one strike, I'm retired and I'm still buying tools, okay maybe prompted by sales blurb, latest purchase being vise grip pliers that have the jaws at a right angle to handles, unfortunately branded Rolson, but hopefully they will work okay a few times!
    Laser Tools, I like a lot, so need to avoid browsing their website unless I've been asked for present requests, but daughters and wife don't see tools as proper presents - in my case they are completely wrong!
    Having time on my hands, I've made up lists of all my garage tools and tried to give them a "price to replace" - just in case! That is an on going task, and I've even got a wish list for future buys!!
     
  9. Cerbera9

    Cerbera9 Well-Known Member

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    Having seen and heard how some garages/dealerships work these days when buying a car I would far rather see a fat folder of receipts for work having been carried out than just a few stamps in a service book. I think it gives a much better idea how a car has been treated and maintained.
     
  10. spartacus 68

    spartacus 68 Active Member Team Ibis Audi A2 Audi Avant Owner Group quattro

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    Yes, Plenty in Aberdeen!

    The weakest part of the tool kit. They crumble! Draper and Laser versions are far better.

    I keep the entire history in a folder in chronological order. The buyer's eyes light up like a Christmas tree. I tell them everything, good and bad. Most discerning owners I'd hope would do the same. I'm also pretty fixed regards prices. I know the car has been well-looked after, and I'm not normally desperate to sell.
     
  11. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    Do you advertise it having a full service history? It has one after all, but I’m interested. Do you mention in your ad that you serviced it yourself?


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  13. youngsyp

    youngsyp Active Member Team Monsoon Supercharged Audi S4 Audi Avant Owner Group Black Edition S tronic

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    I've got an engine oil and filter and S-Tronic oil and filter service coming up that I'll do myself. I've gone back and forth over the years, either doing it myself of finding a trusted independent. Of late, I've found that those trusted independents don't seem to exist, so I'm back to doing it myself with the S4.
    There are some things I'll get a garage to do, like CV joints and brake fluid changes. But they're a ball ache, and I can't be bothered with that.

    One thing I would recommend is looking for a 'rent a ramp' type place in your area. This can make the whole task much easier and more comfortable than lying on your back on the drive.
    Make sure you keep all receipts and date them with when you did the work. If I was looking at a car that had bee DIY serviced, I'd be looking at the regularity of the servicing and the parts/ fluids used. Part of going the DIY route for me is that I can use the best quality parts and oils available and I do so. Conversely, if you DIY service and use the cheapest/ lowest quality parts and oils available, that will reflect badly in my opinion.

    For the particular tasks you mention, pay close attention to torque settings. I started DIYing again on my last car as the 'trusted' independent stripped the thread on the sump plug, which only compounded the fact that they'd also over filled the oil. On that note, make sure you get the oil fill level right too. Whatever the 'book' recommends, put in 0.5l less. Run the engine for a bit, turn off and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Then re-check the level and top up carefully. Over filling can be just as bad as having the level below the line, as it will kill your cats in short order and can cause issues with oil delivery and lubrication due to foaming.

    Make sure you have all the tools you need too. It will make the job infinitely easier.

    I'm still figuring out how to jack the S4 up and support it in a way I'm happy with. I've tried hockey pucks and timber to spread loads but both have peeled the stone chip protection back on the sill reinforcements. My next thought is to try some deck board cut to suit. This won't be an issue if you manage to find a 'rent a ramp' in your area.

    Paul
     
  14. youngsyp

    youngsyp Active Member Team Monsoon Supercharged Audi S4 Audi Avant Owner Group Black Edition S tronic

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    Yes and yes.

    I believe in complete transparency when it comes to selling anything as if the buyer's like me, they're quickly find any faults or mis-truths.

    The buyer of my last car (the first to see it...) actually said "wow, you've done everything". As I'd done way more than the official service schedule 'required', and it didnt need any work for at least 10 months. I did find myself saying, "as I stated in the ad" a lot though as they were trying to catch me out on things or hadn't read it properly.

    Paul
     
  15. 666markyboy

    666markyboy Well-Known Member

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    That first post by Spartacus could have been written by myself , I take loads of photo's when doing a job with a newspaper or such as proof of date , sold my last car to the first person to see it with a DVD full of photo's of work done by me over 6 years of ownership, it helps if your an Aircraft mech too :yahoo:
     
  16. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    Hah I was walking around Halfords today mulling this all over and did find myself thinking “maybe I should take photos with a proof of date in them” and thought I was maybe going a bit over the top (as I often do) but perhaps I’m not!!


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  17. weekenny

    weekenny Active Member

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    These are getting a bit older now and if you keep good records for parts receipts and dates etc, then it shouldn’t hurt the value. Especially since some Audi dealers service departments do a terrible job.
     
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  18. weekenny

    weekenny Active Member

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    I think that’s more to do with the paint in that area, as I have a ramp and mine has peeled there too. The ramp lift points are rubber blocks so about as gentle as you can be.
     
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  19. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    I did think the same thing and no I suppose I'm not fussed about it being leightweight as such, but it seems that a decent steel jack with a big saddle isn't that cheap anyway, so may as well go with the Arcan one which is £110 IIRC.

    Hah I've been looking for these and can't find one for love nor money, which is a real shame. I'm not sure if I'm using the wrong search terms but I just can't find one. I've seen some in other parts of the country but none in or close to Nottingham. I'm very tempted to look at getting a quickjack which seems mad as they are very expensive (although perhaps not for what they do) but I figure if it's with me for life it would pay for itself in a few years anyway. I'd still be on my back, but with a lot more room to spare.

    I'm tempted to use one of the oil extractor pumps actually - means you can do a whole service without going under the car which seems very appealing!

    Same here, I'm a bit picky and it seems a bit impossible to do it by the book without either jackpoint stands, rennstands or a quickjack or proper lift.

    I envy you!
     
  20. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    I presume with VCDS you can do all the normal service resets that Audi would do? i.e. major and minor? And that the reset would show up in the MMI?
     
  21. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    A general question - how often do people actually end up jacking up their cars? It seems that it's not needed when doing standard servicing as you can use oil pumps to extract the oil. Obviously having the ability to do so will be needed at some point in time, and for general inspections, but I'm curious - how often do you actually jack the car up?
     
  22. rum4mo

    rum4mo Well-Known Member

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    As cars get older, areas like brakes should be cleaned up more frequently, so that means getting the car up in the air, brake fluid changes every 2 years as well.
    Personally I'd give the old "suck it out" device a miss, I noticed when my wife's August 2015 Polo 1.2TSI 110PS was in for its last service under warranty that there was a note at the head of the service sheet "do not use suction method for oil removal as too much remains" - so it seems like VW Group, on later engines have given up on that approach to removing engine oil, I'm guessing that it on safety grounds that it was originally introduced.
    How many times a year are people lifting their cars off the ground, well in my case 2 or 3 times as I change to winter wheels and tyres before the start of winter, and reverse that 6 months later, though doing that does give me the chance to "look - see" and clean up underneath the car and check that every thing is still okay.
     
  23. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    Ahh very interesting, thanks for that - I did wonder if the suction method would leave something to be desired in terms of removal, it seems that at least VW think so, so that's good enough reason I suppose to not do it.
     
  24. weekenny

    weekenny Active Member

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    Done properly on an S4 it doesn’t leave much.
     
  25. spartacus 68

    spartacus 68 Active Member Team Ibis Audi A2 Audi Avant Owner Group quattro

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    More than you think. I'm not a fan of the oil suction method. I get the car to temperature, drop the engine under tray, then the sump plug. Also a chance to review the oil for contaminants. I change the oil regardless of age every 10k miles, always Castrol Edge.

    Brakes and suspension, then you're doing a corner at a time. Brake fluid changes (every 2 years). Consider yourself lucky with a petrol engine. Some clown at Audi thought it would be a good idea to move the diesel fuel filter from it's location in the engine bay to a fairly inaccessible position on the driver's side underneath near the sill. Given the position of the jack it's an utter pain to renew.

    Yes, you can do a variety number of resets. I just clear the service reminder. The MMI display makes no difference, you can clear it as often as you like with VCDS. I've had a ongoing issue with a leaking panoramic roof, so you can clear airbag codes if you need to remove the roof lining, as there's curtain airbags on the A pillar. Also useful just to scan the car periodically.[/quote]
     
  26. youngsyp

    youngsyp Active Member Team Monsoon Supercharged Audi S4 Audi Avant Owner Group Black Edition S tronic

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    I'm fortunate enough to have one 10 minutes away. I'll probably use them for the oil changes.
    I'm a bit too old fashioned to use an extractor pump and I'd get anxiety about knowing whether I'd removed as much of the old oil as I could have done. :blush:

    It's more the weight of the car that concerns me. I can easily get my jack and an 'axle stand' where they need to be but damaging the place when I'm doing this sits heavy on my mind. That's why I think some dense wood, that doesn't split under the pressure would be a good option.

    I'll be interested to here how you get on.

    Paul
     
  27. youngsyp

    youngsyp Active Member Team Monsoon Supercharged Audi S4 Audi Avant Owner Group Black Edition S tronic

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    Good to know.

    I think I've found the coating Audi use for that area so I'll buy some and apply after it's been up in the air.

    Paul
     
  28. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    I’ve got a bit of damage in that area too - mind sharing the details of the paint? Cheers!


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  29. youngsyp

    youngsyp Active Member Team Monsoon Supercharged Audi S4 Audi Avant Owner Group Black Edition S tronic

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    Sure, no problem. After seeing your post, I think I've found an alternative too.

    The stuff I originally found is 3M '08877 Spray Shutz Coating', which can be bought in a 500ml aerosol from ECP for about £9.
    ECP also have what I think is an alternative in the Normfest '2892-881 Bottom Guard Recoat Underbody Protection' product, again it comes in a 500ml aerosol for around £7.

    I'm going to order the 3M stuff today, just so I have it on hand.

    Paul
     
  30. rum4mo

    rum4mo Well-Known Member

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    One further comment on extracting engine oil by suction method, every VW Group car that I've owned and had serviced by the dealer during warranty,and have had the suction method used, always lists a new plug/washer or washer used as well, and they have been replaced, so it seems like VW Group did or still do for some engines authorise suction extraction, but always back that up by removing the sump plug after that - which does not seem to be what some DIYers using that method do, or probably some other "oil changers".

    Areas damaged by workshop lifters, maybe not ideal and certainly not advised by Hammerite, but I just mix up some Hammerite smooth paints to get the near enough right colour and apply a few coats at these four contact points. The profile at the front lifting points on my wife's August 2015 Polo appear not to be what I thought and I've ripped a section of top coat/stone protection/base coat loose at one front lifting point, so that will need sealing back up before winter!
     
  31. youngsyp

    youngsyp Active Member Team Monsoon Supercharged Audi S4 Audi Avant Owner Group Black Edition S tronic

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    That's a very odd approach, isn't it? I mean why bother with the extraction method, if you're going to remove the sump plug anyway?

    One other thing I like to do when I change the oil on a car for the first time is attach a little neodynium magnet to the sump plug (the same applies to the S-Tronic too). Probably won't make any real difference but, just another bit of peace of mind.

    Paul
     
  32. rum4mo

    rum4mo Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but maybe the introduction of suction removal of engine oil was for health and safety considerations.
    I did buy a Pela vacuum extractor and was very very disappointed in the time it took to remove some of the oil from the Ibiza 1.4 16V that I tried it out on, I had not expected to find that it would have ended up doing that to me, so, I'm sorry to say that it now only gets used to empty the oil out of my petrol mower, a job that I could have done other ways!
    By the way, the engine oil had been warmed up well enough.
     
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  34. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    I notice you can get magnetic sump plugs as well, presumably to do the same job.




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  35. youngsyp

    youngsyp Active Member Team Monsoon Supercharged Audi S4 Audi Avant Owner Group Black Edition S tronic

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    Yes exactly although, they'll typically be over priced and don't use neodynium magnets, which have the highest magnetic properties of all the magnet types.

    I've got some lined up from eBay for lust over £5 for 5. They're 14mm x 2mm, so perfect for the sump plug and will fit nicely on the S-Tronic drain plug too.

    Paul
     
  36. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    Something that concerns me about spending too much on tools is that electric cars will probably soon be coming in quickly, and they (seemingly) require far less maintenance and so the tools would go unused - I imagine 5 years from now quite a significant proportion of new cars will be electric, I don't imagine I personally will have one at that point in time as I don't buy new cars, but in 10 years I can easily see I would have an electric, and at that point perhaps maintenance either can't be done by myself or simply there would be far less maintenance to carry out.

    @spartacus68 I see you have an i3 - what's your experience with that DIY servicing wise? I assume you haven't touched it yet as it's in warranty?
     
  37. rum4mo

    rum4mo Well-Known Member

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    True, you might need some insulated tools for live working - or suffer an affro hair style, or worse! If you have ever worked on high voltage or high energy systems you should be able to stay safe.

    Edit:- better still it you have experience of working on high voltage, high energy compact systems!
     
  38. Jon B

    Jon B Member

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    Does full “Audi” service history still carry the same weight when selling?

    I haven’t the time or know-how to DIY, but I use a local independent Audi specialist, that is half the price. Yet I get my car serviced every 10,000 miles as opposed to the 20,000 recommended for my car. Like the DIY’ers I keep every invoice and I’m sure if I was looking for a car, knowing the oil was changed every 10,000 instead of 20,000 miles would be a good thing?
     
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  39. jdp1962

    jdp1962 Grumpy Old Moderator Staff Member Moderator TFSI Owners Group Team V6 Gold Supporter Team Tornado Audi S4 Black Edition quattro S tronic

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    Same here @Jon B :)
     
  40. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    I was more thinking along the lines that we may well very seldom have the need to maintain cars so buying much in the way of tools could be a bit of a waste. I imagine DIY maintenance could die off with electric. I suppose you’ll have suspension, but you have no exhaust, a motor and battery packs which are not really user serviceable, friction brakes will be seldom used as the motor braking will be used more, no oil changes or spark plugs etc. It doesn’t leave much to do!


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  41. rum4mo

    rum4mo Well-Known Member

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    Actually I have not needed to work on a car exhaust for quite a long time, my last Passat needed a new joining sleeve that was as much as it needed over the new to 13 years period I owned it, wife's Polo ended up needing just a large stainless steel strap fitted around its back box by the time its 13 years from new life with us had ended.

    I'm not sure how far the braking by motor/generator to charge batteries will be used yet, so still plenty work for the brakes to do.

    Batteries, if you own them will be built with the ability to repair built in, ie swop cells and hand them back in for refurbishment.

    Modern engines don't generally need much done to them to keep them going, so only oil changes will get dumped, spark plugs and air filters have longish lives nowadays.
     
  42. scotty76

    scotty76 Well-Known Member Team Phantom Audi S4

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    I've never lost anything by having an indie service record tend to do the dealers in warranty and then switch to my local indie. Whenever I've part exchanged the dealers only care that it has been serviced rather than where.
     
  43. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    I wonder what they’d say about DIY servicing?


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