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Hi all, new here and some advice

Tom McHowat Jun 15, 2017

  1. Tom McHowat

    Tom McHowat Guest

    Hi guys,

    Hope you're all well. New to this forum, hope to find a bit of help!

    I've had an E46 M3 for a couple of years now and have decided it's time for a change. I bought the car with 83k miles on it, and whilst it was good fun, it was just an endless money pit. The last straw was a couple of weeks ago when the head gasket went. It was then I decided it's time to cut the losses and get rid, whilst they're still holding their value. Time for something more comfortable with four doors I thought, so I settled on an RS4 (2007). I'm still looking around, have done alot of research on them and wanted to run a few things by you guys to see if I've missed anything.

    Firstly, I'm very used to high running costs. The M3 averaged out at 21MPG, went through a set of rear tyres every 10-12k miles and needed servicing every 10k miles. So with petrol and tyres, I'm expecting much of the same from an RS4. Servicing wise, the RS4 seems to be slightly cheaper. An inspection 1 (small service) for the M3 was around 400 quid from a specialist whilst an inspection 2 (big service) with valve clearances would set you back nearer 650 quid. Do people change the oil every 10k miles on the RS4?

    Out of my research I've picked up the following points to look out for:

    1) Make sure cruise control works as the switch can sometimes be faulty and Audi charge near 150 to replace it.
    2) Make sure the engine idles smoothly. I gather that the engines are susceptible to carbon build up, particularly on higher mileage ones that do alot of town driving.
    3) Make sure the radiators are clean and not corroded. Check for coolant leaks through the bumper.
    4) Make sure the oil cooler pipes aren't corroded
    5) Make sure the shocks aren't leaking
    6) Make sure there are no knocks from the suspension, particularly the front control arms at full steering lock
    7) Make sure the tyre pressure monitoring system works
    8) Wings are soft aluminium, check for dings
    9) Rust - unlike on the M3, seems not to happen on the RS4. Check bottom of all doors to be sure
    10) Check for rust around the battery in the boot
    11) Check centre armrest latch hasn't snapped
    12) Check seat bolsters for wear (driver side in particular)
    13) Check rear heaters work
    14) Check sport mode works
    15) Check for even wear on the tyres to be sure of alignment/good shocks

    If there's anything else anyone can add to the list, I'm all ears!

    What I'm after is something which can provide the same thrill as the M3, but with alot less of the drama, wondering what the next thing is that's going to go wrong, and from doing some futher reading on the RS4, it looks like it's the car to do it! I used to put 250 quid into my savings account every month for the M3 for when something inevitably went wrong, I'm hoping to reduce this number to about 150 for the RS4 and spend it mostly on servicing and consumables.

    So - I've got two examples on my shortlist at the moment, one is blue, the other grey. I'm hoping to go and see them both on Friday. Exactly the same spec as each other.

    44k miles
    Full service history
    3 previous owners

    50k miles
    Full service history
    2 previous owners

    I've been chatting to the dealer about the blue one, and they value my M3 at about 7k (trade, obviously). I've just applied for a loan with Sainsburys bank for £13.5k as they were offering a rate of about 2.8% (I'll see what rate they actually offer when they send the paperwork, but I've a feeling it's better than a rate a dealer will find me, plus if I want to sell the car, the loan wouldn't be linked to it). Reason being is I think it puts me in a better position to turn up and make an offer on a car if I have cold hard cash in my account, rather than offering them my car and asking to find finance for the rest. I won't have to start repaying the loan for 2 months, which effectively gives me 2 months to find a car. The blue one has been on sale for around six weeks and has already had one price reduction, so it appears they're having issues shifting it. Is the market generally slow for these cars? Do people no longer want cars with this kind of engine?

    I know I could get around 9.5k for my M3 if I sold it privately but to be honest, I can't be bothered with the hassle. If I really like the blue one I was planning on offering my car (which I value to them at 7.5k) and 13.5k cash. That's £2500 under the asking price, but like I said, they've had it on sale for a while and I reckon they'd want rid of it. Plus, I can use the grey one as a sort of blackmail - If they don't take my offer I can say fine, there's a grey one just round the corner of exactly the same spec and similar mileage for 2k, cheaper, and they will definitely take my offer.

    Sorry if this has gone on for a bit, thanks in advance to everyone who has read all of it and can offer any advice!


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  3. RS4 Cookie

    RS4 Cookie Registered User

    Hi Tom, I got mine 3 years back with 89k on it, dealer history upto 82k and one previous keeper. The occasional Carbon clean is a must m8, its just the way these Engines are. All of the above points are fine...with the addition of Brake Discs...the fronts are prone to warping if used hard and are extortionate to say the least. Any warping will be evident on the test drive though, a set of 4 discs plus pads from Audi...not much change from 2k...and parking sensors, mine seem to be temperamental, heat doesn't bother them though....too cold and they don't work, too wet and they don't work, though that might be just mine..lol but worth checking anyway. They are great to drive and not too difficult to work on.. Good luck with your choice m8.
  4. Tom McHowat

    Tom McHowat Guest

    Thanks mate. I've read all about the carbon clean.

    Unfortunately the cars I mentioned fell through (one dealer was a bit of an **** to be honest) but I've found another one with 61k on the clock which I'm gonna go look at.

    On its MOT history it says "lower front suspension arm dust cover deteriorated, but not allowing ingress of dirt". Is that serious? Or is it just a cover that can be replaced? I don't want it to mean the whole arm needs replacing, like on my M3 when a ball joint goes dead!
  5. docurley

    docurley Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Seat bolster are bound to have wear but can be fixed as they are just covers and should not cost more than £200 each side worse case.

    Your not going to see the oil cooler lines without removing the undertray and ramp.

    Aux rads are also hard to see if leaking but check the header tank for levels for a big give away but you don't need both rads, If one goes get rid of drivers side and run a CA intake and if need be if the passenger side goes move the driver's to the passenger side as they are the same both sides.

    DRC is a time bomb waiting to go off so factor in replacing them with coilovers and ARB if not the SS+ DRC setup. Find a crappy road and see if the suspension knocks.

    Servicing is easy on these cars and I service my car every year regardless and do not more that 6k a year but that's just me.

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