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A3 Buying Tips


Gazzano1
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Hi,

I'm looking at getting the A3 as my first car as a more mature driver shall we say having been a long term biker!

I have a budget of 2.5-4K and have sounded out a Sportback 1.6 meeting the needs of not too bigger engine for the insurance, room in the back and decent performance.

Avoiding dodgy dealers on autotrader seeems a minefield when you look a bit deeper at the reviews (and google) and paying £100 for an RAC check every time will prove costly.

Any tips on the car and decent dealers appreciated.

Thanks in advance, G

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Hello Gary,

I’m not sure whether any of this is going to be of any help to you but.....,

We have a 2006 1.6 A3 Sportback, which has been in the family from new and has covered close on 165k, and no doubt if I was to offer it to you, it would be a little/no interest due to the mileage. This car has been (over?) maintained and I really hope it will continue to give good service, since we have no intention of parting with it. 
All this has been mentioned, with a view of not blinkering your search to maximum mileages, and main dealer service histories. 

Dealers and dodgy? Good question, but the answer is that dealers only retail vehicles which dodgy owners have put in part exchange without declaring known faults! Dealers don’t generally set out to be dodgy. 


If I were in your situation, I would be attempting to buy privately from an owner who has owned the car for some time (important). In this situation, you will actually be talking to the person who knows the car, and can tell you what work has, and hadn’t been done on it. If you find something which appeals, then spend wisely on an independent inspection. 
My view is that nice cars should be bought from nice people, over a nice cup of tea. 


Remember, full service history can equate to the car spending half a day in a workshop every 18 months or so, and any maintenance being totally ignored and the car ill treated for the rest of its life. 
Good luck with your quest.

Kind regards,

Gareth. 

 

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Taking in your account your generous feedback there's not many private ones around near me and totally agree with the cup of tea and chat philosophy. It's a much nicer approach then going in looking for faults and bartering from the off.

With my history buying bikes if I don't like or trust the seller I walk away no matter how good the vehicle. Being polite and indulging other people is part of the process. This has caught my eye if anyone has any opinions:

 AutotraderA3Cardiff 

 

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Hello Gary,

Before any interest in terms of inspection:- 

The briefest or description by seller.  Just as well state - Starts, drives, stops! 
Last V5 activity was Dec. 2019 which suggests ownership since then. No that long in my book.

MOT history shows fairly regular comments for tyres near the limit. Not a good indication of careful maintenance. 
I don’t think I would be rushing off to look at this one, and it’s comparatively on my doorstep! 
 

Apologies Gary if you’ve already looked up the above detail. 
Kind regards,

Gareth. 

 

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Thanks Gareth.

I've only just read this but took your advice and phoned him up and have booked an inspection as liked what I heard.

Sounds genuine and was happy for an RAC inspection and even arrange delivery with obviously cost included in any deal. It is due a service this year so that would be factored in to the price. Has a small scuff (barley visible) on the back on and the bumper, not sure how this affects the price. 

Parkers list at £3500 good

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You are a braver man than me Gary! 
So you are prepared to actually buy this sight unseen? 
Now that is brave. 
Kind regards,

Gareth.

p.s. I don’t recall advising you to give him a ring. 

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4 minutes ago, Magnet said:

You are a braver man than me Gary! 
So you are prepared to actually buy this sight unseen? 
Now that is brave. 
Kind regards,

Gareth.

p.s. I don’t recall advising you to give him a ring. 

Haha don't worry I won't be coming back to you, I meant in terms of approaching a private owner vs a dealer and having a good chat 🙂

Well I have a video, RAC inspection pending and would be paying on delivery so anything major ( not picked up in the RAC inspection) and it would be a no go anyway.

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Hello Gary,

I really don’t have any worries about the advice given, or the possibility of any comebacks. As with all forums, advice and assistance is given freely where asked for, and of course, may or may not be the best of advice - but it’s free! 

Well fair do s as we say here, it seems the seller is initially funding the inspection, and the transportation cost, and when it’s delivered to your door, you have the option of saying ‘no thanks’. 
Sounds a nothing-to-lose deal from your side. 
I’m sure it will all work out well for you. 
Kind regards,

Gareth. 

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Thanks again Gareth, definitely no come backs and any informed opinion is really appreciated.

I don't think I'd have thought to go down this route if you hadn't made me have a think again about going private and the benefits of it (this is why forums are great to get ideas/advice). You do meet some good people as you say! 

Inspection is booked tomorrow (I've paid £90)so fingers crossed. Any ideas and what you'd be bargaining on regards a couple of minor scuffs? They aren't that bad but go to the overall condition and price of the vehicle. Cheers 

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Thanks Garry,

I’d probably have more concerns re. cambelt changes, clutch operation etc. etc. release bearing assemblies usually fail well before the clutch wears out. Matching tyres on each axle indicates an interest in maintaining the car properly. 
Of course, there are many more things. 
Re. body panel rectification:- if damage is beyond the scope of the ‘dent removal’ boys, then you would need to consider around £300/ panel, but it would not be reasonable to expect the seller to meet such costs on an aged vehicle, where some minor scuffs would be expected. 
Kind regards,

Gareth. 

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Gary.

Not to gainsay any of Gareth's sage advice, but something to bear in mind with a private purchase is that you have little recourse if some major component proves to be defective; whereas a reputable dealer will either stand by any guarantee or be subject to legal redress. Only you can decide if you are willing to pay higher dealer prices for the sake of that extra confidence in the car. If you are not familiar with assessing second hand cars yourself you would find a competent assessor like the RAC would be very worthwhile.

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just bought my a3 tdi auto privately from a very nicely spoken person whose reason for selling was that it was bought for his wife who has since acquired invalid car.

seemed  a reasonable story.

ran ok no apparent knocks or excessive smoke.

On reading the 'full' service history and a service receipt things began to fall apart.

the service book on close inspection showed four service stamps in a row with all sections ticked as done IN THE SAME INK AND COLOUR and i strongly believe by the same person in one sitting

the timing belt was reputed to have been done at approx 100k miles.

on a service receipt for april this year it charged for for an oil change  and made some reference to the cv gaitors..

i did phone the garage that did the work/service to ascertain what the reference to the cv gaitors was for, had it been work done or an advisory.

He could not say, looks dodgy .

At this stage i was prepared to play on the side of caution and have the timing belt and aux belt renewed and an oil change at the same time.

When it went to the garage i mentioned the gaitor situation i found myself in and asked them to have a look  to see what had or not been done..

garage duly came back on inspection to inform me that the gaitors were split wide open and the grease deposited around surrounding components also something about the bearings themselves in poor condition.

MOT was done in April, make your own mind up about the credibility of an MOT

This repair was explained as needing the half shafts to be replaced at a cost of £300.

as i intend to keep this machine for some time i agreed  total cost £890.

The work was carried out and i duly used a fuel additive to top of my   effort to revitalize this machine.

it now runs like a dream and is at least safe from the dreaded gaitor split failure , garage's seem to love to 'find'.

overall, as i did not pay a high price, initially £2000, after the spend i feel reasonably happy with my buy.

on reflection paying for an AA  inspection would seem to be a prudent move , considering my experience.

 

 

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53 minutes ago, geoffrey said:

garage duly came back on inspection to inform me that the gaitors were split wide open and the grease deposited around surrounding components also something about the bearings themselves in poor condition.

MOT was done in April, make your own mind up about the credibility of an MOT

To be fair, split gaiters are not in themselves causes for an MOT failure because they do not affect the handling of the car. It is only when the the joints lose their grease and dirt then enters causing wear that a failure is justified. That is the reason most MOT test sites warn of an impending fault by means of an "advisory" notice. The onus is on the owner to heed that warning to avoid an expensive repair bill, new boots being cheaper than new joints.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, geoffrey said:

just bought my a3 tdi auto privately from a very nicely spoken person whose reason for selling was that it was bought for his wife who has since acquired invalid car.

seemed  a reasonable story.

ran ok no apparent knocks or excessive smoke.

On reading the 'full' service history and a service receipt things began to fall apart.

the service book on close inspection showed four service stamps in a row with all sections ticked as done IN THE SAME INK AND COLOUR and i strongly believe by the same person in one sitting

the timing belt was reputed to have been done at approx 100k miles.

on a service receipt for april this year it charged for for an oil change  and made some reference to the cv gaitors..

i did phone the garage that did the work/service to ascertain what the reference to the cv gaitors was for, had it been work done or an advisory.

He could not say, looks dodgy .

At this stage i was prepared to play on the side of caution and have the timing belt and aux belt renewed and an oil change at the same time.

When it went to the garage i mentioned the gaitor situation i found myself in and asked them to have a look  to see what had or not been done..

garage duly came back on inspection to inform me that the gaitors were split wide open and the grease deposited around surrounding components also something about the bearings themselves in poor condition.

MOT was done in April, make your own mind up about the credibility of an MOT

This repair was explained as needing the half shafts to be replaced at a cost of £300.

as i intend to keep this machine for some time i agreed  total cost £890.

The work was carried out and i duly used a fuel additive to top of my   effort to revitalize this machine.

it now runs like a dream and is at least safe from the dreaded gaitor split failure , garage's seem to love to 'find'.

overall, as i did not pay a high price, initially £2000, after the spend i feel reasonably happy with my buy.

on reflection paying for an AA  inspection would seem to be a prudent move , considering my experience.

 

 

You have my sympathies. I used Click mechanic (other services are available! ) who employ bookable independent mechanics who you rate after each experience. Seems slightly cheaper than the RAC/AA with I've photo reports and a chat to ask questions with my last two inspections. 

I'm taking delivery of the A3 tomorrow after its inspection earlier this week. Will update! 

Insurance is my issue at the moment with my details not matching the DVLA database so won't go through (very annoying) despite checking on the gov site. Still waiting a call back from two insurance companies who are checking why. 

Edited by Gazzano1
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But it was your spilt gaitor you were talking about wasn’t it Ken!? 
Please Ken, I’m too old for this confusion. Forum name Geoffrey - actual name Ken. Blinking heck Ken, you are superb at confusing. All in good jest, and I’ve now gone and liked your last thread and now can’t ‘unlike’ it. 
I’m reduced to a blithering idiot here! 
Anyway, it all makes the world go around. 
Kind regards,

Gareth. 

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