If you’re in the market to purchase a new used Audi or VW or simply want to do a good overall health checkup on your current vehicle, the following tips will ensure that you are getting a good deal and your vehicle maintenance is up to date and will be safe on the road.
1. Get a Ross-Tech VAG-COM Diagnostic Tool
Visual checks are important, but how do you see what’s really going on with the vehicle? A scan tool will be able to tell you if there are any codes stored on the cars computer (a.k.a. ECU). A stored code does not necessarily trigger a check engine light or any other dash warning, however, it can lead you to fix an issue before it becomes one. The best scan tool for VW and Audi vehicles is Ross-Tech VAG-COM Diagnostic System.
With the Ross-Tech VAG-COM Diagnostic System you will be able to scan the car for fault codes, run various logs to ensure certain parts are working to spec, and change many hidden settings to customize your vehicle. Ross-Tech VAG-COM Diagnostic System is without a doubt a must have tool for every potential VW and Audi owner.
When buying a used VW or Audi, just bring the VAG-COM cable and a laptop to the dealership and demand to scan the car for fault codes before forking over your hard earned cash. The $349 you paid for the system will pay itself off immediately.
2. Check Fluids
The oil, coolant, and various other fluids in your vehicle are as important as water is to the human body. An engine without proper lubrication or lack of a lubricant will have a catastrophic failure while a lack of coolant will cause it to overheat. Lack of brake fluid will not allow your brakes to function properly while a shortage of power steering fluid will make it difficult to steer the car. The automatic transmission fluid, DSG fluid, and gear oil are extremely important in keeping your transmission smooth. Fluids are usually easy to check and should be replaced accordingly.
Engine oil should be replaced every 5,000 miles. The 10,000 oil change interval is simply too long as your engine oil has been proven to break down after 5,000 and even less on tuned vehicle.
Coolant should be flushed every 2-5 years depending on driving condition and miles put on the car.
Brake fluid and power steering fluid should be changed every 5 years.
Automatic transmission fluid should be changed after 100,000 miles and DSG fluid at 40,000. Gear oil should be changed when shifting isn’t buttery smooth.
3. Check for Misfires
These are very common and can be found as a soft code using the Ross-Tech VAG-COM Diagnostic System. Usually a misfire will be caused by a faulty coil pack or spark plug. Although misfires will usually not cause any extensive damage it is something to look out for. Coil packs are not needed to be replaced as preventative maintenance, however, spark plugs should be replaced every 40,000 miles.
4. Change All Filters
Old filters will not cause damage, they will however give you a good idea of how the vehicle was treated by the previous owner. Filters are usually the easiest to change and if they have been overlooked it’s safe to say other components have been as well. Check the air and oil filters first, followed by the fuel filter and cabin filter.
5. Check Brake Pads and Rotors
Don’t stop your checklist just yet! The brakes on your car are extremely important to say the least. Checking the fluid is one thing, however, you should check the condition of the brake pads, brake rotors, and brake lines as well. Brake jobs can be costly so make sure that the brake components are in good shape. A lot of vehicles come with brake wear sensors which will let you know when the brake pads need to be replaced.
6. Check Belts and Hoses
Belts and hoses are also important to check. A timing belt breaking can cause catastrophic engine failure that will cost thousands to repair. Check the status of the belts and hoses as well as any pulleys that that belts travel on, not all timing belt failures actually come from a broken belt. Leaking hoses can also cost hundreds of dollars to replace, some are in very awkward places which require hours of labor or an engine pull.
7. Was the Car in an Accident?
Check for any signs of a respray due to an accident. A lot of accident reports do not actually show up on Carfax and the vehicle can have frame damage. A lot of rust under the car can also be a red flag as it will only get worse. Stay away from any cars that show obvious signs of being painted and rusting panels.
8. Are There Any Leaks?
There are various kinds of leaks that can be found on a vehicle. Oil leaks can come from various places such as oil pans, coolers, and associated gaskets. Oil leaks can be difficult to find if the leak has been there for quite some time. Coolant leaks are also common and can come from any part of the cooling system. Water leaks can actually cause a vehicle to be totaled if they are bad enough.
There are rain water drains on the car that will clog overtime and cause the water to leak on the carpets or headliner. Clean your drains to make sure that any water flows smoothly and doesn’t get caught in one place. Sunroof drains, engine drains, and trunk drains should be checked for any signs of leaks.
9. Check Tires
A tire blowout can be dangerous on the highway for both you and other drivers on the road. A worn out tire has a much greater chance of blowing out as well as tires with visible bubbles in the sidewall. To check the tread on a tire you can use the penny trick. Take a penny and insert it into the groove with Lincoln’s head being upside down. If Lincoln’s entire head is visible it is time to replace the tires as the tread depth is less than 2/32.
10. Is A/C Cold and Heater Hot?
One of the most overlooked parts of a car is the heating and air conditioning systems. We are usually busy checking everything else and forget to check to see if those two systems are running correctly. A heater core, thermostat, or air conditioning compressor can become not only costly but cause lots of inconvenience in certain weather. Make sure that the air conditioner blows cold air and that the heating system does not fluctuate in temperature.