Chat I'm new here and looking for advice, what is something you wish you knew before buying your A2?

Hi I am from Germany, the home of the A2 and I'm looking for advice on the A2. On the German A2 forum I learned that the 1.4 TDI (75) is supposedly the most robust (as in most reliable) A2 of all. I should mention that I never had a car and this would be my first one. What do you think is a appropriate asking price for the car and is it affordable even if I don't know how to work on the car? Except for filling up the wiper fluid :p How much is just too much mileage ? What do I need to look out for when buying the A2? Any general advice on this or advice on where I find this advice? What is something you wish you knew before buying your A2?

Is there maybe a wiki page on here or some megathread kind of thing where I can look all this up? If not I believe it should be added to the forum.

Edit : I just found out the breaking springs seem to be a rather common complaint

Thanks,
AudiFanWithoutACar
 
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gangitano85

A2OC Donor
Hallo und herzlich willkommen im Forum,

I can give you my experience when it comes to buying an A2. I was fairly late in the game, only bought mine in May 2018. It was already 14 years old, had about 195000 km on the clock. I wanted a TDI as I was going to use it for commuting - I was using a Petrol Polo up until then. I also wanted the 90bhp version. I paid £1500 for it from a second-hand dealer - he was asking £1850 but I got the price down because there was no evidence of the cambelt and water pump having been changed. Also, the car only had part history. The first owner was from London and hardly used the car, the second owner used it more extensively. I have had a few issues with the car, both TDI90 or A2 in general related, but it has never let me down. I have spent about £1500 on repairs and servicing - excluding tyres - during my ownership. I have done about 50000km since buying the car. Since joining this community I have also done some upgrades to the car, some myself, but also quite a few by the great @timmus. I have gradually become more confident of doing things myself before running off to the garage. This is in large part due to the wonderful people on this forum, thanks again guys :) On my project Sicily thread you can see one such episode, a problem with the brake light switch. '2018 gangitano85' would have panicked and gone straight to the workshop, '2022 gangitano85' on the other hand asked on the forum first and then fixed it - touch wood - himself.

Not sure whether my experience will help you, but in any case you have come to the right place!
 

PlasticMac

Member
I'd suggest you consider the 1.4 petrol engine, as low emmissions zones are being introduced in many European cities, and only 1.4 and 1.6 petrol A2 meet Euro 4.
The 1.6 is not a good choice for a beginner, as it is a complex engine, and, as a result, not well understood by auto mechanics.
The 1.4 is not an exiting drive, but is reliable, and would suit a beginner.
Service history is important, and if you can check it's TUV record, (in UK the car's annual MoT record can be viewed online), as this tells you ait about previous owners, and how they looked after their car.
Good luck in your quest?.
Mac.
 
Hallo und herzlich willkommen im Forum,

I can give you my experience when it comes to buying an A2. I was fairly late in the game, only bought mine in May 2018. It was already 14 years old, had about 195000 km on the clock. I wanted a TDI as I was going to use it for commuting - I was using a Petrol Polo up until then. I also wanted the 90bhp version. I paid £1500 for it from a second-hand dealer - he was asking £1850 but I got the price down because there was no evidence of the cambelt and water pump having been changed. Also, the car only had part history. The first owner was from London and hardly used the car, the second owner used it more extensively. I have had a few issues with the car, both TDI90 or A2 in general related, but it has never let me down. I have spent about £1500 on repairs and servicing - excluding tyres - during my ownership. I have done about 50000km since buying the car. Since joining this community I have also done some upgrades to the car, some myself, but also quite a few by the great @timmus. I have gradually become more confident of doing things myself before running off to the garage. This is in large part due to the wonderful people on this forum, thanks again guys :) On my project Sicily thread you can see one such episode, a problem with the brake light switch. '2018 gangitano85' would have panicked and gone straight to the workshop, '2022 gangitano85' on the other hand asked on the forum first and then fixed it - touch wood - himself.

Not sure whether my experience will help you, but in any case you have come to the right place!
I mean I am interested in leaning how to repair cars on my own, it's amazing that you did all this without any prior knowledge and were able to learn all this from this forum. If this works out for me as it did for you I'd be glad!
 

Raymie

Member
Hallo und welkommen zu A2OC !

Ich bin auch fur eine A2 suchen. I have found lots of interesting buying advice on this site over the last couple of weeks and like you have concluded that the TDi 75 is the top recommendation for it's blend of performance and reliability.

In response to some of your specific questions :-
1. mileage : > 120,000m to 180,000m is no problem so long as the car has been regularly serviced and the cambelt , tensioner and water pump replaced at the appropriate service interval. There are many examples still running with > 200,000miles. Age is also a significant factor to some of the materials & fittings such as the soft touch window buttons and the door check straps (fixings) so you may find some wear on these items.

2. Price : ? Starting around £750 for 'shabby' examples and going to £3000+ depending on condition and optional extras fitted. Generally £1500 appears to be the sweet spot for an SE in decent condition with a clean interior and good bodywork with 120,000miles.

3. Buyers guide. - Hopefully one of the other forum members will know how to provide a link to the 'buyers guide'.

In general having a keen interest in the cars technology and getting to know it's weak points will help you identify when any maintenance is required.

Owning an A2 is like a hobby. If you are prepared to be positive about spending some time looking after it it will reward you with many more miles of trouble free motoring..

MfG, Good Luck,

Raymie
 
3. Buyers guide. - Hopefully one of the other forum members will know how to provide a link to the 'buyers guide'.
Hi thanks for you reply, your research lines up with mine I also found the 1.4 TDI 75hp to be the best engine to get. Do you know Reddit.com? All the subreddits have a sidebar and a wiki, this seems to be what this site really seems to be missing unfortunately. I have always seen the A2 as a good looking car with an amazing price to performance/ratio, the perfect balance of price, maintenance, looks, performance and I think you would agree wouldn't you? Good luck on your A2 hunt!
Edit: I kinda can't wrap my head around why this car seems to be so popular in the UK, most A2 owners I have met online where from the UK, kinda interesting isn't it?
 
I'd suggest you consider the 1.4 petrol engine, as low emmissions zones are being introduced in many European cities, and only 1.4 and 1.6 petrol A2 meet Euro 4.
The 1.6 is not a good choice for a beginner, as it is a complex engine, and, as a result, not well understood by auto mechanics.
The 1.4 is not an exiting drive, but is reliable, and would suit a beginner.
Service history is important, and if you can check it's TUV record, (in UK the car's annual MoT record can be viewed online), as this tells you ait about previous owners, and how they looked after their car.
Good luck in your quest?.
Mac.
Thanks for your reply, I did some research and I found out that you are right : the A2 1.4 TDI truly shipped with Euro3 but most have Euro4 anyway because Euro4 upgrades were subsidized by the government. Most A2s I found for sale were actually Euro4!
 

PlasticMac

Member
Thanks for your reply, I did some research and I found out that you are right : the A2 1.4 TDI truly shipped with Euro3 but most have Euro4 anyway because Euro4 upgrades were subsidized by the government. Most A2s I found for sale were actually Euro4!
Can you give us more details on how a Euro 3 A2 TDI can be upgraded to Euro 4 please? We thought that the Euro class that the car was built with could not be changed.
Mac.
 

gangitano85

A2OC Donor
Can you give us more details on how a Euro 3 A2 TDI can be upgraded to Euro 4 please? We thought that the Euro class that the car was built with could not be changed.
Mac.
According to Audi UK - they send me nice letter - as the V5 my TDI90 is Euro 4.
 

gangitano85

A2OC Donor
Hi thanks for you reply, your research lines up with mine I also found the 1.4 TDI 75hp to be the best engine to get. Do you know Reddit.com? All the subreddits have a sidebar and a wiki, this seems to be what this site really seems to be missing unfortunately. I have always seen the A2 as a good looking car with an amazing price to performance/ratio, the perfect balance of price, maintenance, looks, performance and I think you would agree wouldn't you? Good luck on your A2 hunt!
Edit: I kinda can't wrap my head around why this car seems to be so popular in the UK, most A2 owners I have met online where from the UK, kinda interesting isn't it?

Don't forget boot size :)
 
Can you give us more details on how a Euro 3 A2 TDI can be upgraded to Euro 4 please? We thought that the Euro class that the car was built with could not be changed.
Mac.

Here are 2 articles translated with Google, basically what you had to do was upgrade your catalytic converter, it had to have some kind of filter. Not all cars could do it tho, but a lot of cars could. Only works with diesel, not petrol
 

Seb_Gurkyh

Member
Personally, while I like the A2 a lot, it feels to me like it's no longer the hidden gem it still was a few years ago. ?
The body won't rust and that feels like it's one of the few advantages to the A2 left these days. (other than design and interior space)


Parts are getting harder to come by, quite a few are no longer available new. If one of those goes bad, good luck finding a breaker. If you need one of them and there's none on Ebay-Kleinanzeigen, you may be without wheels until one shows up.
(Afaik, we do not have the luxury of club breakers like the UK has ? )


Is it still affordable car if you have to pay someone for repairs? > Depends on your budget. I recently paid over 500€ for new rear (disc) brakes. Not sure how that compares to a Polo etc. though.


What's an affordable price? Depends on engine, mileage and options. German prices seem slightly higher than UK prices most members here will be familar with. Personally I'd rather pay extra to have something special, others will be happy with a 1500€ silver car with no options.


The optimum engine will depend on how much you plan to use the car. The diesels are more expensive tax-wise (231€ 1.4TDI, 94€ 1.4i) so you'll have to catch up on that with cheaper fuel. I believe there were recent discussions regarding making diesel fuel yet more expensive so you may not be able to make up the difference anymore in the future.
(Funnily enough, in the UK it's the other way round where the diesels are dirt cheap tax-wise while petrol cars are taxed higher and fuel prices the other way round)

Newer 1.4TDI 75 ("BHC") > Older 1.4TDI 75 ("AMF") due to Euro 4 vs. Euro 3.
The different codes for the 1.4i (AUA vs. BBY) don't make a ton of difference. Both are Euro 4.
Probably avoid 1.6 and 1.4TDI 90 due to essential parts seemingly no longer being available new. Both are Euro 4.
Definitely avoid 1.2 for way too many things that will go wrong and cost a fortune to fix.

Mileage-wise, I believe that neither the 1.4TDI nor 1.4 have much trouble reaching 300k km.
1.4is will often burn oil way before that (mine did at 60k km...) and sound like a diesel, though that will usually not break them as quickly as you'd expect.
I'd look for a well-serviced example over one with low kms and no service history.
In my opinion, the interior can start getting annoying with cracks and rustles from about 150k km.
At about that mileage, they may also need new suspension.


Regarding Euro 3/4, while most A2s will be listed as Euro 4, I'd be suspicious of ones (EDIT: =Diesels) with a smooth service flap to be Euro 4.
AFAIK, the Euro 3 versions ("AMF") can be fitted with a particulate filter which makes them eligible to have a green Umweltplakette (Windshield sticker thingy to enter city centres), but that does *not* make them Euro 4. The latter "BHC" engine is Euro 4 from the factory.
If going for an "AMF" anyways, make sure any green stickers are legit, not bought off ebay. No filter, no green Plakette.
Right now (in germany), there's effectively no difference between Euro 3 with a filter and Euro 4. (Your mileage may vary, I am uncertain about places like Stuttgart and Hamburg where Diesels <Euro6 seem to have been banned on certain roads iirc) Who knows if or when that will change.
I believe Euro 3 is already a problem if you want to enter somewhere like London.



Short version:

The A2 these days (in my opinion) has many of the same problems as other 20 year old cars.
1.4TDI BHC (04+) if you want or need a Diesel, 1.4i if you don't.
Service History over mileage. As few kilometres as you can afford (though you don't want a museum piece).

A german list of things to look out for can be found here: https://wiki.a2-freun.de/wiki/index.php/Checkliste_Gebrauchtwagenkauf
Beware that the list is a little old and a few extra things have surfaced in recent years like lower control arms rusting away.
Personally, I've had over half of the things listed there go wrong over 2 A2s and I love 'em anways. ?
 
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CrispyEdd

Member
I wish I knew what a good running 90bhp ATL drove like before i bought mine, but then again I wouldnt have bought it :p Half the fun is tinkering and improving anyway. Unless you pay good money and buy off a forum member youre like to encounter the classic problems anway with these near vintage machines. Expect a new turbo 150K mile and a clutch for all diesels as rough guide, £500 for each fix there.
 

stevec

Member
Additional cabin heater on the tdi. The option code will be displayed in the service book or on sticker in boot well. This has been covered on this forum before, but here are the option codes.
7E0 no additional heater system
7E4 additional heating system
7E6 air additional heating system electrically 900W
7E7 air additional heating system electrically 1500W
7E8 additional heating system
 
Wow that was really insightful, thanks a lot! I know that this maybe isn't the most appropriate question for this form but what over cars would you recommend to a broke German man if it wasn't the A2. Asking because I feel like the parts being unavailable will be a big problem down the line.

Maybe I should mention that I'm not sure about what I need. Basically I signed a work contract in a big city (= rather strict emission zones in place with potential to worsen in the future) and I have to chose either I get a car and commute there daily (70km one way) or I simply move (and potentially stay without a car as I won't be able to afford it?).

The TDI 75 was my best bet if I went for commuting, if I move tho I'm not so sure about buying a car + the budget might not allow for it anyway but if it did I have no clue on what to buy.

Edit: Even tho I never drove the A2, I like the looks and it seems to be great, I has low consumption, weighs nothing and is rather fast for it's size/hp but I think the real issue with this car that might spoil the deal is emission zones, parts being unavailable, all the A2's you can buy are old / have already been driven to the moon and back a dozen times like you said.
 
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Robin_Cox

Member
Wow that was really insightful, thanks a lot! I know that this maybe isn't the most appropriate question for this form but what over cars would you recommend to a broke German man if it wasn't the A2. Asking because I feel like the parts being unavailable will be a big problem down the line.

Maybe I should mention that I'm not sure about what I need. Basically I signed a work contract in a big city (= rather strict emission zones in place with potential to worsen in the future) and I have to chose either I get a car and commute there daily (70km one way) or I simply move (and potentially stay without a car as I won't be able to afford it?).

The TDI 75 was my best bet if I went for commuting, if I move tho I'm not so sure about buying a car + the budget might not allow for it anyway but if it did I have no clue on what to buy.

Edit: Even tho I never drove the A2, I like the looks and it seems to be great, I has low consumption, weighs nothing and is rather fast for it's size/ph but I think the real issue with this car that might spoil the deal is emission zones, parts being unavailable, all the A2's you can buy are old / have already been driven to the moon and back a dozen times like you said.
If I was needing to commute 70k each way and knew that the destination was heavily restrictive for emissions access, on a budget I would consider something like a Citigo / VW Up - modern, nice sharp design and good to drive. No, they aren't diesel, but in my hands our Citigo actually had fractionally better consumption than even my BHC car just because it warmed up so quickly as well as having creature comforts like electric heated seats for cold days. Having said that though, nomatter how good though they are, my A2s feel more solid and are better for long distances, especially when doing a country-length journey. Horses for courses.
 

Seb_Gurkyh

Member
Feels like quite the **** time for buying a cheap car, though the same probably goes for renting in a big city. ?


I can only tell you about my limited experience with cars and commuting so far. Your mileage may vary. (literally)

As I've personally only ever commuted long distance in an A2 (50km each way for the past few years), both in Petrol and Diesel, I can't really speak for other models I'm afraid. With consumptions of 4l of Diesel and 5l of Petrol (though I only do 90kph) the A2 is pretty good in that regard of course. I would also agree that at least for a small car, the A2 is quite happy on the motorway as long as you don't expect to go 130kph all day. (The 1.4i gearbox is a bit "short" for that, though it will let you do 45kph in 5th ?)



Over 4,5 years (16-~21) and over 75k km, my Petrol A2 cost me north of 15000€, which comes to about 0.23€/km including almost everything: purchase, sale, maintenance & repairs, fuel, insurance and tax. Most services were done at garages.
Maintenance includes one cambelt, repairs include a 1200€ steering rack (don't fit heavy wheels...) and a new clutch to name the most expensive bits. ~2800€ for insurance. (Under 30 here) [Would love a comparison to UK values for something like this btw - still got no clue if that cost to run was stupid expensive or to be expected]

"Auto fängt mit Au an", as my dad would say. ("Car starts with Outch")

This was a low mileage granny-owned car with little history and I ended up paying to repair all the things that usually break between 60k and 150k, hence the advice for going for a well-serviced one. That goes for any model.

ADAC appears to calculate about 0.32€/km for a Mitsubishi Space Star (one of the cheapest brand new cars right now at about 10k€).
Petrol alone is currently about 0.10€/km for comparison. 15k looks like a big number, but thats pretty much just reality for commuting long distance. ?

I probably would've gone for an UP/Mii/Citigo or as recent an "MPI" engined VAG product as possible too, if asked, though looking at prices for the former, I think I'm getting vertigo instead.
4-6k€ for the cheapest dealer-warranty-cruisecontrol ones... ?‍?
Rules for dealers were recently changed I think so they effectively have to give a year of warranty instead of 6 months, so prices will have risen throughout even more than "normal".
(I've also had some good experience with a 2nd gen Smart Fortwo, but that's about the last thing I'd want to do 140km/day in)


In the end, you can be either lucky or unlucky with most cars out of warranty. There are people who will buy a 500€ "****box" every other year, do no maintenance to it and never break down. Then theres the guy whose 10k car breaks down 3x in as many months.?

IMHO, There's no right or wrong choice (other than the really obviously bad ones), you could go right or wrong with just about anything.
 

Olerype

Member
I wish I knew what a good running 90bhp ATL drove like before i bought mine, but then again I wouldnt have bought it :p Half the fun is tinkering and improving anyway. Unless you pay good money and buy off a forum member youre like to encounter the classic problems anway with these near vintage machines. Expect a new turbo 150K mile and a clutch for all diesels as rough guide, £500 for each fix there.

Been through all engines, 1.2, 1.4TDIs and 1.4 and 1.6 petrol. Would choose the TDI90 anyday.

1.2TDI is cool due to ultraslow shifting. 1.6FSI has somewhat the same «massive» pull as the TDI90. TDI75 is slow even with remap if you know what TDI90 or 1.6FSI are capable of.
 
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