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Audi Assured Long-Term Test Intro: 2002 Audi A4 1.8T

As previously mentioned at the end of our road test of the 2002 Audi A4 1.8T, we liked the car so much that we thought, “Why not buy the car?” With this thought in mind, we started a search for one. A couple of weeks later, with some help from Audi, we took delivery of our slightly “used” Denim Blue 2002 A4 1.8T for an extended stay in our lineup. The car arrived with slightly over 15,000 miles on the odometer, which indicated it had already been properly broken in by the previous owners thankfully.

When purchasing any used car, peace of mind is always a concern as no one ever wants to purchase “somebody else’s problems”. Upon considering the purchase, acquiring a car that was part of Audi’s own Audi Assured certified pre-owned program seemed a natural choice at making sure we weren’t making a purchase we might later regret. The Audi Assured program is available through Audi Financial Services at local dealerships and is available on a whole range or late-model Audi vehicles.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that the Assured Program was far more detailed of an inspection and certification process than we expected and, that it covers 300 “points” on the car.

For a car to qualify as “Assured” it is required to fall within the following mileage brackets: 4 months, 4,000 miles and 5 years or 70,000 miles. From there, the car undergoes a VIN check to ensure that all numbers match up correctly and that all major maintenance has been performed, including determining if the car has had any accidents. Other checks include confirmation that there is a valid and clear title, that all keys are available, and that the odometer reads correctly. It is important to note that Audi does check the vehicle for, in their words, “non-factory chassis, body or engine modifications.” In other words, a chipped or modified car will not be qualified as “Audi Assured” straight from the dealership. Our standard, factory-direct 1.8T Audi qualified for the program as it is currently unmodified.

Once past this initial hurdle, the car must undergo a strict visual inspection. Audi actually splits the bodywork into two “zones”. Zone 1 covers the areas of the car that are vital to the overall appearance such as doors, hood, trunk, trunk lid, bumpers, etc. Zone 2 primarily focuses on the lower areas of the car that are not as cosmetic in nature. These include areas such as the lower rocker panels, the front airdam and the rear lower valence. All Audi Assured cars must be buffed and polished before being displayed and, more importantly, all visual damage to the bodywork are required to be addressed before moving on to the next phase of the certification process, which is the test-drive and walk-around inspection.

During the test-drive and walk-around inspection, Audi evaluates basic items such as the cold start, engine idle, and starter, as well as interior items including the seat belts, power controls and window switches. The car is then split up into sections for detailed inspection via an Audi-generated checklist developed for the dealerships. The areas checked by dealership staff include: Front, Left, Left Front, Left Rear, Right, Right Front, Right Rear and Rear (trunk).

Obviously the under-hood portion of the process, specifically the engine bay, is one of the most important areas of the car. Items traditionally checked at this stage in the process include:

Fluid leaks

Power steering fluid

Engine oil

Cooling system pressure

Transmission lines

Crankshaft seal

Anti-freeze

Drive belt condition

While this does not represent the complete list of checked items, it goes a long way in establishing a comfort factor knowing that Audi checks the most vital mechanical functions of the motor to ensure that the car checks out properly.

As part of the final steps of the certification process, an Audi Assured car is given a comprehensive detailing, not only to the interior, but also to the exterior of the car to bring it strikingly close to new car look and feel. Upon passing this last step, the car is now eligible for the Audi Assured Certified Pre-Owned program.

Features of the Assured program include a 2-year/100,000 mile Limited Warranty, 24-Hour Roadside Assistance for the length of the warranty, and a 12-year Corrosion Perforation Limited Warranty. It is important to also note that the car does carry the remaining portion of the new car warranty and the Audi Advantage maintenance program and that the Audi Assured warranty begins at the end of the original warranty.

Items not covered under the warranty include tires, maintenance and service costs (unless they are part of the Audi Advantage maintenance program), traditional “wear and tear” items such as brake pads, clutches, wiper blades, etc., and damage resulting from lack of maintenance or from improper repair or installation of equipment. Any damage resulting from use of the car in “competition events or for commercial or taxi use,…[or when using] inferior parts, [and] alteration of the vehicle in any way” are not specifically covered under this warranty. In other words any modification done to the car will not be covered by Audi and the dealership. While we, as enthusiasts, like to modify our cars, it is unreasonable to expect Audi to pay for damage resulting, for example, from a chip upgrade or aftermarket race clutch. As the old saying goes, “You have to pay to play”.

Unlike many of our project cars on the site, this car will be handled quite differently. Over the term that we are going to run this car, we’ll highlight and lay out some of the costs of owning an Audi Assured A4 1.8T quattro in general. While it may not sound as attractive as chipping a 1.8T and getting a bazillion horsepower out of the motor, we do think this is something many owners are curious about as not all people have the time, patience or budget to highly modify their vehicles. However, as enthusiasts, we can not resist the urge to make “slight” modifications as permitted within the scope of the warranty. As you can imagine, it is definitely a balancing act.

As we continue coverage of life with the A4 1.8T, expect ongoing driving impressions that measure the car’s response to increased mileage, a review of any modifications, and general service items such as dealership experiences and any problem areas. In the next article we’ll review the 20K service, what it entails and any problems encountered with the car to this point.

We look forward to sharing the experience with you. We’re also looking for quotes and impressions from readers with not only ownership experience with a 2002 A4 1.8T quattro, but also the Audi Assured certified preowned program. If you are one such owner, please send comments to david@vwvortex.com and please reference the VWvortex Long-Term Audi A4 1.8T quattro.

Test Drive and Walk Around Inspection(Follow left to right)
Pre-drive -Cold Start -Engine idle -Starter -Engine fluids
-Tire Pressure -Min. Tread depth(5/32″) -Correct tires match – Correct wheels match
Test-drive -Hot start -Brakes function -Steering wheel center/no pulls -Engine performanc
-ABS Function -All gauges operate -Trip meter/odometer test -Warning lights
-Cruise Control -Acceleration - Vehicle tracking -Vehicle ride
-Vehicle suspension -Exhaust noise -AZuto/man.transmission -Clutch operation
– Shift interlock -Engine vibration -Wind or road noise  
Front: -Bumper level/gap -License plate bracket -Headlight high/low -Turn signals
-Side marker lights -Parking lights -Fog lamps -Hazard lights
-Lenses condition -Grille condition -Emblem condition -Hood latch
-Hood lamp -Struts -Paint condition -Gaps even
-Hood operation      
Left: -Paint condition/dents/dings -Molding/emblem -Marker lamps
-VIN plate intact -Sunroof glass -Molding condition
Left Front -Interior/exterior door -Remote entry -Power window locks -Power mirrors
-Door seal panel and trim -Sill plate wear -Left dash condition -Electrical controls
-Carpet condition -Floor mat condition -Marker lamps -A- or B-pillar damage
-Seat belt -Seatbelt adjuster -Headrest/headliner -Interior door release
-Power seat controls -Seat heater -Warning sounds -Dash lights/dimmer
-Dash switches -Windshield wipers -Windshield washer/aim -Headlight washer
-Rear defroster -Rear window wiper/washer -Pedal operation -Remote headset release(A8 only)
-Pedal covers -Horn -Hood release -Trunk/fuel door release
-Dome light -Courtesy lights -Cigarette lighters -Accessory power socket
-Blower control -Blower noise level -Vent controls -Temperature levels
-Radio/CD controls -Speakers function -Clock function -Sunroof/convertible top
-Steering wheel/air bag -Tilt wheel -Visor/vanity mirror light -Rear view mirror
-Controls/vents -Glove box -Front ashtray -Shifter handle/indicator
-Steering lock      
Left Rear -Interior/exterior release -Remote entry -Child lock -Power windows
-Seat belt left/center -Door seal, panel and trim -Sill plate wear -Armrest and ashtray
-Door panel trim -Glass condition -Paint condition/dents/dings -Molding condition
-Gaps even -C-pillar damage -Seat cover/cushion -Seat belts
-Trim pieces -Power seat controls -Seat heater -First aid kit
-Carpet condition -Floor mat condition -Headrest release -Antenna
-Rear sunshade      
Third Seat(Avant) -Seat cover/condition -All latches -Seat belts
Rear: -Paint condition -Gaps even -Deck/Tailgate operation -Lock/hatch
-Jack/tools -Hazard kit -Spare tire -Spare tread depth(5/32")
-Spare tire well condition -Trunk lamp -Decklid struts -Carpet/mat undamaged
-Glass condition -Emblem condition -Tail lights -Brake lights
-Turn signals -Back-up lights -License plate light -Side marker lights
-Hazard lights -Fog light rear -Lens corrosion  
Right rear: -Paint condition/dents /dings -Molding condition -Interior/exterior release -Child lock
-Power window -Door seal, panel, & trim -Sill plate condition -Armrest and Ashtray
-Glass condition -Gaps even -C-pilliar damage -Seat cover/cushion
-Seat belts -Trim pieces -Power seat controls -Seat heater
-Carpet condition -Floor mat condition -Headrest release  
Right Front: -Interior/exterior release -Power window -Mirror -Door seal, panel & trim
-Sill plate condition -Right dash/glove box -Glass condition -Paint condition/dents/dings
-Molding emblem condition -Marker lamps -Gaps even -A-B-pilliar damage
-Carpet condition -Floor mat condition -Seat cover/cushion -Seat belt
-Trim pieces -Power seat controls -Seat heater  

Technician’s Inspection(Follow left to right)

Under Hood: -Fluid leaks -Engine oil -Rear axle oil -Anti-freeze
-Power steering fluid -Washer fluid -Throttle linkages -Upper core support
-Upper rails -Cooling system pressure -Cooling and heater hoses -Cooling fans
-Radiator/thermostat -Transmission lines -Engine coolant level -Drive belts condition
-Components condition -Fuel filter -Spark plugs -Engine mount condition
-No fluid leakage -Crankshaft seal -Oil pan -Rear main seal
-Engine components -Lower radiator hoses -Lower splash shield -Emissions equipment/sticker
Electrical System: -Battery terminals -Load test battery -Charging/starting -Ignition wiring
-Fuses -Alarm system -Diagnostic test 1551/552-5051/52  
Under Body Inspection: -Frame -Bumper flanges -Spot welds -Transmission mounts
-Cracked or stressed seams -Front sub-frames -Front side aprons -Fuel lines
-Water damage -Lubricant level -Transmission condition -Front/center/rear U-joints
-Exhaust system condition -Hangers -Heat shields -Differential
-Brake lines -Drive shaft -Center support bearing -Power steering pump
-Fuel tank -Protective shields -Fuel injection system -Control arms
-Bumper brackets condition -Axle housing -Steering rack boots -Suspension arms
-No leakage -Shock/strut -Inner/outer CV boots -Front rotor thickness
-Tie rods -Ball joints and bushings -Front pad thickness(50%)  
-Anti-sway bars -Front pads inspected -Sheet metal deformities  
-Rear pad thickness(50%) -Rear rotor thickness -Wiring damage  

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