really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
60,773 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1998 Audi A4 engine problems

engine problem

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1998 Audi A4 Owner Comments

problem #11

Sep 272005

A4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,650 miles


The contact stated timing belt broke at the end of 2001. She stated that when the timing belts break on these Audi and bend the valves, E they will destroy the engine. She reported having no problems with the engine since then. She had the car towed in 2001. The bill was $4,468. The timing belt went out at 80,000 miles. An advocate for Audi in Michigan told her on 9-26-05 that they sent her a letter concerning the timing belt. They were unsure as to when they sent it. The contact searched the internet and found some information about a lawsuit filed against Audi. (9-27-05 the contact called the same advocate and asked her to check the reference number on the car, and the advocate told her that there was ongoing campaign concerning the timing belt. It was called the jk campaign. The control arm was called the je campaign. She has never received any recall letters and notified the advocate that she had never received a letter. The contact stated that in the maintenance book, it stated that the timing belt should not have to be changed until 90,000 miles.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #10

Aug 182005


  • 76,775 miles
1998 Audi A4 quattro experienced early timing belt tensioner failure.** answer required***.

- Palo Alto, CA, USA

problem #9

Jun 052005

A4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles
1998 Audi A4 quattro timing belt broke causing failure while driving and severe damage to engine.

- Brookfield, OH, USA

problem #8

Jun 232004


  • miles


I have an 1998 Audi A4 turbo. While driving in June of this year the car just stopped. I took it to Audi and was informed that the timing belt had snapped and because of the malfunction pistons and valves were damaged. The estimate of reapair was over $6200 the scheduled replacement in the owners manual is for 115,000 miles, this occured at 76,000 miles. I was made aware that Audi is now recommending replacing the timing chain and tensioner at 80,000. Although they have been aware of this problem for more than 5 years, they have not notified nor plan to notify owners of this problem. They will not assist with the repair and the only solution is to take them to small claims court.

- Monaca, PA, USA

problem #7

Aug 122004

A4 5-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,693 miles
While driving 1998 Audi 1.8 T along highway when timing belt failed, without warning, wrecking engine. Car had only 58K miles, and owners manual does not recommend replacing timing belt until 90K miles. There is no tsb for the belt but Audi is aware of the problem and requires all new timing belts to be installed in a new configuration.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #6

Jun 212004


  • 75,000 miles
While driving the timing belt failed. Consumer managed to pull over, and had the vehicle towed. Dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem.

- Richfield, MN, USA

problem #5

Jun 102004

A4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles


Without warning, the timing belt on my 1998 Audi A4 failed, resulting in serious engine damage and leaving my family stranded in the mountains. Audi has know about the defective timing belt problem for years, and has done nothing to fix the problem or notify customers. Mazda had a very similar problem with some of their timing belts (see NHTSA recall no. 00V134/Mazda recall no. 92007); why hasn't Audi recalled the cars and fixed this problem??

- Mead, CO, USA

problem #4

Dec 272003

A4 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,380 miles
Sudden & catastrophic failure of bearing/pulley of main timing belt, while driving at 70 mph on a busy interstate highway. Vehicle had fewer than 55K miles on odometer and was well maitained. Such failure can cause instantaneous destruction of the engine, with resultant loss of control and/or sudden and rapid decceleration, possibly causing a catastrophic collision. The loss of the bearing causes the main timing belt to shift position and/or to snap, causing the engine valves to move out-of-sync with the engine pistons or to stop moving altogether. The pistons then collide with the valves, causing engine destruction. Failure occurs without warning and instantaneously. There are no signs of impending failure that one can observe during a vehicle inspection. In my case, engine failure did not occur, but there was a loss of power. I was able to drive directly to a dealer for repair. The technician who did the repair said that, in my case, I was extremely lucky and that only slippage had occured, and that the slippage was just below the point at which engine destruction would have occurred. This technician was from germany (as was the vehicle), and he said that premature failure of this bearing (and/or associated water pump) is a common problem with this vehicle. He also said that in germany a recall was ordered by the government as they considered the failure premature, frequent, and that it could result in serious injury or death, as the engine could easily destruct at highway speeds, causig a collision. An internet search reveals dozens of reports of premature failure of this belt/pulley/water-pump system on this vehicle. (1998 Audi A4 2.8L quattro automatic)

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #3

Dec 152003

A4 4WD 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 76,000 miles
1998 Audi A4 1.8T fully maintained timing belt failure causing catastrophic engine damage. Service manual calls for timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles. Failure occurred at 76,000 miles. Audi usa refusal to gather service info or compensate for loss and provided no avenue for appeal or escalation of the case. Audi usa had made no effort to inform drivers of this problem.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #2

Jul 192003

A4 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 75,000 miles
Audi A4 1.8T Q timing belt tensioner failed at 75,000 causing catastrophic engine damage. Service interval published by Audi is no earlier than 90,000mi. Tensioner failure is known defect and has been redesigned by Audi, yet Audi will not acknowledge the defect. Audi claims no responsibility nor have they published any tsb alerting people to have this part replaced early.

- Phoenixville, PA, USA

problem #1

Jun 122003


  • Manual transmission
  • miles
I am the owner of a 1998 Audi A4 1.8T car. My complaint is my timing belt gave out on the vehicle at 48,643 mls. The owners manual states that the belt should be good for 90,000 mls. My second comlaint is that the tie rods on the front end. Of the vehicle need to be replaced. These items should not be giving out on a vehicle with such low mileage. I have not received any notices about any recalls.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

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