Is My Audi Dealer Ripping Me Off?


Regarding my Audi A1 1.4L TFSI S-tronic Attraction: My wife recently bought the Audi A1. We had the first service at 8000km instead of the 15,000km.

First service cost $543.00. When I asked what the next service would cost, I was informed it would be about $900.00.

Then I noticed on the invoice the cost of the synthetic oil was $127.80. (WTF???!) It is only a 1.4-litre motor. Can you tell me what oil costs that much and why?

I was also told that the wipers needed replacing at a cost of over $100... Apparently they cannot just change the rubber. I told them that the car was just six months old, and they could whistle. So they cleaned blades with spirit...

I'm waiting for them to bill me for the phone call I made to book the car in for service. Thank you, Steve.


Typical. Basically, you have discovered the dark side of premium car ownership. This Audi dealer has apparently forgotten that all customers do not own Audi A8s. The default costing process at BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi dealerships is often a two-step process:

  1. Establish what is a reasonable cost for the parts & services performed
  2. Move the decimal point on the invoice at least one place to the right

The synthetic oil cost is a classic case in point. This is not some bespoke Audi formulation. It will be a standard grade of synthetic oil designed to meet a particular standard. It could be a 0W40, 5W40 or 5W30 - whatever. The point being any oil that meets the specification is OK to use in that engine.

Super Cheap Auto synthetic oil prices

What synthetic oil really costs

So, I just looked at Super Cheap Auto's website. One of the more expensive premium synthetic oils I could find was Shell Helix Ultra - five litres - for $76.88. We all need to remember this is a retail price, at which Super Cheap is - you'd think - making a decent profit. That Audi dealer is buying his oil in bulk. He'd be making a decent wedge on it at $75 - but he's charging you $50-ish more for it. Then he's charging you to pour it in... That's not just a touch-up mate - it's a bend over, without lubricant (pardon the pun...)

And $100 for wiper blades. Really?

The bottom line is: There is no way you have to cop this crap. You will save thousands if you get a decent independent mechanic to service your car. Guaranteed. And the best part is: if you play it right, your warranty will be preserved - the ACCC is very clear on this. 

Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW have to grow up. If they are going to continue to sell cars at Japanese prices, they need to service the damn things at Japanese prices. How hard is it? And these idiot dealers: do they think you're going to hump their leg in three-to-five years' time, and buy a new Audi after being systematically violated for the entire intervening time in the service department? Please.

Adding insult to injury, a Japanese car costing less would actually be superior, on objective criteria. This thing is a glorified Volkswagen Polo - with one less seat and a $10k price premium.