Q: I'm looking at a 2000 (X-plate) 225bhp Audi TT Roadster with 115,000 miles on the clock. Are high mileages on TTs an issue, or should I expect two or three years more hassle-free driving? Paul Gardiner
A: That mileage is double what we would expect from a car this age, so it is time to tread a little carefully.
While the engine and gearbox are generally sound, the fuel injection system can be temperamental. Electrics, as with any car, can also prove troublesome, as can the air-conditioning system.
The main thing to be aware of with TTs are cambelts. Some are known to snap before the recommended 60,000-mile change – the car you are looking at is coming up for double that, so it is due its second change. Insist on this being done as part of any deal or walk away.
Another common fault on TTs are the ignition coil. These were cured by dealers fitting modified parts, but you need to establish if this was done on this example. If it wasn't, you should again insist on it being done.
The last common fault on TTs is a faulty electronic display on the dashboard. It can flicker or show corrupted characters, lights can flash for no reason, and gauges can give false information.
Audi has agreed to replace these for free in cars up to five years old on a case-by-case basis. The car you're considering is now older than this, so if there are obvious problems with the dash, leave the car well alone, because replacements cost between £600-£800.
More generally, consider the general condition of the car. Kerbed alloy wheels, scratches to the paintwork and a badly worn interior can all be signals that the car hasn't been looked after well.
Make sure that the car has been properly serviced according to the schedule – examine the logbook. If you're buying from a dealer, ask if there have been any reliability problems or failures that have needed fixing since it was registered. Dealers have to answer honestly if they don't want to fall foul of trade descriptions legislation.
If you're buying privately, ask the owner for as much information as you can get about how the car has been running. A folder full of receipts for servicing and any repair work undertaken could indicate that it's been cared for and has some decent years left in it.
We'd expect to pay a dealer as much as £14,000 to £14,500 for a car on usual mileage, and a private seller about £1000 less. With the mileage as high as 115,000, we'd look to get a few thousand off that price, and aim to pay as little as possible.
Why not start your negotiations at about £8000 to see what happens? We wouldn't really pay any more than £10,000 – after all, you have to consider what the car will be worth in three years' time once it's done nearly 150,000 miles. That won't be very much. You'll also have to consider the cost of replacing the parts which will inevitably need renewed after doing that many miles.