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I'm considering buying an Audi A3 from 2013, from an official Audi dealership. It's in good condition as far as I can tell, and has all the options I need.

The problem is that they don't have a service history on their system for it (even though the car was bought new there). They told me the previous owner probably thought he had to bring it for service at 20,000 miles or 2 years, and since he did only 18,000 miles maybe thought he didn't need to bring it. It's been serviced now and has no problems, and also comes with one year warranty.

Still, I'm wondering, is this lack of a service history a red flag? Or does it happen often?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Zaid, anonymous2, dlu, Nick C, Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Nov 5 '16 at 11:19

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Don't buy it. This mean the previous owner didn't even do the initial oil change after the break in. The oil was not changed for almost 4 years? Buy some other car. Thank me later. – rana Nov 4 '16 at 16:59
  • Your best case is that the previous owner took it somewhere else to change the oil other than the dealer, but the worse case I just pointed out in my first comment seems very likely in this case. I would not buy this car if I were you. – rana Nov 4 '16 at 17:01
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    While this is a great question, I'm not sure if there is an objective way to answer it - any answers you get will be primarily opinion-based. You'd be better off asking this on The Pitstop – Zaid Nov 4 '16 at 19:22
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    All modern Audi's have an electronic service book. I think this dates from 2010. These guys say it's from Nov. 2012 although the referenced link is dead. Anyway if an official dealer tells you they can't access the history of the vehicle on their system then I would tell that dealer that they should not even try to sell that car. – JoErNanO Nov 4 '16 at 19:53
  • Unless some service contract covered oil changes, I'd just change the oil myself and never visit the dealership. It wouldn't surprise me that a new car didn't need any service in 4 years. – Spivonious Apr 11 '17 at 19:59
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This is something like buying a large farm at a great price with just one glitch: the owner tells you there may be a couple landmines hidden on the property somewhere.

With this amount of lack of service, the vehicle risks having some serious engine wear that will show sooner or later. If servicing included oil changes, you'll have a fairly large risk of premature engine wear. This may or may not show up within the aforesaid 1 year warranty coverage, though the likelihood is that it won't.

That being said, a car with premature aging won't kill you if you drive it. It's a judgement call you have to make: if it does turn out that you have to replace the car sooner than planned, are you willing to make that investment? There is a possibility that the engine is absolutely fine, but there are also fairly high probabilities that there is extra wear.

It's a call for you to make.

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