The Walkaround

What follows is a list of some general things to look out for when walking around the vehicle. You may well see enough things in this first few minutes to put you off the vehicle without getting your hands dirty.

Don't take this page to be gospel on it's own - do familiarise yourself with your local used car price guidelines and seek professional help from the inspection service provided by the RAC, AA if you aren't comfortable examining the car by yourself. I wouldn't expect the RAC or AA vehicle inspectors to have particular quattro expertise, but they will carry out a thorough inspection that should determine the general condition of the car.

If possible, it would  be wise to seek the keen amateur knowledge of a friendly neighbourhood quattro expert who knows what to look for in a good (or bad) S2. Hopefully the buyer's guide pages here at S2 Central will keep prospective owners well informed...

Satisfy yourself with the general appearance of the car. Primarily check by line of sight on both sides of the car that it looks straight.

Other ways to check for prior damage are uneven gaps between the panels, doors which don't close properly and window rubbers exhibiting signs of overspray.

The condition of the paint and finish have a factor in determining the value of the car. It may well have been sprayed all over, or in certain areas for any reason between one extreme of a proud previous owner wishing to undo the evidence of years of stone chip attacks or the other extreme when a car has been totally resprayed after a heavy accident. If it is the latter, then you are wise to simply walk away. If you detect different paint colours on the car you should question the owner further and seek professional advice if necessary to determine why and when the car was repainted.

You shouldn't find any serious rust on the galvanised body of an S2 unless its been badly repaired after an accident. Cars with long history in territories which are heavily salted in winter may exhibit a little more corrosion on the chassis underneath but it shouldn't be serious and certainly not structural.

Cars with a long history exposed to bright sunlight can have faded paint on the roof and bonnet which can usually be restored to a glossy finish by professionals with the right polishing materials, and time.

Ensure that the wheels and tyres are in good condition. Look for any nasty splits & bulges in the tyres. Also eyeball for even tread wear across each tyre if you can. Uneven tread wear is often an indicator of poorly adjusted suspension & steering settings. If the alloys have anything more than normal wear and tear, then an allowance should be made in the price when haggling. The alloy rims may have been vandalised several times by the continued use of scabby hammer-on balance weights when tyres have been changed, but this is normal practice in many tyre outfits. The Inspection pages will tell you which wheels and other aspects are correct for the S2 you are considering. Professional refurbishment of alloys with bead blasting equipment restores wheels to new appearance and typically costs GBP25-30 per wheel.

Whilst peering at the wheels & tyres, it is prudent to visually inspect all four brake discs and make a mental note of any heavy scoring or excessive wear. Repair work on the brakes is NOT going to be cheap and must be considered in any haggling over the car's price. The actual price of any replacement disc pairs will be determined primarily by who does the work and secondarily by the actual parts fitted, so be ready to get quotes if necessary. As a guide you could pay in excess of GBP1500 for four new discs and pad sets fitted by a VAG dealer, or you could purchase discs and pads yourself for approximately GBP300 from a reputable parts outlet. To be honest, it is wise to upgrade the front brakes on the S2 anyway as they are the weakest point on the car. So don't be overly put-off by heavily worn front discs, but do try to haggle the price down on their behalf if you can :)

Have a brief look under the car for signs of leakage from the engine or transmission. If the car has air conditioning and was parked very  recently, you may well see some drips or small patches of water below the car as it condenses from the system after shutdown.

Finally check that all the window glass has the 4-ringed Audi symbol in one of the corners. If the car has non Audi glass then you'll want to know why !

Last updated July 22nd 2001