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Danny, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Audi
Satisfied Customers: 4004
Experience:  ASE Master Certified with L1 Certification, Volkswagen Certified, VW and Audi repair shop owner
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The power steering pump on my 1999 Audi A6 went out when I

Resolved Question:

The power steering pump on my 1999 Audi A6 went out when I was approximately 200 miles from home. I called my mechanic and asked if I should have the car towed to their shop, get it fixed where I was, or if I could drive it back myself. The mechanic stated that I could drive the car home myself. I asked if there was any risk of further damaging the car by doing this and was told no. Now that they have the car they are saying that there are metal shavings in the power steering fluid and I have to replace the rack and pinion for an additional $2,000. Are the metal shavings a result of my driving the car back home? thank you
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Audi
Expert:  Danny replied 7 years ago.

Was the power steering working at all on the way home or was the wheel hard to turn?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
There were moments the power steering was not working at all. However, for the most part the wheel was not hard to turn. The car was making a loud noise from the front driver's side and when it was "working" and I would turn the steering wheel it was very "jumpy" and would make an ever louder whining noise.
Expert:  Danny replied 7 years ago.
Well, I disagree with what they told you originally. If the pump was working but jerking occasionally and
making noise they should have had you check the fluid and top off if necessary and
probably advised you it was in your interest to tow it.

If it completely wasn't working driving would have been fine.

At this point the damage is done but if I were them I would put the new pump in and then flush the
steering system a few times before replacing the rack. There would be a small chance of damaging the new pump
. The metal could have already been in the system when you called them, so who knows.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
They told me that if I replace the pump and not the rack that the metal in the system would destroy the new pump. They stated that they will not warranty the new pump at all, unless I replace the rack, and that it was impossible to get all of the metal out of the rack. I had just had the fluid topped off the week before and when the car began making noise I checked the fluid and it was full. After driving 200 miles the fluid was still at the max line. I was starting the car up in a parking lot when it began to make the noise and had only turned the wheel once prior to calling them. Is it still possible that the metal could have already been in the system? My concern is that they are trying to pressure me into replacing the rack for the additional $2,000. Are they correct in refusing to warranty the pump? Is their anyway to tell if the flush was succesful without destroying the new pump? thank you
Expert:  Danny replied 7 years ago.
Ok, well yes and no about pressuring you. It IS possible that the metal will ruin the new pump. The deal is that if you drive the car, drain the fluid and refill, drive the car, drain and refill, etc about 5 times (which would be a few hours labor or so) that should get enough of the metal particles out.

Their wholesaler will still warranty the pump, and they know it. Personally at my shop what I would do is say if you want to pay me the labor to replace the pump and flush the system about 5 -6 times I'll charge you pump replacement, the pump, the fluid, and another 2 hours labor to flush the system.

If that pump fails you have to pay me the labor to replace it but I'll give it back to my wholesaler as a warranty replacement and they won't mess with me since I buy 10 grand worth of parts a month.

But they probably won't because they're trying to sell you an $800 steering rack that costs us $200. Is this an Audi/VW repair facility or a generic shop?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

It's an Audi/Porsche repair shop. The cost of the pump is about $260, plus another $200 for a hose ,plus fluid and labor for a total of about $800 to replace the pump. The steering rack they quoted me is $1200 plus labor for a total of about $2000. One more round of questions and then I will accept your answer. You have been very helpful and patient. Thank you. If this was your car and your choices were to sell the car as is now or fix the pump and try your luck what would you do? Do you think I can make an offer to them similiar to what you proposed above? How long after I replaced the pump would it most likely fail again (if it were to fail)? Days, weeks, months? Again, thanks.

Expert:  Danny replied 7 years ago.

Well, if it was my car I'd find another shop that wasn't going to charge so much. Or I'd change the fluid on my own and hope for the best.

If I were in your situation I'd buy a pump from somebody with a warranty (like an autoparts store) and find a shop willing to install it. Then if it fails due to the metal you just take it back to the parts store and there will be no questions asked. I'd have the shop flush the system a ton of times.

My honest opinion is I think replacing the rack now is overkill. Where do you live?

Danny and 2 other Audi Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Jacksonville, FL

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