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08-03-2012, 07:06 AM   #1
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Extended warranty for 645d

Recently the timing belt of my 2002 Audi TT roadster snapped, and the total repair estimate came to $7,500. I had to junk it, because the value of the car was not much higher than the cost of repair.

This got me thinking about my 645d. Is there a way to get an aftermarket extended warranty after the manufacturer's warranty has expired?

08-03-2012, 07:10 AM   #2
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The only extended warranties that I'm aware of have to be purchased at the same time you buy the camera, though you could check with the place you purchased it from.
08-03-2012, 09:29 AM   #3
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As far as I'm aware there are no timing belts on the 645D that will snap and "fry the motor", though the shutter may need recalibration at 50,000 actuations. The estimated cost on that repair was around $1000, according to another forum member.

My personal feelings are that warranties are a racket, but insurance is smart. Just take good care of it and you'll probably find yourself wanting to upgrade to a new camera before your 645D wears out.
08-03-2012, 10:40 AM   #4
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I'm pretty sure most of the extended warranties out there do need to be purchased at (or very near) the time the gear was originally purchased. The companies that underwrite these warranty policies are worried about inflated levels of repair claims that turn out to be "pre-existing conditions"... so normally the extended warranty is only sold when the device in question is considered a "new from factory" unit.

But aside from that, I agree with Ryan that extended warranty coverage for most electronics is mostly a racket. The "defects in materials or workmanship" that a warranty would cover are mostly going to surface early in the life of the device, when it's covered by the manufacturer warranty. If the device doesn't fail early, it will likely have a good life until you decide to upgrade it for other reasons. So I don't do extended warranties on any of my photo or computer gear -- but I do have "all perils" insurance for everything that goes into the field with me. That's because there are many problems that can take out a camera (or laptop) that have nothing to do with "defects in materials or workmanship" that most warranty terms are restricted to, and much more to do with accidents, stupid mistakes, theft and other events that can happen in the field. These kind of events are what insurance policies are designed for, not warranty policies.

BTW I'm the one whose 645D shutter recently failed, and I reported the estimated $1000 repair cost quoted by Pentax Canada. The shutter/mirror mechanism is the primary mechanical part in the camera, and in my opinion is the 1st most likely thing to need fixing given that the 645D is otherwise built like a tank. (The sensor is the 2nd most likely thing to need replacement IMO.) Given the rated shutter life of "only' 50K actuations, this was my single major repair cost concern when I originally bought my 645D. In my case the camera was still under manufacturer warranty (which for early Canadian 645D's was offered at 2 years, rather than the standard 1 year), so by happenstance my philosophy of major defects showing up while still under manufacturer warranty held true. But even if the warranty hadn't been there, I suspect my insurance policy would have covered the repair... though with a $500 deductible.

As a fun coincidence, I'm an ex-TT driver. I had a 225 bhp coupe, the first one in Calgary i believe, but got rid of it after 3 years. The engine developed overheating problems that 9 months in the shop couldn't rectify, and as I was coming up to the end of the original 4 year warranty coverage on the engine & power train I figured I better get out before things got really ugly. Following that, the timing belt on my Passat (also a 1.8T engine) broke @ 100 km/h on a highway, leading me to junk that car as the repair estimate was likewise over the blue book value. It's interesting to note there was a class-action lawsuit against VAG, related to premature timing belt failure on 1.8T vehicles in model years 1999 - 2003. I don't know if that's of any use to you since the suit was settled in 2008.

I've been told I have an unhealthy attraction to expensive equipment that's prone to expensive failures. I don't see it that way... but while I continue to shoot Pentax 645D, I don't drive VAG automobiles any more...

08-03-2012, 11:22 AM   #5
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Totally off topic, but my fiance had an Audi A4 and the motor fried itself while idling on a cold winter morning....basically, the oil pressure regulartor (or something like that, I'm not a mechanic) failed and it sucked the guts of the oil filter into the motor. Great car to drive, but expensive to repair and not very reliable at high miles.
08-03-2012, 07:44 PM   #6
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Thank you all for the replies.

It was just that this TT saga left rather a bitter taste in my mouth, and as stupid as it sounds, I became very attached to the car, or that I became attached to this self image that consisted of me driving this shiny white roadster that looked (to me as least) like a museum piece. In the history of automotive design there has been something as bold and striking as that of TT. It was a fantastic car.

I feel very much the same about 645D, obviously more from the functional standpoint, of course. Sure, the next model will be superb too, perhaps far more capable than the current model. But quite frankly, from the standpoint of image quality, I just don't need more than this. I recently had one of my work by 645D printed on canvas at 3 x 6 feet, and I am just astounded by its quality. I am thinking that (of course this may change as soon as the new version comes out -LoL) this is a camera for life, sort of like my Leica M8 (I know I know, M9 much better in all regards, but again I am completely satisfied with its output). Replacing the shutter unit for a grand or so does not bother me, but replacing the sensor at a cost of 5 grand will bother me a whole lot.

I know one thing - I will probably never buy a German car again, although I am a stupid person; I will not be surprised if I find myself driving a Porsche few years down the road . . . .
08-03-2012, 09:56 PM   #7
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I view the 645D the same way. But an extended warranty probably won't really help preserve your ability to use the camera "for life". Especially compared to the level of expense; I don't know what an extended warranty would cost, but since it's usually indexed to the value (or more properly the projected repair cost) of the device, I can't imagine it would be cheap. An extended warranty is like insurance but with a huge ton of restrictions on what it actually covers. And it will only run for so long before you can't extend it any more; usually 2 or 3 years is the limit on electronics, because the repair cost becomes replacement cost at some point and that's not something the underwriting companies want to deal with.

So I would say get a really good "all perils" insurance policy, and then just focus on shooting great work.

It was a bit of a pill to swallow, but another piece of "insurance" that I did was to buy a second 645D body (used, but from somebody I know & trust). I'm not independently wealthy so I didn't really want to have 2 of these cameras. But having one go down hard for an extended period, in the middle of shooting a project, was quite unpleasant. Nothing to do with the cost of repair, it was the loss of use of the camera that was the issue -- I can't just push the project back for 2+ months. And I really don't want to be without it for the kind of work I want to do, so going back to my Canon gear to finish the shoot would have been a setback. So I decided to "self insure" to a larger extent by going with 2 bodies. Hopefully I can keep at least 1 of them up & running for a very long time after this... touch wood!
08-04-2012, 05:41 AM   #8
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Now that we've discussed the camera. let's discuss the car. A huge portion of that repair bill was for labor. Since you planned to trash the car, why not try to repair it yourself? Although I'm unfamiliar with the Audi, I am very familiar with cars in general. Chances are the parts would have run less than 1/3 the cost and not only would you expand your knowledge base, but have the satisfaction of fixing it yourself. Absolute worse case scenario: buy another engine and swap them.

08-04-2012, 09:11 AM   #9
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If I remember correctly, the timing belts on the Audi/VW motors need to be changed around 100k miles, well before they are supposed to break...I know that's how my Subaru was...because when they do break, you're screwed, as they destroy the motor.

When we had our Audi A4 repaired (not the timing belt but another 'freak' incident where the oil filter was sucked into the motor), the worst part was finding a mechanic in northern MN who was willing to 'take on' a foreign car. It took a couple of months, but eventually we found a guy who fixed it for around $1500 USD, motor and labor included (we put in a used motor with about 40k). We then sold it immediately thereafter.

Having it done at the dealership would have cost MUCH more, and we don't even have one within 100 miles, so that wasn't an option. Dealerships, unless they are doing service covered by the warranty, are usually a rip off. They only use 'genuine parts' which cost way more and do the same thing as aftermarket parts or used ones from a junk yard.

There's just so much less to go wrong on the 645D than on a vehicle...though they can cost about the same! (at least for a decent used car).
08-04-2012, 10:18 AM   #10
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As Royce said, there actually was a class action suit filed against Audi involving premature failure of timing belt in Audi TT. I don't remember ever receiving the notice of that. In the manual, it clearly stated that the belt needs to be exchanged before 100,000 miles. Well, my baby only had about 80,000 miles on it. I contacted the dealer, but I was told there was nothing they can do about it.

I inquire about finding an engine for replacement, and what I found out was that Audi TT was not a high production model, and it was extremely difficult to find a good quality, low mileage engine to swap with.

As to re-building myself . . . I don't know . . . . As a busy person, I barely have time to hang out with my kid because of my stupidly busy schedule, and even if I can do it (and I am not sure if I can, really), I doubt I was able to take this on myself . . . . My trusty local mechanic did not even want to take it on because it was too time consuming.

I thought about fixing it at a cost of $7,000, and then turn around to sell it; but I knew that once it was fixed, I will not want to part with it. Pretty soon, something else will break, and I will be then faced with more repair bills . . . I didn't want that.

I found a salvage yard place that gave me $2000, so I took it. The thing is gone forever . . . .

Another thing I had to consider was the tax implication. For the last 18 months or so, I am having to cover at the county hospital on top of my responsibility at the university medical center, so I leased a Toyota Prius, and wrote off my mileage and gas expense. To do that, I needed to have another car for private use - honestly, that was exactly what I did, really. Now I won't be able to write off at all, or at the very least it becomes tricky to do so without having all the receipts . . . .

In the end, I think I did the right thing, and the lesson was that 1) do not get attached to a car 2) never buy a German car 3) or buy a German car but have the timing belt replaced every 50,000 miles . . . .

Recently, I went to Egypt, and took my 645D with me. I checked with my insurance agent as to what the coverage would be for the camera . . . Surprisingly, it was covered in the event of theft, as long as I had the receipt for it (I do), although at the appropriate rate of depreciation based on the age of the camera. I don't know if it would cover in the event of breakage and so on . . .
08-04-2012, 10:53 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fontan Quote
As Royce said, there actually was a class action suit filed against Audi involving premature failure of timing belt in Audi TT. I don't remember ever receiving the notice of that. In the manual, it clearly stated that the belt needs to be exchanged before 100,000 miles. Well, my baby only had about 80,000 miles on it. I contacted the dealer, but I was told there was nothing they can do about it.

I inquire about finding an engine for replacement, and what I found out was that Audi TT was not a high production model, and it was extremely difficult to find a good quality, low mileage engine to swap with.

As to re-building myself . . . I don't know . . . . As a busy person, I barely have time to hang out with my kid because of my stupidly busy schedule, and even if I can do it (and I am not sure if I can, really), I doubt I was able to take this on myself . . . . My trusty local mechanic did not even want to take it on because it was too time consuming.

I thought about fixing it at a cost of $7,000, and then turn around to sell it; but I knew that once it was fixed, I will not want to part with it. Pretty soon, something else will break, and I will be then faced with more repair bills . . . I didn't want that.

I found a salvage yard place that gave me $2000, so I took it. The thing is gone forever . . . .

Another thing I had to consider was the tax implication. For the last 18 months or so, I am having to cover at the county hospital on top of my responsibility at the university medical center, so I leased a Toyota Prius, and wrote off my mileage and gas expense. To do that, I needed to have another car for private use - honestly, that was exactly what I did, really. Now I won't be able to write off at all, or at the very least it becomes tricky to do so without having all the receipts . . . .

In the end, I think I did the right thing, and the lesson was that 1) do not get attached to a car 2) never buy a German car 3) or buy a German car but have the timing belt replaced every 50,000 miles . . . .

Recently, I went to Egypt, and took my 645D with me. I checked with my insurance agent as to what the coverage would be for the camera . . . Surprisingly, it was covered in the event of theft, as long as I had the receipt for it (I do), although at the appropriate rate of depreciation based on the age of the camera. I don't know if it would cover in the event of breakage and so on . . .
I agree, for anyone without lots of experience and all the tools, taking on an engine replacement on a modern car would be a foolish endeavor --especially given that even experienced mechanics did not want to take this one on!

Too bad it went out at 80k miles, and that's just terrible it wasn't under warranty. Sounds like a common problem.
08-04-2012, 11:50 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ryan Tischer Quote
I agree, for anyone without lots of experience and all the tools, taking on an engine replacement on a modern car would be a foolish endeavor --especially given that even experienced mechanics did not want to take this one on!

Too bad it went out at 80k miles, and that's just terrible it wasn't under warranty. Sounds like a common problem.
Experienced mechanics don't turn down work due to difficulty, they do it because they like jobs they can make a quick buck - like everyone else. Tools can be an issue, but experience is another matter since every question one has can be answered on the net. I was 19 when I did my first tear down with a buddy and neither of us had any experience, trust me, it was long before Al Gore decided to build the internet. The engine was a 396 CU Chevy and ran fine after we put it back together. hardest part was finding out correct torque specifications for the various nuts and bolts. Since that engine sucked a valve, the damage was similar to what I would expect the OP would have found upon removing the heads. Rebuilding engines for normal day usage isn't rocket science, since now days you are simply replacing the parts - and often whole assemblies. Don't forget, in some cases. these things are assembled by people, with no high school education working for minimum wage.

Still, I recognize that mechanical things scare some people and not everyone is capable of performing even rudimentary mechanical work. That's why there are mechanics.
08-10-2012, 08:59 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fontan Quote
As Royce said, there actually was a class action suit filed against Audi involving premature failure of timing belt in Audi TT. I don't remember ever receiving the notice of that. In the manual, it clearly stated that the belt needs to be exchanged before 100,000 miles. Well, my baby only had about 80,000 miles on it. I contacted the dealer, but I was told there was nothing they can do about it.

I inquire about finding an engine for replacement, and what I found out was that Audi TT was not a high production model, and it was extremely difficult to find a good quality, low mileage engine to swap with.

As to re-building myself . . . I don't know . . . . As a busy person, I barely have time to hang out with my kid because of my stupidly busy schedule, and even if I can do it (and I am not sure if I can, really), I doubt I was able to take this on myself . . . . My trusty local mechanic did not even want to take it on because it was too time consuming.

I thought about fixing it at a cost of $7,000, and then turn around to sell it; but I knew that once it was fixed, I will not want to part with it. Pretty soon, something else will break, and I will be then faced with more repair bills . . . I didn't want that.

I found a salvage yard place that gave me $2000, so I took it. The thing is gone forever . . . .

Another thing I had to consider was the tax implication. For the last 18 months or so, I am having to cover at the county hospital on top of my responsibility at the university medical center, so I leased a Toyota Prius, and wrote off my mileage and gas expense. To do that, I needed to have another car for private use - honestly, that was exactly what I did, really. Now I won't be able to write off at all, or at the very least it becomes tricky to do so without having all the receipts . . . .

In the end, I think I did the right thing, and the lesson was that 1) do not get attached to a car 2) never buy a German car 3) or buy a German car but have the timing belt replaced every 50,000 miles . . . .

Recently, I went to Egypt, and took my 645D with me. I checked with my insurance agent as to what the coverage would be for the camera . . . Surprisingly, it was covered in the event of theft, as long as I had the receipt for it (I do), although at the appropriate rate of depreciation based on the age of the camera. I don't know if it would cover in the event of breakage and so on . . .
My wife and I have had 3 German cars in succession: 2006 Golf, 2008 Audi Q7 and now a 2012 X5 Twin turbo Diesel. All with no issues. Our X5 is very quick with top speed of 147mph and 0 - 62mph (100kph for the Canadians) in 6.5 seconds. Very good for a big SUV.

here it is



Last edited by itshimitis; 08-10-2012 at 09:08 AM.
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