How much money I spent on my used Laura 1.9 TDI in 4 years of ownership

My advice to anyone planning to buy a pre-owned luxury car, please keep at least 15% of the original value of the car in ready cash, if you want to enjoy the car and maintain it well.

BHPian Joshua_Ray recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

  • Is it worth buying a used German car?
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Hello everyone & welcome to my long pending, but very detailed ownership review of my 2010 Skoda Laura 1.9 PD TDI Ambiente… yes, a long name for one of India’s finest D-segment sedans!

This thread has been a long time in the making and I hope to answer all the above queries, by sharing my own experiences. ‘Black Beauty’ was solely responsible for introducing me to the world of tuning, modification and of course a master class in patience for maintaining a pre-owned German!

This thread will focus on two important topics:

  • Life with a pre-owned luxury sedan – with all its ups & downs.
  • A detailed list of all service/maintenance and part replacements with all the transparent costs.

The main aim is to help all those individuals who are on the wall, deciding whether or not to take the plunge into the pre-owned luxury car space!

The hunt for a new daily

Let me take you back to the year 2019, the air is clean, COVID was unheard of, I had started a new job and my trusty 2005 Ford Ikon was feeling a bit old and under the weather. You can read all about that car here.

The itch to upgrade had well and truly settled in and my requirements were very simple – it had to be a pre-owned sedan with low mileage, diesel, have a slick-shifting MT (a reason I will regret later), tuner friendly and most importantly cost less than ₹6 lakhs.

The Polo 1.6 GT TDI was every enthusiast’s dream at that time, especially in red! However, there weren’t many well-maintained examples to be found at that budget and most had run 70k+ km, so I started looking for the next best thing, a Vento 1.6 TDI. After seeing a few examples, I was somehow not able to connect with any of them and had almost decided to give up on a VAG car… but that was when on the evening of 14th Jan 2019, while browsing OLX (as had become my hobby over the last few weeks), I saw an ad for a 2010 Skoda Laura diesel, advertised for ₹5.95L in black and the most striking thing was the mileage – just 34000 km!

Seeing this ad re-kindled my desire for a Skoda (I was a huge fan of the MK1 vRS) and the thought of finally being able to get one, kept me up all night in excitement!

Love at first sight(ish)

The next day, I instinctively called in sick at work, and by 10:30 AM my Dad and I were at the Dealer location to have a look at the car.

The car looked clean apart from dents on the bonnet and a significantly weird curved dent on the rear left door. The interiors were very clean and all electronics were in working order. During the test drive the AC stopped working and the Dealer mentioned that it was ‘just’ a solenoid switch that needed replacing – a lie which revealed itself sooner than expected.

The car had some service records, but like most Skodas, it was serviced outside post the warranty period. Initially, I was a bit skeptical about the extremely low mileage of the car, especially for its age, but I guess my enthusiasm and naive-ness at the time decided to rule out any odometer roll-back (I did later check with VCDS that the mileage was genuine, what a relief!)

Post the test drive and the document check, we sat down to discuss pricing. My Dad being the shrewd negotiator, told the dealer to name his final price, after which we would decide. After a minute he revealed ₹5.25L and the next second we had a Wheeler Dealer Mike Brewer moment – hol’ out yer hand!

We decided to take the car the same evening, paid a token amount to block the car and headed home.

Delivery Time – The Plot & the Sudden Twist

We have parking for only 2 cars at home and my parents were very much against having 3 cars, that too an old ageing Ford was a strict no. I grudgingly agreed to sell the Ford, on the condition that we at least get ₹70k for it. The plan was to take the Ikon in the evening, sell it to the dealer and return home in the Skoda – a bittersweet thing for me, as for some reason I was and still am very attached to that car.

Fate, played in my favor as the Dealer offered only ₹40k for my beloved Ikon. (probably a good deal then, as it is probably worth only half now!). I happily rejected that offer, as per my deal at home and was extremely overjoyed with the fact that we now had a Skoda and my beloved Ikon! I was a very happy 22-year-old that day and we drove home in both the black cars!

The customary pic with all 3 cars

The start of the modifications

It had been one month of ownership with the Laura and things were smooth(ish), apart from the AC packing up within 20 days of ownership! Yes! That solenoid the dealer mentioned, turned out to be the entire AC system. I will dedicate an entire section, at the end of this thread with all the maintenance/parts cost for a better reading experience.

Mine being the older 1.9 PD and not the later 2.0 CR, performance was a bit dull for such a big and heavy car. It did 0-100 in 10.6 seconds, which was very respectable, but it still felt slow. As mentioned in the beginning, a tune was in the pipeline and within 2 months of getting the car – the very first modification was done – a BMC performance air filter and stage 1+ tune from Code6! The numbers increased from 105 BHP/250 NM to 140 BHP/320NM! The car had so much poke that the stock R15 tyres were scrabbling for grip throughout 1st gear (with TC off).

The car had developed a new character and could transform from a sedate cruiser to a torque monster, with just a quick downshift and a tickle of the throttle. The 0-100 time dropped to just 9.5 seconds and I had a big smile on my face, every time the turbo spooled! The car was a hoot to drive and the tune induced the need for bigger wheels and tyres, to keep all that power in check…

I was able to source a set of R16 rims from an Octavia (mk3.5) and with 205/55 Conti MC5 tyres – the grip and stance of the Laura had really improved tremendously! After the wheel upgrade, the car did 0-100 in just 8.9 seconds and the car had a newfound sense of stability and comfort, heightening the overall driving experience!

Life was good and the Skoda and I were in perfect sync.

The first breakdown…

Many people warn against buying used Germans, especially Skodas, as you never know when they would leave you stranded… and as an enthusiast who really looks after his machines – always performing oil changes before schedule, warm up and cool down rules, no hard launches (after the Ikon lessons), etc., I felt that a breakdown was something that would never happen to me! But life has its ways of teaching us important lessons…

The year was 2020, exactly one year after buying the car and we had planned a road trip over 5 days, during my Pongal holidays. Chennai – Rameshwaram – Dhanushkodi – Kerala – Coimbatore – Chennai, was the route and I was super excited! The trip started well and we really enjoyed the drive to Rameshwaram, but the next day while en route to Kerala, disaster struck and the clutch went straight to the floor!

Luckily this had happened on a quiet road at around 40 kph and not on some highway at high speeds! We pushed the car to the side and while we waited for a tow truck, I googled the nearest Skoda dealership and was lucky to find Maverick Skoda in Madurai – a distance of 60km from where we were. A tow truck came and it was a jolty and jumpy ride atop the flatbed to Madurai, at least we could keep the car running with the AC on…

Trust me, riding on top of a tow truck is an experience on its own and I’m sure it’s something my parents and I will never forget!

On the way, we spoke to our contact in Gurudev Motors Chennai who gave us the Service head contact in Maverick. We were treated very well by them and they even supported us in checking us into a hotel. The issue was traced to a failed clutch MC, a relatively simple fix – but, there was a catch, the workshop was working the next day, but the following 2 days were holidays thanks to Pongal and this dealership did not have the parts in stock! Luckily, after a few phone calls – parts were overnighted from another dealership and the next day we received the car in good working order – phew!

Special thanks to Maverick Skoda Madurai for helping us out that day!

This was my first ever breakdown and while we did get back on the road pretty easily, the incident had left a bitter taste and I was a bit shaken at the thought of this happening elsewhere, especially with my Mom and Dad in the car. Considering that my Ikon, with all the abuse it had taken, had never once left me stranded anywhere!

The remaining year was very uneventful, as with Covid and lockdowns, we never really drove much and that meant that apart from an oil change and a set of ABS wheel speed sensors, all was well with the car. The odometer was just around the 46k km mark.

Chillin’ at the office parking, post lockdown

The second breakdown…

It was 2022 and with things opening up, I had started using the car as intended, racking up many thousands of kilometers. My workplace is a 100 km round trip and I was thoroughly enjoying the car – it was extremely solid, and gave a lot of confidence to the driver. Bad roads were not a problem and a combination of the sorted suspension, excellent body control, precise steering and of course the extra power from the tune – made this car punch a class above and I really enjoyed ‘friendly duels’ with bigger luxury cars on the highway.

Drive in the rain they said, it’ll be fun they said…

At around 52k km, the clutch developed a bit of a rattle and fearing another breakdown, I got the clutch and flywheel replaced. Turns out that one of the pressure plate leaves had broken off! After this, I was really looking forward to enjoying the car again, when bang – the clutch went straight to the floor and the car had to be towed (again!) – this time though, I was alone and very close to the trusted garage, that had done the clutch replacement. This time it was the MC again, an O-ring had fallen off which had caused the issue. A replacement was found and the car was good to go.

This second breakdown dampened my confidence again, but the car felt so good to drive that I gradually began trusting her soon enough. I had to travel for work and made a few trips to Vellore, Erode, Salem and Hosur with the car performing flawlessly.

Originally designed for the open autobahn, the car felt at home on the highway, regardless of whether you were cruising at 100 kph or higher! Having a job that required early morning drives on empty highways made this possible. On the mileage side, a constant 11-12 in the city and 16-21 on the highway were the norm, even with the tune.

In May 2022, I decided to put away my fear of ‘maintaining a detailed car’ and went ahead for a proper detail and the end results were absolutely stunning. Link to that story.

Fresh after the detail

Things were great for a while until in September 2022, the temperature gauge slowly started creeping up… yes, at 60k km, the water pump had failed. The car was parked for over two weeks, waiting for parts. It was at this time when my Ikon’s fuel pump had also failed and the only functioning car was the reliable and trustworthy Honda! Soon enough, the parts arrived and we got a new timing belt installed as a preventive measure. With a fair bit of money already spent on the car, and with all the niggles sorted out, I felt it was a good time to invest in some creature comforts. The lack of Bluetooth was really annoying in 2022 and hence an RCD 340 with a green backlight was sourced and we also got the seats done in some premium Genous leatherette covers.

I sometimes still miss this view…

Third time’s the charm

It was April 2023, the car was running beautifully with just under 70k km and I was truly enjoying this car every single day. My only gripe was that I was deputed to work out of our city office for 2/5 days and that meant dealing with painful city traffic at peak hours. Having faced two clutch related breakdowns already, the thought of being stranded in the middle of T Nagar traffic was not very enticing at all. This meant that I was flicking my dad’s Honda whenever I had city office duties.

On one fateful morning, I was on my way to Oragadam and you guessed it, I had another breakdown! This time a portion of teeth on the timing belt, (which was new, but probably old stock) had fallen off causing a sudden power loss and the car refused to start, leaving me stranded at a busy intersection just after the Tambaram bypass. The car was in the workshop for a week again, waiting for parts and the garage did the job for free, taking full responsibility for the failure. By sheer luck, the timing had not skipped when the teeth broke off and the car was running fine with just a brand-new belt.

But, by this time I had totally lost confidence in her – she was lovely when working, but the constant breakdowns had taken a toll on my peace of mind. The question – what if this had happened elsewhere? – was constantly cropping up and my parents were also thinking the same. My beloved Skoda was no longer a reliable companion for work duties, let alone outstation trips.

With a heavy heart, I wrote the ad on OLX and within a week she was sold for ₹4L – a decent amount considering the purchase price and all the money spent on her.

The pressing question – how much did 4 years and 35k km cost me?

Let me give you the detailed cost break-up of how much I spent totally on the Laura – including service, maintenance, modification et all! The list is pretty long and expensive so please do sit down with a hot cup of coffee for this…


  • Stage1+ Code6 tune with Air filter: ₹25K, R16 wheels and tyres: ₹50K, Genous seat covers: ₹30K & RCD 340: ₹30K
  • Total: ₹1.35L


  • Oil changes – Shell 5w-40 (5 times): ₹25K, Coolant changes (twice): ₹4K & Diesel filter (twice): ₹4K
  • Total: ₹33K – excluding bits & bobs like wheel alignment, wiper blades, etc.


  • A/C Full System: ₹30K, Clutch + Flywheel (Sachs): ₹35K, Clutch cylinders: ₹13K, Front brakes (Rotors + Pads): ₹13K, Rear brake pads (EBC Ultimax): ₹3K, ABS Sensor set (2 sets): 16K, Water pump: ₹12K, Timing belt: ₹20K, Battery: ₹10K, Wheel bearings (front): ₹16K
  • Total: ₹1.68L

All this totals to around ₹3.36L in 4 years!

They usually say the second owner spends the maximum on any car and that definitely proved itself true in my case! Excluding the ₹1.35L spent in modifications, ₹2L in 4 years and 35k km, translates to approximately ₹50k per year.

My advice to anyone planning to buy a pre-owned luxury car, please keep at least 15% of the original value of the car in ready cash, if you want to enjoy the car and maintain it well. Another important lesson, the money spent on modifications is never ever recovered when you sell the car, invest in them wisely.

Her last pic…

Every cloud has a silver lining

and with the Laura sold, it was time to go car hunting! With no specific budget in mind, options were all across the board, right from a brand new Slavia/Virtus to an enthusiast’s dream, a pre-owned 530d! We had a look at a few, but they were either too old or not maintained properly and the nice ones were trading at an inflated price point – also for my usage, a 530d would have been overkill and heavy on maintenance too. A 520d would have been a good option, but they felt very lethargic, thanks to the weight, floaty suspension and the same powerplant from the smaller 320d. After the experience of the Laura, my parents were not keen on any pre-owned VAG – so that ruled out everything starting from a mk3 Octy all the way to an A6.

Logically, we now had two options – new Slavia/Virtus or pre-owned 320d. We had a look at a few 320s, but most were the base ‘prestige’ model and they weren’t very appealing. All the Luxury/Sport line trims were either in bad shape or with high mileage. So, we took a test drive of the Virtus and felt that it ticked all boxes, it was spacious, comfortable, feature laden, German and the 1.5 TSI was a blast. However, it lacked the solid feeling of the Laura and in that one aspect alone, it felt like a downgrade.

With no other choice on the horizon, we were about to book one, which is when on 29th April, a 2014 Melboure Red BMW 320d Sport line popped up for sale, with a full company service record, a single owner and just 46k km on the clock!

We jumped at it and after a quick TD, a detailed scan of the service records and a bit of negotiation – a few days later we had a shiny red BMW occupying the Laura’s garage space! It was a dream come true!

Nothing like a BMW in red!

Chennai’s monsoon clouds adding to the drama!

Some of you might wonder, why did I go the pre-owned route with a German sedan again…well, there is only one answer to that…

Life is too short to drive boring cars!

A detailed thread on the Beemer will be coming soon! Stay tuned!


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