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Q: Valve cover gasket, spark plugs and rear tail light circuit board... on 2005 Audi A6 Quattro

I recently experienced the MIL light coming and flashing and my car studdering when accelerating. The vehicle also gave warning lights that my rear left tail and reverse lights were out, however when checked they did work. I took the car to a local German repair shop and they told me the following:
The rear tail lights need a circuit board replacement due the other being melted from pulling too much voltage.
The engine issue is a #3 cylinder misfire caused by oil leaking from the valvle cover gasket into the cylinder. They also told me I need new spark plugs and boots.
I am not overly car savvy and was quoted $1200 for all repairs.
Is this a reasonable quote?
I spoke to the dealership and they estimated $500 just to diagnose the problem....
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First off, the oil is getting into #3 spark plug tube because the spark plug tube seals, which allow the ignition coil to go through the valve cover and seals off oil from the hole, are leaking. It is not neccessarily the valve cover gasket because the gasket seals the perimeter of the valve cover from the rest of the world.

What Infiniti and Nissan neglected to release in repair info was that these seals were NOT SERVICABLE! You have to buy the entire valve cover from the dealer with the seals already moulded into the valve cover. And while you are there, replace the valve cover gasket because reusing the old gasket is silly and will probably fail later down the road if taking it all apart doesnt damage a most likely hardend gasket from time and heat cycling.

Your parts are at 200 to 400 bucks now and no labor yet.

Now as for the boots! They are plastic and rubber and NOT made of chemical resistant materials. They were never meant to come in contact with petrolium based liquids, but were meant to hold up to high amounts of heat. So now your boots have been oil soaked and saturated and will start coming apart letting electricity ground out to the metal spark plug bores instead of delivering the electricity to the plugs. Now you can buy the boot for like $70 or buy the coil that comes with the boot for $150. By the way, there are 6 of them.

Still no Labor!

Now we will add in the gaskets for the uppper intake (plenum)and any misc. stuff the technician might run into. This plus the labor (labor rates vary from the guy who treats his employess like crap with no health care, on upto the owner who provides the employees with health care, retirement, training to do the job right) so your labor could be from 240 to 500 for the job, but beats the dealer that in my area charges around $175 an hour and usually gets 700 to 800 bucks.

Now add in the good old uncle sam fund (taxes, federal, state, EPA, and local apply depending on where you are) and there is your total. Sounds like your guys is towards the higher end but not as much as the dealer.

Now, as for answer #1: dont just take it to the dealer. There are good dealers, bad dealers, good shops, and bad shops. Take it to the place that knows what they are doing and makes you feel comfortable. It's your money, spend it in a place that makes you happy and will stand by their work.

there have been issues with the circuit boards on taillights for your type car, just replace it (easy to do) and clean the connector end. the misfire may be due to an oil leak but be aware there is an ignition coil recall coming for your car so "boots" which are part of the coils may be FREE. go to the dealer.
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