What Car Parts Fail the Most? – A Comprehensive Guide
Cars have become an essential mode of transportation for modern life. When you own a car, you should expect to face some issues and repairs. Not every part in your vehicle is going to fail at once, but there are certain parts that get worn out more often than others.
In this guide, we will be looking at some of the car parts that fail the most and what you can do to keep them in top shape. By knowing what parts may fail and how to avoid it, you can save yourself time, money, and stress.
Brakes and Rotors
Brakes are easily one of the most critical safety components in your car. Most cars use disc brakes that consist of two parts: brake pads and rotors. Every time you press the brake pedal, the brake calipers clamp the brake pads against the rotors, creating friction that slows and stops the vehicle. Over time, this friction causes wear to both the brake pads and rotors, and they need to be replaced.
Failing brakes or rotors can be a real safety hazard, and it is essential to identify and replace them before they cause any significant accidents. According to CarMD, a leading provider of automotive diagnostic information, brake systems are the most commonly repaired items in cars aged 10 years or older. Generally, brake pads have a lifespan of around 20,000-60,000 miles, while rotors can last up to 70,000 miles. However, the actual lifespan depends on driving habits, environment, and other factors.
To avoid brake and rotor failure, it’s essential to have your brakes regularly inspected, at least once a year. Moreover, certain driving habits, such as sudden braking or racing, can accelerate the wear and tear of brake components. Preventative maintenance, regular inspection, and driving safely are the keys to keep this vital car part in top shape.
Engine and Transmission
The engine and transmission are the most critical components of your car. Without them, it is not possible to move a car from one place to another. They work together to generate power, transfer it to the driving wheels, and keep the car moving. However, they are also the most complicated systems in a car, and they require extensive care and maintenance.
According to a study by CarMD, the engine is the second most commonly repaired item in cars aged ten years or older, right after the brakes. The engine has a complex mix of moving parts that need to work together to generate power. Over time, some parts may wear out, break or fail, leading to significant engine damage, and costly repairs or replacements.
Similarly, the transmission is a complex mechanical system that oversees power transfer from the engine to the wheels. The transmission includes several parts, including gears, clutches, and seals, that may wear out over time. Without proper maintenance and care, the transmission can fail, leading to a significant loss of power or even to a car that won’t move at all.
Keeping your engine and transmission in top condition requires regular maintenance, such as changing the engine oil, transmission fluid, replacing filters, and tune-ups. Regular inspections and repairs can help prevent costly damage and keep your car running smoothly on the road.
Suspension systems are the car parts that connect the wheels to the rest of the car. This system includes springs, shock absorbers, struts, control arms, and bushings. The suspension system’s primary function is to absorb energy from road shocks and vibrations, keeping the car stable and comfortable for passengers. As a result, it is subject to wear and tear and may need repair or replacement over time.
Suspension problems can manifest in different ways, such as uneven tire wear, shaking or vibrating steering wheel, pulling to one side, or a bumpy ride. When any of these issues arise, it is advisable to take your car to a certified mechanic to diagnose and repair the problem.
According to a report by CarMD, suspension problems are the third most common reason for repairs in cars aged ten years or older. To keep your suspension system in top shape, regular maintenance is necessary. This includes inspecting tires, replacing worn-out components, and getting wheel alignments every year or every 10,000 miles, especially if you drive on rough roads.
Tires and Wheels
Tires and wheels are the only parts of a car that actually touch the road. As a result, they are subject to the most wear and tear and need to be replaced more often than other parts. Tires wear out gradually, but they will eventually lose their grip on the road, become vulnerable to punctures or blowouts, and require changing. Moreover, wheels can develop cracks or bends, leading to vibration or steering problems.
According to a report by AAA, more than half of drivers in the US do not check their tire pressures regularly, leading to unnecessary tire damage and increased fuel consumption. Therefore, it is advisable to check the tire pressures every month and get them rotated and balanced every 5,000 miles to ensure that they wear out evenly. Also, keep an eye out for damaged or worn-out tires and take them to a professional tire repair or replacement specialist to avoid accidents from happening.
Additionally, unless you’re driving a race car, there is no better way to ruin your wheels than hitting potholes or rough roads. If your wheels have developed any damage, it’s pertinent to have them repaired or replaced before they cause problems. And if you notice vibrations or shaking in the steering wheel, a bent wheel may be the culprit.
Modern cars are equipped with a variety of electrical systems that improve the driving experience, including power windows, air conditioning, sound system, gauges, lights, and much more. However, electrical systems can be quite complex and prone to failure, leading to problems such as dead batteries, blown fuses, faulty alternators, and more.
According to CarMD, electrical systems are the fourth most commonly repaired items in cars aged ten years or older. While most electrical issues are minor and easily fixed, some can be more complicated, and you may need to take your car to a certified technician to identify and fix the problem.
To avoid electrical problems, it is recommended to keep the battery terminals clean and tight, replace batteries every three to four years, check belts and connections regularly, and avoid overloading your car’s electrical system with too many add-ons.
Interior Parts and Seats
Your car’s interior includes seats, seat belts, carpets, dash, center console, door panels, and more. Due to constant use, most of these components may show wear and tear over time. A small tear in the upholstery of the seat can turn into a gaping hole soon, if not addressed. Similarly, if the dash or door panels develop cracks or fades, and if the air conditioning does not work effectively, it can hinder your car’s overall value.
Proper maintenance, such as regular cleaning and polishing, can help keep your car’s interior in good condition. However, when it comes to a significant issue like a malfunctioning AC or extensive damage to the seat or carpet, it’s best to take the vehicle to a certified mechanic or body shop to repair.
According to a survey by CarMD, interior issues are responsible for around 5% of repairs in cars aged ten years or older. Proper care and maintenance can prevent many of these issues and keep your car’s interior looking good for a long time.
Extended Warranties for Cars
An extended warranty, also known as a service contract, is an agreement between the car owner and the warranty company, promising to provide repair and maintenance services beyond the manufacturer’s warranty period. Typically, it covers the cost of repairs or replacements related to breakdowns or wear and tear that occur during the contract’s duration. Extended warranties can give you peace of mind and help you save money if you encounter unexpected repairs in the future.
However, it’s essential to read the fine print and understand the terms and conditions of the extended warranty before purchasing. Some extended warranties have several exclusions or limits that can make them less comprehensive than you think. Additionally, some warranties may come from unscrupulous providers, so you should do your research about the warranty provider before purchasing.
As a rule of thumb, if you’re purchasing a car made by a less reputable manufacturer or buying a used vehicle, an extended warranty might be beneficial. However, be sure to compare your options, read the fine print, and do your research to ensure that you’re getting value for your money.
Cars are complex machines that need regular maintenance and care to keep them running safely and efficiently. While some parts may fail more often than others, regular inspection, preventive maintenance, and prompt repairs can help prevent costly damages and extend your car’s lifespan.
By understanding the car parts that fail the most and how to prevent those failures, you can save yourself from unnecessary expenses and ensure your car is roadworthy for years to come.