5 Most Common Car Repairs & How to Avoid Them
Published: November 21, 2023
Cars, like any other machines, are susceptible to wear and tear. Understanding the common reasons behind car breakdowns is essential for maintaining your vehicle's health and longevity. This article will explore why cars break down, delving into the most common vehicle repairs and providing car care insights to keep your car running smoothly.
Why Do Cars Break Down?
Vehicle repairs can occur for various reasons, from mechanical failures to neglecting regular vehicle maintenance. Primary causes encompass engine overheating, electrical issues, and component wear. Understanding these auto repairs enables car owners to avoid breakdowns and minimize repair costs.
Common Car Repairs
Despite financial constraints and time limitations, many vehicle owners are compelled to prioritize essential car repairs due to safety concerns, regulatory requirements, and the potential for more significant issues if neglected. These repairs are often covered in higher-end extended auto warranty plans like CarShield's platinum plan, providing a safety net for car owners.
1. Brake system maintenance
Keeping your vehicle safe and reliable means, amongst other things, taking care of the brakes. Watch out for signs like squeaky brakes, reduced performance, or vibrations when you brake – these indicate it's time to replace the brake pads. It's advisable to check your brakes every so often for any issues like wear, damage, or leaks. Doing these regular checks and replacements ensures your brakes keep working well and keeps you and your vehicle safe.
It's important to practice gentle braking and avoid abrupt stops to extend the lifespan of your brakes. Check the brake fluid regularly and replace it every two years or if it looks dirty.
2. Oxygen sensor replacement
The oxygen sensor, commonly known as the O2 sensor, plays a crucial role within the engine by monitoring exhaust gases to estimate the amount of unburnt oxygen. This information is then sent to the engine control module, allowing it to adjust the air-fuel mixture for optimized combustion efficiency. Typically located in the exhaust system, it can accumulate debris over time, reducing efficiency. Issues like increased emissions, poor fuel economy, and rough idling are clear indications of sensor malfunctions requiring immediate replacement.
The easiest thing you could do to prevent sensor malfunction is to use recommended high-quality gasoline. The next step is regular maintenance, including routine replacement of spark plugs and mass air flow sensors. Their deterioration can result in incomplete combustion, leading to grime, debris, and unburnt fuel in the exhaust gases. Some industry professionals suggest replacing sensors every 60,000 to 90,000 miles.
3. Spark plug replacement
Spark plugs are a crucial component of an engine, initiating the combustion process by igniting the fuel and air mixture in the combustion chamber, ultimately powering the vehicle. Depending on the vehicle's make and model, these should be replaced every 30,000 to 100,000 miles. Malfunctioning spark plugs can cause misfiring, poor fuel economy, and difficulty starting the engine.
Regular maintenance is crucial to prevent damage to spark plugs and ignition coils since they only get damaged with age and use. This involves replacing air filters to prevent debris accumulation on the spark plugs, ensuring optimal functioning of the ignition system.
4. Fuel cap tightening or replacement
The exterior gas cap serves as a seal for the fuel tank, preventing fuel from evaporating. After filling up your gas tank, it's essential to tighten the fuel cap securely to maintain the correct fuel pressure. Damaged or missing fuel caps should quickly be replaced to prevent fuel evaporation and loss of fuel system pressure.
5. Cooling system
The cooling system regulates the engine's temperature and prevents overheating. Regular inspection and maintenance become crucial to avoid significant damage, especially with components like the radiator, water pump, and thermostat. Keeping an eye on the temperature gauge helps detect issues early, preventing problems such as overheating, reduced fuel economy, and trouble starting the engine.
To ensure the well-being of your cooling system, make sure to stick to a routine maintenance schedule. This involves checking and replacing the coolant level according to the manufacturer's guidelines. It's essential to avoid driving the vehicle when it's overheating; doing so could result in severe damage to the engine.