Common faults that occur after certain mileage
Owning a car comes with the financial responsibility of repairing and maintaining it. This is part of the course and an essential task every car owner must go through. It would be great to be able to be financially prepared for any needed repairs. But how do you know what will go wrong on your car and when? The simple answer is that you will never know for sure. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t at least be prepared for what might happen. This article sets about exploring some of the more common faults that occur after a certain mileage so you can be prepared.
The life of your car’s battery isn’t directly linked to mileage. But it will usually need replacing after about four or five years. If you do a lot of miles it will likely be starting to wear well by the third year and be very ready to be replaced by the 4th year. If you do fewer miles then you may be able to stretch to five to six years out of your battery’s life.
TOP TIP: Absorbant Glass Mat 9AGM gel-cell batteries will typically last one to two years longer than the conventional wet cell lead-acid batteries. So when it comes to replacing these you might want to consider one of these as an option to extend the life next time.
The Water Pump
The water pump’s job is to circulate coolant around the engine and radiator to prevent the system from overheating. When an original water pump reaches 70,000 miles it is likely to start to leak and fail. If the pump reaches more than 100,000 miles you really have managed to get your monies worth out of this part without replacing it. You’ll be able to see warning signs if the water pump is on it’s way out. One tell-tale sign is coolant leaking out of the vent hole or around the pump shaft. The more coolant you lose the easier it is for the engine to overheat. Some bright sparks online may suggest that you add cooling system sealer to the radiator, but this won’t help. These products can’t seal a leaky water pump. If the water pump is leaking, it needs to be replaced.
The Fuel Pump
Another big one to add to the list of common faults that occur after certain mileage is the fuel pump. Vehicles like Ford and Chrysler will likely see a life of around 60,000 miles from their fuel pump before it needs replacing.
TOP TIP: Asian brand cars will typically have a fuel pump that lasts the lifetime of the car.
If your fuel pump goes you could end up being stranded. There are no obvious warning signs that the fuel pump might fail. On occasion, the pump may buzz or you could experience some trouble starting the engine. More commonly they just stop working. Be aware that if this occurs it might not necessarily be the fuel pump at fault. Be sure your mechanic checks the electrical connection, power relay and fuel filter for problems before replacing the pump unnecessarily.
Your engine contains several gaskets that can fail independently at any time as you do more miles. It is common for cars to develop coolant leaks in the intake manifold gasket anywhere between 60,000 to 70,000 miles. This loss of coolant causes the engine to overheat. Rubber gaskets and seals will harden and shrink with age and wear. So after around ten to twelve years they will start to leak. Again, there’s no real fix for this. Anything you can do to ‘patch’ it up will be very temporary at this point and the only way to stop the leaks is to replace the gasket or the seal.
A head gasket failure is the worst of the worst. A lot of head gaskets are designed to last the life of the vehicle. Some head gaskets will start to leak coolant and compression on or around the 60,000 to 70,000 mile mark. Once again this will cause the engine to overheat. Your mechanic will need to ‘pressure test’ the cooling system to identify the problem. Luckily, the head gasket can sometimes be temporarily repaired with a cooling system sealer. That being said, you never know how long it will hold.
We all know that brakes and brake pads are considered to be wear and tear items. This means they do eventually wear out and need to be replaced. This isn’t directly attributed to mileage but the more braking you do the quicker they will need to be replaced. Your driving style has a lot to do with the lifetime of your brake pads. If you drive aggressively and spend a lot of time in City stop-start traffic then your front brake pads will wear out a lot quicker than most. A large SUV can need replacement brake pads after around 30,000 miles.
Another wear and tear item on the list. Original tyres will likely reach between 60,000 and 80,000 miles before they need replacing. Cheaper tyres will last around 50,000 miles. Things like wheel misalignment or worn steering suspension can accelerate the ageing process of your tyres
TOP TIP: Regardless of mileage and tread, tyres do wear from the inside too. If you have a tyre that is more than ten years old it should be replaced.
Any Rubber or Plastic
A common and often forgotten feature of a car is the rubber and elastomers used on coolant hoses, vacuum hoses, fuel hoses etc. Rubber will harden with age and after around 10 years you can expect to start replacing these rubber parts as they start to leak. If you want to extend the life of your rubber for a few more years you should limit the number of UV rays your car is subjected to by keeping it in a garage. Eventually, many rubber parts on well cared for garaged vehicles will deteriorate and fail.
Engine parts made out of plastic can also become brittle and crack with age. This includes plastic intake manifolds, valve covers and oil pans. Other plastics that deteriorate with age include plastic fuel tanks, and plastic fascias, bumper covers, body and interior trim, and dash covers, and plastics used in upholstery.
The Timing Belt
The timing belt will typically need replacing every 60,000 miles. If you have a newer engine you could get away with 100,000 miles before needing to replace it. If your car’s timing belt has never been changed and you’ve exceeded the mileage you are at risk of it breaking and failing.
Now you can be more prepared for what might crop up when you are planning for your finances and keep your eyes peeled for any tell-tale signs that one of these parts are on their way out and may need replacing.
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