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Common Repairs in Older Vehicles

Regular preventive maintenance is the key to keeping an older vehicle running well. No matter how closely you follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, your car has multiple parts that are bound to eventually wear out. The good news is that on the whole, engines are much more reliable than they were 40 years ago. The bad news is that once your vehicle reaches 100,000 miles, you can expect more and more components to wear out or otherwise become faulty, thus necessitating replacement.

After 100,000 miles, you can expect maintenance costs to rise to between $4,000 and $5,000 for every 25,000 miles that you drive. That’s because in addition to the normal oil changes, tire rotations, replacement batteries and brake pads that your vehicle regularly needs, you’ll need to spend additional money to keep your vehicle running at its optimal level. Thus, it makes sense to be on the lookout for possible problems so your technician at Carolina Mobile Auto Service can examine your car and repair it before more serious problems arise.

When a particular part wears out or a problem arises depends on when on a variety of factors, including your driving habits, where you live and even the specific vehicle you own. Be on the lookout for these problems once you car’s odometer passes 100,000 miles.

Timing Belt

Not all vehicles these days having timing belts. Some have timing chains, which can last indefinitely. If your car does have one, it will generally wear out by 100,000 to 120,000 miles and can cause big problems if it breaks because it plays an essential role in controlling your car when the camshaft and crankshaft rotate, causing the engine to die. If you have an interference engine, one that does not have sufficient clearance between the valves and pistons, the result could be one or more bent values and maybe even a broken piston. These type of repairs often cost several thousand dollars. The life of your timing belt depends on the materials used in manufacture, miles driven, engine speed, temperatures under the hood and exposure to contaminants.

Water Pump

Most water pumps, which circulate coolant between the engine and the radiator, have an effective life of about 70,000, so it’s wise to keep an eye on its condition, even if you have already had it replaced. Water pump leaks usually manifest themselves through coolant that seeps through the vent hole or around the pump shaft.

Belts and Hoses

Anything made out of rubber will eventually wear out and these vital components of your vehicle are no exception. Heat and time are the main enemies. Be particularly vigilant of your high-mileage vehicle still has its original belts and hoses. Ask your mechanic to check them regularly.

Failing Tie Rod Ends

Technicians usually refer to this component simply as the tie rod, which connect your vehicle’s wheels with its steering and suspension. Tie rods can wear out from impact, constant use on bumpy roads or simple age. Common signs are bad alignment, shaky or loose steering wheel or uneven tire wear. When a tire road needs replacement, an alignment is also required.

Fuel Pumps

The life of your fuel pump differs dramatically depending on whether you have a domestic or foreign vehicle. Original fuel pumps on General Motors, Ford or Chrysler vehicles can fail anytime after 60,000 miles. Those from Asian manufacturers can last indefinitely. Most of the time, you’ll have no warning that the pump is about to fail, so you could find yourself stranded on the side of the road. Sometimes, the fault lies with something other than the pump, including a bad electrical connection, clogged fuel filter or fuel line, so an accurate diagnosis is necessary if the engine isn’t getting enough fuel. Some late model cars use electric fuel pumps that can be difficult and expensive to replace, are located inside the fuel tank.

Check Engine Light

Your vehicle’s exhaust system can accumulate build-up as it ages that narrow exhaust passages and force the engine to work harder as well as lower gas mileage. The result can be failing components such as oxygen sensors that regulate vehicle emissions and help the engine work more efficiently. An illuminated light can also indicate a faulty mass air flow sensor. Both problems can cause the catalytic converter, which traps and converts harmful pollutants, to fail. A faulty mass air flow sensor can also cause damage to spark plugs.

Consider having your exhaust system cleaned if you have an older vehicle to avoid these problems. When the check engine light comes on, bring your vehicle in as soon as possible to have our of our technicians check computer codes to determine what the problem is. Replacing an oxygen sensor or mass air flow sensor is much less expensive then replacing the catalytic converter.

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