Even a well-maintained car will eventually need repairs. Paying attention to the typical warning signs can save you costly repairs. What are some of the more common types of automotive repairs you can expect and when?
The alternator continually charges your car battery as you drive, ensuring there is enough electricity for your car’s needs. Without an alternator, your battery’s power would quickly run out.
Besides a service engine light, if you find your dashboard or headlights dimming, your alternator may be failing. Other signs include odd noises, under-powered electric seats, and windows, engine stalling, or a dead battery.
An alternator typically lasts around 100,000 miles.
Water pumps circulate coolant around the car’s engine, keeping it from overheating and breaking down. A car’s water pump is in constant use, making it one of the more common engine parts to need replacing.
Overheating is one of the signs your car needs a new water pump. If your engine’s temperature gauge is over the normal range or in the red, or coolant is leaking on the ground, it may be time for a new water pump.
Besides overheating, experts recommend changing a car’s water pump when replacing the engine’s timing belt.
Water pumps last around 100,000 miles.
The timing belt keeps the crankshaft and cam in sync so that each cylinder will fire precisely. If your timing belt fails, so does your engine. Unfortunately, in most cases, a timing belt will just break without warning.
As mentioned above, it’s a good idea to replace your timing belt the same time you replace your water pump. Think of it as preventative maintenance that could save you thousands of dollars.
Good mechanics suggest replacing timing belts every 60,000 to 100,000 miles.
The engine’s power comes from spark plugs that ignite the air and fuel within the combustion chambers. If just one spark plug fails, your engine will idle poorly, run rough, and may even stall. Rough idling is the most common indication you need new spark plugs.
When replacing spark plugs, always remember to replace them as a set. Depending on your engine, you will need 4 to 6 spark plugs.
Standard copper spark plugs last from 10,000 to 20,000 miles. The more expensive platinum or iridium spark plugs can last up to 60,000 miles.
When unusual sounds, leaks, or vibrations occur, it’s a good idea to address it immediately. As a general rule, the earlier you take care of the warning signs, the less it will cost you in the long run.