The Most Common Mechanical Problems In Older Cars
Wear and tear is something to be expected when owning an older car. Below are just some of the most common mechanical problems that affect older cars – and how you can protect yourself against these problems.
Burnt out clutch
Burn out clutches are one of the most common mechanical problems in older manual cars. Clutches are usually designed to last about 60,000 miles. A spongy clutch pedal, odd grumbling sounds and difficulty changing gear are all signs your clutch may on its way out. The average cost of a clutch replacement can be anywhere between $500 and $2500 depending on the car.
You can usually get 50,000 miles out of a car’s brakes before needing to replace the pads and rotors. Grinding or screeching sounds while braking could be a clear sign your brakes need replacing. The average brake job can cost anywhere from $300 to $1000.
Alternator failure is another common mechanical problem. A car’s alternator can last up to 7 to 12 years before failing (or about 80,000 to 120,000 miles). You’ll usually experience battery problems just before the alternator fails. A new alternator can cost anywhere from $500 to $1000.
Broken starter motor
Having trouble starting the ignition on your car? A broken starter motor could be to blame. This is a common problem in older cars – especially those that have done more than 100,000 miles. A starter replacement can cost anywhere from $430 to $700.
Both automatic and manual gearboxes can eventually fail – usually after about 120,000 miles. If the gearbox is having trouble getting in gear or feels different, it could be a sign that the transmission is going. Gearbox problems can vary widely in cost depending on the type of gearbox and type of problem. Replacing a vehicle’s entire transmission can be very expensive, usually ranging between $1800 to $3400 – and is a common motive for scrapping an old vehicle.
How to protect yourself against these problems
As mentioned already, many of these problems are the result of inevitable wear and tear. However, it’s possible to prolong all of these problems by avoiding bad driving habits such as riding the clutch, braking late or resting a hand on the gearstick. This guide at Car Advise offers a few general tips for extending the life of a car.
With older cars, it can sometimes be worth keeping funds set aside for such problems. Alternatively you could consider taking out repair insurance from a company such as Cars Protection Plus to cover the cost of such repairs. It means paying an extra monthly fee, however it could be more affordable than having to pay out big large sums for repairs.
Preventative maintenance can usually help to reduce the cost of these common mechanical repairs. Servicing your car regularly could help you to spot problems early, allowing you to get them repaired there and then. This is better than breaking down somewhere and having to pay extra to be towed away (complete part failure could also have a more severe knock-on effect on other parts). Looking out for warning signs yourself can also help you to seek repairs early.