We’re going to go out on a limb here and play, basically, fortune tellers. This can be a dangerous game in the automotive world, but we’re going to take a crack at it since we answer questions about the items in this post all the time. Unfortunately, we can’t answer every question about every component on every vehicle – but we did narrow it down to the top 10. We’re just going to go over the list. For additional information, call or stop by our service department. You may also find the answers you need in our blog archives.
Before we delve into this, we’re going to be honest with you. We hate bursting one’s bubble with some sharp facts, but owning and driving a car involves one major thing most motorists would rather avoid; spending money… period. It does not matter if it’s on maintenance and/or repairs. Like death and taxes, you can’t avoid this aspect about car ownership – unless you lease new vehicles or trade your late model vehicle in routinely before it reaches 50,000 on the odometer.
If you do not maintain your car (meaning regular oil changes, filter replacements and keeping an eye on critical fluid levels), you will be faced with major repairs much sooner than you should. Most people realize a car is an investment, and to get the most out of your investment you have to take care of it. But even if you are meticulous about maintenance, follow all the recommended fluid and filter replacements, and baby your car, certain parts will eventually wear out and you will have to spend money on repairs.
Battery; After 4 or 5 years (regardless of mileage) most batteries start to get weak and need to be replaced. If you’re lucky, the battery might go 5 or 6 years, but average battery life is still only about four years. We have numerous customers who “go south” for the winter or stay in warmer climates for extended periods of time. If you fall into this category, here’s a tip; batteries do not like heat. If you are in a warm or hot climate all the time, 3 years is about all the heat most batteries can take. Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) gel-cell type batteries typically last up to 2 years longer than conventional wet cell lead-acid batteries, so you might consider buying one of these when you replace the battery. Replacement cost for a new battery: $65 to $200 depending on the type and brand purchased.
Water Pump: The water pump circulates coolant between the engine and radiator to keep the engine from overheating. By the time an original water pump reaches 75,000 miles or more, the incidence of failure due to coolant leaks goes up sharply. If the pump has over 100,000 miles on it, you’re driving on borrowed time. The first sign of trouble is coolant seeping out of the vent hole or around the pump gasket. The loss of coolant will eventually cause the engine to overheat. Adding a cooling system sealer to the radiator won’t help because these products can’t seal a leaky water pump. If the water pump is leaking, it needs to be replaced. Cost: $25 to $150 for a new water pump, plus installation (1 to 4 hours depending on the year, make & model).