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How Long Should Major Car Components Last?

When purchasing a used car, it is important to know what issues to watch out for, especially if it is a high-mileage vehicle. While vehicles made in the last decade are built to last over the 100,000 milestone, owners of cars 10 years or older need to be diligent about maintaining their vehicle and cognizant about what problems to expect.

Check your owner’s manual for a specific maintenance schedule of major components, perform regular maintenance service, and have a mechanic inspect your vehicle periodically to make sure all parts are in good working order.

Here is a list of major components and what to look out for:

Brakes – Most car manufacturers estimate the average lifespan of brakes – pads and rotors – depending on their quality and driving habits, runs between 30,000 and 65,000 miles. If you hear a grinding or screeching sound when you step on the brakes, it is a sign that they should be examined.

Timing belt – The average life span of a timing belt is between 60,000 and 105,000 miles or after 7 to 10 years regardless of mileage.  One auto repair service recommends when the belt is replaced, all of the tensioners, idler pulleys and the water pump should also be replaced.

Transmission – The life of a transmission greatly depends on how often you drive your vehicle, where you drive it, for how long, and just generally how well you take care of it. Automatic transmissions often fail between 80,000 and 150,000 miles. Manual transmissions can fail even sooner than that, especially when routine maintenance is neglected. Have your car’s transmission fluid changed out every 30,000 to 60,000 miles – or every two to four years and every 15,000 miles if handle heavy loads. Grinding, banging, or rumbling as the gears change, or for a high whistling sound from the engine compartment are signs the transmission needs to be checked.

Radiator – The radiator keeps an engine cool and functions by removing the excess heat that accumulates when the vehicle’s engine burns fuel. If properly maintained, a radiator should last at least 3 years, and up to 8-10 years.  Low fluid levels in the coolant reservoir could indicate a leak in the radiator, engine, hoses, or all three.

Shocks and Struts - Auto repair experts say that generally they should be replaced between every 50,000 to 100,000 miles, depending on how much wear and tear they have received.

When in the market for a used car, stop by Carousel Preowned.  Carousel Preowned serving Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, North Liberty, Marion, and Coralville, IA, is proud to be an automotive leader in our community. We do our best to ensure your complete satisfaction every time you step into our car dealership. This is why we offer the widest selection of used and pre-owned cars, trucks, and SUVs and provide true ease of purchase in Iowa.

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