Top 10 Car Repair Problems

Nobody likes to see smoke seeping from under the hood of a car or hear an unexpected clanking noise while driving down the highway. Cars need repairs from time to time, but you can avoid some of the most common car repair problems if you focus on prevention instead of reaction.

Oxygen Sensor Replacement

Top 10 Car Repair Problems

Image via Flickr by saiberiac

CarMD conducted its annual Vehicle Health Index in 2016 and determined that the most common car repair problem related to the check engine light is oxygen sensor replacement. It constitutes 7.01 percent of all car repairs in this area and costs an average of $249.92. Most cars need O2 sensor replacements at some point, but you can delay this repair by using the right fuel for your car and conducting regular maintenance, such as spark plug and air filter replacements.

Brakes and Rotors

Do your brakes squeal when you hit the pedal? Does the pedal feel wobbly under your foot? You might need to replace your brakes. Brake issues are some of the most common car repair problems, according to the University of Texas. Don't ignore the signs of worn brake pads. Otherwise, you might have to spend more money to replace rotors and other related parts.

Catalytic Converter Replacement

CarMD reveals catalytic converter replacement as the number two car repair problem related to the check engine light, constituting 6.97 percent of repairs at an average cost of $1,153.49. You can protect your catalytic converter against malfunction:

  • Repair exhaust leaks immediately
  • Watch for engine overheating
  • Get regular oil changes


If your wheel gets less cooperative when you try to change lanes or take a turn, your car might need more power steering fluid. Alternatively, you might have an issue with the steering column or another car part. It's one of the most common issues mechanics see. Avoid turning your steering wheel all the way in either direction and keep your power steering fluid topped off to prevent problems.

Heating and Air Conditioning

Nobody likes to sweat or freeze on the way home from work. Heating and cooling issues often crop up in garages, whether because of an antifreeze leak or a faulty compressor. You can't always prevent issues like these, but regular maintenance can make them less likely.

Tire Patches and Replacements

You have to replace your tires based on the manufacturer's recommendations, but sometimes an unexpected event pushes up that timetable. For instance, if you drive over a nail in the road, you'll need to get your car to a mechanic. To prevent premature tire patches and replacements, watch the road carefully. Avoid unnecessary trips into rocky terrain or around construction sites.

Aftermarket Repairs

If you try to install aftermarket parts on your car, you might find yourself at a mechanic's shop within hours. Unless you have the experience and knowledge necessary to install such a part, leave those jobs to the experts. Repairing issues stemming from improper aftermarket part installation can prove more expensive than if you went to a pro in the first place.

Inexpensive Replacements

Sometimes, the top car repair problems don't deplete your savings. Some of the most common examples include replacement fuel caps, headlight or tail light bulbs, windshield wipers, relays, and toggle switches. Most of these cost less than $15 to replace, so you don't have to worry about the damage to your bank account.

Fuel Pump Replacement

Fuel pumps serve as a vital car part and if they go bad, you won't be able to drive your car. To prevent fuel pumps from getting clogged, try not to drive your car with less than a quarter tank of gas. Additionally, avoid letting your car sit for long periods of time without turning it on and taking a swing around the block. The fuel in the lines will create a clog that prevents the vehicle from even starting.

Battery Replacement

No car battery lasts forever, but you don't need to buy one every couple of years. In an interview with Fox News, PEAK Performance Products vice president of marketing Bryan Emrich stresses the importance of regular maintenance. He suggests cleaning the battery and the connectors if they get corroded and adding insulation. Additionally, avoid using the car's battery for non-driving activities, such as turning on the headlights so you can find your lost keys or listening to music while sitting behind the wheel. You'll drain the battery faster and reduce its lifespan.

Unexpected car repairs can cause serious financial issues for families. Taking care of your car will help you prevent those catastrophes, but you can also subscribe to a repair reimbursement program to help keep costs under control.