If you are looking to buy a used car, you might consider the cost of repairs.
While a Volvo or BMW might be listed for an extremely affordable price, the replacement parts tend to be more expensive and harder to replace.
Here are a few things that drive up the price and the difficulty of repairing on your own or at your favorite, cheap, local shop.
The sophistication of cars is making them more challenging to repair. New, computer-controlled features are being introduced to help bring vehicles into compliance with California’s emissions laws. These features can be quite problematic and expensive to repair when they break.
An excellent example of this is GMC’s Displacement-On-Demand feature that turns off cylinders on their trucks when under a light load.
While GMC’s DOD is excellent for saving about 5% on fuel use, they sometimes cause the lifters to seize.
Lights that turn when the wheels turn? While these are an excellent selling point for a new car, when that technology is ten years old, it can be quite expensive to fix.
This can become a bigger problem as first-generation technologies are retired. Some of these ideas ended up not being pursued further, and there is only a limited supply of replacement parts available.
Furthermore, many of these parts have to be purchased as new OEM parts instead of being available as remanufactured items.
All of these things can lead to an increased charge for repairs.
When buying a used car — especially when purchasing a high mileage one — choose an option that has the least amount of features. The less technology a car has, the less the chance of an expensive repair.
Since the OBD2 technology has become widespread and computer readers have become quite affordable, the fact that the car has a computer system isn’t a big turn-off.
However, to read the transmission control module (TCM) or power control module (PCM), you will need a bigger, more expensive shop-level system.
You may decide to go ahead and invest in a cheap scan tool from ToolTally.com to make sure that you are ready to diagnose any error codes that pop up.
You can also run your car by a local auto parts store like O’Reilly’s and use their scan tool to get a code readout.
The brand of the car is going to be the most significant determining factor of cost. Do some quick searches for common repair parts.
Some of the common parts you should price out include headlights and alternators, as well as fuel pumps, water pumps, and a new starter. This will give you a pretty good indication of how expensive these parts are to replace.
You can also search on youtube for repair videos. Just take a few moments and see how hard it is to swap out the starter. Starters are commonly placed in impossible-to-reach areas, and this gives you a good idea of how hard other repairs will be.
4.Truck or SUV
Trucks are typically the easiest to work on. They have more engine compartment space that gives you room to work. They are also higher off the ground, which gives you room to crawl underneath the car to access all of the parts.
Certain cars like Ford Rangers and Jeep Wranglers have a lot of repairs and upgrades that are easy to perform. There are endless videos available on Youtube on everything from headlight replacements to engine overhauls.
The dedicated forums and Facebook communities also make it easier for these fanatics to swap information, find parts, and diagnose their vehicle’s problems.
5.Avoid Big Repairs
An Interference Engine is one that has a tight clearance between the top of the piston head and the overhead valves. They “interfere” with each other’s operating space.
A good example of this is the Honda Odyssey. Everyone enjoys driving them, thanks to their affordable price on the used market and their reliable engineering.
However, if the timing belt has not been changed at around the 150,000-mile mark, there is a big risk of it breaking and causing the pistons to slam into the valves, ruining the engine.
A timing belt change is not typically the type of repair with which a beginner wants to start. Ideally, you will find a car that has already had the major repairs done. Having the complicated maintenance done will allow you to handle the easier items as they come along.
Start with changing some brake pads. Brake pads are easy to do, with just enough complexity to require some specialized tools and a little bit of patience. It is also one of those jobs that cost a lot when you have it done by a shop.
Oil Changes are another easy job. You don’t save as much money by doing it yourself, but they only take a few minutes to do them. Just make sure to use good quality oil and to refill it to the engine’s specifications. Underfilling or overfilling oil can hurt your engine.
Spark plugs are another task that is fairly easy to do. You want to work slowly and carefully to make sure that you don’t cross-thread anything. However, spark plugs and wires are one of the most straightforward repairs you can do, and it is another area where you can save a lot of money.
Easy To Repair Cars
Here is a list of cars that are commonly considered some of the easiest to work on.
- Ford Ranger
- Toyota Tacoma
- Jeep Wrangler
- Mazda Miata
- Chevrolet Silverado
- Toyota Corolla
- Honda Accord
- Honda Civic
- Subaru Impreza
It might seem pointless to learn how to repair cars. However, we all use them, and with the growing amount of vehicle illiteracy in our country, knowing the basics of car repair gives you an undisputed advantage.
The first time you can roll up on a family member who is stranded on the side of the road and help them get their car going again, you’ll gain a new appreciation for knowing how cars work and being able to get them running again when you need to.