It is an undeniable truth that cars have the potential to be incredibly expensive purchases, especially if you buy a used car that turns out to be a lemon. This is because of all the money that has to be spent on repairs and maintenance. This can become one of the largest expenses.
These days with new cars, many of the expensive kinds of car repairs that used to be unavoidable are less frequent, and measures have been taken to reduce the cost of such repairs.
Today’s cars are often of much higher quality than previously, and they tend to require significantly fewer repairs than models from the past.
With an in-depth knowledge of the potential issues which may arise, you are able to make an informed decision about purchasing the car, whether there are common or more unusual problems associated with it.
It may sound unbelievable, but tyres and their rims are unanimously considered to be the most expensive and frequently required maintenance items for modern cars. The lifespan of tyres is typically around two to four years, and they need to be replaced more often than most other parts of the car. With the prevalence of Electric Vehicles, tyre wear has increased and can be more frequent. Purchasing a good set of tyres can be expensive and can cost over $200-300 for a regular-sized tyre, and up to $600 or more for specialist, run-flat or large tyre sizes. Now multiply that by 4 and you can get a significant expense needed.
As vehicles shift towards having larger wheels, the tools and materials required to look after them also become more costly. The equipment that is used to handle 15- and 16-inch rims are not the same as what is utilized to manage 17- and 18-inch and up to 21 or 22-inch wheels, and it is said that the bigger tyres require more labour to switch between, resulting in longer fix times and consequently higher costs.
Brakes are similar to tires and are both common and expensive because they must be replaced at regular intervals. Changing the brakes of a vehicle (both the front and rear) can be expensive and the cost can be more than a few hundred dollars, and sometimes even go up to a thousand dollars just for the front or the rear. Again, premium vehicles and European/sports/performance cars can be anywhere from $700 to $2000 for front brake pads and discs, with similar or slightly less for the rear, and let’s not even start thinking about the potential for costs on sports cars.
The brakes of a car have a demanding role to play, and possibly the most critical of all. As drivers, we can reduce the strain on the brakes – both the pads and the discs – by being more judicious when we press down on the pedal. Constant hard braking, which is common in the city and urban driving, can cause the brakes to wear out faster, leading to expensive replacements. Also, with the increase of Electronic Parking Brakes, which activate the rear brake callipers and pads, the requirement for specialist repair practices is needed, to prevent subsequent damage when pads/discs are replaced, along with the fact that as a result, rear brake pad wear can now be greater than front.
TPMS (Tyre pressure monitoring systems)
TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems) can be a major headache for drivers. They often would take their cars to the mechanic when the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) light shows up on the dashboard, supposing that the tyre pressure is insufficient. Usually, it does indicate that one or more tyres is low on pressure, but often there isn’t anything wrong with the tyres but the problem is in the sensor itself.
The price of a sensor by itself can be up to $300, not including the labour required to install it. Once diagnostics are taken into account, replacing the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) sensor can cost you around $500.
Fortunately, these components don’t need to be replaced regularly, but when the time comes, it is important to be aware of the associated cost. Although the cost of the timing belt itself may not be high, the labour needed to take out the old one and install the new one will take a significant amount of time. The expense of replacing a belt in a vehicle can fluctuate depending on the type and style of the car, considering the difficulty of removing and putting back the belt, and the usual recommendation in many cases is to replace not just the belt, but a complete kit with tensioners/rollers/idlers and suggested replacement of the water pump at the same time. Expect anything from $1000-$3000 depending on make/model and arrangement.
In contrast to the other components that have to be regularly changed, suspension parts should not have to be exchanged at consistent intervals. Nevertheless, after several tens of thousands of km, the parts will begin to show signs of wear, because they are responsible for protecting the rest of the car from bumps and impacts on the road, absorbing the pressure of a sharp turn, and handling the everyday wear and tear that is induced by driving.
Unfortunately, a suspension system is not just a single spring or shock absorber but includes a number of other parts and components that can become worn and broken, such as tie-rod ends, wish-bones, control arms, suspension arms and bushings and more. It is likely that the type of driving you do most will determine how long it might take until one of these parts wears out. Also increasing advances with more cars having air adjustable suspension, or sports/comfort electric shock absorber damping, can increase the frequency of failure of these components and the repair costs can be in the thousands.
So, is Getting a Pre-Purchase Inspection Before Buying a Car Worth it?
Buying a vehicle is often a decision based on emotions. Yet, if you decide to buy a used car, the positive feelings and thrill that you first felt can be replaced with unfavourable ones if you find out that the car needs pricey repairs. To make sure that the car you’re purchasing is in good condition and to maintain your enthusiasm, it is suggested that you have a pre-purchase inspection carried out.
The main idea behind obtaining a pre-purchase inspection for a second-hand car is to have a qualified third-party mechanic inspect the vehicle so as to receive a professional assessment on any servicing or maintenance that the car might require.