12 Common Car Problems. List of Major & Minor Car Issues

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Edgar Moulton.

01.08.2021

Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

Table of contents

It’s no secret that owning a car means you’re eventually going to have to fix something. Below is a list of some of the more common major car problems and some car problems that take a day to fix. Read on to see what they are and how much they cost, as well as have a better idea to decide if you should keep your car or sell it to us for cash. 

7 Major Common Car Problems

Problem #1 Overheating

Any time your car engine is overheating, it means there is a problem with the cooling system. It could be a simple leak in a hose or a sign of a damaged radiator. This is one of the most common car issues, and it’s important to take care of it once it happens. 

If you see the engine temperature gauge on your dashboard rising, it means you don’t have enough coolant circulating through your cooling system, and your engine is getting too hot to run properly. Continuing to run it in this state will lead to much bigger problems.

If you’re low on coolant and there’s no obvious leak (look for puddles underneath the engine where you park your car), it’s worth just going and buying some coolant and refilling the radiator on your own. If it’s a leak in the hose, repairing it will cost you $100 or less, including parts and labor. However, if it’s a cracked radiator, that will cost you between $300 and $1200 to replace. 

Suppose you continue to run your car while it’s overheated. In that case, it will result in any of the following: blown head gasket, cracked engine block, or blown transmission — all of which are serious car malfunctions, and depending on the value of the car, it may just be easier to consider it totaled instead of paying the costly repairs to replace any of the issues

Problem #2 Faulty transmission

Your car’s transmission transfers the power from the engine to the wheels, and faulty transmission is one of the common car problems any vehicle owner will face. Transmission troubles can range from a faulty clutch and worn-out gears to leaking fluids or overheating. 

Leaking fluids are usually a cheap enough fix, as you just have to refill the transmission fluids, but if it’s clutch or gear malfunctions, that will be an extremely costly repair. To replace your clutch, you’re looking at paying between $500 and $2500 and to replace the whole transmission will cost you even more. If your transmission is not working correctly, fixing it is a must, or it will eventually fail. At that point, it’s worth deciding if your car value is high enough to warrant fixing the transmission. If it’s not, your best option is to sell it to a junk car buyer

Problem #3 Engine sputtering

Your engine is arguably the most critical part of your car, but unfortunately, car engine problems are some of the most expensive to fix. 

If your car engine is sputtering, it’s an issue with fuel being delivered. It’s worth checking to make sure there is fuel in your tank (not all fuel gauges are entirely accurate, especially on older worn-out cars) as that’s the easiest fix. If there is fuel in your gas tank, but your engine is still running improperly, there’s a problem with your fuel delivery system. This could mean clogged injectors (or a clogged carburetor on older cars) or the computer management system delivers the incorrect mixture of fuel to the cylinders. It could be that your fuel filter isn’t working correctly, and dirty fuel is getting into your engine. 

Replacing your fuel injectors will cost between $800 and $1450 for most cars. If there are even bigger faults with the motor, you may need to replace the entire engine, which will cost you thousands of dollars. 

Problem #4 Emissions problems

One automotive problem that is common among older cars is a failed emissions test. This can result from numerous things: a faulty gas cap, a dirty air filter, an incorrect mixture of fuel and air going into the cylinders, or a damaged catalytic converter. Symptoms of emissions issues are rattling sounds coming from your exhaust and white smoke coming from your exhaust. If you go for a smog test and your vehicle fails, the mechanic will likely tell you what needs to be fixed for it to pass the next time. Some of these repairs (like a faulty gas cap) aren’t very expensive, but some of them are. If it’s your catalytic converter, you might be looking at a repair bill up to $2200! 

You’ll have to weigh the value of your car vs. the cost of repair to see if it’s worth spending the money to repair it or sell it to a junk car buying service for cash. 

Problem #5 Malfunctioning alternator 

A failed alternator is one of the common vehicle problems as it begins to affect the rest of your car’s electrical systems. When an alternator isn’t doing its job, the engine won’t be converting some of its power to electricity, which you need to run things like your radio, headlights, or windshield wipers. Instead, the car will rely on the battery to do so, and it will eventually drain your battery, leaving your car unable to start next time. 

An alternator replacement will cost you between $200 and $1100. 

Problem #6 Air conditioner doesn’t work

If you live in an area with a hot summer, you know the importance of an air conditioner in your car, and if it doesn’t work, you’re sure to hear plenty of complaints from your passengers. 

Air conditioner systems are often difficult to diagnose because it could be the condenser, pumps, hoses, refrigerant, or other parts. To replace an air conditioning system in a car, you’re looking to spend at least $1500 and up to $4000 depending on the make and model of the car. With a price tag like that, you’ll be stuck between a rock and a hard place, choosing to deal with the summer heat or pay up for the repair. If the value of your car isn’t as high as the cost of fixing your AC, it might be worth junking your car and putting that money towards a new car. (With a working air conditioner, of course…)

Problem #7 Cracked head gasket 

A head gasket is a small piece of uncomplicated metal that creates a seal between the engine block and the cylinder heads. It allows the engine to contain the compression made from the fuel and air exploding within the cylinders to create the power necessary to move your car. Without it, you’ll lose out on that compression, it’s likely your car will overheat, and it’s one of the biggest car mechanical issues you can have. 

If you have a problem with your car’s head gasket, it means you’re in for an expensive repair bill. It’s only a small piece of metal, but it requires a lot of engine disassembly and will require many hours of labor, which you will pay dearly for. The cost of a head gasket replacement will cost between $1000 and $3200. This is definitely a case when you’ll want to weigh the value of the car with the cost of a repair because it is an expensive one. 

5 Common Car Problems That Take a Day to Fix

Problem #1 Dead battery

Luckily, when it comes to automobile troubleshooting, spotting a dead battery is pretty easy. Of course, the first step in learning you have a dead battery is trying to start your car and finding out it won’t. Then it can be checked by a mechanic with a voltmeter to see if it’s still holding a charge or not. If it’s not, it will need to be replaced. 

A battery will cost around $150 and about $50 bucks of labor to change. This is one of the most common car problems and a relatively easy fix. If it’s the only thing wrong with an otherwise well-running car, it may be fine just to have it replaced and be on your merry way. If it’s one of many issues with your vehicle, it may be worth selling to us for cash to put towards a new car.

Problem #2 Clogged air filter

A clogged air filter will prevent your engine from getting as much air as it needs inside. At least, it will make the engine strain even harder for it. This results in fewer miles per gallon, less horsepower, and engine strain. 

A clogged air filter will cost about $20 to $100 depending on the make and model of the car and whether you take it to a mechanic or do it yourself. Usually, this is a simple fix and doesn’t necessarily affect other components of your car (aside from engine performance), so you probably won’t need to replace the whole car for a simple filter.

Problem #3 Broken lights

If your headlights, brake lights, or turn signals are not working, you have a safety issue on your hands. Without them, you can’t see where you’re going at night, other people around won’t be able to know you’re signaling to make a turn, and those behind you won’t be able to see your brake lights and may result in you getting rear-ended. Not to mention, driving without these lights is illegal, and you may get pulled over and get a ticket for it. 

Broken lights are some of the most common car repairs that can be done in a day. If it’s just the bulbs that need to be replaced, you’ll be looking around $100 for halogen bulbs but up to $250 for newer high-intensity lights. If it’s the entire headlight assembly, it will cost you between $200 and $750 per headlight. The same prices go for replacing brake lights. 

Problem #4 Cracked windshield 

All it takes for a chipped windshield is a tiny piece of road debris to bounce up and hit your windshield at speed. A small crack will likely eventually turn into a big one, costing you the price of a new windshield replacement. 

This will cost you between $200 and $400 or up to $1500 on newer, more expensive vehicles. In most states, it’s illegal to drive with a cracked windshield, and you may receive a ticket if you’re caught driving with one. Changing a cracked windshield can be done in a day, and some services will even come to you to replace it, so you don’t have to drive with it. But, depending on the value of the vehicle, it might cost more to replace than the car’s even worth. 

Problem #5 Uneven tire wear 

When your car’s tires wear out unevenly, it’s usually a cause of overinflated tires, underinflated tires, a worn-out suspension, or improper alignment. Tires that have worn out unevenly present a safety issue when it comes to emergency braking, as the tires will skid, and safety issues with hydroplaning, as the tread may not behave as it should when it goes through a puddle. Tires can be rotated in a day pretty easily and will cost you between $25 and $120, but the issue on why they’re wearing uneven (like improper alignment or a worn-out suspension) may cost a lot more to fix.

If You Have a Major Issue With Your Car, Consider Selling in to a Trusted Junk Car Buyer Junkcarsus

Googling car problems and solutions can be a stressful task because it means one, you have a car problem, and two, you’re going to have to pay for the solution. Asking a mechanic, “What’s wrong with my car?” may mean you’ll get ripped off for something a more expensive repair than what’s actually necessary. If you have a list of major car problems and auto troubleshooting is only creating a longer and longer repair bill, it’s worth looking into a quality junk car buyer and selling your car for cash. 

At JunkCarsUS, we take nearly any car in any condition and buy it from you for cash on the spot! No matter what repair you may need from the list above or others, we will work with you to find value in your car and give you the most cash possible for it. We even offer a highest price guarantee of all the junk car buyers in the USA! Along with that top dollar offer, you’ll have it in an instant! We offer FREE towing on the same day if you need the service.

Trading cash for your junk cars is as easy as 1, 2, 3 with JunkCarsUS. With over 12 years in the junk car buying industry, we have come up with a simple 3-step process that makes junking your car completely hassle-free. 

  1. Call us at (855) 547-1550 and speak to one of our friendly customer service representatives. Give them the make, model, year, condition, and mileage on your car, and we’ll give you a cash offer on the spot. Or go on our website and get your instant offer from our scrap car value calculator
  2. Once you accept your cash offer, tell us the time and place that’s most convenient for you for us to pick it up, and we’ll send one of our trusted and safe tow truck drivers to meet you on time. We even offer same-day pickup!
  3. Get your junk car towed for FREE! There are no hidden costs when you work with JunkCarsUS, including our free junk car pickup

So if you have a car that’s been a long string of repairs and would rather just get rid of it and get cash out of it instead of putting cash into it, give JunkCarsUS a call at (855) 547-1550 or go online and fill out an online application

FAQ block

  • What are common major problems with cars?

Unfortunately, some common mechanical problems with your car can be pretty serious. Some of them include overheating, a sputtering engine, a faulty transmission, a broken air conditioner unit in the summer, a malfunctioning alternator, or a cracked head gasket. All of these will take some time to repair and will cost you a pretty penny. With repairs this serious, it’s worth thinking about if you want to keep the car or not. 

  • What are common problems that can be repaired in a day?

Fortunately, some of the more common repairs needed on your daily driver aren’t as expensive and can be fixed in as little as one day. Some of these are a dead battery, broken headlights, clogged air filter, unevenly worn tire treads, or a cracked windshield. These themselves aren’t reason enough to sell your car in most cases, but if these are commonly recurring and the repair bills keep adding up, it might be worth selling your car to Junkcarsus.

Edgar Moulton.

01.08.2021

Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

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