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Car Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common car problems based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

The intake manifold gasket may develop and external engine oil or coolant leak. In some cases, an internal coolant leak may occur causing coolant to mix with the engine oil. Our technicians tell us that operating the engine  with a coolant/oil mix can result in internal engine damage. Replacing the intake manifold gasket should correct these leaks.

Some vehicles may experience Check Engine Light illumination with a trouble code indicating the thermostat is stuck open. The thermostat will need to be replaced with a modified one and there is a software update for the Powertrain Control Module (PCM).

Hyundai issued two recalls for the airbag control module on certain vehicles; it should be replaced to prevent incorrect passenger side airbag deployment during an accident. For more information on these recalls, please click here» and here».

The Check Engine Light may illuminate due to an evaporative emission (EVAP) system fault. Our technicians tell us these EVAP system faults can be difficult to diagnose but it is not uncommon to find a failed charcoal canister or a loose or worn gas cap.

The transmission pressure control solenoid may fail causing erratic shifting. Our technicians tell us that partial dis-assembly of the transmission is necessary to replace a failed pressure control solenoid.

A door window may move slowly or stop in mid travel due to a failing power window motor. The affected window may start working again after the motor cools off. Replacing the faulty window motor will commonly correct this concern.

ON 4WD vehicles faulty vacuum solenoid valves can cause the four wheel drive light to stay on all the time. Replacing the valves and possibly the wire harness is needed for this repair.

The head gasket has a high failure rate due to cooling system problems. Subaru is aware of the problem and has extended the warranty to 8 years/100k miles on many vehicles.

Vehicles with a 7 speed automatic transmission may experience a harsh downshift from 4th to 3rd gear on deceleration. Our technicians tell us revised control module software is available to correct this concern. On higher mileage vehicles other faults may cause transmission shifting issues. Whenever a transmission repair is performed, the control module should be checked for the latest software and updated if necessary.

At higher mileages, (125,000-150,000) the automatic transmission may not shift correctly. This can be caused by the throttle position sensor being out of adjustment or a shift solenoid needing to be replaced. Typically the transmission does not need to be completely overhauled.

Sagging suspension can be a result of air suspension struts and/or drier leaking air. These type of air leaks can lead to failure of the air suspension compressor.

The drivers seat may not adjust due to a broken adjuster cable. The failed cable must be replaced to correct this concern.

Delayed engagement and/or a bump or shudder between 30-40mph may be noted on vehicles with automatic transmissions. Our technicians tell us that updated Powertrain Control Module software is available to correct these concerns.

Water may leak into the transmission from the dipstick tube, causing fluid contamination and a shudder during light acceleration. New seals for the dipstick tube are available; the transmission fluid should be flushed as well. If the problem lingers, a new torque converter may be needed.

Ford Escape four wheel drive models may develop an abnormal noise from the transfer case. This may sound like a bearing howling first, but will turn into a clicking noise at higher speeds.

The transfer case on these models is notoriously troublesome, and can become damage from normal use, and the sound of the failure is notably close to the noise heard from mud tires on pavement. 

To eliminate the noise, the vehicle should be inspected, and, if the transfer case has suffered internal damage, it must be replaced, not rebuilt. 

Changing the transfer case fluid on schedule may help, but many failures are before the first fluid change interval. 

The ABS light can come on, indicating an ABS pump motor circuit fault. This is most likely to occur in warmer areas (above 90° F) and usually after a quick stop, like a refueling. If no faults can be found in the pump motor circuit after proper diagnostics, there is a revised ABS control module which should correct this concern.

At higher mileages, (125,000-150,000) the automatic transmission may not shift correctly. This can be caused by the throttle position sensor being out of adjustment or a shift solenoid needing to be replaced. Typically the transmission does not need to be completely overhauled.

Software enhancements are available to remedy inconsistency and confusion about the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) cleaning cycle - “Regeneration” mode. The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) will need to be reprogrammed to add several enhancements, including a more reasonable driving experience during the cleaning cycle and instrument cluster notifications of the cleaning status.

It is common for the fuel level sensor in the fuel tank read the fuel level incorrectly. The sensor must be replaced to correct the condition. Our technicians recommend having the complete fuel pump module replaced on high mileage vehicles.

Occasionally, the timing chain and sprockets need replacement due to premature wear and problems with the variable valve timing system (VVTi).

The distributor may develop internal faults. This can cause a rough running engine or stalling condition, the Check Engine Light may or may not illuminate. Our technicians tell us that the distributor should be overhauled or replaced to correct this concern.

The 4WD transfer case encoder motor position sensor or the selector switch may fail causing the service 4WD message to be displayed. Fault code(s) stored in the transfer case control module will be of assistance in determining the exact fault causing the message to be displayed.

The catalytic converter may become plugged resulting in loss of engine power. General Motors has extended the catalytic convertor warranty on some models to 10 years or 120,000 miles. Please contact your local GM dealer to see if your vehicle is included.

Intermittent rough idle may be caused by the EGR sensor sticking, causing the EGR valve to stay slightly open. The valve and sensor must be replaced together to correct this concern.