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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 Throttle Position Sensor can get out of adjustment due to wear in the throttle body or due to carbon build up. This will cause the idle timing to advance more than 30 degrees which will cause very high HC and NOx emissions. Conversely, the Throttle Position Sensors can wear out and not properly advance the timing which causes a lack of power and poor fuel economy.

The catalytic converter closest to the cylinder head can fail causing illumination of the Check Engine Light. Prompt repair of this problem is recommended because the catalyst material can be sucked into the engine and cause internal damage.

Difficulty starting the vehicle may be caused by a defective vehicle immobilizer (anti-theft) control module.

The upper dash may crack, most commonly on vehicles in warm climates and exposed to a lot of sunlight. The common repair is to replace the upper instrument trim panel. Information on a technical service bulletin or extended warranty is not available at this time.

The automatic transmission may develop shifting concerns. On lower mileage vehicles, upgrading the software in the powertrain control module (PCM) and the transmission control module (TCM) may correct the problem. As the mileage increases, internal transmission damage can occur. Repairs could involve replacement of the valve body or a complete transmission rebuild. Whenever major transmission repairs are made, it is important to be sure the PCM and the TCM have the latest software updates to help prevent these issues from reoccurring.

Bulletin 13N02 - This program extends the coverage of the brake booster to ten years of service or 150,000 miles from the warranty start of the vehicle, whichever occurs first. This is a one time repair program.

In some of the affected vehicles, it is possible for the brake booster to develop a small tear in the diaphragm under certain driving and environmental conditions. If this occurs, the driver may hear a hissing noise while depressing the pedal and may also experience a "spongy" pedal feel without a noticeable effect on braking performance. If the vehicle is not serviced, the tear will eventually expand and the pedal effort required to stop the vehicle will gradually increase. However, in all cases, the fundamental vehicle braking system remains functional.

Engine overheating can result from coolant leaks which are commonly found at the thermostat housing gasket, water pump, heater return tube O-ring at the water pump, intake manifold gasket, and timing cover gasket. Our technicians recommend a complete inspection of the cooling system after any repairs are made to be sure there are no other leaks.

The CD player may fail due to an internal fault with the radio. Our technicians tell us that in most cases, the radio unit will need to be sent to a specialty repair shop to correct this issue.

A severe lack of power may develop because the hose from the turbocharger to the intake manifold can come loose, resulting in loss of boost pressure to the engine.

The head light switch may fail causing erratic head light operation.

A rattle-type noise may be noted on cold start-up due to a failing timing chain tensioner. Chevrolet revised the design of the tensioner multiple times over the production of the Cobalt, replacement is necessary to remedy this condition. A failed chain tensioner may result in a broken timing chain and subsequent engine damage if the issue is not diagnosed and repaired.

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.

One or more heater & AC (HVAC) air delivery and/or temperature mode door actuator may fail. This can result in incorrect air delivery or temperature. If this occurs, fault code(s) stored in the HVAC control module should be available to assist with diagnoses.

A clicking type noise may be noted from the rear of the vehicle while driving. Our technicians tell us that revised rear coil springs are available which may correct this concern.

The engine may stall at times due to a failed crankshaft position sensor and/or camshaft position sensor, These sensors can fail intermittently as they heat up with the engine. Sensors on certain models have been recalled by Nissan and will be replaced as necessary. Please visit our recall section to see if your Nissan is covered by this recall.

The speedometer or other instrument panel gauge may begin to work erratically at times. Our technicians tell us that the instrument cluster must be sent to a repair facility to correct this fault. The warranty has been extended on some of these units to 7 years or 70,000 miles.

The AC condenser failed due to contact with road debris and a lack of protection for the condenser.

A knocking sound my be heard from the engine at times with the air conditioning on. The cause could be the AC compressor itself, if that is the case there is an updated AC compressor to correct this issue.

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.

The Check Engine Light may illuminate with a fault code P1121 stored. It is commonly caused by a failed three way coolant control valve. Valve replacement is recommended if this occurs.

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.

Various issues with the electric power steering system may develop and could require replacement of steering column assembly.

The Ford Explorer is known for a rough idle, engine stalling, loss of power, and misfires, accompanied by the check engine light.

The intake manifold O-ring gaskets commonly leak, which creates a large vacuum leak. This vacuum leak causes unmetered air to enter the engine, and the fuel system becomes insufficient to compensate for the large amount of air reaching the engine. 

Replacing the intake manifold gaskets corrects this concern.

An engine coolant leak may develop from the expansion tank resulting in engine overheating. When a cooling system component fails the entire cooling system should be inspected. It is not uncommon to find additional component have failed or are leaking.

Overheating can cause severe engine damage. If the engine begins to overheat it is recommended to stop at the first available location and have your vehicle towed to a repair shop.

The passlock sensor in the ignition lock cylinder may fail causing an anti-theft system fault and a no start condition. Our technicians tell us that the ignition lock cylinder should be replace to correct this condition.

The turn signal switch in the steering column may fail causing the turn signals not to work on one or both sides.

The camshaft adjuster solenoid (which is related to the variable valve timing system) may fail or timing chain/balance shaft components may wear, resulting in illumination of the Check Engine Light and various drivability issues. Mercedes-Benz has released a service bulletin outlining specific repair instructions depending on fault codes stored.