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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 anti-lock brake system (ABS) front wheel speed sensors are prone to failure. When a sensor fails, the ABS warning light may illuminate and/or the ABS system may activate erratically.

A shift "lag" may be noted when accelerating from speeds of 10 to 20 mph. A software update for the transmission control module has been released which may correct this concern. Software updates are commonly most effective on newer vehicles. Higher mileage vehicles may exhibit a similar symptom caused by a component failure. However, whenever major transmission repairs are performed the transmission software should be checked and updated as necessary.

Drivers of the Scion tC may notice excessive oil consumption between oil changes, even to the extent of the engine oil warning light displayed on the multi-function display.

This issue is known to be caused by infrequent oil changes causing engine sludge, or worn piston rings. 

The engine should be cleaned of oil sludge, and if oil consumption remains excessive, the engine may need new piston rings, or other internal components replaced. 

To avoid this issue, change the engine oil and filter every 3,000 miles, and ensure the proper grade of oil is used. 

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.

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.

Models with electric sliding doors can develop problems with the door mechanism. The cable in the door becomes frayed, which will damage the electric motor.

Defective or worn out ignition coils can cause engine misfires and Check Engine Light illumination. If the problem is severe enough engine performance will suffer and the Check Engine light will flash on and off.

Damaged wiring to the seat belt pre-tensioner sensor may cause the Airbag Warning Light to illuminate.

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

Check Engine Light illumination—combined with a lack of power or a stumble on acceleration—may be caused by the throttle position switch (TPS). Kia released an improved part which should correct this concern.

There are reports of premature clutch wear on cars equipped with manual transmissions.  Clutch replacement on these vehicles can be quite costly.

On higher mileage vehicles, an engine misfire may develop and/or the Check Engine Light may illuminate due to a failed ignition coil. It is not uncommon to replace all the coils when the first one fails in order to prevent return trips to the repair shop.

There have been several reported instances of carbon build-up in Volkswagen direct-injection motors. Use of premium fuel is recommended, along with allowing the vehicle to fully warm up during drives.

Severe carbon build-up can cause several issues such as rough cold idle, hard starts, decreased acceleration, misfires, black clouds under hard acceleration, and the illumination of the check engine light.

Repair of this condition once severe requires the physical cleaning of the intake manifold and intake ports on the head. Due to its time consuming nature, this repair can be expensive.

Clogged sunroof drains can allow water to enter the interior and accumulate under the carpet where various control modules are mounted. Over time, the accumulated moisture can damage the control modules.

Shifting issues due to internal problems in high mileage automatic transmissions can be difficult to resolve without transmission replacement.

Hard shifting or wrong gear selection may be corrected by reprogramming the automatic transmission ECU.

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 warm with the engine. Sensors on certain models have been recalled by Nissan and will be replaced as necessary. Please visit our recall section for this model to see if your vehicle is covered by this recall.

An engine vacuum leak from the  intake manifold gasket may cause the engine to misfire or have a rough idle which may also illuminating the Check Engine Light.

The camshaft driven distributor can leak oil and cause a malfunction of the crankshaft position sensor. The engine may crank but not start or run very poorly.

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 warm with the engine. Sensors on certain models have been recalled by Nissan and will be replaced as necessary. Please visit our recall section for this model to see if your vehicle is covered by this recall.

Leaks in the air suspension can cause the air compressor to run constantly.

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.

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.

A cosmetic crack may develop on the plastic liftgate trim panel. Our technicians tell us the Ford has released a service procedure to replace the applique without damage the the liftgate glass.

It is not uncommon for the intake manifold and/or valve cover gaskets to develop a coolant or oil leak. Leakage from the intake manifold may result in coolant in the engine oil. Coolant mixing with the engine oil severally impacts the lubrication ability of the oil. Internal engine may result if this condition is not repaired promptly.

Power door locks can activate intermittently due to a faulty door lock actuator in the driver's door.