Today’s cars are more reliable than ever, but the auto repair industry is still growing at 1.2 percent per year. Part of that is because as cars become more complex and use more electronics, repairs become more costly. However, a small group of common repairs continue to account for the majority of auto shop visits. Here are some of those repairs and steps you can take to avoid them.
Bumper repairs account for 48 percent of all repairs, and the damage is almost always from an accident. With bumpers and the underlying parts designed to crumple to protect the rest of the car and its passengers, an expensive total replacement is usually required. Front bumpers account for 28 percent of the total repairs, and many of these accidents can be avoided by maintaining a safe following distance, staying alert, and driving at an appropriate speed for the road conditions.
Rear bumpers make up 20 percent of total repairs. While you can never fully control or predict other drivers, you can reduce the risk of being rear ended by using your rearview mirror to remain alert to drivers behind you. If you’re being tailgated, give yourself extra stopping room by slowly increasing the distance between you and the car in front of you — but never brake check a tailgater.
Faulty Oxygen Sensors
Oxygen sensors are actually the second most common repair after bumpers even though they account for just 9.43 percent of auto shop repairs. The average cost of the repair is just under $250. While there isn’t much you can do to prevent oxygen sensor issues, it’s important not to ignore your check engine light because the oxygen sensor is responsible for regulating the flow of fuel to your engine. A faulty oxygen sensor can reduce your gas efficiency, and it may also cause your car to ride rough as the problem gets worse.
Loose Gas Caps
Faulty gas caps are just behind oxygen sensors at 9.28 percent of auto shop visits. They are also one of the most common causes of check engine lights. If your check engine light turns on, turn the car off, make sure your gas cap is tight, and turn the car back on. If the light turns off, the problem is solved at least for now. If the problem persists, you might need to replace the gas cap to ensure a tight fit. If you allow it to remain loose, you’ll see an average decrease in gas mileage efficiency of 0.5 percent as gas slowly leaks out. Luckily the cost of the new part is usually less than $1.
Failed Catalytic Converters
Catalytic converter failures are common in older cars, and the cost can approach $3,000. This isn’t so much because it’s a hard job, but because the part is so expensive. Much of this cost is because catalytic converters contain three of the most precious metals on Earth — platinum, palladium, and rhodium. This also isn’t a problem you can ignore. The catalytic converter regulates your exhaust system, and when it fails, your car will expel toxic fumes that are bad for the environment and will make you fail an emissions test. You’ll also hear loud sounds coming out of your exhaust system like a shaking metal box filled with pennies.
While Colorado Auto Body does not do mechanical work, we are the Denver experts in bumper repair. To learn more about bumper repairs or to schedule an appointment, contact Colorado Auto Body today.