As automobiles become more reliable over time — the average vehicle lifespan is now 10.6 years – minor vehicular problems, when left unchecked, are increasingly causing more expensive or “catastrophic” repairs down-the-line, according to CarMD, a provider of diagnostic tools and information.
The “check engine” light is the canary in the coal mine, indicating often cheap-to-fix problems; however, there are some common expensive fixes, too, according to USA Today.
The most common issues pertain to engine misfires, fuel injection and sensor control problems:
- Replace oxygen sensor: 9.3%
- Inspect for loose fuel cap: 9.3%
- Replace catalytic converter: 6.4%
- Replace mass air flow sensor: 4.4%
- Replace spark plugs or wires: 3.7%
The most-expensive repairs above would be replacing the catalytic converter, which often costs $2,000, according to CarMD. Catalytic problems often arise when owners ignore the check engine light for earlier minor problems such as replacing a spark plug or spark plug wire for only a few dollars.
As some of the earlier hybrids reach a decade’s worth of use, two of the most-expensive top 10 repairs are now for hybrid models, including replacing the battery or the hybrid inverter system, according to USA Today.