Due to the road and weather conditions cars are subjected to it’s understandable that certain car parts will need to be changed after a while. Even the newest cars have parts that are prone to wear and tear – that’s just the nature of motoring – but it doesn’t stop it from being frustrating nonetheless.
A car service will undoubtedly help to keep the various parts of your car in the best possible condition, as will regular maintenance at home. You can check and replace damaged car parts such as oil filters, brake pads and discs and headlight bulbs; but there is just no avoiding the fact that at some stage you may have to invest in a new part for your car because it’s just reached the end of its lifespan.
Parts that are affected by wear over time include various engine and brake parts, while components that are exposed to the weather or that may be damaged in an accident – such as lighting or exhaust parts – are also likely to need changing at some stage.
Then there are car parts that you might not be able to maintain or pay close attention to that might also perish over time, such as timing belts, alternators and oxygen sensors. In this guide we will take a close look at these three problem car parts, explaining what they do, how and why they are prone to damage and why you should replace them even if there is no obvious sign of damage.
Problem car parts
The timing belt
The role of the timing belt, also known as a cam belt, is to ensure that the camshaft turns at the right speed in relation to the crankshaft. If this belt starts to slip or wear out then it can affect the performance of the various connected engine parts and the engine as a whole.
A timing belt is usually made of rubber as this is the most suitable material, but it is prone to wear and tear as the miles roll by. It is recommended that the timing belt is changed every few years – or at a specific mileage depending on the manufacturer – and making that change will help to prolong the life of your engine.
So even if there is no obvious sign of damage on your timing belt, and you haven’t noticed any obvious issues with the performance or efficiency of your engine, keep an eye on your service history and owner’s manual for when the timing belt should be changed.
Electrical faults are among the most common issues in the motoring industry. When you go out to your car in the morning you expect it to start (providing you have fuel of course), and when it doesn’t the immediate thought is to blame a faulty car battery. While this is often the issue, it can also be down to the alternator – the part that is tasked with charging the battery while the engine is running.
Batteries wear down over time having used all of their ‘juice’ to power things like the stereo and the lights among others, and a faulty alternator would mean that the battery will just continue to run down until there is nothing left. A healthy alternator would kick into action when the engine starts, charging up the battery in a similar way to your smartphone or laptop when you plug it into an electrical supply even while turned on.
Potential signs of a fault with the alternator include the car taking much longer to start even on warm mornings, and when it takes a while to start despite testing the power output of the battery. You can always put a car battery on charge to ensure that it is at 100 per cent, but if it continues to run down then it may be time to change the alternator.
The oxygen sensor
Also known as a Lambda sensor, the oxygen sensor in your car is tasked with monitoring just how much oxygen is in the fuel to regulate the emission of harmful gases from the vehicle. The sensor also transmits the information about oxygen levels back to the engine management system, informing it that more or less oxygen is required and this helps with fuel efficiency.
As it is located within the exhaust system, an oxygen sensor is difficult to maintain, but a qualified mechanic would be able to use diagnostic tools to monitor the emission levels of the vehicle. If the device notices that harmful gases are either too high or too low then it may be down to a fault with the oxygen sensor.
For more information and advice on problem car parts, come back to the Euro Car Parts blog soon. If you need any replacement car parts for your vehicle then we’ve got an extensive range for all makes and models in stock and available to click and collect from any of our stores, or we can deliver them straight to your door, so browse the full range today.