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How Often Do Cars Break Down?

How Often Do Cars Break Down

It’s difficult to know exactly when any car will break down.

Many variables like the age, make, model and how often regular maintenance is made on time come into play.

We’ve been there – break downs suck.

They’re one of the least sexy aspects of car ownership. In the United States, the average age of cars on the road today is a little over 12 years.

What does this mean?

A break down is more likely than not to happen. Keep reading to find out when a car is most likely to break down.

How often cars break down each year. The types of cars most likely to experience a break down. And the most common reasons why cars break down.

At What Mileage Do Cars Start Experiencing Breaking Downs?

Most cars start needing major repairs once the odometer reads around the 100,000 mile mark.

Cars usually start experiencing break downs at around 100,000 miles.

Coincidentally, this is also when the manufacturer warranty expires.

And if that wasn’t enough on your plate, this is also when a car will usually start needing major repairs.

These include:

  • transmission failures
  • oil leaks
  • timing belt failures
  • and of course, water pump leaks.

This means that an out of warranty car that suddenly needs major repairs is going to cost you.

How Many Cars Break Down a Year?

Casualties are the major cost of cars that aren't maintained.

In the United States, 69 million cars break down every year according to Agero.

And according to the research company all these breakdowns take a massive toll on all of us that share the public highways to the tune of 41 billion dollars annually.

What’s the real cost of 150 million people forced to sit in congestion delays per year?

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Forget about the aggravation of waiting while the broken-down car gets hauled off the road.

It’s not even about the 120 million work hours wasted while idling in traffic to the tune of $2 billion dollars a year.

Nothing, and I mean nothing compares to the number of lives lost while trying to resolve these breakdowns.

Does Every Car Break Down?

It doesn't matter what you drive, your car will face a break down at some point of ownership.

A break down is a stressful experience. And no matter how new or old your car is, every automobile on the road is susceptible to a break down.

Cause of Break Downs

While all motor vehicles are subject to a break down, there are a few break downs that are common regardless of the year, make or model of your car:

1. A Faulty Battery

Car batteries typically last five years no matter what nameplate you own. Driving your car regularly helps the alternator keep the battery charged.

But a short jaunt to the supermarket and back won’t cut it.

If you’re not able to stretch its legs regularly, a practice by supercar owners that aren’t able to take their cars out often is to leave the battery on a trickle charger.

This prevents the battery from going flat.

2. Trouble with the Alternator

I’ve experienced this one in more cars than I care to count. Often, the battery is just fine and it’s the alternator that’s gone out of whack.

Without the alternator working properly it won’t be able to keep the battery charged by the engine.

This is a component with its own life cycle. And there’s really no routine maintenance that’s going to change that.

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However, if you notice flickering lights on your dashboard. Or that the headlights aren’t as bright as they used to be.

Or that your wiper blades are slower than usual. These are good signs that your alternator is about to give up the ghost.

3. A Flat Tire

It’s easy to pick up a nail and not even know it. All we can suggest is if you roll through a pothole or over some unknown debris.

Take some time to inspect your tires for damage.

Other than that, give your car a once over every once in a while before you get in it: Check your tires regularly like when you’re filling up at a gas station.

Or before you take off to run errands. Make sure there’s plenty of thread on all tires.

Certainly, if you can see a tire balding, change it as soon as possible. Uneven wear is a sign that your car needs an alignment.

What Cars Are Most Likely to Break Down?

Some cars are more likely to experience more break downs than others.

The used car market is getting to be quite expensive. And one of the reasons why is because of the quality of cars produced these days.

However, anything man made has the potential to break down.

And one thing many buyers forget to budget into the ownership of their new wheels is maintenance costs.

Here’s a list of just 5 cars you can expect to break downs after five years of ownership according to HotCars.

The last one really hurts because it’s one I’m keen on getting:

  1. Land Rover Discovery
  2. Nissan Rogue
  3. Tesla Model X
  4. Chevy Tahoe
  5. Chevrolet Camaro
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How to Protect Your Car in the Event of a Break Down

The Mazda3 is one of a handful of cars that won't experience a break down for a long time.

Mechanical break down insurance = an extended warranty for your car.

The truth is cars today last a lot longer than they ever did.

If you keep up with routine maintenance, you can easily push your car to well over 200,000 miles before you need any major repairs. 

How about we end this article with a few cars that can reach this illustrious milestone. The first one is my favorites:

  1. Mazda 3
  2. Chevy Silverado
  3. Toyota Camry
  4. Honda Accord
  5. Subaru Outback