In Kenya, the majority of cars we drive are second hand if not third-hand which opens us to whole new set of problems. Cars that have worn over 100000 miles on them can be very problematic. Most of the imported cars are patched up to cover up some minor or major problems that they had. It can, therefore, be a nerve-wracking process to shop for a reliable used car that will serve you for more than 5 years with basic maintenance.
But as much as we blame the second-hand cars for being unreliable sometimes it’s the driver’s fault. So what kind of driver are you? Certain people still think that oil changes shouldn’t be mandatory and that a smoking tailpipe isn’t a bad sign. Other times, there is nothing that can be done. Like when a deer jumps out in front of the car while you’re cruising at 100kmh and in turn the entire front of your car gets rearranged.
But regardless of what type of driver you are, sometimes the best plan of attack is actually knowing when to surrender. Cars aren’t cheap, but neither are they inexpensive to fix, and knowing when to hang up your hat is worthwhile when repairs suddenly seem too overbearing.
This list comprises of a list of problems that you should not waste your time and money trying to fix. It would be easier to start thinking of how to get another ride.
Carcinogen Road salt on car
So those of you that wash your cars using salty water may be spelling trouble in your wallet a short while from now. Salt causes metal to rust and weaken. It also corrodes the paint and the latter is a rotting automobile that is unattractive.
So if you live in areas like the coast and the rift valley, you should ensure that your car is washed in a decent car wash that uses soft water to avoid this expensive damage that can be hard to stop once it kicks in. Right!! Rust spreads like a virus and ones it starts chewing your car, we can only feel sorry for you.
For those drivers who love driving very much but abscond their responsibility of taking their cars for a maintenance schedule, they may be in for this disaster. Engine knock will occur when you press that peddle pretty hard while the engine suffers a deficiency of fresh fluid. Eventually, the pistons may decide to find their way to freedom and blow off through your bonnet. When this happens, it’s time to order for a new ride.
The bent frame
If your car gets hit hard enough by another vehicle or you plow into something at speed, chances are that the frame of the car is going to take a beating. Sure, you could take it to a body specialist and cough up ungodly amounts of green, but even then, you aren’t entirely out of the woods.
Even though the frame may be back to its original shape, it has been compromised and weakened by the strain that was placed on it during the accident and while getting bent back into shape. Avoid cars with frame damage folks, there’s just nothing good about them.
Electrical nightmare, oh my!
Newer cars may not be as prone to electrical issues as aging models, but that doesn’t mean that modern automobiles are off the hook in the wiring department. Tracking down electrical issues is a very tedious and expensive venture.
But it pales in comparison to what happens when Rats decide to make your engine bay their home. Pop the hood of any vehicle, and you’ll see a tasty farm filled with wires. So if for whatever reason a small rodent decides to claim this area as their nesting ground, you’re in for some serious issues.
Mice, squirrels, and all manner of vermin have the tendency to gnaw on electrical wires, and even though it may not give them any form of sustenance, it will give you and your bank account a nightmare of a time. Replacing a single wire is one thing. Swapping in multiple sets, well, that’s just asinine.
Blown head gaskets and paychecks
When the gasket that separates the block from the head of an engine goes bad, all kinds of pricey problems come to the surface. Oil and water were never meant to mix. So when a head gasket goes antifreeze, your engine oil bump needs an emergency C-section to save your “baby.”
If this doesn’t happen, a cloud of abnormal smoke will form, and at that point you might as well start looking for a fresh, low-mileage motor. Putting a new head gasket on is possible — and common — even though it is expensive, but heavens knows what else has gone wrong during the “birthing process.”
Heavy metal hybrid battery suicide
Everyone nowadays has a hybrid it seems. But even though a drivetrain may work well right off the lot, down the line those hybrid motors can become quite a pricey headache. The act of replacing a defunct hybrid battery is a time-consuming, expensive affair, often requiring the removal of large portions of a car’s interior, and the re-calibration of vital electrical components. Hybrid owners will often abandon ship when they discover how much one of these “power-packs” costs. Instead they opt to take a steep cut in trade-in value for that prized Prius instead.
The transmission tunnel explosion
A transmission locking up on you while driving is a huge fiasco. As it not only leaves you stranded and in need of a tow, but also because back at the shop the process of replacing a transmission proves to be both expensive and time-consuming.
This isn’t some “while you await quick fix” we’re dealing with. And even though replacement transmissions can sometimes be had for very little money on older models, the labor costs alone on swapping them in are just staggering.
PCM failure = automotive brain cancer
A car’s Power Control Module, or PCM, is basically the onboard computer consisting of the engine control unit (ECU) and the transmission control unit (TCU).
This may include the charging system, transmission, various emission controls, or the communications it may have with other onboard control modules. Add in the fact that installers typically don’t disconnect the car battery like they should prior to removing the old PCM before installing a replacement, and you’ve got a super expensive fix that requires extensive reprogramming and other technical issues.
Main wiring harness woes
Unlike the wiring woes that I mentioned with squirrels and such, having issues with a car’s main wiring harness presents a much wider and far more frustrating swing at automotive issues. Unlike the gorgeous, aftermarket mil-spec example seen here, a typical OEM engine harness is a maddening array of wires that are bound tightly together and rerouted throughout the vehicle to make it all work.
So if one wire goes bad somewhere along the way, chances are that the entire damn thing will have to be replaced, a process that is neither cheap nor easy to attempt.
A Terrible smell somewhere inside the car
Our final issue of the day seems like a silly one, all the way up until you realize that some rabid animal has died in your car and you can’t find its corpse. From allergy-inducing carpet mold to rotting animal aromas, an offensive odor that refuses to go away is enough to send most people running to the dealer for a trade-in. Ripping a whole car apart in search of a single dead mouse that got trapped in the air vent does sound a bit extreme, but sometimes that’s what it takes to make a car usable again.