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What Are the Most Important Car Parts and How Long Do They Last?

What Are the Most Important Car Parts and How Long Do They Last?

Here are the most important car parts, along with how long they typically last:

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  1. The battery: 30,000 to 50,000 miles
  2. The brakes: 25,000 to 65,000 miles
  3. The engine: 150,000 miles to 200,000 miles
  4. The transmission: 10,000 miles to 200,000 miles
  5. The radiator: for the life of your vehicle
  6. The AC compressor: 12 to 15 years
  7. The clutch: 20,000 to 150,000 miles
  8. The spark plug: 10,000 to 60,000 miles
  9. The air filter: 12,000 to 15,000 miles
  10. The catalytic converter: 70,000 to 100,000 miles

Your vehicle contains hundreds of interacting components that work together to provide you with the required energy and get you to move from one point to another. Every driver must familiarize himself with the most common vehicle parts. You don't necessarily have to learn about the entire parts list but learn about the major car parts.

Knowing one or two things about your vehicle’s major components prevents major complications, and you get an idea about what bad habits could damage these components.

This article summarizes the most important car parts and how long they last. It is essential to understand when to expect these major failures because they mean expensive repairs. In some instances, they could give up on your vehicle, especially if it has other major complications.

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What are the most important car parts, and how long do they last?

The following list highlights the top 10 most important car parts and their role in your vehicle, and the mileage when they might fail. Keep in mind that these mileage ranges are just rough estimates which means you can easily deal with major complications in these big components, especially if you didn't take good care of them.

Therefore, you'd also need to understand some of the symptoms that could mean one or two of these components are failing. It helps you detect the problem earlier and probably solve it without needing to replace major components.

Let's take a closer look at the most important car parts:

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1.    The battery: 30,000 to 50,000 miles

Yes, the battery is one of the most critical car parts because it is important in the vehicle starting process. Many people think that the battery is responsible for supplying the electric charge to all electrical components in your vehicle as you run the car. However, that's not the batteries’ role. It is the alternator's role.

The battery is essential because if it doesn't work properly, you won't be able to start your vehicle in the morning. However, there are some simple methods like jumpstarts where you can skip the battery's job. Still, it should not be a permanent solution because it can damage the sensitive electric components in your car, especially if you're driving a modern vehicle.

Typically, car batteries are expected to last between 30,000 miles and 50,000 miles. However, you also need to keep an eye for any symptoms of a bad car battery that could happen before you hit 30,000 miles.

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2.    The brakes: 25,000 to 65,000 miles

Who doesn't know the brakes?! The brakes are essential components in your car, and if they don't work properly, it means that your life is at risk of a crash. They are responsible for slowing down your vehicle and stopping it when necessary.

The brakes are expected to last between 25,000 miles and $65,000. However, this depends heavily on your vehicle's brake system type and the different external factors that could prematurely damage the brakes.

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3.    The engine: 150,000 miles to 200,000 miles

The engine is the heart of your vehicle, and it's responsible for producing all the energy that you see in the form of motion. So if the engine doesn't work, your vehicle doesn't move.

Engines are designed to last for a very long time, and depending on your vehicle's type; your engine might last between 150,000 miles and 200,000 miles. Many engines might last even longer than this without you noticing any major problems.

Keep in mind that simple problems like overheating might damage your engine in no time. Don't be surprised if your engine fails at 10,000 miles if you do not keep up with oil changes and prevent engine overheating.

Thus, you must understand what goes into the engine and what could lead to engine damage here; there are plenty of minor problems that could evolve in no time. Therefore, keep an eye on those.

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4.    The transmission: 10,000 miles to 200,000 miles

The transmission is the other core component that your vehicle won't run without. It is responsible for utilizing the engine's energy without overstressing it. In other words, the transmission works between the engine and the wheels to make sure that the engine does not overwork, and it only works hard when you need to speed. That's why the engine is always engaged in reducing engine production when you drive at lower speeds.

The transition is expected to last between as low as 10,000 miles and 200,000 miles. This is a very wide range, but the transmission is a very sensitive component, and many simple bad habits could damage the transmission.

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5.    The radiator: for the life of your vehicle

The radiator is another critical component in your vehicle. It is responsible for cooling down the fluid that runs around the engine, called the coolant. If there are any other doesn't work properly, your engine will keep overheating until it gets to a point where it gets damaged completely.

Therefore, it is important for every driver to keep an eye on the radiator and monitor for any symptoms indicating a failing radiator.

Typically, the radiator should last for the life of your vehicle. However, many external factors could lead to damaging the radiator prematurely. Thus, keep an eye for those and fix the radiator immediately whenever you notice them.

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6.    The AC compressor: 12 to 15 years

Another critical component in your car is the AC compressor. While it sounds like this component is important only when you engage the AC system, that's not the case because it is also involved in some other processes within your vehicle's performance, and it should be working all the time.

Typically, an AC compressor lasts for quite a good time, and it should serve you between 12 and 15 years which is a decent amount of time when it comes to major car problems. However, whenever you realize any AC compressor minor problems, you got to take care of it immediately to achieve the maximum out of this compressor without needing to replace it.

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7.    The clutch: 20,000 to 150,000 miles

If you're driving a vehicle equipped with a manual transmission, you have to watch the clutch. It is a core component, and it just wants a before switching the gears depending on your vehicle's speed.

There should be some art used when using your clutch. In other words, not every driver is very good at using this clutch, and many of them can damage the clutch without paying attention. Therefore, you must watch your driving habits and learn how to use the clutch without damaging it from professionals.

The good news is that coaches can last up to 150,000 miles, but they can easily damage at around 20,000 miles which is pretty short in the vehicle’s lifespan. When you consider the repair costs for the clutch, you'll think twice before you misuse it.

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8.    The spark plug: 10,000 to 60,000 miles

The spark plugs are very simple components inside your vehicle cylinders, but they play a significant role. Their responsible for providing the required spark at the right time when your engine is ready to ignite the air fuel mixture.

A spark plug's lifespan depends heavily on the type of spark plug. For example, if you're using a high-quality spark plug, you don't have to worry about changing them up to 60,000 miles. However, if you're using the standard lowest quality according to what specified new vehicles owner’s manual, you got to check on them once every 10,000 miles.

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9.    The air filter: 12,000 to 15,000 miles

Filters are critical components in your vehicle, and you got to keep up with them all the time. However, the air filter inside your engine is one that you have to pay significant attention to.

The air filter is responsible for preventing any contaminants or foreign elements from getting to the engine and damaging it. That's why it's expected to get partially or completely clogged at some point. You have to clean it or change it depending on its status when this happens.

Many drivers ignore the importance of replacing the air filter on time, and they can deal with engine damages in no time!

The air filter is expected to last between 12,000 miles and 15,000 miles, but the good news is that it's very cheap to be replaced, and you can even learn how to replace it yourself without needing a professional, so you don't have to worry about labor costs.

Whenever you notice any symptoms of that air filter even before you hit the 12,000 miles, I got to take it seriously and place it before you deal with major complications that could cost you thousands of dollars on repair.

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10.  The catalytic converter: 70,000 to 100,000 miles

Finally, they cut it all to the converter. This converter is responsible for ensuring that any gases escaping your vehicle won't harm the environment and won't lead to air pollution, according to what's specified by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Did you know that a bad catalytic converter might not allow you to pass the emission test?! That's why you got to keep up with the converter and ensure that it's in good condition before the emission test.

The converter is a pretty durable component in your vehicle, and it's expected to last between 70,000 miles and 100,000 miles. However, it can also go prematurely.

Unfortunately, replacing The catalytic converter is one of those very expensive repairs, and it's not too far from replacing a whole engine or even transmission. Therefore, before you invest in replacing the converter, you might want to evaluate this situation and confirm that it's worth it in the first place.

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Final thoughts

This article summarized the 10 most important car parts and provided you with an estimation of how long they should last. Of course, you must understand each component's typical lifespan but keep an eye out that some of these components might fail prematurely.

Unfortunately, replacing many of these components might be very expensive, which means you have to be very careful about whether you have to replace it or sell the vehicle instead. Automotive experts recommend calculating a total repair cost and comparing it to your vehicle's value. If you confirm that repair costs are getting close to 75% or more from your vehicle's value, that's when you better sell this vehicle rather than waste your time, effort, and money.

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