How long do these five key car components last?

8th Mar, 2021

The overall reliability of your car depends a whole lot on the operational lifespan of its individual parts. Most car parts shouldn’t be too much of a problem, as they’ll wear out naturally and need to be replaced in due time – and indeed, are designed to be! But there are one or two crucial components which should generally last for the full operational lifespan of the car itself. So if you find yourself looking at a broken gearbox for example, it might be time to ask yourself whether you’re prepared to stump up the money for what’s likely to be an incredibly expensive repair bill, or whether to ask yourself – is it really time to scrap my car?

How long do tyres last?

There’s a tonne of variables which all play their own part in affecting exactly how long your tyres last, so to be honest even manufacturers tend to steer clear of putting a firm timestamp on this one. The best you’ll get is that they’ll probably last somewhere in the region of 25,000 to 30,000 miles. However, that’s hugely dependent on the style and standard of your driving. Bad driving habits like spinning the wheels or even sliding around corners can end up cutting that to as little as 10,000 miles.

The climate of where you live can also influence the lifespan of your tyres. If they spend enough years operating in harsh conditions like extreme cold or extreme heat, they can eventually start to crack. But this is obviously difficult for us to even put an estimate on, so the best we can advise is just to make sure that you’re checking your tyres often to ensure that they’re within the legal tread limit of 1.6mm, and therefore not becoming dangerous or illegal. You can carry out this check with the use of a 20p coin, as we outlined in our previous post about preparing for an MOT.

To summarise, if you want to maximise the lifespan of your tyres, there’s no substitute for driving carefully. However, it’s also worth noting that branded tyres generally tend to last for longer than cheaper substitutes.

How long will my car’s brakes last?

Brake pads tend to last 40,000 miles, but again that’s heavily dependent on how carefully you drive. (You might be spotting a pattern here.) You might notice that the front brakes tend to wear out faster than the rear ones, because they’re carrying the weight of the engine. Your brake discs, on the other hand, can generally be relied upon to last up to 50,000 miles.

The operational lifespan of your brakes is also affected by the make and model of your car, and where you’re driving it. Heavy off-road cars like Land Rovers will be putting more weight on their brakes than smaller city cars, but the latter will also undertake more stop-start driving in built-up urban areas, which takes its own toll on the brakes. The quality of the specific parts also matters – most brake pads will go for a good number of years, but cheaper and lower quality variants might need to be replaced every year.

How long do car drive belts last?

This is a fairly all-encompassing term, used to refer to all the various different belts in your car’s engine, including fan belts, timing belts and serpentine belts. These tend to need replacing every two years to every four, but their mileage will generally be used more often as a reliable indicator of their lifespan.

They’ll normally last between 30,000 to 40,000 miles, but this varies – each manufacturer will have their own recommended schedule for when each part should be replaced. Most drivers use these as guidelines more than strict rules, but it’s worth paying particular attention to the repair schedule of the timing belt, as this is one of those parts that can’t be visually inspected.

When should I replace my shock absorbers?

Your shock absorbers are pretty crucial for maintaining the ride quality in your car, as they stop every little jolt on the road from rattling you in your seat. Shock absorbers will generally last around 50,000 miles, which is about 5 years for most people. They’ll need to always be inspected for leaks or other issues at every service though, to maximise their lifespan. Again, their lifespan is affected by where you live and drive – if you find yourself spending a lot of time on country roads for example, you’ll be bouncing around a lot more to absorb the shocks from the rough surface, so you can expect them to wear out that much faster.

How long do gearboxes last?

You shouldn’t have to worry too much about your gearbox, as it should last for the operational lifespan of the car. That doesn’t mean it’s indestructible though. Far from it in fact, as it can start to feel the impact of bad driving, especially from drivers who ‘ride the clutch’. We’ve explained what this is in a bit more detail on our post about making your car last longer, but essentially riding the clutch means that you’re not letting it disengage properly, causing undue damage to your car. If that ends up destroying your gearbox, you could be looking at a hugely expensive repair.

In fact, the gearbox is such an expensive repair that it’s not uncommon for drivers to decide that it’s more economical to just scrap their car instead. And if that’s something you’re considering, you’re in exactly the right place. Here at Scrap Car Network, you can count on us to help you get the very best price for your scrap car. We make it fast and easy to scrap your car for cash – just enter your car reg and postcode into our website for an instant, no obligation valuation!

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