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Car parts you may need to replace

Every vehicle with a petrol or diesel engine has certain moving parts that must eventually be replaced, no matter the brand, size, shape, or price.

MotorHappy, an insurance comparison company in South Africa, has provided an overview of six of the most frequently replaced parts that may need to be looked at on your car sooner rather than later.

If you’re buying a pre-owned vehicle it could help to find out when, or if any of these parts have already been changed out. If you’ve had your daily driver for a long time but have not yet replaced these parts, it’s recommended to check their condition to ensure your wheels are in good shape.


The alternator is an electric generator that charges your vehicle’s battery and powers the electrical systems.

As the battery degrades over time, the alternator must produce more power to keep everything running smoothly and it will eventually get overworked and need to be replaced.

This is usually covered by a maintenance plan, but for older vehicles that are no longer under such an agreement, electrical systems behaving inconsistently is one sign of an alternator that may need replacing.

Brake pads and discs

Brake pads and discs are among the most used and most important components on any vehicle.

These parts work with friction and are therefore also among the most prone to wearing out.

If you feel your vehicle might not be coming to a stop as quickly as it used to, or if you are experiencing a shuddering sensation when stepping on the brakes, it could be time to get new pads and discs.


Cambelts have a general life of between 100,000-150,000km before needing to be swapped out for a new one, according to MotorHappy.

This component is a rubber belt that aids in synchronising the opening and closing of the engine valves. A failing cambelt usually results in strange noises coming from the engine bay, unusual revs, rough idling, a misfiring engine, oil leaks and lower oil pressure, or excessive vibrations and heat.

Cambelts are covered in most, but not all maintenance plans.


The radiator assists in keeping the engine at optimal temperatures by removing heat from coolant that has been pumped through the block.

This subjects a radiator to major wear and tear due to the fluctuating temperatures it deals with.

A worn-out radiator more often than not is a major reason for overheating in older cars.

Shock absorbers

Shock absorbers are the parts of the suspension system that deal with absorbing and damping harsh impacts from the road to achieve a smooth driving feeling.

Due to the quality of South Africa’s road network, shock absorbers generally do more work than they were designed to when traveling from one point to the other, said MotorHappy, thereby accelerating their degradation.

Signs of shock absorbers that need a replacement include a harsher ride than normal and vehicle corners sagging.

Starter motor

The starter motor is a component that cranks the engine to turn it on.

The starter is connected to the vehicle battery through an electric solenoid, which is the part most prone to wear.

A failing starter motor is usually the culprit if the engine struggles to turn on, the engine does not crank up despite the starter turning, the lights go dim when starting the vehicle, or there are strange smells/sounds when starting the vehicle.



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