Blue car with open hood exposing engine.

The most commonly replaced car parts and when to change them

Last Updated: April 30, 2021By Tags: ,

Regardless if you are a motorhead or just a person who uses their car to get from point A to point B, you are probably aware that your vehicle will require maintenance from time to time. To keep your car running, it’s good to know the most commonly replaced car parts and when to change them.

Parts break down and need to be swapped out regularly, so this isn’t something that should worry you. It helps to know in advance when things will likely need to be replaced so you can plan future expenses. Regularly maintaining your car means you’re less likely to have random breakdowns and get stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Cars from different manufacturers will have their pros and cons, and certain parts might last a little longer or shorter. At the end of the day, though, most cars are manufactured in a similar manner. This means that you will run into most of the same issues across different models of various brands. Imported cars have their own pros and cons, but you should make sure that spare parts are readily available.

Spark plugs on a car battery.

Avoid emergency fixes by replacing parts regularly.

Without any further ado, here is the list of the most commonly replaced car parts and when to change them:

  • Oil and oil filter

This is one of the most common and also one of the easiest things to check and replace. The most important role that oil has is to act as a lubricant. Additionally, it also helps by absorbing heat and removing small particles of dirt from the engine. Some people even go as far as to check the oil in their car before any more extensive road trip. You can even check your oil at most major gas stations.

When is it time to replace the oil in your car? About every 3-6 months or 4,000 miles is a good estimate.

  • Battery

We could argue that any car part is affected by how often you drive and the climate in your area. However, the car battery is hugely affected by long periods of inactivity and exposure to prolonged cold weather. The strain on the battery during winter is also more considerable since your car needs more power for driving and heating. Batteries tend to slowly weaken over time. You can prolong the life of your car battery, but it will eventually need to be replaced.

When is it time to replace the car battery? Although most batteries can last 4 or 5 years, we recommend checking and replacing yours every 3 years.

Red internal air filter for a car.

Air filters will stop dust and dirt from entering your engine or cabin.

  • Air filter

The air filter in your engine is there to stop debris. If it gets clogged up it will reduce airflow to your engine and lead to overheating.

When is it time to replace the air filter? Manufacturers claim 40,000 miles (roughly 3 or 4 years) is enough. You can replace it earlier if you live in a dusty area or drive on dirty roads.

  • Tires

Besides summer and winter tires, there are also all-season ones that you can drive all year round. All-season tires aren’t suitable for extremely low temperatures, and they are more similar to summer tires. Another con is that they won’t last as long as regular tires. All-season tires are a way to save money, but if that is what you are looking for, make sure to read up on some tips on buying cheap tires. We recommend having both summer and winter tires and storing the set you aren’t currently using.

When is it time to replace the tires? Depending on your road conditions a decent set of tires can last around 70,000 miles.

  • Brake pads and rotors

Every time you step on the brake pedal, the brake pads exert pressure on the rotors to decelerate the car. Basically, they get used a lot and are one of the most commonly replaced car parts. You’ll wear down the pads and rotors faster if you drive with a lot of sudden stops and emergency braking.

When is it time to replace the brake pads? Once every 60,000 miles. You can do a checkup of the braking system once a year.

  • Clutch

Changing gears wears down the clutch, so it is just a matter of time before it needs to be replaced. Aggressive shifting and riding the clutch will significantly shorten the life span.

When is it time to replace the clutch? Every 100,000 miles for most drivers, but this depends on your driving habits.

  • Alternator

Alternators are an important part of your car’s charging system. Just like the car battery, alternators will suffer in extreme weather. Poor battery health will affect the life span of the alternator, but the opposite is also true.

When is it time to replace the alternator? Perform a checkup once a year, replace wiring and connections as needed.

Yamaha shock absorbers for motorbike.

Replacing shock absorbers will give you the sense of handling a new car.

  • Shock absorbers

Driving on uneven roads will wear down the absorbers of your car. They don’t need to be replaced often but should be checked regularly.

When is it time to replace the shock absorbers? Perform checkups every 70,000 miles. Replace them when the need arises, but change them all at once for consistent absorption.

If you end up purchasing car parts in advance, you will need to consider where you will store them. The same goes if you are juggling summer and winter tires. You will want your auto components packed and properly stored in a safe and dry place, such as a climate-controlled storage unit. Just make sure that all of the parts are cleaned before you store them. Depending on the part in question, you’ll want to lubricate some components or ensure that others are kept dry.

Keeping track doesn’t have to be challenging

Don’t stress out that you need to memorize all of the most commonly replaced car parts and when to change them. You can make lists or set reminders for when you want to examine and replace certain parts on your car. Take your car in for a checkup every now and then. It will last longer, and you will know what to expect. Ask your mechanic for tips on maintaining your car in good shape, but try to be realistic. Nothing lasts forever, and no matter how well you look after your vehicle, things will break down. Just show your car some love, and replace parts in due time.


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