Although this car is quite nice to drive, relatively economical and has never broken down (touch wood!), I've been disappointed by the high maintenance costs and small problems I've had to contend with.
When I bought the car (from a 'reputable' Ford dealership in Melbourne) I got no more than 5km away before the engine light came on, and on turning off the engine, fans stayed on for a few minutes. This turned out to be a faulty coolant temperature sensor which had not been fixed during the roadworthy. I had to take the car into my local Holden dealership 4 times within the 3 month statutory warranty period to get this, a faulty cruise control, and a couple of other minor faults fixed.
Next time I booked it in for a normal service, the mechanics discovered the cable to the cam angle sensor had previously been taped up with electrical tape, which had disintegrated and the cable was close to completely falling apart. I had to replace this, along with my timing belt and some other minor work (which all adds up) costing me $1500.
Since then, I've noticed the following (I've listed a lot of things, I found it useful when others have done so) :
- Engine head cracked around 100,000km.
- Brakes worn quickly, became very noisy and ended up having to replace pads AND discs. Interestingly, brake deterioration was not noticeable on the previous service (I'd specifically asked for it to be checked)
- ABS and traction control warning lights come on spontaneously, but on restarting the car this stops.
- Occasionally the air con and fans will not work but also fixes itself on restart.
- Parts are expensive - I'd replaced my Mitsubishi with an 'Australian' car, thinking parts would be cheap given how common these cars are - ended up being much more expensive!
- Windows have caused problems - when trying to close more than one at a time, one window will often start opening again.
Also, in hot weather the front windows make a horrible sound like something is rubbing against them as they are wound up and down. Expansion inside the door?
- The driver's seat makes a groaning/squeaking sound when going over bumps, unable to resolve.
- Driver door hinge partially broken, can still open door, but will not stay open on its own.
- Glove box hinge flimsy and broke off easily, so globe box lid falls open. This is also designed to be a drink holder/tray, so you'd expect the hinges to be a bit stronger!
- The ignition has worn and at times does not turn off properly. This means the accessories stay on, and the radio keeps going when the key is in your hand! Very difficult to put the key back in to switch off properly. Will have to replace.
- The plastic around the controls in the dash actually MELTED in the heat. Perhaps Europeans just don't make the cars to handle our Aussie heat?! (This wasn't during the 47 degree week either!))
- CD player would not eject CDs after a while, so had to replace with aftermarket unit.
Generally, I've had to spend a lot of money on this car, some things are expected but I had a Lancer of similar age before this, and before that an old 1986 Corolla and I barely had to spend anything on either of them. Even their roadworthy checks came up clean.