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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've owned my car for about a year now. A 2009 Smart Fortwo Passion. Just to give a sense of just how many issues I've had:

Sunroof was painted

Gas sensor couldn't tell when I was filling it up

AC keeps changing levels (from 4 to 2 for maybe 3min before going back to 4) and it wouldn't turn on the other day

Car turned off while driving

Major exhaust leak that they didn't notice until a year later (I actually thought it was supposed to sound like that! I got out of my car smelling like gasoline and didn't know until my family said something after it was repaired.)

Radio vibrating and making a buzzing noise that got worse

Tires mounted on the wrong rims and in the wrong positions (Sold to me with new tires lol)

All 4 tire valves had cracked caps and one valve broke off

The radiator clips were incorrect so they damaged the coolant fittings

The radiator fan didn't work

There was no coolant

The radiator cracked

ABS light came on and I ended up stuck on the side of the road for hours until a tow truck came to help

etc


There's more but that's the general idea. I don't feel like this is normal for any vehicle. Has anyone else had these issues?

*edit*
The better question should probably be is it normal for Smarts of this car's age to have this many issues
 

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It's not the norm, although it's not unheard of either. Mine is 15 years old and still faultless, although it's always been maintained fastidiously.

Some of your grief will be down to faulty materials, design or workmanship, but after a decade much of it will be down to negligent previous owners and ham fisted spanner monkeys. You own a decades worth of someone elses indifference and bodgery.
 

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Sounds like you got a car that had some problems when you got it. radiator fan and radiator, coolant , etc are most likely the same problems, but the result of a botched repair job, tires and valves again a botched job. Tire valves should be at least serviced or replaced when installing new tires, the rims are marked front and rear on the rims. Exhaust, flex pipe breaking is a common problem, especially after 10 years. Sun roof (or panoramic roof) is also a known issue as it gets crazed and looks cloudy. I guess painting is one way to fix it.. Radio buzzing could be a number of problems, maybe a bad antenna or connections..

sounds like your car needed some lovin and wrenching. Not too uncommon for any car of that age.

Just a thought but you might want to check out the battery. Easy to overlook but if it is getting on the older side, replacing it would be a good idea before it causes more problems than you have.
 

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ive had my 2009 smart for a full month!!! I havent had those issues you mention, but most sound like the previous owner neglected the car or had some janky mechanic work done on it.

no coolant prolly cuz of the cracked leaky radiator.
tires, well, thats just a silly oversight if the tire is supposed to have a tread direction.

the car turning off while driving, was that related to the ABS? how'd you fix that?

i know our cars are going on 10 years old, so a lot of stuff will start to die out, but most of what you mention seems like neglect/laziness to me
 

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Some of your things are normal wear and tear, others seem a lot like the previous owner(s) neglected the poor thing. Add in a peppering of old age. I'll add my comments in red. :)

I've owned my car for about a year now. A 2009 Smart Fortwo Passion. Just to give a sense of just how many issues I've had:

Sunroof was painted

Unfortunately even brand new smarts had roofs that started crazing and delaminating only a few months in. Some of us just live with the damage, some paint, some wrap, and some replace the panel.

Gas sensor couldn't tell when I was filling it up

Are you filling up while the car is on? If so, I wouldn't recommend doing thst. Otherwise, I know some 2008s and 2009s had a glitch where they wouldn't read full at first.

AC keeps changing levels (from 4 to 2 for maybe 3min before going back to 4) and it wouldn't turn on the other day

Sounds like a dying blower motor. Common issue and thankfully aftermarket replacements aren't too expensive.

Car turned off while driving

How many keys do you have on your keyring? Sometimes if you have a lot of keys the car will turn itself off on bumps, turns, braking, or you brushing up on the key.

Major exhaust leak that they didn't notice until a year later (I actually thought it was supposed to sound like that! I got out of my car smelling like gasoline and didn't know until my family said something after it was repaired.)

Was it your muffler flex pipe? If so, it's sadly common in smarts with high mileage or higher age.

Radio vibrating and making a buzzing noise that got worse

Oh now that's one I haven't seen a whole lot. Mine buzzes when I'm using the FM, but that's because of interference from my offroad lighting.

Tires mounted on the wrong rims and in the wrong positions (Sold to me with new tires lol)

I've had that happen a few times. I have to remind the tyre shop like three times that they're staggered wheels and sometimes directional tyres.

All 4 tire valves had cracked caps and one valve broke off

Yikes! Old age or poor installation, probably? I had a motorcycle that did that to me once.

The radiator clips were incorrect so they damaged the coolant fittings

The radiator fan didn't work

There was no coolant

The radiator cracked

I wouldn't say any of these radiator or coolant things are normal issues. Sounds like a previous owner hit something or broke something and didn't repair it right.

ABS light came on and I ended up stuck on the side of the road for hours until a tow truck came to help

My car currently doesn't have working ABS. Usually this is caused by bad reluctor rings. Sometimes they break in a way where ABS simply gets disabled, and sometimes they'll break in a way that freak out the computers and they get so confused they won't let the car go anywhere or only allow slow speeds. If it was reluctor rings, I hope the replacement ones used are a better material than the ones from the factory.

etc


There's more but that's the general idea. I don't feel like this is normal for any vehicle. Has anyone else had these issues?

*edit*
The better question should probably be is it normal for Smarts of this car's age to have this many issues
You have some common issues in there, some not. I assume the previous owner(s) didn't take the best care of the car. With regular maintenance these cars serve their owners very well. Mine just crossed 160k miles, keeps taking a licking, and keeps ticking. I probably have the most abused car on the forum (I offroad it and tow trailers with it) and yet I've not had to replace anything major. It even survived a fire (wasn't the car's fault).

I think once you get these problems out of the way you should have many smiles for years to come. :)
 

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I've owned my car for about a year now. A 2009 Smart Fortwo Passion. Just to give a sense of just how many issues I've had:

The better question should probably be is it normal for Smarts of this car's age to have this many issues
While you didn’t mention the mileage, it is a 10 year old vehicle and likely you bought all those “issues” when you fell in love with your pre-owned smart?

As they say, buyer beware!

Nothing stands out about smarts having issues it simply sounds like this one may have been “rode hard and put away wet.”
 

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Wife’s 2009 was sorta taken care of by the previous owner , we had a couple basic maintenance needs when we got it and knew we had to put a few bucks into it . (A cracked flex pipe, transmission fluid change, new spark plugs , motor filter and cabin filter, a good cleaning of the paddle shifters ) after those items , it’s been a gem . Sometimes just a little TLC goes a long way .
 

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"Major exhaust leak that they didn't notice until a year later (I actually thought it was supposed to sound like that! I got out of my car smelling like gasoline and didn't know until my family said something after it was repaired.)"

Yikes! I HOPE you meant smelling like exhaust fumes, not gasoline! If you smell gasoline, this is a totally separate issue than a cracked exhaust flex pipe!
 

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How many miles is on this car?

It sounds more like a used car that seems to have been laid up at some point for a long period. Between dry rot, rust and time itself you are now have to love it back in shape.

How ever reading your list in my 2 years and 27,000 miles with my 2014 Passion, I have had several of the same issues.

Axles replace under warranty, so Gear Fluid was changed

Brake Light switch - caused several dash lights, signal light and driving issues.

Flex pipe Broke and repaired.

Radiator Fan, radiator, condenser, all hoses replaced so coolant was flushed and replaced.

Heater blower replaced.

Front Brakes and rotors,

rims and tires,

Oil And filters regularly,

swapped out Radio to higher option.

So I suppose all I have done has touched on most of the items you have listed. As a point to note Mine had front end damage when I purchased it in 2016. I will also add that most of my repairs worked out as planned events with no stranding and in hind sight I would not consider My Smart Troublesome at all. Just a used car that I expected to go through and love back together over time.

How are you liking the car when it is running well for you?
 

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Problems with 2009

We bought a new 2008 cabrio as soon as the Smarts came into the US. Loved it so much we bought a new 2009 cabrio the next year. We drove each of the two cars for 50K+ miles. The only problems we had were the common rough-shifting, which was never really cured. We had none of the problems you describe in our 100K+ miles of combined driving. However, we had all of the recommended services done at our local Smart dealer (Smart Center San Francisco).

I'm in the middle of acquiring a 2017 453 ICE cabrio. Very excited.

Ron
 

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own two 2009's

We bought two 09 smarts in that summer, two months apart. Always serviced either by the Penske version of a smart dealer, or the Mercedes-smart dealer in our area. For both cars, replaced the sunroofs with solid version, both exhausts rotted and replaced. REcharged the AC once a year, unless we found chances to run it during winter, then might make it to next year. One car had it rear hatch replaced, same car blower fan replaced. Both cars have been in minor winter accidents and one major one where the steering rack was replaced.

Compared to the Chevy's and Toyota's we've owned, I'd buy the smart and/or the Toyota again.
 

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I’ve owned my 2008 Passion all it’s life. I’ve done the bare minimum maintenance. Other than it being reluctant to go into reverse sometimes, I’ve enjoyed over 11 years of flawless service.
 
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