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Thinking of Buying One - What are Common Issues?

10519 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  sherlockcrypto
I am thinking of purchasing a used smart car. I see they range in number of miles from 30k - 80k miles. Are there any serious model issues that particularly affect the smart car? Want to be prepared in case something breaks down in future and can estimate the actual #miles I will be able to get.
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Common issues:
  • For cars in the rust belt, reluctor rings will rust out and cause ABS and traction control system problems. Cheap fix if you're into DIY.
  • For cars in the rust belt, the bolts holding on the coil packs tend to rust around the 8 year mark. Cheap fix, just get new bolts.
  • Muffler flex pipes commonly fail, but are cheap to get fixed by a shop that knows what they're doing.
  • Cars with convertible roofs may experience shrinkage over time, causing them to lift near the front. Only true fix is to have the roof replaced or repaired by a shop specializing in such a thing.
  • Cars with the panoramic roof will experience internal crazing, then eventually delamination on the outside. The best remedy is to live with it. A replacement roof will eventually succumb to the same problem.
  • Cars with the textured solid roof will experience delamination and discolouration. It appears the chemicals in a windscreen washing fluid discolours the material. Now this can sorta be fixed, with most people opting for a wrap.
  • 2008s and early 2009s overcharge their headlights, leading to short lifespans. Installing a resistor in-line can fix this.
  • 2008s were known for clutch actuator and clutch plate issues. However, 12 years down the road and these should have been long resolved.
  • Heater blower motors commonly blow, but thankfully they are cheap to replace.
  • To me, anyway: The older cars seem more sensitive to voltage changes from the battery. A battery that's under 12V can cause such issues like poor shifting behaviour, 3 bars of death, or even traction control errors/issues.
Potential issues:
  • Poor maintenance (or only ever using 87 octane fuel) can sometimes lead to burned valves.
  • 2008s and 2009s should have their engine mats replaced as they can cause fire.
With all that in mind, there are TONS of these things out there with high mileage. There are some out there running around with a quarter million miles and even my 451 is sitting at 162k miles. It's only not being driven right now due to alternator issues...the first real problem my car's truly had. And you could argue that had I not willingly driven my car into deep mud pits my alternator would be just fine. :D
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Thank you for your fast reply Mercedes!
I am based in LA so hopefully won't have to deal with the rust issues in the mild climate we have here. Main concern is dealing with stuff that isn't youtube DIY able. Happy to hear that they can make it to 250k miles.

I am talking to a. few people on FB marketplace and it seems like they are selling for very cheap at $2800 but am worried of larger underlying issue they are trying to hide.
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