The Most Common Problems With SMART Cars (2023)

at Service4Service Blog in Smart Car

Whether you’re a lover or a hater, there’s no denying that Smart cars are a staple on UK roads today. These cars came about as a result of a collaboration between Swatch, the watch company, and Mercedes-Benz, creating the ‘Swatch Mercedes ART’ – or Smart vehicles. These micro cars are designed to provide a comfortable, luxurious drive that is perfect for city living, with their small stature making it easy to manoeuvre the tightest of spaces and busiest of roads. Whether you’re a fan or not, Smart cars are known for their unique style but are also unfortunately building a reputation for being unreliable, but how true is it? We’re taking a look at some of the most common problems with Smart cars, below.

The Engine Can Be Unreliable

One of the most commonly reported issues that Smart car owners report is that the engine can be unreliable. Despite it’s link with Mercedes-Benz, it doesn’t seem like Smart benefitted from the connection. What we get with Smart cars is an unreliable engine but often costly maintenance and repairs in order to get that engine back up and running. Owners report issues as early as 22,000 miles, though this seems to be more of an issue with older models. If you are a smart car owner and the engine is showing signs of a problem, get your vehicle booked in for engine repairs with our team as soon as possible.

(Video) A small car with a not so small problem. CAR WIZARD reviews a 2013 Smart FourTwo

Transmission Issues

The Smart Fortwo is plagued by issues relating to the transmission, particularly the manual gearbox. Issues with shifting gears and poor performance are particularly rife, usually in the five-speed automated manual transmission. Drivers have also reported issues with a lazy clutch and unresponsive acceleration, though these issues don’t typically affect the electric version of this vehicle.

Efficiency

The Smart Fortwo also suffers from poor fuel consumption and range, meaning they are far from the most efficient city cars around. It’s reported that the 1-litre engine only seemed to reach around 38-39mpg, and that was on motorways. The electric versions can reach around 63-68 miles with short charge times, but can be limiting for those that want to venture outside of the city.

(Video) Common Problems With Smart Cars

Quick-Wearing Brakes

While there is no issue with the performance of the brakes in general, Smart car owners have reported that they appear to wear down faster than in other similar vehicles. Some owners are even having to replace them every 8-12 months. While shorter lifespans can be expected from city cars in which the brakes are constantly in use in heavy traffic, they are still expected to last around 35-40,000 miles. In general, Smart cars are expected to reach 25-30,000 miles before the brake pads need replacing, but some models can wear down faster. If your Smart vehicle is in need of brake pad replacements, book in with our team as soon as possible and we’ll get back on the road safely.

Poor Suspension Leads To Bottoming Out

Smart cars have notoriously poor suspension compared to similar vehicles and it can be a major drawback for some drivers. The suspension is poor in general which not only affects the driving experience, but can mean that it fails to take potholes, speed bumps or other bumps in the road well at all. The bottoming out can cause damage which can be costly to repair, particularly if additional costs are involved for parts.

(Video) Why It's Dumb to Buy a Smart Car

If you own a Smart car and feel that it may be in need of repair, we are on hand to help. We offer full, transparent diagnostics and repair at competitive industry prices, offering you the peace of mind that your vehicle is in good, affordable hands. Simply get in touch with our team for more information, today.

(Video) Are Smart Cars Reliable? How Long Do They Last & Common Problems

FAQs

Do smart cars have a lot of problems? ›

Why are Smart unreliable? One of the reasons they may score so low when it comes to reliability is their repair costs. Many have cited this an issue when something does go wrong with the car. High repair costs can often also mean that the car is off the road for a long time while the parts are sourced and replaced.

What is a disadvantage of a smart car? ›

Disadvantages Of Owning A Smart Car

Unfortunately, the truth is that the tiny size of a smart car can be a significant disadvantage at times. To start, you can't really fit more than just one passenger. These autos are not for group travel. Also, if you're going shopping, you have to consider the lack of space.

How long do smart car engines last? ›

All Forfour 454

Expect mileage to easily exceed 200,000 miles due to a bullet proof Mitsubishi engine. Rust and poor driving is more likely to kill this car than engine failure.

Are smart cars actually good? ›

Smart Cars Earn Highest Safety Rating

As for safety, the ForTwo did well enough in crash tests by the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) to earn the group's highest rating—five stars—thanks to the car's steel race-car style frame and liberal use of high-tech front and side airbags.

Why are smart cars no longer sold? ›

Daimler, the German auto giant, said it will stop selling the battery-operated Fortwo model in the United States and Canada after this model year. The decision was spurred by “a declining micro-car market,” said Robert Moran, director of corporate communications for Mercedes-Benz USA, which also is owned by Daimler.

Are Smart Car repairs expensive? ›

A SMART repair is often cheaper, not because of reduced quality, but because there is less work. Due to the low cost, you likely won't need to claim through your insurance company and, therefore, won't lose your No Claims Discount. SMART repairs are rapid, with most work completed the same day.

What is considered high mileage for a Smart Car? ›

What is Considered High-Mileage? Typically, putting 13,000 to 14,000 miles on your car per year is viewed as “average.” A car that is driven more than that is considered high-mileage. With proper maintenance, cars can have a life expectancy of about 200,000 miles.

Can a Smart Car survive a crash? ›

SMART cars are safe, and here's why. SMART cars have a Tridion safety cell - a structure that surrounds the vehicles' occupants and acts as a strong protective cage, preventing any distortions and keeping those inside intact in the event of an accident.

Why would anyone buy a Smart Car? ›

Smart cars are generally not as noisy as traditional cars, and they help reduce noise pollution to a minimum. But the fact that they are a two-seater car makes them more cozy and appropriate for urban city congestion.

Do smart cars require premium gas? ›

Here's the catch: Smart recommends premium fuel. The ForTwo will run on regular, Smart president Dave Schembri said, but in order to achieve the best power and efficiency, 91 octane is recommended.

How many mph does a Smart car go? ›

According to Smart, the 61-hp engine can go from zero to 60 mph in about 15 seconds, while top speed is electronically limited to 84 mph for the driver's safety.

Do smart cars need a lot of maintenance? ›

So, how much does it cost to maintain a Smart car? Electric Smart cars are much cheaper to maintain since they don't need oil, fan belts, air filters, timing belts, head gaskets, cylinder heads, and spark plugs, making them less expensive compared to conventional automobiles.

Are Smart cars expensive to insure? ›

Smart cars cost less to insure than other cars, on average. Because of the small size of Smart cars, they cost less to make and do less damage than other vehicles that are much bigger. For these reasons, it's often cheaper to insure a Smart car compared to larger vehicles.

How much is a Smart Car battery? ›

The average cost for a Smart Fortwo battery replacement is between $385 and $395. Labor costs are estimated between $40 and $51 while parts are priced at $344.

How easy is it to flip a Smart Car? ›

Tossing a Smart car isn't necessarily easy, unless you compare to other vehicles. Unoccupied, a typical one weighs just over 1,800 pounds; a Ford Explorer, by contrast, clocks in at about 4,500 pounds.

Why don't they sell Smart cars in the US? ›

Sadly, America didn't have enough enthusiastic people buying Smarts. After just a single good year of sales in 2008, Smart struggled until Mercedes-Benz finally pulled the plug in 2019. There are fewer than 100,000 Smarts on American roads, and it appears that the brand won't be coming back anytime soon.

Do Smart cars break down? ›

For the most part, Smart cars are fairly reliable. They are engineered very well, so issues aren't too common. In fact, their overall reliability rating is 4.0 out of 5.0—which ranks them 10th out of 32 major car manufacturers. However, there's more to a car's reliability than just the frequency of its problems.

Who makes smart car engines? ›

Daimler AG, a German multinational automotive corporation, is the parent organization of Smart Cars today.

Do you need insurance for a Smart Car? ›

Do you need insurance for a Smart Car? Yes. As with any road-legal vehicle, you need insurance to legally drive a Smart Car in nearly every state. Depending on the types of coverages you purchase, insurance for a Smart Car can help pay for medical bills, vehicle repairs, lost wages, and more.

Do they still make parts for Smart cars? ›

We sell only genuine OEM parts, designed by Smart and built specifically for the car you love driving. Plus, ordering from us is easy. Just browse our catalog by your model's year and engine type, and the kinds of Smart parts you're looking for appear. Buy today, we'll ship immediately, right to your address.

How much is an oil change for a Smart Car? ›

The Best in Auto Repair

The average cost for a Smart Fortwo oil change is between $105 and $116. Labor costs are estimated between $40 and $51 while parts are priced at $65.

How far can a smart car go on a tank of gas? ›

Smart Cars And Fuel Efficiency

They usually have an excellent gas mileage of about 40 mpg and come at a low price of $12,000. On average, they have a tank capacity of 8.7 gallons with a 1.3-gallon reserve, so you can expect to drive about 350 miles before stopping for gas.

Is a Smart car good for long trips? ›

Certainly, and they're great fun, but the engine isn't designed to do hundreds of thousands of miles, and the suspension isn't designed for long distance comfort and to be fair, neither are the seats. They're really designed for low mileage and city use.

Is a 10 year old car too old? ›

When buying a used car that's 10-years-old or older, your primary concerns are purchase price and reliability. Don't pay more than that 10-year-old car is worth. And, pick a car with a solid reputation for dependability. No car is really too old if you follow those rules.

What is the most unsafe car in a crash? ›

What Are the 10 Most Dangerous Vehicles in America?
  1. Ford Fiesta. The first of the most dangerous cars to drive on the IIHS's list is the Ford Fiesta mini 4-door car. ...
  2. Hyundai Accent (4-Door Car) ...
  3. Chevrolet Sonic. ...
  4. Nissan Versa Note. ...
  5. Fiat 500. ...
  6. Hyundai Elantra and the Kia Forte. ...
  7. Nissan Versa. ...
  8. Kia Rio.
Dec 20, 2022

Can I drive my smart car on highway? ›

Yes, you are allowed to drive smart cars on the motorway. In fact, they reach a maximum speed of 96 miles per hour.

Can you go on the highway with a Smart car? ›

While it is grossly underpowered compared to most other vehicles, it must certain requirements and that includes the ability to drive safely at speed. And, so, yes, you can drive PCH.

Does a Smart car have a fuel filter? ›

Where is the fuel filter located on my smart? The fuel filter is always going to be found between the fuel tank and the engine.

Do Smart cars have AC? ›

They were all Pulse specification with a redesigned steering wheel, soft-touch, air conditioning, CD Multi-changer, and drinks holder as standard. The engine power was upped to 61BHP from the standard 55BHP normally applied to the Pulse in the 600cc G1 cars.

How many miles can a Smart last? ›

With proper care, a Smart car can last anywhere from 150,000 to 450,000 miles. No matter what car you drive, factors such as its mileage, condition, and age can determine how long it stays on the road. According to Smart Car, the average vehicle should last at least 150,000 miles.

How do Smart cars do in accidents? ›

Smart Cars earned a safety rating of five-stars thanks to the vehicle's race-style steel frame and generous use of high-tech side and front airbags. However, despite these great safety features, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) warns that these smaller cars are no match for larger cars in an accident.

What is the least expensive Smart Car? ›

Least Expensive: The Fortwo may be Smart's only offering in the U.S., but the car is offered in lots trims including the least expensive, the Pure Coupe that starts under $16,000.

Can you charge a Smart car at home? ›

Connector type and charging rates

You can charge your Smart EQ fortwo with a Type 2 connector at home, work or at a public charging point.

How much does it cost to replace an alternator on a Smart car? ›

The average cost for a Smart Fortwo alternator replacement is between $477 and $915. Labor costs are estimated between $121 and $153 while parts are priced between $355 and $761.

Are Smart cars good for first time drivers? ›

If you are sure that you won't need any additional space in the near future, the smart range will make for an ideal car for a first-time buyer as the compact design and go-kart-like handling makes it easy to navigate small parking spaces and congested roads.

Can you bump start a Smart car? ›

Press accelerator half way down while still stationary, Release all the brakes and start rolling or get someone to push, Once you reach about 10mph quickly lift the clutch, The engine should start and you will drive off.

Why are smart cars so cheap? ›

Electric Smart cars are much cheaper to maintain since they don't need oil, fan belts, air filters, timing belts, head gaskets, cylinder heads, and spark plugs, making them less expensive compared to conventional automobiles.

Do Smart cars last a long time? ›

With proper care, a Smart car can last anywhere from 150,000 to 450,000 miles. No matter what car you drive, factors such as its mileage, condition, and age can determine how long it stays on the road. According to Smart Car, the average vehicle should last at least 150,000 miles.

Are smart cars expensive to insure? ›

Smart cars cost less to insure than other cars, on average. Because of the small size of Smart cars, they cost less to make and do less damage than other vehicles that are much bigger. For these reasons, it's often cheaper to insure a Smart car compared to larger vehicles.

How long can you drive a Smart Car? ›

The range of a fully charged electric Smart ForTwo vehicle is 58 miles, nearly double the amount the average person drives in a day. So, you can drop off your kid at school, go to the dentist, shop, return to pick up the kid, and head home with power to spare. In fact, city driving will most likely increase your range.

Do Smart cars require premium gas? ›

Here's the catch: Smart recommends premium fuel. The ForTwo will run on regular, Smart president Dave Schembri said, but in order to achieve the best power and efficiency, 91 octane is recommended.

At what mileage do cars start having problems? ›

As a general rule, most vehicles begin to seriously degrade at around 150,000 miles. It is considered rare, and therefore outstanding longevity, if a car reaches 200,000 miles on the road. That said, there's more to identifying good versus bad mileage on a used car than just the odometer reading.

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