Causes of Failure 

Automobiles are very intricate machines. There are so many moving parts on every vehicle and every model has those parts configured differently. For example a company like ford produces several models of vehicles with different engines and transmissions. In the truck lineup they can have a 6.7 liter diesel, a 5.0 liter V8 gasoline engine, and three V6 gasoline options. Every one of those engines are configured differently with different parts. Knowing that, a frequently asked question is what causes them to break down. The simple answer to that is, it depends on the engine. Each engine offered has its own downfalls and parts that break on many vehicles around the same time. 

Considering the intricacy of these engines, one small part failure can cause complete engine failure down the line if not taken care of properly. For example, vehicles with the Ford manufactured 5.0 liter V8 have a sensitive mass air flow sensor that can leave the engine running rough. According to “Ford F-150 equipped with the 5.0 engine report that the engine may start to run rough around 100,000 miles. The issue seems to be tied to a dirt mass air-flow sensor (MAF) that will get dirty and eventually fail.”. A mass air flow sensor is a very small sensor located within the air intake. Although this part is very small and inexpensive it will cause the engine to run very poorly if it is dirty or damaged. 

Another problem a vehicle can have that is not engine related but is arguably more important is the brakes. The ford trucks with the 5.0 liter engine experienced tremendous brake related issues.  According to “Another common complaint concerned the brakes. Brake failure was reported a number of times, with many drivers stating they needed to have the master cylinder replaced after the brakes simply didn’t work. Drivers saw a “low brake fluid” warnings on the dashboard, and within minutes they weren’t able to use the brakes.”. Not being able to use your brakes is extremely dangerous and could be fatal in certain situations. If a vehicle is in a fatal accident and brake failure was involved, the brakes could be a direct cause of death in that situation. To dive even deeper, in the Fords with the 5.0 engine, the master cylinder was the most common cause of brake failure. In that case the cause of death in an accident would be because of the small inexpensive master cylinder Ford put alongside those engines. 

These drivetrain problems can play a big role in people’s decisions when buying a new vehicle. A Chevy owner could experience tremendous issues with their current vehicle causing them to switch over to another company. Which causes Chevy to lose a customer. lists five reasons GM customers are infuriated with GM. This being number 2 on that list “In August 2012, we received a mounting amount of tips about frequently cracking dashboards on full-size GMC and Chevy trucks and SUVs based on the GMT 900 platform. More specifically, hairline cracks appear on dashboards on either the driver or passenger side of 2007 model-year trucks and SUVs.”. This is a very bad thing for Chevy. Reason being is these issues are causing Chevy fans to stop buying them which in turn could cause them to purchase vehicles from their number one competitor, Ford. 

Small engine parts play a huge role in the reliability of a vehicle and how long it will last. Specifically, the timing chain on an engine. The timing chain is a small chain inside an engine that revolves around two gears and keeps the engine in time. When an engine is in time it means it is properly firing on all cylinders at the appropriate time. If the timing chain jumps time, which is getting out of time alignment, it will cause catastrophic engine failure. This can happen at any moment in a vehicle’s life if the engine is not oiled and serviced properly. This problem is very common on Subaru’s boxer engine causing most Subarus to not last very long. Both Ford and Chevy are susceptible to this problem causing stress on owners to make sure their timing chains are properly maintained and serviced when necessary. 

There are many causes for engine failure in this era of vehicles because of how many parts there are on them. Some failures have very little future causes but others can have catastrophic causes that can completely impair the vehicle. The causes of these problems can go very deep. For example if a small part breaks on a vehicle and it ruins the engine, the vehicle owner could be out thousands of dollars. This could be the cause of their child not being able to attend college or get the new sneakers they wanted. Which in turn could cause the child to be bullied because they’re wearing old shoes. Then that turns to the child being depressed, and this is all because a car manufacturer decided to put a cheap part on their vehicle. 


Whaley, J. (2019, November 21). 2016 Ford F-150: The most common complaints you should know about. MotorBiscuit. Retrieved April 3, 2022, from

Ford F-150 5.0 engine problems. CoPilot. (n.d.). Retrieved April 3, 2022, from

Brown, V., Vince Brown: Vince grew up in a GM family, says:, G., says:, J. W. L., says:, D. T., says:, K. W., says:, D., says:, P., says:, C., says:, S., says:, T. N., says:, I., says:, D. M., says:, R. L., says:, N., says:, T. L., says:, C. F., says:, M. D., Says:, A., … Says:, D. B. (1969, November 1). 5 things GM customers are infuriated about . Five ways GM is infuriating its customers today. Retrieved April 3, 2022, from

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