How Long Do Smart Cars Last? (7 Important Facts)

The Smart car has been around since the mid-1980s, making it a relatively newer car.

With so little history to rely on, many new car owners are wondering:

How long do Smart cars last?

With proper maintenance, a smart can last 150,000 miles to 2,0000 miles.

If you drive an average of 15,000 miles per year, your smart car should have a lifespan of 10 to 13 years.

Read on to find out how reliable Smart cars are if they are expensive to maintain, and common issues faced by smart car owners.

How Long Do Smart cars Last?

1. How Many Miles Can Smart Cars Go?

Let’s take a look at how many miles a smart car can travel on a full tank or full charge (if electric)

Miles Per Gallon

A Smart car averages about 40 miles on one tank of gas.

A Fortwo Smart car has an 8.7-gallon tank for gas.

The Forfour Smart car has a 12.4-gallon tank, but still gets 40 miles per gallon as it is also a slightly larger vehicle.

Their mileage is one of their most attractive features, as it is almost double the average vehicle mileage of 24 gallons per mile.

This great gas mileage is because the vehicle is lighter, being only 1500 to 1800 pounds.

The lighter weight means the car needs to exert less energy to move it.

The 40 miles per gallon statistic is for highway driving.

A Smart car will average around 32 miles per gallon when driven in a city.

Miles Per Charge

The electric Smart car runs solely on its battery, so there is no gas engine to recharge the battery if it is low.

The electric Smart car can last an average of 84 miles per charge.

This statistic is based on highway driving.

Owners have given lesser estimates of miles per charge, saying they could last close to 80 miles only when driving 60 miles per hour on a highway.

But, they last closer to 60 miles per charge with everyday driving around towns and cities.

2. How Reliable Is A Smart Car?

Smart cars have received a reliability index of 52 with 100 being the average, according to the Reliability Index.

The lower the reliability index, the better the vehicle.

This rating is based on Smart cars that were around 4 years old and driven less than 30,000 miles.

Smart cars can be driven 150,000 miles before serious issues begin to occur.

Many Smart car owners have owned their vehicles well past the 150,000-mile mark by keeping up with regular maintenance.

Some Smart car owners have reported mileage of 200,000.

One Smart car owner even mentioned that his work car passed 400,000 miles.

When the Smart car starts needing those larger repairs, car owners need to weigh the value of the vehicle against the cost of repairs.

Smart cars are known to be more affordable to buy, costing an average of $15,000.

But, what causes many consumers to consider the Smart car unreliable is the relation of repair costs to the overall cost of the vehicle.

Let us explore some of the most common and expensive repairs in Smart cars.

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How Long Does The Engine Last?

The engine is the main powerhouse of a Smart car. It is a complex part, consisting of over 30,000 parts.

With all these parts, many things can go wrong.

The Smart Fortwo has an engine that meets an average of 150,000 miles before needing serious repairs.

A Smart car engine repair easily can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000, making it the most expensive part of the car outside of the body.

Because of the complexity of the engine, it requires hours of taking the engine apart to replace parts.

The labor cost can easily add hundreds of dollars to the repair.

If the engine goes bad, most Smart car owners choose to replace the entire vehicle, unless it is a relatively new car.

A newer car is usually considered to be a car with less than 150,000 miles.

To keep a Smart car engine lasting longer, an owner should perform regular maintenance.

This includes fluid changes, spark plug replacements, and filter inspections.

Many of these are simple enough to learn to do yourself if you would like to save on maintenance costs.

If a Smart car is displaying any check engine lights or making odd noises, it should be taken to a shop immediately.

Driving with a small issue can quickly escalate it to something much larger and expensive.

How Long Does The Transmission Last?

Transmissions are responsible for transferring the power from the engine to other parts of the Smart car, mainly the wheels.

When a Smart car transmission goes bad, the most common symptom would be a change in the control of the vehicle.

The Smart car has an automatic transmission.

The transmission can last on average for 7 years.

A Smart car’s transmission can be another expensive repair.

For the Fortwo, a full transmission replacement will usually cost between $500 and $1,000.

This is below the average vehicle transmission repair cost of $3,000.

How Long Does The Suspension Last?

The suspension of a Smart car is what smooths out the ride. It helps the driver maintain control of the vehicle.

A Smart car’s suspension has received many complaints on user forums, so owners often decide to replace the stock suspension with their own choice to add stability to their ride.

Replacing a Smart car’s suspension can cost in the range of $300-$550. A good quality suspension system in a Smart car should last four to five years.

3. Are Smart Cars Expensive to Maintain?

The average annual repair costs for the Smart Fortwo is around $751.

This repair cost is close to the $1,186 average repair cost of a full-sized vehicle.

The higher the mileage of the vehicle, the more repairs will need to be done.

A Smart car is expensive to repair for two reasons.

The first is that the Smart car is not as widely produced as other vehicles, making parts more difficult to find and in turn more expensive to purchase.

The second is that a Smart car has a complex electrical system that increases the length of time it takes to complete basic repairs.

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Tires

Smart car tires can range from 15 inches to 16 inches.

A 15-inch tire can cost anywhere from $50 to $150 on average.

The longevity of the tire will depend mostly on the brand that is selected.

Some people prefer to upgrade their Smart car’s suspension system and add larger tires to help with smoothing out the ride.

The larger tires will also come with a larger price tag.

4. How Long Before Smart Cars Start To Rust?

Rust is not a big issue with the Smart car, as very few owners reported rusting in their vehicles.

Driving around salt roads or with an exposed body will increase the probability of rust in a Smart car.

Washing a Smart car regularly and keeping the paint maintained will help keep your Smart car from rusting.

5. What Are Some Common Smart Car Issues?

Suspension

A common issue with the Smart car is the suspension system.

This issue is related to many of the other issues that a Smart car also has.

These issues tend to appear starting at the 50,000-mile mark.

The Smart car is a smaller vehicle, so the car will drive roughly and the bumps from the road can be felt all through the vehicle.

The suspension is the first part of the vehicle to feel the impact of the bumps and jolts of the vehicle and often has parts of the system start to squeeze or loosen.

These issues are usually easy repairs as they are only parts of the suspension that grow loose.

The most common parts to need to be replaced are the joints and bearings, like the ball joints. The steering is also a major sign of there being a suspension issue.

The steering will become extra rough, indicating that one of the joints have become loose or completely broke.

A customer rarely needs a full suspension replacement, except for general comfort, and if they wish to avoid more issues in the future.

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Electric System

The Smart car has a complex electric system.

This is especially true of the electric Smart car.

Because of the complexity of this system, electric issues are very common in the Smart car.

In fact, electric issues can begin within the first 10,000 miles of the vehicle.

Common signs of an electric system problem would be dim headlights, the stereo not working, and the windows not moving.

Lights appearing on the dashboard when there are no issues can also be a sign of an electric issue.

Of the electrical issues, the headlights are the most common to show signs of electrical issues.

This is caused by a short somewhere in the electrical system that would require a mechanic to test the wiring harness until he finds the short.

If the short is simple enough, the mechanic can simply splice the wire together.

If it is more complex, the entire wiring harness may need to be replaced.

One way to cut down on electrical issues is to replace the suspension with a better system.

The vibrations from rough driving can cause electrical connections to loosen.

The electric Smart car’s most common electric failure is the electric charging unit, which usually occurs around the 14,000-mile mark.

Safety

While the size of the Smart car is great for low gas mileage and purchase cost, it also makes it more apt to receive serious damage in accidents.

There is very little car body in front of the driver to protect them from a front-end collision.

6. How Long Do Smart Cars Last Compared To Other Small Cars?


Smart Car

Renault Twizy
Hatchback
Toyota Aygo
Hatchback

Average Vehicle Cost

$15,000

$9,700

$17,750

Annual Repair Cost

$751

$200

$270

MPG

40 MPG

Electric

55 MPG

Reliability Index

52

N/A

29

Common Issues

Brakes
Suspension
Electronics

Car battery
(electric car)

Sluggish Engine

Average Lifespan

10-20 years

10 years
10-20 years

7. Tips To Prolong The Life Of Your Smart Car

Smart cars will last longer when regular maintenance is performed.

Many of these maintenance routines can be done at home if you are trained, or at any mechanic shop.

Smart cars are owned by Daimler AG, the same company that owns Mercedes-Benz.

Having regular maintenance done by a Daimler or Mercedes dealership will ensure the technician is knowledgeable about your specific vehicle.

Smart cars will last longer when regular maintenance is performed.

Many of these maintenance routines can be done at home if you are trained, or at any mechanic shop.

Smart cars are owned by Daimler AG, the same company that owns Mercedes-Benz.

Having regular maintenance done by a Daimler or Mercedes dealership will ensure the technician is knowledgeable about your specific vehicle.

Check your Smart car’s warranty as it may have stipulations as to where maintenance can be performed.

The top recommendation to prolong the life of your Smart car would be to keep up on all recalls.

Replacing common recalls will prevent those same parts from going bad in your vehicle and causing larger issues.

Other parts of the Smart car should be regularly replaced to ensure optimal performance and health.

Some items that should be replaced are:

  • Vehicle fluids
  • Brakes and rotors
  • Windshield wipers
  • Spark plugs
  • Tires

Smart cars can be a very loyal car with a great price tag if you are also willing to invest in the needed repairs.

Despite their small size, they can last a full decade or even two.

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