How Reliable are Land Rovers and Range Rovers
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. And we're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada. And we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So we're going to talk about the reliability of a storied franchise in the automotive world, Land Rover and Range Rovers. How reliable are Land Rovers and Range Rovers?
Bernie: Yeah, well let's break it down, because that's a pretty big line of cars. Let's break it down into ...
Mark: A lot of years.
Bernie: Yeah, yeah. We'll cover early 2000 up to modern, and of course modern being brand new. However, we don't really have a lot to say about brand new because they're new, and new cars are reliable and anything that needs to be fixed will be done at the dealership level. However we can and we do a maintenance service on brand new vehicles. It's just that anything that needs to be fixed will be sent back. And generally it takes a while for a vehicle to age into seeing what reliability issues are. Three to five years I think, and then after that, other issues tend to crop up. And we're going to be talking, as I said, the line of Land Rover and Range Rover is large. With the Range Rover, we're going to stick with the full size and the sport. And with the Land Rover, it's LR3 and LR4 models. The LR2s and Range Rover Evoques, we'll discuss those another time.
Mark: All right, so we've narrowed it down. Let's start with the engine. What kind of issues do you see with Land Rover, Range Rover engines?
Bernie: Yeah, so as far as engines, first of all, you'll find either a V6 or a V8, mostly V8. So V6's are not super common but they are available. And as some of the newer Range Rovers also have a supercharge V6, as well, which is a nice option because they do tend to be a real fuel consuming vehicle. Heavy, powerful, and then the engines will either be naturally aspirated or supercharged, one of the two.
So as far as reliability, with the supercharge, we see a lot of ... I'll just talk about problems. Supercharger nose cone failures, there's a little coupler in the supercharger nose cone that tends to wear out prematurely, so that's a definite reliability issue. And by the time you hit 100,000 kilometres, 60,000 miles if you're in in the US, that part will tend to fail and need to be replaced.
There's also the other issues, and again, we see this between 2013 ... Sorry, 2010 and 2013 models. Timing chains seem to wear out, mostly on the supercharged models, but they will even ... Yeah, and on the naturally aspirated ones, as well. For a few of those model years, they didn't build the timing chain tensioners substantial enough for that. There's a few pieces, and we have a video on, podcasts on that you can look at. But you generally, if you've owned one of these vehicles long enough, you'll most likely have to replace the timing chains and tensioners on that vehicle.
So those are the two major issues you'll see. Of course, if you don't have a supercharged model, you won't do the nose cone. The other issues we do see on on some other models are cooling system failures, hoses, couplers, small coolant leaks that tend to develop into larger coolant leaks. So those are things to keep an eye on, as well. And of course, if you have your car regularly maintained, you'll be able to pick those things up and fix them and service them. But coolant leaks are probably the bigger issue.
The good news is oil leaks are something we don't see a lot of on these engines. So that used to be something that would happen a lot more in earlier generations, oil Leaks, head gasket problems, and that doesn't seem to be happening in this generation we're talking about, so that's a positive thing.
Mark: How about the transmission and drive train? How are they for reliability?
Bernie: Really reliable. I can't really even think of the last time we ever did a transmission or a differential repair on these models, axle shafts. Everything in that department is really well built, really robust, transfer cases are good. There's a lot of electronic controls on these two and they all tend to work really, they all tend to be pretty reliable. So that's a good thing. And these vehicles, even though most people, at least around these parts, don't take them off road, we do have a few customers who actually do use them out in the bush and they tend to be very reliable and good, tough vehicles. So that part of the vehicle is, I wouldn't say it's bulletproof, but not something we see a lot of problems with.
Mark: What about the brakes system?
Bernie: So the brakes, again, pretty reliable, but they do tend to wear out faster than you might expect. Especially if you look in, you can see into the wheel and you look at a Range Rovers' brake rotor, they're just, they're massive, huge things. You think that with a brake rotor that size and large brake pads, it would dissipate the heat well and last for a long time, but they don't. You're lucky to get 50,000 kilometres out of a set of brake pads and rotors on these vehicles. Maybe a little more in an LR3 and 4, but the Range Rovers, they're heavy, and they tend to go through brakes a little more frequently, and they are expensive. They're not AMG-Mercedes or Aston Martin expensive, but they are a little more money than your average vehicle, just because of the size of the parts.
But the other components, like the calipers, tend to be pretty reliable. We changed the odd one on an older higher mileage model, or something that's been in a bad, rusty climate, but generally the brakes are pretty good. They just tend to wear out, need servicing a little more frequently.
Mark: So I know this next area we've definitely done podcasts about. Steering and suspension.
Bernie: Steering suspension. Yeah, that's an area on these vehicles that definitely tends to need some work.
Let's just talk about the steering. The steering is pretty reliable. We have done the odd rack and pinion, because they do tend to leak after a certain amount of time, but not a really common repair. Tie rod ends tend to be pretty good, but the suspension end of it, there's a lot of things that can go wrong, and do, on these vehicles. So these vehicles all have air suspension. Right away, that's an an added set of issues. The suspension compressors do fail on all of them over time. So the air suspension compressor will go bad, the airbags themselves fail after a time, although we don't do a lot of them, but they do tend to fail. So given long enough, you will end up replacing those air bags.
But we see 10-year-old and even 15-year-old models and they're still intact, so they are fairly durable, but they do fail from time to time. But the big thing on these is control arm bushings. And specific, the lower control arm has a rear bushing that tends to fail on very, I'd say, prematurely there. They tend to go pretty badly, but we've done full control arms on front and back on a lot of these models because they tend to wear out over time. They're all real nice rubber bushings for a nice, smooth ride. But they're not the most robust and durable, so given time, you will replace a lot of control arms on these vehicles to get the bushings fixed up. And how you'll know they're bad, you'll have creaky noises or there'll be a lot of clunks in the suspension, and those tend to develop over time though. That's probably the biggest issue with these that we find.
Mark: What about the body and interior?
Bernie: Generally everything in that department is pretty good. I can't really think of any issues. We don't do body work, but the fit and finish on these vehicles is all really good, high quality. The paints are good.
Interior wise we don't see any things falling apart or busting apart. The power windows tend to keep working for a long time. The door locks, there's a few things we fix here and there, but there's not really any alarming concerns, I'll put it that way.
Mark: And how both the electrical system?
Bernie: Again, electrical system is pretty reliable. With the amount of complexity on this vehicle, they actually tend to be pretty good, though we do change the odd alternator. It's important to keep a good battery in these type of vehicles. Any modern vehicles, especially something that runs the amount of electronics these do, having a good strong battery is an important thing to keep.
And generally batteries last five years, it's about the case with these vehicles, too. But every five years, you should change your battery. But we test them on servicing, and nothing fails prematurely. But electrically speaking, these cars are pretty good, and I know in the past, Land Rovers, Jaguars, had a bad reputation, the Lucas wiring systems. There's a lot of jokes-
Mark: They were a lot of fun.
Bernie: Yes. Yeah, there was a lot of problems, but that's long, ancient history. It's like we're talking about a different kind of car. As much as I do bash Fords now and then, it's probably the best thing that ever happened to Land Rover and Jaguar was that Ford bought them out, because they actually made them into pretty reliable cars, so there's our compliment to Ford.
Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service in Vancouver, BC, Canada for your Jaguar, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604)-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, they're busy. Check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of articles and videos on there, or on our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. All makes, models, types of repairs, maintenance issues, tips, et cetera. Many years now doing this. And as well, of course, we really appreciate you watching the podcasts and listening and thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching.