The Mitsubishi Lancer is a good option for a daily driver. It enjoys good acceleration, handles well thanks to straightforward controls, and smooths out any bumps on the road. The latest features are found in the most recent model years, but earlier vehicles offer their own advantages and can become excellent daily drivers..
CarEdge.com estimates that the 2017 Lancer will lose 60% of its value in five years. This depreciation rate is slightly higher than the average for all cars, which is pegged at 50% in five years.
Are Mitsubishi Lancers Reliable Cars?
The Mitsubishi Lancer is a fairly reliable vehicle. RepairPal gave it a reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5.0, putting it in 29th place out of the 36 compact car models reviewed. It’s also considered one of the most fuel-efficient sedan models offered by Mitsubishi.
It’s fairly easy to find drivers who talk about their Mitsubishi Lancer accumulating 100,000 miles or more on the odometer. To maximize their vehicle’s service life, they advise following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and quickly replacing worn-out parts.
Common Mitsubishi Lancer Problems
Debuting in 1973, the Mitsubishi Lancer became one of the Japanese automaker’s best-known nameplates. Although its production ceased in the US in 2017, the compact car remains a common sight on the road and remains a popular choice in the used car market.
In a testament to Mitsubishi Lancer reliability, CarComplaints.com noted that it didn’t find many complaints about the model. Their analysis did identify two particular problem years. The highest number of complaints involved the 2008 Lancer, but it was the 2011 model year that earned the worst rating.
Some 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer owners reported that their tail lights actually caught fire. They believe the problem is electrical in nature because the affected vehicles also started up by themselves before the lights ignited.
Other lighting problems included cracked Mitsubishi Lancer fog lights in some 2013 models and malfunctioning headlights in some units belonging to the 2005 model year. Problems with the external lights can make it more dangerous to drive on the road in the dark.
The 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer is considered a well-designed vehicle. However, many units were recalled for subframe rot, one of the worst problems that could ever affect a Lancer.
The subframe is a suspension part that holds the engine and front wheels. In some units of the 2008 Lancer, this has been prone to corrosion, especially in winter states where they deice roads with road salt. A badly rusted subframe can develop cracks or holes that undermine its strength. Eventually, the rotted subframe can fall apart without warning. This problem proved so severe that Mitsubishi recalled cars from the 2002-2008 model years with the faulty subframe.
Other model years can also develop problems with their suspensions. The rear wheels in some 2015 Mitsubishi Lancers can end up abrading themselves against the wheel wells if the back seat is heavily loaded. Others heard knocking noises from the rear suspension and experienced vibrations from the right side of their vehicle.
Some drivers have also reported hearing loud creaking noises whenever their 2011 Lancer turned to park, backed up, or went over speed bumps.
Wheels and Hubs
There are many good things about the 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer, such as agile handling and excellent performance from its trims. However, some drivers raised complaints about the intolerable amount of noise made by its stock tires. Even a freshly manufactured vehicle could have this problem, and the only way to eliminate the noise is to install new wheels.
The front wheels and hubs of several 2017 Mitsubishi Lancer units can prove defective. When the driver hits the brakes, the vehicle can jerk much harder than normal. Replacing the front wheels and hubs may fix the problem, but it’s a costly affair.
Some 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer tires can wear out much faster than expected. The source of the problem can vary, but it seems bad tie rod ends are a common cause. A replacement tie rod end may cost you around $20 a piece or up to $170 for a kit, exclusive of labor costs.
Body and Paint Problems
Body and paint issues won’t usually disable a Mitsubishi Lancer, but no one wants a car that looks bad. When the paint job on some 2010 Lancers chips prematurely, their drivers will want to fix the problem as soon as possible.
Paint chipping also shows up in some 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer units. The paint can flake, chip, or peel off various external body panels. To further complicate things, several 2008 Lancers may also unintentionally chip themselves. Stones kicked up by the front tires can strike the quarter panel and potentially chip away the paint there. In some cases, adding mud flaps may not do anything to stop the damage.
Bad transmissions are few and far between for the Mitsubishi Lancer. But these problems can cost a lot to fix, so it’s a good idea to identify which model years are vulnerable to transmission trouble.
In some 2008 Lancers, the transmission could overheat. While some attempted to fix the issue by changing the transmission oil, others were left with no choice but to spend on replacing the entire transmission.
Another potential Mitsubishi Lancer transmission problem for the 2008 model year is transmission slippage while on the road. Several units have been reported to slip into the wrong gear without warning. To make matters worse, the electronic dashboard may indicate that the transmission is in the right gear even when it isn’t.
It may be old and out of production, but the Mitsubishi Lancer can be a reliable daily driver for many years. Whether you already drive one or intend to get one, you can’t go wrong with this car. Do your due diligence by reading up on the most common Mitsubishi Lexus problems for the model year you own or plan to buy. This will give you a better idea of its true cost of ownership and prepare you to deal with common issues in case they arise.