Small motoring is the perfect solution for crowded city streets and Ford’s entry into the conversation is the Ka. This diminutive run-around has everything you could possibly want in terms of a fast acceleration factor combined with the size to just nip into that little space.
Whether you are considering a Ka for a first car for your son or daughter, or want a second car for those economical trips to the shops or city there are several pitfalls that could beset any second-hand model.
Anything that’s metal can be affected by rust over the years, and this is especially true of the Ford Ka’s wheel arches and door frames. Take the time to go around your potential purchase and examine these areas, as a little rust could indicate structural problems within the bodywork, requiring you to make early replacements.
Door Wiring Loom Corrosion
It’s not only the door edges and wheel arches that are prone to damage over time. Inside the workings of the door, the wiring loom connectors are known to be particularly susceptible to corrosion over the lifetime of the vehicle. This problem manifests as electrical failure in the window controls and problems with the central locking. Be sure to check both before you part with your money.
Be aware of problems with the steering rack, which will usually make turning difficult whether the car has power assisted steering or not. One of the most expensive problems with this popular small Ford vehicle, it is both costly and time consuming to fix. Watch out for a tight feeling in the controls, a grinding noise on turning and even a burning oil smell in the Ka’s cabin.
Are you looking at purchasing a Ford Ka that was manufactured before February 2003? There is a known fault with many vehicles from this period that causes a rough rattling sound in the engine. If you are experiencing this problem in a vehicle you are thinking about purchasing, the likely culprit is the cam followers and this can be quite a costly repair.
There are a couple of known issues with the braking systems on the Ford Ka. The first is with the brake hose, which causes the brake fluid refill light on the dash to switch to a permanently on state. The second is with the brake drum on vehicles manufactured before 1996, where there could be problems with the brakes not slowing down the car within the appropriate stopping distances.
Idle Speed Control Valve
During your test drive, if the second-hand Ford Ka is stalling repeatedly at junctions and undergoing rough idling, then this could be down to the ISCV – idle speed control valve. This can become clogged over time with carbon deposits and oil, leaving it requiring a good clean or a complete replacement, both of which will take up time and money.
There is a known fault where the Ford Ka can misfire creating a sound like a broken sewing machine on idling. Possible causes include issues with the ignition coil pack, which can suffer from poor operation without turning on the engine management light. The only way to be sure of this fault is by performing checks with a spark plug tester.
This one is unlikely to come up in a second-hand car for sale due to its effects, but it’s a very common fault. The temperature sensor in the coolant system is prone to failure. Whilst it would normally shut off an overheating engine, if it is broken it will not let the car start or stop. If this happens during a test drive then the car is a definite no buy.
Ultimately Ford is one of the better manufacturers out there today and even if your Ka does suffer from a fault, getting replacement part should be absolutely no problem. With most second-hand models going for a very competitive price, this is an attractive purchase as long as you make all the appropriate checks.