Mitsubishi Lancer is an often overlooked Japanse car that is reliable, easy to fix, and has a low maintenance cost.
Our team has tested several Mitsubishi Lancers over the years, and recently we had one in the shop that we used to record many of the Mitsubishi repair guides that you will find on our website.
Common Problems that Affect a Mitsubishi Lancer
Even though we like the Mitsubishi Lancers, there are a few potential problems you should be aware of:
Slow down light coming on
Many Lancer owners complain about a check engine light coming on in combination with a ‘slow down’ warning message. There are no other symptoms, and this will not affect the overall engine performance.
This is why some drivers chose to continue their journey when this happens, only to experience transmission failure afterward. The root of the problem is a faulty Transmission Control Module (TCM), which can cause gearbox overheating in certain situations.
Replacing the TCM is the only reliable solution.
Car owners with Lancers with a 4B1 engine can notice a periodic squeaking noise coming from the engine bay while driving. This noise is more prominent on cold days, and the pitch will follow the engine speed changes.
This happens because of an excessive slack within the serpentine belt assembly, which drives the alternator, power steering, AC, and cooling pump.
Because the root of the problem is a worn belt tensioner, replacing it with the serpentine belt is necessary.
Engine stalling and cutting off
There are many reported cases of Lancer's stalling or even cutting-off. This would happen either when accelerating from a standstill or after cruising at a constant speed. Being an intermittent issue that won’t trigger any error codes, tracking down the fault can be tricky.
Among other standard causes, it is also possible to have a faulty MAP sensor that gives incorrect signals. Monitoring sensor operation using a diagnostic tool with live data features gives a better insight. Another possibility is a clogged throttle body, with build-ups that obstruct proper operation.
Brakes not working
The brake pedal may become very hard on early production models, which will prevent the vehicle from stopping. From a driver's point of view, this would appear as the brakes don’t work.
In most reported incidents, this would happen only after driving for a long period without applying the brake.
The problem is within a defective brake booster vacuum check valve, whose failure affects the booster operation. Although this only some of the Lancer cars, being a huge safety issue makes checking this valve very important.
Steering pulling to one side
Complaints about steering pulling to one side are quite common among Lancer owners, especially for all-wheel-drive cars. In most cases, the car will pull to the left, even after multiple tire rotations and wheel alignments.
The cause of this annoying problem is the suspension complexity and inability of some workshops to deal with it.
Having a set of new tires and a wheel alignment done by a reputable workshop is the only way to deal with this issue.
Blower motor issues
Problems with the blower motor operation and control are widespread with this generation and usually worsen during winter.
These issues range from not being able to adjust the fan speed to ventilation not working at all. Before blaming this on the blower motor itself, it's worth checking a resistor that controls the blower motor speed.
Almost all drivers that spend most of their time on the motorway complain that the paint on their Lancers chips away easily. The problem is the paint itself, as the clear coat seems too soft compared to other manufacturers.
As a result, the paint is more susceptible to mechanical damage. Being an inherent problem from the factory, all drivers can do is add aftermarket protection to their cars.
Is a Mitsubishi Lancer Reliable?
Overall, the Mitsubishi Lancer is a reliable vehicle. They are straightforward to work on, and parts are inexpensive. Most Mitsubishi Lancers don't have major problems up to 100,000 miles. Only the early versions equipped with CVT transmission had some issues.
How many miles can a Mitsubishi Lancer last?
Typically a Lancer can reach up to 150,000 miles with regular maintenance. Mitsubishi Lancers start having problems after 150k miles.
While you regularly see Toyota Corollas and Honda Civics with over 300k miles, don't expect to see many Lancers with that many miles.
Are Mitsbuishi Lancers fast?
The Mitsubishi Lancer EVO is super fast. But not all Mitbuishi Lancers are fast.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo is speedy, reaching 0-60 mph in 4.3.
The typical Mitibishi Lancers such as the ES is required with naturally aspirated 4-cylinder and reach 60 mph speed in about 8 seconds, which is ok but definitely not fast.