To be honest the Suzuki swift is a pretty reliable car. Not much goes wrong with them providing they are cared for. Low oil level will destroy the big ends very quickly. These engines are aluminium so if the head gasket blows there can be block or piston damage.
However, there is no timing belt to snap, Vauxhall has adopted the floor pan for their latest Corsa and Fiat for their Punto. There are 3 available. The 1300 which costs pennies to run and insure, the torquey 1500 and the go faster 1600 Sport (with traction control, ESP, Bilstein shock absorbers etc.) There is also a 1300 diesel that uses the Vauxhall turbo diesel as found in later Corsas.
This guide is about the rare things that do go wrong with them and is intended to help you purchase or run one rather than put you off owning one.
What wears out?
Front wishbone bushes. Causes knocking noise and vague steering. Economically best to change the complete front wishbone. However, be prepared to lose your temper as the large bolt through the rear bush (the big one) rusts onto the centre sleeve of the bolt. Most effective way of removal is to take the nut off the top, cut the head off the bolt and ‘manipulate’ it out.
Front anti roll bar links. Not a particularly fast wearing component but can sound worse than it actually is especially over rough road. Easily and cheaply replaced.
Rear tyres. Uneven tyre wear can be a problem on these cars (especially earlier 2002/03 examples) Caused by bent rear axle (easily done, not very strong) or worn pivot bushes. If you are replacing the bushes, replace the big bolts too as these wear too. Relatively easy to change, just do not leave the axle hanging from the flexi pipes or they will break and you will be smacked in the face by an axle. Ouch!
Electric window run channels. Slow or sticking electric windows can be fixed by rubbing some Vaseline in the run channels then operating a few times.
Clutch not working/pedal not coming back up. There was a recall on these cars a few years ago. The small flexi pipe between the bulkhead and metal pipe was too weak so the sides would flex too much sapping the effort to the slave cylinder. The problem occurs when this pipe has been replaced and the clutch hydraulics has not been bled confect. Best done with a pressure bleeder.
ABS light on (Sport models). The ABS runs off a magnetic ring on the wheel bearings at the front. If the wheel bearing is worn or has been replaced and fitted the wrong way round (Yes, saw it happen!) the ABS light will show.
Management light on (Sport models) EGR codes. The inlet manifold pressure sensor (driver’s side of manifold) has a rubber seal and is a tight fit. If the seal gets nicked (easily done) the sensor loses pressure and leaks water in breaking the sensor and causing the EGR valve to open at the wrong time, which causes the code to become present.
Management light on, diesel models. MAP sensor codes. If you let your Diesel Swift idle for long periods or do not change the oil regularly, carbon builds up on the MAP sensor. It is not difficult or expensive to change but the dealer lists it as a ‘Sensor pressure BAR’ so ask for the right thing. Small black plastic thing with 1 bolt fixing on the plastic inlet manifold.
Oil leak from driver’s side of engine, Diesel models. The rocker cover must be perfectly flush with the cylinder head behind the timing cover. Suzuki recommend you measure it with a dial gauge. It has to be perfect not to leak.
Sticking/noisy front brakes. Noises from the front wheels or squeaks from the front are usually caused by the front pads sticking in the calliper. You can remove the pads, clean the corrosion off and sand the glazing off the pads but if you brake gradually or do lots of town driving they will start to squeak again within a few days. It is to do with the compound of the pads. The only guaranteed way of preventing this is to fit EBC greenstuff brake pads.
Water leaks at the front. Windscreen seals are not the best. If you notice water leaks or excessive dampness around the dash or front footwell it may be necessary to have the front windscreen removed and resealed to fix it.
Electrical problems, things not working. After checking all the fuses it is best to check the wires going into control units and fuse boxes. It is well known to Suzuki dealers that the bloke who is responsible for shoving the wires into plugs is not overly meticulous. Most electrical gremlins can be sorted by shoving the wires in properly.
Cigar lighter fuse blowing when Tom-tom plugged in. Its because the socket and wiring is intended for brief use as a cigar lighter. If you plug your Tom tom/phone charger in for ages the fuse will blow. Nothing can be done although now you can specify a ‘utility socket’ from the dealer. Do not be tempted to stick a bigger fuse in or your dash will go on fire.
Rattles. Swifts rattle. It is just the way they are. The vast amount of plastic trim and a highly stressed body structure mean that they will eventually start to rattle. This seems to annoy some people more than others. Many people have complained about this at the dealer but the fact is, if you drive a small car full of plastic trim and a highly stressed monocoque body shell it will rattle from time to time. If you drive a car normally, concentrating on the road, perhaps with the radio on you will not hear a thing!
That said there a re a few things that do go wrong and will cause more noises than is necessary. Window regulators are held on by 10mm bolts. These can rattle loose. As can the screws behind the glove box.
There, that is about it! As I said earlier, these cars do not go wrong too often but when they do, it is likely to be as mentioned above.
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Suzuki Swift buyers and owners guide by micrabits
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30 March 2010
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