Education & Safety

Pay Up: the Most Expensive Car Repairs



As a car owner, you know that repairs are a fact of life. Even if you keep up on regular maintenance, things are bound to need replacing or fixing from time to time. While you are ready for routine maintenance jobs like oil changes, brake service and replacing the spark plugs, there are some costly repairs that you hope to avoid.

Check out this list of some of the most expensive car repairs you might encounter during the life your vehicle. Please note that the prices given are just estimates and the cost for repairing your vehicle could be lower or higher depending on your specific situation.


Head gasket - $1,500-$2,500

The head gasket sits between the engine block and cylinder head of your engine. The seal it creates keeps antifreeze and oil from coming together during the combustion process. Telltale signs of a blown head gasket include engine overheating, low antifreeze levels and sweet smelling white smoke or water coming from the exhaust pipe.

The head gasket part itself is relatively reasonable, costing on average $50-$200, but it’s the labor charge that raises the price of this repair. Once you add in labor, this time-consuming job can end up costing $1,500-$2,500. Also be aware that it may be necessary to replace the thermostat and thermostat gasket.

Since overheating is the leading cause of a blown head gasket, make sure your coolant is at the proper level by checking it periodically. Also keep an eye on your temperature gauge. If your vehicle begins to run hotter than normal, get it checked out before further damage is done.


Suspension system - $1,500-$3,500

Your car’s suspension system is key to you and your passengers enjoying a smooth ride while traveling over bumps and dips in the road. If you notice your car vibrating after hitting a bump, bottoming out or excessively bouncing, your suspension system may need servicing.

When having your suspension system repaired, you can expect to have major components like the springs, shock absorbers/struts, anti-sway bars and ball joints replaced. The price for all this work can run $1,500-$3,500. The final price tag could depend on how much rust is on the undercarriage of your vehicle. Labor costs can increase if it is difficult to remove the old parts.

Routinely inspecting your suspension system can help you catch issues before they turn into big and expensive problems. Check your shocks/struts for cracks or leaks. Also look for uneven tire wear which can be a sign of worn suspension components. Finally, keep an eye out for bouncing, bottoming out and other ride issues.


Transmission - $500-$4,000

Fewer things will sideline your car as fast as transmission problems. Responsible for changing the gear ratios of your vehicle, the transmission is the nerve center of your vehicle. You know that your car will be parked until you get this issued fixed.

The cost to get your car up and running depends on what repair option you select. Your mechanic will likely present you with a few options: a used or junkyard transmission, a rebuilt transmission or a remanufactured transmission. A used transmission can run $500-$1,500, a rebuilt one can cost $1,500-$2,500 and a remanufactured transmission can set you back $2,500-$4,000.

Warning signs that your transmission may be failing include rough shifts, slipping in and out of gear for no reason and a transmission fluid leak. To keep your transmission in top working order, be sure to check the transmission fluid level regularly and use the correct transmission fluid. Also practice good driving habits that don’t put undue stress on your car like easing up on the accelerator and not towing more than your vehicle is rated for. 


Engine - $500-$4,500

Nothing will put a damper on your day like hearing your mechanic say those dreaded words, “You have a blown engine.” Your head is spinning as you see the dollar signs pile up. You know that there is no cheap way out of this problem.

A blown engine is an engine that has suffered so much damage that it needs to be replaced or overhauled. Many things can cause an engine to become severely damaged including a defective valve or a broken rod.

As in the case with a failing transmission, your mechanic may give you the choice between a used engine, a rebuilt engine or a remanufactured engine. To get your car back on the road, you can expect to pay $500-$1,500 for a used engine, $1,200-$2,000 for a rebuilt engine and $2,250-$4,500 for a remanufactured engine.

Signs that your vehicle might be experiencing severe engine distress include loss of power, rough idle, strange noises and excessive smoke. If your vehicle displays one or more of these symptoms, consult your mechanic. The sooner you take your vehicle in can mean the difference between a simple repair and having to replace the engine. The best way to avoid catastrophic engine problems is to keep up on routine maintenance.

Learn more about quality auto parts, find your car part, or find a local car repair shop today.    

The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.

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