An unexpected car repair charge is one of the worst surprises in the world, and it’s something that we all experience. Your budget is in place, you’re doing well with money, and all of a sudden you have to drop a few thousand on a car repair you’ve never heard of.
While some repairs are quick, easy, and only mildly expensive, there are a ton of expensive car problems that you never see coming. It’s better to understand and be prepared for these kinds of repairs, so let’s go over 10 of the most expensive car repairs that you could encounter.
1. Broken AC Compressor
Air conditioning: an invention ranked among the most important in recent history. Nobody understands that better than those of us suffering through the summer in a hot car without air conditioning.
When your air conditioning fails in your car, it’s most likely an issue with the compressor. The compressor is what separates the different pressured air; without that, the cooling effect can’t function properly.
There are two main problems that can cause a broken air conditioner compressor: bent/broken rods within the compressor itself, or a larger problem with the car that results in a broken compressor.
Whatever the case, a compressor replacement can be over 500 dollars.
2. Engine Cylinder Repair
Of all the expensive car problems on this list, engine cylinder repair and replacement is probably the most expensive one.
Engine repairs, in general, are the worst type. Engine problems are expensive to fix and they’re also a serious issue that can’t be put off or ignored until you have more money for repairs.
Cylinder issues are the worst subset of the already bad “engine issue” category.
Cylinders are at the center of the engine, which means the mechanic is forced to take the entire engine out of the car, take it apart, replace the cylinders, and put it all back together. You can imagine that this will rack up the labor charges, not to mention the cost of the parts themselves.
Replacing the cylinders in your engine can cost anywhere between 7,000 to over 10,000 dollars. The good news is that keeping up with maintenance and warning signs can help you avoid this kind of damage.
If you need a general idea of a maintenance schedule, check out this Toyota Tundra maintenance schedule.
3. Transmission Repair/Replacement
A car’s transmission system is not only important (you can’t physically drive or turn the car with a broken transmission), but it’s also complex. The transmission is responsible for controlling power flow between the driveshaft of the vehicle and the engine itself.
Its complexity makes it hard to diagnose the issue, but there are certain warning signs you can look out for. Burning smells, humming noises when you’re not moving, and gears slipping are all signs of transmission issues.
Transmission repair and replacement can cost anywhere between 4,000 and 5,000 dollars. Catch the issue early to save a bit of money on this expensive car repair.
4. Airbag Replacement
We don’t think about airbags until they’re needed during an accident. Airbags save lives; if they’re deployed during an accident, you’ll need to have them replaced in case of another accident in the future.
Airbags going off can also mean that you need to replace other parts of your car, like your glove compartment for example. You might also need to replace airbags if they malfunction or if they’ve been recalled for some reason.
Altogether, these repairs and replacements can cost up to 4,000 dollars.
5. Blowing a Gasket
The phrase “blowing a gasket” has come to mean “reacting furiously, steaming mad” in our vernacular. This makes sense considering the root of the phrase is when you blow a head gasket in your engine, which causes it to overheat and burst with steam.
This problem is easy to spot: the engine will spew coolant, steam, and white smoke. The good news is that a replacement gasket isn’t too expensive. The bad news is that the labor to repair it is time-consuming and, thus, expensive.
A head gasket repair costs around 2,000 dollars.
6. Hybrid Inverter Replacement
With 1.2 million hybrid vehicles produced in the year 2015 and an estimated 5.4 to be produced in the year 2025, the popularity of hybrid cars is obviously growing. This means, however, a whole new set of repairs that “traditional” vehicles don’t worry about.
An inverter in a hybrid vehicle is responsible for controlling and regulating the use of electricity in the car, which is a crucial part of powering a hybrid vehicle. So if this breaks, you’re in for a big problem.
Despite the growing popularity of these cars, the specific hybrid parts (like an inverter) are still “specialty” parts that have to be special ordered and can be quite expensive. An inverter replacement can cost between 4,000 and 7,000 dollars.
7. Hybrid Battery Replacement
Here’s another hybrid specific expense you should be aware of–repairing or replacing your hybrid car battery. These batteries are different from “traditional” car batteries that usually cost only a few hundred dollars.
Hybrid battery replacement can cost thousands (up to around 4,000 dollars). It’s usually this expensive because the technology is newer, the parts aren’t as popular, and the battery will likely need to be special ordered.
The good news is many hybrid cars come with long warranties. And since most hybrid vehicles are quite new, your warranty or car insurance can usually cover some or all of a hybrid battery replacement.
8. Brake Line Repair
Your safety depends on your brakes. The brake line is what carries the brake fluid that allows your car to stop when you activate the brakes. Brake pads commonly have to be replaced and they aren’t very expensive.
But if your brake line is broken, the braking fluid won’t be properly transported, which can cause your brakes to fail. Brake line repairs usually run around 1,000 dollars, but it will depend on whether you simply repair the area that’s broken or whether you opt for replacing the entire brake line.
Most mechanics will suggest replacing the entire line, as one break can usually indicate wear and tear that could result in more breaks/leaks in the future.
9. Suspension Repair
Suspension in cars is something we don’t really think about but is super important. Ever wonder why you don’t feel every bump in the road, or why you don’t hit the ceiling when you accidentally drive over a pothole?
That’s the suspension at work. The suspension system includes:
- Tire rods
- Control arms
All of these parts work together to absorb impacts, dips, and bumps in the road so you don’t feel them while you’re driving. When just one of these parts needs repair or replacement, it isn’t too expensive.
But when you have serious car suspension problems or multiple/all of the suspension parts need to be repaired or replaced, that’s when it gets expensive. It can cost anywhere between 2,000 and 3,500 dollars.
10. Camshaft Replacement
We mentioned how engine issues are usually serious and expensive, and camshaft repairs are no exception. While the camshaft itself isn’t a part of the engine, it directly interacts with the engine and has a large part in making sure the engine is working properly.
The camshaft is responsible for regulating how much air enters the engine, which is crucial for having a working engine to power your car. However, the camshaft is prone to getting clogged and dirty with debris, particles, dirt, etc.
When this happens, it can prevent proper airflow and cause the engine to malfunction. If you aren’t good about car maintenance or upkeep of the camshaft, this dirt and debris can turn from a mild issue to a big problem.
This is especially unfortunate considering a camshaft replacement can cost 3,000 dollars. Knowing how expensive this replacement is can push you to keep up with regular maintenance and cleanings of your camshaft and other parts of your vehicle, seeing as this is a preventable problem.
Top 10 Most Expensive Car Repairs: Wrapping Up
Cars are expensive to keep in general. Between gas, inspections, insurance, and buying the car itself, money seems to fly right out of your pocket.
There are also these expensive car repairs to keep in mind as well. You never know when disaster will strike and you’ll have to shell out thousands of dollars just to keep your car on the road.
While some of these things can happen randomly and are unavoidable, there are steps you can take to avoid these repairs. Keep up with regular maintenance and inspections to keep a small issue (like a dirty camshaft) from becoming a large one (like a broken camshaft).
If you want to check out our other auto-related articles, check out our blog. You can also find info on saving and earning money on the side so you’ll be prepared the next time an unexpected expense pops up.