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The 11 Most Expensive Car Repairs

The 11 Most Expensive Car Repairs
Jason Steele
Jason SteeleUpdated May 19, 2023
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Owning a car means eventually having to pay for car repairs. The costs of repairing a car can range dramatically, depending on such factors as the type of car you own, the specific repair job that needs to be done, and the cost of labor in your area. According to AAA, the average cost of common repairs is $500 to $600 a year, but the prices can run significantly higher than that. In fact, you might be looking at a bill for well into the thousands of dollars.Read on to learn about the most expensive car repairs and how to pay for them.

Which Cars Cost the Most to Repair and Maintain?

Some cars cost more to maintain than others. They may have parts that are expensive to replace and require specialized mechanics to work on them. According to a recent study by, Porsche and BMW are the most expensive car brands to repair. 

The Most Expensive Types of Car Repairs

What are the most expensive car repairs? Below are the repairs that are typically the highest. The price you’ll pay for the most expensive car repairs can vary greatly. The final bill depends on such things as the make and model of the car, the type of mechanic required to do the job, and the cost of labor in your area.

The Engine

You might expect engine repair to be a significant cost and it is. If several parts of the engine need to be repaired, you may need a whole new engine. An engine replacement cost could start at $4,000 and go much higher. Checking and changing the oil regularly may help maintain the life of your engine. 

The Head Gasket

The head gasket seals your car's engine cylinders so that coolant and oil don’t leak. If the head gasket isn’t functioning properly, the engine can overheat, resulting in serious damage to the car. A head gasket repair cost can be more than $2,000. Check the seal on your head gasket on a regular basis to make sure it’s in good shape, and take it in for service if you notice any issues.

The Transmission

The transmission moves power from the car’s engine to its wheels, so repairing it is critical if problems arise. A transmission repair can cost between $400 and $1,400. However, the transmission replacement cost can range from about $2,000 to $7,000, making it one of the most expensive repairs on a car To help keep your transmission healthy, change the transmission fluid as directed by your car’s manufacturer. If you have a car with a manual transmission, don’t ride the clutch too hard or too often when shifting.  

The Brake Line

The brake lines are what make your brake pedal operate properly to bring the car to a stop. Over time, brake lines can rust and even disintegrate. If you need to replace them, the brake line replacement cost is about $1,000. To help prevent the brake lines from rusting, you can coat them with an anti-rusting agent. 

The Camshaft

The camshaft opens and closes the engine valves so that air and fuel can go in and out of your car’s combustion chambers. Typically, this part rarely needs to be replaced, but if dirt buildup causes the camshaft to break down, repairing it can cost at least $3,000. Taking your car in for regular service and oil changes can help keep the camshaft operating the way it should. 

The Catalytic Converter

A catalytic converter is part of your car’s emission system, and helps lower the amount of harmful substances released into the air. A catalytic converter cost can vary widely, ranging from $200 to $2,000, depending on the vehicle’s make, model, and year. 

The Suspension

A car’s suspension stabilizes and controls the car, helping it drive over bumps and dips in the road. Rust or hydrogen can weaken the suspension springs, causing them to collapse. Repairing a car’s suspension costs approximately $1,000 to $5,000. 


Once these crucial pieces of safety equipment are deployed in a crash, they need to be replaced. Replacing the airbags in your car will cost between $1,000 and $6,000, depending on the severity of the crash. 

Air Conditioner Compressor

This is the heart of your car’s air conditioning system. It pressurizes and pumps refrigerant into the condenser to help cool the car. If your air conditioner compressor breaks, it typically costs around $800 to $1,500 to repair it. Recommended: How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Car Radiator?

Hybrid Car Battery

Hybrid car batteries power the car’s electric motor, which propels it at lower speeds and allows it to use less fuel. A hybrid car battery pack lasts, on average, 80,000 to 100,000 miles. Replacing hybrid car batteries cost between $2,000 and $8,000. This is another one of the most expensive repairs on a car.

Fuel Pump

This crucial part pumps fuel from the gas tank to the engine to power your car. Repairing a fuel pump can cost around $1,000.


If your car’s alternator breaks, your car’s electrical system will give out. Alternators generally need to be replaced every 50,000 to 100,000 miles. A new one costs approximately $350 to $900.Recommended: How Much Does Fixing a Power Steering Pump Cost?

5 Ways to Cover Car Repair and Replacement Costs

Now that you know the answer to the question of what are the most expensive repairs on a car, you might be wondering how to pay for them. There are a few different payment options you can consider for covering car repair and replacement costs. These include:


You could take cash from your savings or checking account to pay for car repairs. You might even have an emergency fund set up to cover sudden and unexpected expenses like this. And, of course, you won’t have to pay any interest if you use cash for the repairs. However, if the repair is expensive, it could deplete your savings reserves, which isn’t ideal.

Credit Card

You might opt to use a credit card as an easy and convenient way to pay for a car repair. Some credit cards have added benefits like credit card rewards and the ability to earn points on your payment. However, credit cards often have high interest rates, so it’s smart to pay off the balance as quickly as you can.

Using a Personal Loan

You can take out a personal loan to pay for your car repair. Personal loans can be used for a variety of purposes, including car repairs. Once you’re approved for a car repair personal loan, you’ll receive a lump sum of money, typically within several days, and you’ll repay the loan over time with interest. The higher your credit score, the lower the personal loan interest rate you may qualify for.

Auto Loan Refinancing

Getting an auto refi loan is another way to pay for expensive car repairs. As long as you have enough equity in your car, an auto refinance replaces your existing loan with a new bigger loan. You can use the additional money to pay for the car repairs. Plus, you might be able to get a lower interest rate and more favorable terms with the new loan. Again, a higher credit score may help you qualify for a lower interest rate.However, be aware that lower monthly payments might extend the length of the loan, which could cost you more in interest overall. You can use a car loan refinancing calculator to help determine if auto loan refinancing makes sense for your situation.

Consolidating Repair Debt Into Your Auto Loan

If you need car repairs and you have an existing auto loan, you could consider car loan consolidation. For instance, you could take out a large personal loan to pay for the car repair costs and pay off your auto loan. That way, you only have to make one monthly payment. 

The Takeaway: Auto Loan Refinancing Tips

The most expensive car repairs can cost thousands of dollars and put a major dent in your budget. Getting your car serviced regularly, and maintaining it as directed by the manufacturer, may help keep it running smoothly. When the need for repairs does crop up, there are a number of different methods you can use to help cover the cost. One option to explore is an auto refinance loan. With Lantern, you can quickly and easily compare auto loan refi interest rates from different lenders to find the right loan for you.Find and compare auto loan refinance options with Lantern.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the hardest repair on a car?
What car parts fail the most?
What is the longest thing to fix on a car?
Photo credit: iStock/FG Trade

About the Author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele

Jason Steele has been writing about credit cards and award travel since 2008. One of the nation's leading experts in this field, he has contributed to dozens of personal finance and travel outlets and has been widely quoted in the mainstream media.
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