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Average Cost of Car Repairs in the United States

BY: Adam Karner
Mechanic checking list of car repair costs on clipboard

Car repairs are an inevitable part of the cost of car ownership, and ignoring a problem can cause it to become worse. Being prepared for the costs associated with car repairs can prevent a financial emergency down the road, as some car repair costs can be expensive. Having a car maintenance budget and a plan ahead of time can be helpful if and when something needs to be fixed. Knowing what to expect with average repair costs helps create a budget and keeps you from being caught off guard when the unavoidable happens.

What is the Average Cost of Car Repairs?

The average cost of car repair is $300-$500. While this is a good starting figure, this number will vary depending on factors such as the severity of the repair, the vehicle’s make, model, age (a new car vs. a used car), your driving habits, and your geographic location. In addition, some parts cost more, and auto repair prices can also fluctuate if you choose to replace vehicle parts with generic or manufacturer models. Finally, car maintenance costs will also shift based on whether you do the repair yourself or take it to a trusted auto repair shop.

Common Repairs and Average Repair Prices

A general understanding of the costs associated with common auto repair services can be beneficial when obtaining quotes and estimates from service providers. This knowledge allows car owners to compare quotes and estimates more effectively, ensuring you get the best value for their money. Additionally, knowing average car repair costs and labor costs can help you identify if any of the quotes or estimates are abnormally high (or low) and can help you avoid being taken advantage of.

Replace the Catalytic Converter

Your car’s catalytic converter is essential to its emissions management system. It helps reduce harmful pollutants and is necessary for your vehicle to pass state inspection. Replacing a catalytic converter is one of the most common car repairs in the United States, but it can also be one of the most expensive. The catalytic converter helps reduce the number of harmful pollutants emitted from the car’s exhaust, such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides, by converting them into less toxic substances before they are released into the environment.

The cost of replacing a catalytic converter varies, but it can range between $500 and $2,000. Although it can be a costly vehicle repair, it is crucial to replace it quickly. A malfunctioning catalytic converter can pollute the environment and significantly reduce your vehicle’s overall performance, leading to more costly repairs in the future.

Routine car maintenance ensures that the catalytic converter is in good condition and your car’s emissions management system is functioning correctly. A properly maintained catalytic converter is designed to last the vehicle’s lifetime.

Replace an Oxygen Sensor

If your check engine light comes on, it may signify a failing oxygen sensor that can impact your car’s fuel combustion and delivery systems. When the oxygen sensor is not functioning correctly, it will send incorrect information to the engine’s computer, which can result in too much fuel being injected into the engine. This will cause the car to use more fuel than necessary and significantly lower gas mileage than expected. In addition, the vehicle may have reduced engine performance, with a noticeable decrease in power and acceleration. Ignoring a failing oxygen sensor can lead to long-term damage to the car’s engine, including a build-up of carbon deposits and a decrease in the life of the spark plugs.

Replace Vehicle Thermostat

The thermostat in your vehicle is an integral component that helps to maintain the optimal temperature for your engine to run properly. It regulates the coolant flow through the engine block and the radiator. If the thermostat malfunctions or becomes stuck in one position, it can cause the engine to overheat, leading to expensive car repairs, such as a warped cylinder head or worn-out piston rings. Overheating can also lead to such problems as clogged coolant passages, cracked cylinder heads, or even a cracked engine block. It is, therefore, essential to replace the thermostat as soon as possible if there is any indication of a problem or if it is showing signs of wear and tear.

Replace Ignition Coil

The ignition coils in your car provide the spark to the spark plugs when needed to ignite the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. They are a vital component of the ignition system but can be worn out over time due to constant use. Ignoring a faulty ignition coil can lead to severe damage to the ignition system, which can cause expensive engine repairs from misfires, a decrease in engine performance, and, in extreme cases, engine failure. Early signs of a bad ignition coil include difficulty starting the engine, engine misfires, and a decrease in fuel efficiency.

Replace Mass Air Flow Sensor

Failure to replace your air filters regularly will accumulate dirt, dust, and other debris. This build-up can cause your engine to work harder than it should, resulting in overheating the mass air flow sensor. The mass air flow sensor is a critical component of your vehicle’s engine and determines the amount of air that goes into the engine. If the mass air flow sensor gets too hot, it can become damaged or cease functioning altogether. This can lead to significant engine performance issues, such as reduced fuel economy, reduced acceleration, and a lack of power. Replacing your air filters can help prevent this issue and save you from replacing the far more expensive mass air flow sensor.

Do Some Cars Cost More in Repairs?

Some cars cost more in repairs than others. The average cost of car maintenance and vehicle repair costs ranges from a few dollars to thousands. The prices of car repairs can be affected by various factors, including the vehicle make and model and its age. We’ll explore why some cars cost more than others to maintain and repair.

New vs. Old Car Repair Costs

Repairing an older car is often cheaper than repairing or buying a new one due to the advanced technology and greater complexity of modern vehicles. For example, automobiles in recent years have been made with more sophisticated components and systems, such as sophisticated sensors, turbochargers, and advanced computer systems, making them more expensive to repair after a crash, damage, or mechanical breakdown. Many of these components are unavailable in older models, or replacing them is often too expensive. Additionally, the cost of labor for a mechanic with specialized knowledge and tools to diagnose and repair a modern car is typically higher than that of an older model due to the complexity of the components and systems.

Standard vs. Luxury Car Repair Costs

Besides being more expensive to purchase outright, luxury car maintenance costs, as well as repair costs, are also higher. Luxury cars generally require more frequent oil changes, brake work, and other routine maintenance procedures, and they tend to use higher-quality parts which can be more expensive than standard parts. Also, luxury cars may need more specialized repairs and more costly diagnostics than traditional vehicles, making them more expensive to maintain and repair. However, some luxury car models last longer than their standard counterparts and experience slower depreciation, meaning they can maintain a better resale value over time.

Endurance Warranty Can Save on Car Repair Costs

Car repair costs can be expensive, especially if left untreated. Proper car maintenance can often resolve a problem before it becomes severe. However, car repairs are an inevitable part of car ownership, regardless of how well you maintain your vehicle. A factory warranty, extended warranty, or an auto protection plan from Endurance Warranty can help you save money on car repair costs.

Endurance Warranty a wide selection of customizable vehicle protection plans with flexible payment options, even for vehicles often excluded from extended warranties offered by automakers. Drivers with high-end luxury vehicles and those with older cars with high mileage have found coverage plans to suit their needs and budget. You can find a vehicle service contract (VSC) to protect your car, no matter what type of vehicle it is. Endurance covers Canadian grey market vehicles, hybrid, four-wheel drive, supercharged, salvage/rebuilt titles, commercial use, and more. Every plan is also backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee if you change your mind.

Every plan also comes with a suite of additional perks, at no extra cost, including 24/7 roadside assistance and towing, trip interruption coverage, and rental car reimbursement. In addition, endurance customers enjoy exclusive use of the Endurance Mobile app, which allows you to use your benefits and schedule service with your preferred ASE Certified mechanic, repair shop, or auto dealership. Save even more by activating the Endurance Elite benefits. With a small $20 activation fee, you’ll enjoy a full year of free Elite Benefits, which include tire repairs or replacements, key fob replacements, collision discounts, and more.

Be ready for an unexpected breakdown before it happens. Contact (800) 253-8203 for a FREE quote or shop online for an auto protection plan that suits your needs and budget. Check out the Endurance blog for answers to your frequently asked questions about car repair costs, to find answers to questions like average car maintenance prices per month, the differences in upkeep (for Kia, Range Rover, BMW, Nissan, etc.), and other helpful articles.

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