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The 9 Most Expensive and Common Car Repairs

BY: Alex Perrone
Mechanic discussing expensive car repairs with her manager

We have all felt it at one time or another, the sinking and uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach when you are aware that something isn’t quite right with your vehicle. And worse yet, you will need to pay someone to repair it. At Endurance, we understand what it takes to keep your car running. If you own a vehicle with more than a few years and miles on the odometer, chances are that the factory warranty has expired (or will soon). Beyond that pesky feeling in the back of your head that someday, something will go catastrophically wrong, you also have to pay for the car repair costs directly out of pocket.

For more than 15 years, Endurance has been a leading provider of vehicle service contracts, commonly referred to as extended auto warranties. This kind of coverage protects vehicle owners from even the most expensive repairs from a breakdown. Few things can blow your budget faster compared to a car repair.

It is more than just a matter of getting one or more items replaced or fixed when you own a car. Regardless of the make and model of your vehicle, repairs can be quite expensive. In fact, they could set you back a couple hundred dollars, if not more. In addition, keep in mind that some vehicle repairs are pricier than others. It’s worth mentioning that no car or vehicle is immune from a costly fix – from the most durable and reliable makes like Honda to the most exotic, unique, old, and new cars. Regardless, it is always good to know a ballpark amount.

In this article, we review the most expensive auto repairs, including:

  • Clutch assembly replacement
  • Engine control module
  • Alternator replacement
  • Fuel injector replacement
  • Head gasket replacement
  • Timing belt replacement
  • Radiator replacement
  • Starter replacement
  • Water pump replacement

We ranked them from most expensive to least expensive to make things easier.

1. Clutch Assembly Replacement

Mechanical vehicle clutches can be any number of different devices and are the most expensive car repair on our list. These clutches engage and disengage two moving components of a shaft or of a driving mechanism and a shaft. As you can expect, clutches wear out gradually, and you often have plenty of warning signs before they require replacement.

Moreover, although you may save a few bucks by doing all the work on your own, always remember that changing or replacing the clutch on your front-wheel drive vehicle could be a real pain without a lift.

The cost of replacement is in the range of $1,274 and $1,450.

2. Engine Control Module Replacement

This is another critical part. The ECM tends to control the intersection of your car engine’s essential ingredients in order to make energy – air, fuel, and spark. The ECM of your car accomplishes its substantial chore by continually monitoring an extensive network of precision sensors around your car in order to ensure conditions are well within standard operating range.

Your car’s ECM is not just a little black box with a few transistors and a complex circuit board. Actually, a new ECM would cost you nearly as much as a top-notch laptop. In addition, you cannot save much if you fit it on your own. The computer often suffers damage if someone jump starts a car improperly or shorts out something when installing a new stereo.

The replacement costs are in the range of $963 and $1,039.

Disassembled car

3. Alternator Replacement

Even though an alternator is usually one of those components, which you may take for granted, it does wear out. In addition, keep in mind that when the car’s alternator dies, your car’s whole electrical system will die too.

Keep in mind that according to estimates, you will have to replace them every 50,000 miles to about 100,000 miles; however, it will not last forever. As the alternator is expensive, you will not be able to save much if you fit it yourself.

The cost of replacement is in the range of $610 and $795.

4. Fuel Injector Replacement

A fuel injector is an electronically controlled device that sprays (or injects) the proper quantity of fuel into your engine. This helps create a suitable fuel and air mixture for optimal combustion.

Injectors have to provide the right quantity of fuel, but that is not all. They also have to disperse fuel at just the right pressure, angle, and spray pattern. Although fuel injectors are fantastic, you will not like them in case they go bad, as they are quite expensive.

The cost of replacement is in the range of $634 and $759.

5. Head Gasket Replacement

The head gasket in a vehicle has a very important job; it helps seal the engine cylinders and, thereby, keeps oil and coolant from leaking. Therefore, it is important to maintain the seal on the head gasket. Any failure to do so could lead to overheating and further damage to your engine.

Although a head gasket itself is not expensive, keep in mind that repairing a broken head gasket is usually laborious and often requires a professional.

The replacement costs can vary from $1,853 and $2,149.

6. Timing Belt Replacement

Keep in mind that you have to replace the timing belts regularly. Timing belts are vulnerable to wear and tear because of excessive use. While replacing the timing belt in itself is not too costly, if you do not do it, it could cost you plenty of money down the line.

Also, note that if a worn or damaged timing belt splits, it could cause severe damage to pistons, valves, camshaft, and connecting rods, among others.

It can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars to replace all of these damaged car parts as well as a lot of time.

The cost of replacement can vary from $598 and $773.

car-wireframe-x-ray-breakdown

7. Radiator Replacement

Although a radiator can work well for years without any problems, it could fail easily if your vehicle gets front-end damage. This can also happen if you ignore using a good antifreeze mix when you’re filling them up.

Remember that antifreeze has corrosion inhibitors that will keep frozen water from expanding and seriously damaging the radiator. Note that if your vehicle is losing coolant on a regular basis, you should not assume the radiator is the culprit, as there are many other hoses as well as joints that could leak as well.

In addition, those are simpler, much cheaper repairs. As a result, make sure that it is your radiator that has gone bad before you purchase a new one.

The cost of replacement is in the range of $1,020 and $1,172.

8. Starter Replacement

There is nothing worse than the horrible and annoying moment when you turn your ignition key only to get a feeble whirr, a few clonks or ticks from under the car’s hood, and a long period of silence.

In case you are lucky, it may be just your battery, which is usually a cheap and easy fix. On the other hand, if you are not very lucky, it may be the car’s starter motor.

In most cases, starters will go for several years without any problems or issues, but sometimes, they just do not.

The cost of replacement can vary from $426 and $581.

9. Water Pump Replacement

Although this is a rather small part, it is vital for your vehicle’s cooling system. It can last 50,000 miles, or it may last 100,000 (if you are lucky). Sometimes, it never fails. However, the coolant will not pump through your radiator and engine when it fails. Moreover, it is likely that they will soon become hot and angry, and so will you while you push the car to your nearest repair shop.

Keep in mind that water pump failures could happen on their own. That said, you could improve your odds if you keep the coolant system in good shape and top it off regularly with an excellent antifreeze mix.

The cost of replacement can vary from $744 and $884.

How an Extended Auto Warranty Can Help Save on Car Repairs

Mechanical auto parts can wear out or fail on their own in new and used cars. Parts can also fail prematurely due to poor maintenance. This is why it is important to read the manuals, use the proper coolants, oils, and fluids, and pay special attention to the car’s recommended service intervals. In addition, there is also the added safety net that comes with the protection of a vehicle service contract.

If you follow your routine maintenance while under the extended protection of a vehicle service contract, the costs for the above big-ticket repairs will be greatly reduced. Using the Endurance Mobile app, you can also benefit from roadside assistance at your fingertips. Endurance works with all ASE Certified repair facilities in the United States or Canada so you never need to restrict yourself to the dealership where you purchased your vehicle and pay a premium on repairs.

Endurance is the Nation’s Premier Extended Coverage Provider

Endurance was founded to save car, truck, and SUV owners on the cost of car repairs due to vehicle breakdowns. We are familiar with the cost of these repairs and how often they occur. Even the smallest repair can cost a driver hundreds or thousands of dollars. And, as time goes on, the cost of repairs increases and parts for your vehicles can become harder to find and more expensive to make.

Endurance isn’t just there to save you on auto repairs, we are your full automotive resource and offer car owners an array of benefits that can give you total peace of mind behind the wheel.

Endurance provides all new customers with:

  • Affordable payment options for any budget
  • Award-winning customer service
  • Your choice of any licensed mechanic
  • Claims are paid directly to the repair centers
  • A risk-free 30-day trial period with a money-back guarantee

Endurance is a direct provider of vehicle service contracts, and we can offer drivers affordable plans with competitive rates for many different coverage terms. Choose one of our comprehensive coverage plans or personalize your own based on your needs and budget, whether you own a Ford, Chrysler, or BMW.

Don’t wait until your check engine light comes on to protect your vehicle from expensive repairs. Call (800) 253-8203 for a free quote, or shop online for a plan today!

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