Top 10 most expensive and affordable cars to repair

What are the most expensive car parts to replace?

Our survey of motorists who had recently taken their vehicle for a service found that 58% had to pay for repairs they weren’t expecting, while 73% claimed they were wary of being ripped off – which is natural when you don’t know much about car parts and maintenance. To help with that, let’s go over some of the most expensive car parts and what they will likely cost you.

Car Cylinder

A broken cylinder is a hallmark of continued neglect and ignoring previous warning signs like multiple misfires. But if you get regular services then you should never end up with cylinder failure. Scheduled maintenance ensures you won’t end up with an $8,000 (or greater) mechanic’s bill for repairing a cylinder.

Hybrid Car Parts & Inverter Replacement

That’s right, the expenses for hybrid cars don’t stop once you fork out the cash to buy them. Parts aren’t readily available so they’re expensive, and you’ll have to wait for the part to be shipped in. One problem that is hard to detect is inverter failure, since the only warning sign is the “check engine” light. It doesn’t often happen, but when it does, a replacement costs between $4,000 and $7,000 depending on the car model.

Electric Car Lithium Ion Battery

Lithium ion battery companies have experienced a b

Lithium ion battery companies have experienced a boom since 2015, as Tesla and other electric car manufacturers ramped up their production. As technology develops, these batteries will get cheaper and cheaper, but for now they are very expensive.

  • A lot of batteries cost around $150 per kWh and can easily skyrocket from there.

Considering a Tesla Model S is equipped with an 85kWh battery, a replacement can be eye-wateringly expensive. The good news though is that lithium ion batteries are reliable, and costs are likely to fall dramatically by the time you will need a replacement. Companies such as Tesla also come with fairly generous battery warranties and may replace at no charge.

Transmission Replacement

It’s unfortunate that transmission is one of the most important parts of your car, because it’s expensive to repair or replace. According to Auto Service Online, automatic transmission failures are often caused by fluid problems nine times out of 10. Transmission fluid doesn’t need to get changed as frequently as oil, so lots of car owners forget about it if they’re not getting regular services. You can also wear out the transmission in a manual by riding or dumping the clutch with hard gear changes – revheads be warned!

  • Transmission repairs can cost around $1,000 to $2,000 and a replacement for the whole assembly costs up to $4,000.

Unfortunately, due to the labour-intensiveness that goes into reconditioning a transmission, repair can also often be as expensive as replacing it entirely.

Engine Block

A blown engine is about the worst news that your a

A blown engine is about the worst news that your average car owner is likely to receive. Normal engine issues are the most common car problem reported to mechanics. But a ‘blown motor’ means the engine has suffered so much internal damage that it needs extensive repair or a full replacement.

  • An engine replacement can cost between $1,000 and $4,000 depending on the type of engine.

At this point, if your car is an older model it can often be more reasonable to sell or scrap rather than go down the rabbit hole of replacing the engine.

Camshaft Replacement

The camshaft controls how your engine takes in air. It generally won’t break unless you neglect your servicing and oil changes and let grime and dirt build up on the valves.

  • A replacement camshaft is highly labour-intensive, so it can cost between $1,500 and $3,000.

Often, electrical components supporting the camshaft could also be the culprit. A camshaft position sensor can often wear out on older cars. This can be a fairly straightforward DIY job and if taken to the mechanics can be a cheaper option than a whole replacement.

Head Gasket

The head gasket is vital because it seals the engine cylinders and stops coolant and oil from leaking. When the head gasket blows, it takes a lot of stuff out with it.

  • The gasket itself is cheap enough, but the labour is hard work. Repairs can cost around $1,000 to $2,000.

You’re looking at an overheated engine, leaking coolant and oil, and white smoke from the exhaust if repairs aren’t undertaken. Certain models of cars are more prone to this than others, so it pays to do your research.

Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor Replacement

The mass air flow (MAF) sensor measures the amount of air sent to the engine and decides how much fuel to send to the engine in response. Failure of the sensor typically means that regular upkeep wasn’t undertaken on air filters and other components.

  • Replacement air filters cost around $25. Replacement MAF sensors can cost around $400.

Symptoms of a bad MAF sensor include the engine being hard to turn over, hesitation or jerking during the acceleration and a lean or rich mixture at idle. Rich mixtures consume more fuel, while lean mixtures can burn more oil. There is arguably nothing catastrophic about a rich mixture, except that it can worsen fuel economy and produce a pungent fuel smell.

Car Key Replacement

Remember the days when a copy of your car key woul

Remember the days when a copy of your car key would cost you $10 from the Mister Minit or the locksmith? Those glory days are over.

  • A replacement electric car key has to be ordered, cut and coded, and it can cost anything from $250 to $750.

And if you’ve lost all the keys to your car, then you need to create and code an entirely new set of keys and have the entire car computer reset to match.

  • This can cost around $2,000 to $5,000 and can usually only be done at a dealership, instead of a third party.

Perhaps the highest cost is that you’ll have to spend time off the road while you wait for it all to get done and deal with the frantic search of having lost your car keys. Used cars may be missing multiple sets of keys, so it pays to look for an example that comes with all its original keys so you’re not out of pocket.

Air Conditioning Compressor Replacement

The air compressor is what separates high & low-pressure air for cooling down your car and engine. In Australia, air conditioning is pretty much a must-have and may even need to be used year-round in the warmer climates.

  • A compressor replacement costs around $200 to $600 depending on your car model. If you also need Freon charging, that costs another $100.

Over time, air conditioners can gradually lose their efficacy and a regas may be needed. Luckily this can be done for about $100. Replacing the cabin air filter can also yield benefits. This part can be purchased from parts retailers for around $30.

An honourable mention… Timing Belt Replacement

An honourable mention goes to the seemingly innocent timing belt. Many car manufacturers require this unit to be replaced every 100,000km, and can cost anywhere from a couple hundred up to a couple thousand for luxury cars for both parts & labour. Though failures in their expected lifetime are rare, the importance of proper maintenance is critical here.

  • A useful thing to identify is if your car has an interference or non-interference timing belt. Interference belts mean that if it snaps, you can wave goodbye to many other components in your car.

In this case, it’s going to cost a lot more than to just replace the timing belt. Often an entire engine overhaul is necessary. Scheduled replacement of the timing belt can save you a lot of heartache in the long run.

  • Also consider if your car has a timing chain. Timing chains don’t need to be replaced every set amount of kilometres like belts do, but they can stretch over time. Stretched timing chains can lead to engine misfires, metal shards in the oil and engine rattles.

No matter if you have a timing belt or chain, it pays for a mechanic to have a look over it within the designated service schedule, usually 100,000km. Paying the few hundred for the service in the short term could save you thousands in the long term.


6. Camshaft

Cost: $1,500-$3,000

Your camshaft handles how much air your engine is taking in. Over time, it can become clogged with debris and dirt. If you’re not performing regular oil changes and cleaning the valves, it’ll break.

The high cost of replacing it comes from the fact that it needs a lot of labor. But it’s easy to avoid, so long as you’re doing your tune-ups and oil changes. And if you notice the ‘check engine’ light come on, get it checked out asap in case it is your camshaft.

So who can I talk to find out this sort of information?

The manufacturer’s customer service department should be a helpful contact and your local dealer. Even better speak to your local garage. If you have a good relationship with them and they want your repeat business they will tell you honestly which models give them the least amount of trouble.

Endurance is the Nation’s Premier Extended Coverage Provider

Endurance was founded to save vehicle owners on the cost of car repairs due to vehicle breakdowns.

We are more than familiar with the cost of these repairs and how often they occur. Even the smallest repair can end up costing a driver hundreds or thousands of dollars. And as time goes on that the cost of repairs is only going up, with parts for your vehicles becoming harder to find and more expensive to make.

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

Endurance can provide all vehicle owners with:

  • Affordable payment options for any budget.
  • Award-winning customer service.
  • Your choice of a licensed mechanic.
  • Claims 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 the absolute longest coverage terms.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to protect your vehicle from expensive repairs like the nine we have listed above. And believe us, those only represent the tip of the iceberg. Rather than waiting for a pricey repair, protect your car AND your wallet with Endurance!

*A Vehicle Service Contract (VSC) is often referred to as an “extended auto warranty”, but is not a warranty.  A VSC does, however, provide repair coverage for your vehicle after the manufacturer’s warranty expires. A VSC is a contract between you and an administrator that states what’s a covered repair and what’s not. Endurance is an administrator of VSCs and does not sell warranties.*

4. Airbags

Cost: $2,500-$4,000

If your airbags deploy for whatever reason, they’ll need replacing. And this is expensive. You might even have to replace the steering wheel and glove box depending on the airbag design.

If your airbags have deployed, it’s likely you’ve been in an accident so it will be the last thing on your mind. But if they deploy by accident, it’s important to bear in the mind the cost. You could be looking at up to $4,000 to get your front seats back in working order.

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Final Words

Cars come with outstanding features and technologies that allow a smooth ride. Nevertheless, vehicles are bound to develop some faults once in a while, which would require a quick repair.

These repairs vary, with some having a higher cost than the others. Thus, it would be best to learn about the most expensive car repairs, as this can help you make a reasonable budget for such repairs when the need arises.

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