Most costly vehicle repairs

Understanding the most common types of vehicle repairs and what they cost will help you look out for and potentially avoid them.

Over time, your vehicle will need to have repairs done to it. Vehicle repairs are inevitable, as car components wear out and break over time and they’ll need to be fixed or replaced. This is especially true if you have an older vehicle.

Whatever the issue that affects our car, the first question we almost always ask is ‘how much is it going to cost’ – even if it’s just a ballpark. Be mindful though that costs will vary depending on your vehicle’s make and model. To help guide you through some vehicle repair costs, here are some common vehicle repairs and roughly what you can expect.

Fuel pump

As its name suggests, the fuel pump sends fuel from the petrol tank to the engine. When this component stops working, your vehicle won’t be getting any fuel to the engine, which understandably will cause immediate problems. The cost to replace the fuel pump depends on whether it’s an external fuel pump or an in-tank fuel pump. The former will be cheaper, but you’re looking at upwards of $500.

Air conditioning compressor

Your car’s air compressor separates high and low-pressure air to cool down your vehicle and engine and it’s pretty much a must-have as we go into the warmer months. Over time, air conditioners can lose their efficacy, so you need to be mindful that the compressor might need to be replaced.

In terms of cost, you could be looking at between $450 to $1,700, depending on your vehicle’s make and model.

Vehicle’s transmission

If your vehicle has a major transmission problem, it can completely stop your car in its tracks, as the vehicle’s transmission is a key component in moving your vehicle with ease. It’s a complex system of mechanical gears and components that control the flow of power from your vehicle’s engine to the drive shaft.

If your transmission stops working, you may encounter issues such as a burned-out clutch or broken gears inside the transmission box. While these can be repaired, it might make sense sometimes to save on costs and replace them altogether.

Wear and tear occurs especially within your vehicle’s transmission because of the friction and heat generated by the moving parts engaging with each other. Keep an eye out for warning signs such as gears slipping, the feeling that your clutch seems to drag, a burning smell coming from the engine, or a humming sound when you stop your vehicle.

In terms of costs, you’re looking at between $4,000 and $5,000, depending on the severity of the issue.

Car cylinder

A car cylinder is the power unit of the engine and most cars have four, six, or eight of them. This is where fuel is burned and converted into mechanical energy that powers your vehicle. If one or more of your cylinders isn’t working efficiently, your engine may overheat, leak, or misfire. These problems can be detected by smell, smoke, or visible leaks.

If you’ve been neglecting your vehicle or ignoring the warning signs, you may need to get the damaged cylinder/s looked at by a mechanic. A major issue could cost around $1,200 to $3,500 to fix, but the sooner you get it looked at and fixed, the less expensive it’s going to be overall.

Vehicle suspension

You might not think much about your vehicle’s suspension, but it’s a critical component that keeps you and your vehicle comfortable as it bounces over dips and bumps in the road. A vehicle suspension comprises shock absorbers, struts, springs, tie rods, and control arms.

While suspension repairs and replacements are reasonably straightforward to do, they nevertheless require time and expertise. If the suspension parts have been wearing at the same rate, replacing one can upset the balance of the others, which can result in the suspension not performing properly. Most mechanics will advise that you replace the entire suspension system at the same time, which could be costly.

The cost of replacing a suspension system could be anywhere from $3,500, so make sure you check in with your garage if you think something’s not right.


While strictly not a repair, your cambelt (also known as a timing belt) is one of the most important maintenance items in your car. It connects the crankshaft to the camshaft/s, allowing the engine valves to open and close at the correct intervals. Your cambelt doesn’t last forever and failing to replace it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations can result in very expensive engine repairs.

Vehicle engine

No one wants to hear the words ‘major engine damage’ when their vehicle is at the mechanic, but it helps to prepare mentally for the possibility this may happen one day. Without a working engine, your car will not be drivable.

While engines are meant to last the lifetime of the car, they can still wear out. Mechanics will need to remove the entire engine to replace the cylinders if that’s the problem. If it isn’t, they may need to replace the entire engine, which can cost upwards of $7,500 depending on the make and model. Sometimes, it might make better financial sense to trade in your car for a newer vehicle instead.

Are you insured?

Mechanical breakdowns happen when you least expect them to. So, it pays to be prepared. Protect your car and wallet from expensive repair costs with Autolife’s Mechanical Breakdown Insurance. It covers mechanical faults and repairs such as steering problems, engine repairs, battery replacements, or auto-electrical issues. You’ll also have access to 24-hour roadside assistance and a free WOF inspection.

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