Car Care

3 Costly Car Repair Mistakes & How To Avoid Them

repair and maintenance costs

By: Rob Daniels FIXD Mechanic

Your vehicle is one of the most important assets you own. So, if you’re anything like those of us at FIXD, you want to make that investment last. I’ve been a mechanic for over 20 years, so I’ve seen cars with all sorts of issues in all conditions. 

But if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that taking care of a car doesn’t have to be stressful or terribly time-consuming. By paying attention to a few key things and avoiding these 3 MAJOR car repair mistakes, you can easily keep your car on the road and more money in your pocket.

So, without further ado, here are the top 3 car repair mistakes which have cost my clients more than $6200… and how YOU can avoid them!

Mistake #1 Ignoring The Light

Could Cost You: $4570.20

One of the ways we know something’s going on with our car is the warning light. This system is specifically set up to alert us when there’s an issue (big or small).

The problem could be as simple as a loose gas cap (fingers crossed) to a sensor picking up an issue that can lead to catastrophic engine failure. 

Unfortunately, many drivers overlook the light as an inconvenience until something really goes wrong. This mistake can easily turn a $1000 problem into a $4000 one.

Take one of my clients Jeremy, for example.

Jeremy ignored the check engine light in his 2006 VW Passat for several days until one day on the way to work, it started running rough then completely stopped. It wouldn’t restart and Jeremy had to call a tow truck.

The worst part? This mistake cost 4x what it should’ve!

You see, by ignoring his check engine light, Jeremy’s timing belt (which was overdue for routine service and stretched beyond normal limits) skipped time and caused internal engine failure in his Passat.

Sound serious? It is.

The typical cost for timing belt water pump replacement, including parts and labor is $1070.68. This is a maintenance item that should be performed every 80k-100k miles.

Instead, Jeremy ended up having to get his entire cylinder head replaced due to the damage caused by the engine skipping time. 

This cost him $4570.20, almost 4X what it should have if he’d paid attention to the light and gotten his timing belt serviced on time.

Which brings us to costly mistake #2…

Mistake #2 Neglecting Critical Maintenance 

Could Cost You: $635.95+

In my 20 years as a mechanic, I’ve found one of the most common mistakes people make is putting off their oil changes.

Why is this so bad?

Think of the oil and filter as the lifeblood of your engine. Your car needs oil and proper oil pressure for lubrication and performance adjustments made while you’re driving. In other words, it keeps things running smoothly.

By following your factory recommended maintenance intervals, you can extend the life of your vehicle and save $100s in preventable damage!

My client David is the perfect example of this.

His 2012 Honda Accord was overdue for an oil change and left him stranded with a check engine light. He managed to limp to a repair shop where they found pretty extensive damage…

Old, contaminated oil had started to sludge up and clog the screens, causing engine failure and requiring a full flush.

Here’s what an oil change for his 2012 Honda Accord should’ve cost: $83.70

Here’s what David ended up paying instead: 

  • Engine flush 
  • Oil change
  • Replacement of variable timing solenoid
  • Parts & labor
  • TOTAL: $635.95

Mistake #3: Going Into The Repair Shop Blind

Could Cost You: $1000+

As a mechanic, I can tell you that there are good shops and bad shops out there, just like anything else.

Along with knowing how to choose a good mechanic, the simplest, easiest way to protect yourself against “sketchy” shops is to walk in prepared, with accurate, detailed information about your vehicle’s engine code.

Gwen found this out firsthand when she got a check engine light and her long-time family mechanic tried to rip her off.

Fortunately for Gwen, she had FIXD and was able to walk into the repair shop with a crystal-clear picture of what was going on with her vehicle.

When her mechanic was about to charge her over $1000 for a simple fix she could plainly see with this device, she was able to avoid the charges and find a new mechanic.

With cars having so many computerized parts these days, I always recommend car owners get a tool like this that can tell them what’s wrong and how bad the problem is when the check engine light comes on.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to do this with one simple device…

How To Avoid These Car Repair Mistakes

The FIXD Sensor can diagnose over 7,000 car problems in seconds, right on your smartphone.

As a mechanic with decades of experience using OBD2 sensors, I love this device because it’s easy for anyone to use (not just gear-heads like me).

With a quick scan on your smartphone, you can instantly see what your check engine light means, how severe the issue is, and a list of possible fixes. 

This is much more accurate and more detailed than what you’d get from a typical OBD2 reader at the same price point.

Plus, it works with all gas-powered vehicles made in 1996 or newer and only takes about 10 seconds to install (no professional tools needed).

But FIXD is so much more than a car code reader…

Instantly decode your check engine light

Forget stressing over that little light.

The FIXD Sensor instantly tells you what’s going on as soon as you see a check engine light. And it doesn’t use complicated jargon you’d have to be a mechanic to understand.

It tells you what’s wrong in PLAIN ENGLISH right on your phone, and it does a much better job than the Internet could do. In fact, I’ve found that my clients love the level of detail and education it provides them about their vehicle within a matter of seconds.

This sensor even tells you how severe your warning light is, so you’ll know whether or not it’s safe to keep driving!

Plus, if it’s something simple like a loose gas cap, you can clear the light right from the app on your phone (also helpful for detecting false errors).

My favorite part? 

The FIXD Sensor also keeps you up to date on important maintenance so you can avoid expensive damage!

Get alerts about important maintenance – like oil changes

By now you know it’s important to keep up with factory recommended maintenance intervals, but depending on your make and model, sometimes it’s hard to know when to do what.

The FIXD Sensor is really handy to have around because it automatically keeps track of routine maintenance for you, so you can focus on more important things while ensuring your vehicle gets the care it needs.

It warns you when it’s time for an oil change…

And it can tell you when it’s time for a new battery, wipers, tires, and more! There’s a lot to keep track of, but FIXD truly makes it easy.

Save money and never get blindsided by repairs

Some surprises are fun. Getting slapped with a $1500 repair bill you weren’t expecting isn’t. 

With the FIXD Sensor, you’re going to know what’s going on with your car (and how serious the problem is) before you walk into the repair shop.

Right away, you’ll know if you’re at a “good” shop or if you should turn around and walk out.

And by the way, if you’re looking for a trusted local repair shop… FIXD will help guide you to a well-reviewed, RepairPal Certified mechanic near you.

I can personally attest that this device has saved my clients thousands of dollars and prevented a TON of headaches.

I give this device 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and would recommend it to anyone who wants to feel more confident and in control when it comes to car repairs. Click here to learn more about FIXD!


Wife, mom, Content Manager & Senior Copywriter at FIXD. From the garage to the gym, I love helping people learn and grow. Dream car: ‘69 Acapulco Blue Mustang.

Kate McKnight
Wife, mom, Content Manager & Senior Copywriter at FIXD. From the garage to the gym, I love helping people learn and grow. Dream car: ‘69 Acapulco Blue Mustang.

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    1. dose it work on 2002 cars

      1. Hi Yaw, great question! FIXD works on gas-powered vehicles built after 1996 and diesels built after 2008. To check your vehicle’s compatibility, visit our site:

    2. My car is 2001 Lincoln car.Last March some one hit me from behind,I need to show my car for repair. Please guide me

    3. I basically go to my mechanic, and have major problems with the check light engine everyday,I watch on my Bluetooth connected, about repair shop ripping off customers thousands of dollars in car repairs.

    4. Enjoy your email always something to learn

      1. We appreciate hearing that, Chyral! Thank you for your lovely feedback. 🙂 Happy and safe driving!

        1. I enjoy the security of having the FIXD. I keep it in my glove compartment all the time. Thanks for your tips.

          1. Thank you so much for the kind words and using FIXD, Frances! 🙂

    5. Thank you! Excellent advice for car owners!

      1. Thank you so much for the kind words, Diosdado. We appreciate you! 🙂

    6. I have been using FIXD for a couple of years now. I have A 2008 Toyota Avalon with 160,000 Miles now and counting. I have had no lights on yet but have used FIXD on about 5 more vehicles in that time period and have them stored on the tool. It’s a wonderful Tool to have,thanks.

      1. Thank you so much for the kind words and using FIXD, Darryl! We appreciate your comment and your continued support. 🙂

    7. I just hooked my FIXD device into my car. I love it now I can go back with confidence and let them know what they need to check. Thank you so very much.

      1. That makes us so happy to hear, Zina. 🙂 That is exactly what we made FIXD for! Thank you so much for using FIXD and stopping by.

    8. I love your examples! The more info the better! Thanks for your care and concern!

      1. Thank you for taking the time to read our post, Lori! We appreciate you. 🙂

    9. Amazing information. I’ve got no idea about cars but was well informed after this. thanks!

    10. […] maintenance plan will keep your vehicle in the best shape and save you money in the long run. Taking care of the minor fixes as soon as possible costs you a little in the short term; however, it will prevent more […]

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