1. Year
2. Make
3. Model
4. Trim
5. Fuel Type

Great news! FIXD is compatible with your vehicle.


Unfortunately, FIXD is not guaranteed to be compatible with your vehicle.


FIXD logo

3 Costly Car Repair Mistakes & How To Avoid Them

repair and maintenance costs

Save $1000s on car repairs

Save $1000s on car repairs with FIXD

Translate 7,000+ check engine codes into plain English
Fix your car yourself with help from our certified mechanics
Live OBD2 data
Automated maintenance alerts

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 so you can save money and stay on the road longer.

The good news is that taking care of your car doesn’t have to be stressful or time-consuming. By paying attention to a few key things and avoiding these 3 major car repair mistakes, you can keep your car running smoothly and keep more money in your pocket.

Here are the top 3 car repair mistakes that could cost you more than $6200 and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1 Ignoring The Light

Check engine light on, car trouble, engine failure, visit to repair shop. 3d illustration

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 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 

Oil Change

Could Cost You: $635.95+

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!

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

Auto mechanic showing a broken air conditioning compressor close up.

Could Cost You: $1000+

Not every mechanic is a rip-off artist, but tere 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).

The best 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.

Ready to feel confident about car care? Click here to learn more about FIXD!


FIXD Research Team

At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.

We’re here to help you simplify car care and save, so this post may contain affiliate links to help you do just that. If you click on a link and take action, we may earn a commission. However, the analysis and opinions expressed are our own.

Want to save money with DIY repairs? We've got you covered.

Get expert-level DIY help from our certified mechanics
Read and clear your check engine yourself
Measure fuel trims, oxygen sensor voltage, and more to make DIY repairs easier
Never miss an oil change with maintenance alerts


About the Author

FIXD Research Team

FIXD Research Team

At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.

You might also like

Explore Car Resources

car insurance icons

Car Insurance

Find the best insurance deals for your car

Car Buying

Everything you need to know about buying a vehicle

FIXD Team logo

Car Care

Car repair costs, how-to guides, and more

car buying icons

Vehicle Search

Search any make/model for reviews, parts and more