No matter what type of vehicle you own, you’ll experience car problems after some time. When your car starts showing signs of trouble, you should have it inspected and repaired as soon as possible. Allowing the issue to persist may lead to a major problem that can be complicated and expensive to fix. Car repairs are one of the main expenses of a car owner, so it’s essential to know how much they cost and how to budget for them. Check out this helpful guide to find out how much you need to pay for car repairs.
What Is the Average Cost of Car Repairs?
On average, a car repair costs $195 to $1,986, depending on whether you decide to do the job yourself or leave it to a mechanic. Note that this price range is based on national averages and doesn’t take into account your vehicle make and model, taxes, and other factors that can affect the final cost. For a more accurate estimate based on your make, model, and location, use the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.
Should You Do Car Repairs Yourself or Go to a Mechanic?
If you have substantial expertise and experience in repairing vehicles, you can save money by taking matters into your own hands. Doing repairs yourself means that you only need to pay for replacement parts, which can significantly reduce your costs. The average cost of parts varies from $195 to $596.
Nonetheless, you should know that some types of car repairs require a high level of expertise, professional equipment, or a lot of time and effort. In this case, it may be better to take your vehicle to a mechanic. If you make a mistake while performing a repair, you can cause further damage to your car or even void your manufacturer’s warranty.
Having your vehicle repaired at an auto repair shop can cost you anywhere from $652 to $1,986. This is because you need to pay labor costs, which range from $457 to $1,390. The average labor rate for car repairs is $75 to $130 per hour. So, your repair bill can add up quickly if you need a major repair that takes a long time. On average, the time needed to repair a car is about 12 days.
While it’s a costlier option, taking your vehicle to a mechanic gives you the peace of mind that the repair job will be properly done. However, you have to make sure you choose a reputable auto repair facility.
What Are the Most Common Car Repairs?
Your vehicle is a complex system that comprises numerous mechanical parts that work together to keep it running smoothly. If any of these components isn’t working it should, it can undermine the operability or performance of your car. While a car can malfunction in many different ways, some problems tend to happen more frequently than others. Below is a list of the most common car repairs:
- Oxygen sensor replacement: The oxygen sensor of your vehicle monitors the levels of unburned oxygen in the exhaust system. Upon receiving this information, your car’s computer system will make adjustments to the air-to-fuel ratio to improve performance. The average cost of replacing an oxygen sensor is about $258.
- Catalytic converter replacement: The catalytic converter manages your vehicle’s emission control system to ensure that it meets the emission standards of your state. It costs approximately $1,190 to get a new catalytic converter.
- Ignition coil replacement: The ignition coils of your vehicle are responsible for notifying the spark plugs when to fire. They play a vital role in starting your car, but they can wear out after some time. You can expect to pay about $243 for an ignition coil replacement.
- Spark plug replacement: Spark plugs need to be replaced from time to time. If they aren’t in good shape, they can cause starting problems or damage to your expensive catalytic converter. On average, replacing your spark plugs and spark plug wires will set you back around $341.
- Fuel cap tightening or replacement: A loose, damaged, or missing fuel cap can be the culprit behind an illuminated check engine light. Additionally, it can also make your vehicle less fuel-efficient. Fortunately, this is a quick and easy fix that should only cost you roughly $16.
What to Expect When You Take Your Car to an Auto Repair Shop
Car repair costs can vary greatly depending on what type of repair you need and how long it takes to complete the job. However, most auto repair shops use the same methods to calculate repair costs. The following are the different types of pricing to expect when you have your vehicle repaired at an auto shop:
- Diagnostic pricing: If the auto repair shop isn’t sure what kind of repair your vehicle needs, they’ll most likely perform a diagnostic test, which will cost you extra. Usually, the initial diagnostic fee includes a set amount of time for researching the issue and certain procedures. If the diagnosis is more complicated and takes longer than expected, you may have to pay more.
- Flat-rate pricing: Once the problem is identified, the auto shop will use flat-rate pricing to come up with a repair estimate. The estimated cost will be calculated based on the average number of hours needed to perform the repair, the shop’s hourly labor rate, and the cost of the replacement part.
- Menu-pricing: Sometimes, an auto repair shop may offer a set rate for a common repair job that includes both parts and labor. Examples of common menu jobs include spark plug, brake pad, and windshield wiper replacements.
The best way to keep your car repair costs low is to stick to your recommended car maintenance schedule. A well-maintained vehicle is less likely to develop problems and need repairs, which can help you save a lot over the long run. You can use the FIXD Sensor and free app to get a custom maintenance schedule based on your vehicle make, model, and mileage. This app also sends automated alerts to your phone so that you’ll never forget important maintenance services such as oil changes, tire rotations, and brake pad replacements. Get FIXD today for stress-free car maintenance.
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.