Tuesday, June 6

6 Most Expensive Car Repairs – Are They Worth It?

No matter how much TLC they get, all cars will eventually need repairs. This is a normal part of car ownership. As they age, parts wear out and will need to be replaced. Unfortunately, this too can happen to vehicles with only a few years under their belt. Improper maintenance, fender benders, and extreme driving conditions like potholes and weather can take their toll on the toughest cars.

Owners of older cars face tough decisions when the cost of repairs can sometimes easily outweigh the value of the vehicle. Sometimes scrapping a car for money is the only way to win the battle against frequent mechanical breakdowns. Here’s a look at some of the most common (and expensive) car repairs.

Air Condtioner Compressor

You may not think much of your car’s air conditioner until it’s not working. For those in cooler climates, it may only be necessary for a few months of the year. But a vehicle’s air conditioner is an essential component for those in locations where it’s hot almost year round.

An air conditioner compressor could last a decade or more, but it’s not uncommon for them to fail earlier than that. Replacement could run you $500 or more. For some older cars, this could be equal to its value.

Catalytic Converter

All vehicles on the road are required to have a catalytic converter. This device converts harmful exhaust chemicals into less toxic ones. It’s located between the engine and the muffler. Although it’s easy enough for a mechanic to access, the part is expensive. Expect to pay in the neighborhood of $1500 to replace it if yours is faulty.

Although catalytic converters can last for a dozen years or more, they are frequently stolen by unscrupulous thieves out looking for a fast buck. If you’ve been the victim of this crime, replacing the necessary part could easily cost more than your car is worth.

Head Gasket

An engine’s head gasket seals the cylinders and keeps oil and coolant contained. Once cracked or worn, the engine will quickly overheat and cause other mechanical issues. The gasket itself is relatively inexpensive. However, it requires a lot of labor to replace and can cost around $2000 to replace. A blown head gasket isn’t a repair that you can put off until later.


It’s fairly common knowledge that not only is a transmission required for a vehicle to operate it’s also known to be a pricey repair. Unfortunately, there isn’t much difference in cost when replacing it with a new one or one that’s been rebuilt. Transmissions are a complex component that’s continually stressed as the miles go by.

Older vehicles with transmission problems are almost always best to sell to a specialized dealer that purchases any vehicle regardless of its condition. Replacing a transmission can easily cost $4000.

Timing Belt

Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, a timing belt should typically last for 100,000 miles. Since older cars usually have many more miles, there will come a time when they’ll need to be replaced. Timing belt replacement is time-consuming, and the garage will hit you hard with labor costs which could run about $600 to $700.

Water Pump

Without a properly working water pump, the engine will overheat, causing even more problems. Although this part can last for 100,000 miles, it can break down at any time. Many older vehicles have water pump problems and the cost of repairs can cost $700 or more. Once the water pump fails, you won’t be able to drive the car, so added to the cost of the repair will be the price of having it towed to a garage.

Expensive Car Repairs Solved

If you’ve had the unfortunate experience of needing a costly repair to your car, one that’ll hit you for more than the vehicle’s value, there’s no need to fret. It doesn’t make any financial sense to pump money into a car for repairs that easily outweigh its resale value. Older cars tend to break down more often and over time can quickly become a hole in the wallet.

Bottom Line

The solution is to junk it to a specialized dealer that purchases older cars regardless of age, mileage, or condition. They’ll give you more money than you probably expected for it, even if yours isn’t running. Don’t throw good money after bad. Sell yours to a dealer who isn’t concerned about pricy repairs.

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