Cars are an expensive investment. Technically, they’re not an investment at all, as they depreciate in value the second you drive them off the lot. Nevertheless, we need a vehicle to get us to and from work, or wherever we please.
Just like anything else, cars will eventually need repairs. Age and poor maintenance can force you to make repairs prematurely – and some of those repairs can break the bank.
These are the top ten most expensive car problems can run into:
10. Mass Air Flow Sensor – $400
A vehicle’s mass air flow sensor measures how much air passes through to the engine and how much fuel to send to the engine.
A faulty mass air flow sensor is usually caused by poor air filter maintenance. In other words, you didn’t replace your filters regularly. And when these sensors go bad, they can cause your check engine light to come on. It’s worth making the effort to change your air filters regularly. An air filter change costs just $25, while a mass air flow sensor replacement can cost you up to $400.
9. Air Conditioner Compressor – $500
When the summer months heat up, having air conditioning is essential. When a car’s A/C goes on the fritz, it’s usually because of a faulty air conditioner compressor.
A vehicle’s air conditioner compressor separates the low and high pressure air, allowing Freon to cool down the car. These compressors have valves and rods that are vulnerable to breakage, which can make the entire unit stop working. Sometimes, other parts, like a bad engine belt, can cause the compressor to malfunction. A faulty air conditioner compressor can cost around $500 to replace. If Freon also needs to be added to a new compressor, the cost can be even higher.
8. Brake Line – $1,000
Brakes are the most important safety feature on a vehicle. Brake replacement can be expensive, but replacing a faulty brake line can be even more costly.
Over time, brake lines can become damaged or disintegrate. Repairs can cost upward of $1,000 or more, depending on the vehicle and the mechanic. In most cases, mechanics will push for you to replace the entire line rather than patch or repair the damaged areas. For safety reasons, it’s best to take the mechanic’s advice and replace the entire line. Otherwise, you’re putting your life and other people’s lives at risk.
7. Catalytic Converter – $1,500
If you live in a state that requires emissions tests, your vehicle must have a catalytic converter. The catalytic converter converts carbon monoxide (a toxic chemical) into carbon dioxide (a less harmful gas). A faulty catalytic converter will cause your check engine light to come on and will prevent you from passing emissions tests. Hooking your car up to a diagnostic tool, like Fixd car diagnostic , will let you know whether a bad catalytic converter is causing your check engine light to come on. While this part is easy to find and replace, it’s still an expensive component. And they can almost never be repaired, so replacement is usually the only option. Expect to spend around $1,500 to replace a bad catalytic converter.
6. Head Gasket – $2,000
It’s hard not to know when a car’s head gasket blows. When it goes, it sprays oil and coolant everywhere. Next, the engine starts overheating, with white smoke billowing out of the engine.
A blown head gasket is one of the messiest car problems because it keeps oil and coolant from leaking everywhere. The good news is that the head gasket part itself is usually inexpensive. The bad news is that mechanics charge a pretty penny to replace it – around $2,000.
5. Camshaft – Up to $3,000
A car’s camshaft controls how the engine takes in air, which makes it an essential component of your vehicle.
Over time, a car’s camshaft can get clogged with debris and dirt. Regular oil changes and valve cleanings can help prevent clogs. But failure to perform these routine maintenance tasks can cause your camshaft to eventually break. As you might have guessed, camshafts aren’t a cheap part to replace. This repair can cost you anywhere between $1,500 and $3,000. The part itself isn’t necessarily expensive, but replacement requires quite a bit of labor.
4. Suspension – Up to $3,500
Most of us take our car’s suspension for granted, but this essential component is complex and has an important role. Without it, you would feel every bump and dip in the road.
A suspension system consists of: struts, shocks, control arms, springs and tie rods. When one of these components breaks, it usually doesn’t cost much to replace them. But when the entire suspension system needs to be replaced, you’re looking at spending anywhere from $2,500 to $3,500. Unfortunately, many mechanics push car owners to replace the entire suspension even when only one component is broken.
3. Transmission – $4,000-$5,000
A bad transmission will keep you from going anywhere. This important part keeps the wheels turning, and this is not a cheap part to replace by any means.
Transmissions are a complex part that controls the power flow from the engine to the driveshaft. Unfortunately, transmissions experience more wear and tear than other parts because of the friction and heat generated by its moving, interacting parts. Signs of a bad transmission include slipping gears, a burning smell, humming sounds when the car is parked and a dragging clutch. Most people will spend between $4,000 and $5,000 to replace their transmission. That cost could be higher, depending on the vehicle and the severity of the problem.
2. Hybrid Battery – $6,000
Hybrid cars are eco-friendly and save drivers money at the pump, but their batteries are incredibly expensive.
It costs between $150 and $200 to replace the battery in a conventional car. But in a hybrid car, a battery replacement can cost up to $6,000. And just like a regular car battery, a hybrid battery will lose its charge over time. Most owners will need to replace the battery before the car reaches the ten-year mark. In many cases, the computer system also needs to be replaced with the battery, which can send costs well above the $6,000 mark.
1. Cylinders – Up to $10,000
A car can’t run without an engine, and an engine can’t run properly without functioning cylinders. Any type of engine damage is expensive to repair, but cylinders are the most expensive. Cylinder repairs can cost anywhere between $7,000 and $10,000 – more if the vehicle has a powerful engine. At this point, most drivers cut their losses and just buy a new car.
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