The older your car gets, the more often you can expect to pay for routine repairs. Things just naturally wear out over time and with the wear and tear of everyday use. Depending on the age and average use of your car, you can expect to pay for some of these big repairs during the life of your vehicle:
- Engine and cylinders
There are ways to avoid paying out of pocket for these repairs or to pay the minimum monthly payment to guard against them. First, let’s look at what these repairs can set you back without an auto warranty. Then, we’ll look at how to avoid those costly repairs if possible.
Major Engine Damage
This is the most expensive type of engine repair and can set you back up to $10,000 if you aren’t under a warranty. It’s at this point many people simply give up on their old car and start looking for a new one. If, for some reason, that won’t work, consider replacing the engine with a newer model rather than trying to repair the old one.
The transmission is what makes your car move smoothly. Along with regular maintenance, keeping the fluids filled and avoiding aggressive driving and hard braking can protect your transmission in the long run. If yours needs replacement, it can cost up to $5,000. Transmissions are also covered under many warranties, so be sure the one you buy includes transmission problems before you sign up.
Hybrid Car or EV Car Battery
No matter how new and fancy your car is, you can still expect the battery to run out about every three years, or a little longer with a hybrid. Replacing the battery isn’t a big expense unless you’ve got a hybrid car. Hybrid batteries are more sophisticated and therefore more expensive, up to $6,000. They might last a little longer, but you still cannot expect to get more than 10 years out of a hybrid battery. For a regular battery, expect to invest a few hundred dollars every few years and protect your battery from unnecessary use as often as possible.
Airbags can be hugely expensive to replace, from $2,000 to $4,000 each, but they are most definitely one of the most important parts of the safe operability of your vehicle. After the airbags deploy, you may need to replace more than the airbags, and this cost can add up as well. For example, your steering column and/or your glove box may be displaced in an accident and need attention as well. Likely, if your airbags have deployed, you have more expensive repairs to be concerned with, but airbags are often covered under extended warranties you could check into.
The suspension is yet another luxury we often don’t notice until we have problems with it. None of the parts composing your car’s suspension is very hard or very expensive to replace, but doing a complete overhaul can become costly. This is another thing to check for on your factory or extended warranty because your suspension could end up costing you big bucks, up to $3,500, out of pocket.
Now that we’ve looked at the problems, let’s examine the solutions.
Update Your Warranty
Your vehicle likely came with a factory warranty, which is good at the dealership or shop for a certain amount of time (usually 2-5 years) or a certain number of miles. You can also add extended warranty coverage after the factory warranty expires to make sure each of your car’s vital parts is covered in case of an emergency or normal wear and tear. This might be more expensive in the long run, as you can’t predict what parts will break down or when. However, it can be cost-saving in the long run, especially if you rack up one of these expensive repairs.
Be sure to check the price and coverage options before you sign onto any extended warranties to make sure they are worth your money. If you do have coverage, make sure you know what is covered and to what extent. The last thing you need is to pay out of pocket for a part or service you thought was covered.
Keep Up with Basic Maintenance
The best way to prevent untimely maintenance and repair issues is to keep up with your basic maintenance. Anything and everything from oil changes and filters to belts and hoses should be inspected regularly for any problems and changed as soon as wear and tear become obvious.
Other things you should keep an eye on throughout the year include:
- Fluid levels
- Tire pressure, alignment, and wear
- Battery and filters
Be sure to replace any recalled parts as soon as possible and keep a detailed maintenance report on your vehicle. This will help it keep its value longer and be a good selling point should you decide to trade up. Your manufacturer likely has an estimated timeline for recommended maintenance. Stick with these recommendations as closely as possible to keep the best value on your car and maintain it in the state it was when you bought it.