Most Expensive Repairs Your Car Can Face


Any time you go to pick up your car from the mechanic and hear a sentence that starts “Well…,” you likely brace yourself for the worst. Car repairs can easily cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and it may seem like the rare occasion that you get away with a minor bill that’s less than $100 or so.

While you might think that car repair in Cincinnati, such as new brakes and rotors, can be expensive, you would be dumbfounded to hear the cost of a new transmission or engine. Fortunately, sticking to a consistent maintenance schedule can help you to avoid costly repairs and extend the length of your vehicle.

Here’s what you need to know about a few of the most expensive repairs your car can face and how to avoid them:

Seized Engine

Getting a cheap oil change really is the best way to save yourself thousands of dollars. If you don’t get regular oil changes, you risk developing a leak or letting your oil become thick and sluggish.

Without healthy levels of fresh oil, your engine will not get the lubrication it needs and the parts will start grinding against each other. The friction will make your engine heat up even more, and the parts will eventually grind down and melt together. 

Even the best mechanic in town can’t fix a seized engine. The only thing you can do is replace the engine, which will cost about $3,000 for a used engine or up to $10,000 for a remanufactured one.

The best defense is a good offense. Spend the $20 or $30 for a cheap oil change every quarter or so and save yourself thousands of dollars later.

Cracked Timing Belt

Your timing belt is a quiet but powerful player in your engine. It helps the pistons and the valves work together in a beautiful, coordinated dance that powers your engine. If the timing belt breaks or gets out of sync, your pistons and valves can crash into one another and damage your engine. 

On older engines, a broken timing belt won’t cause this kind of damage, but it will leave you stranded on the side of the road.

Replacing the timing belt alone can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000. If you have a newer engine that is damaged as a result of the faulty timing belt, you could have to pay thousands of dollars more in repairs.

Failed Transmission

Besides your engine, your transmission is one of the most important components of your automobile. Without it, your car will simply not run.

An automatic transmission can fail due to a software error, and both kinds of transmission can fail due to aging or improper maintenance. The parts can wear down or become damaged from overheating.

Replacing a transmission can cost up to $5,000. You can avoid these costly repairs by getting a transmission flush and service on the recommended schedule.

Broken Clutch

If your car has a manual transmission, you will also have to worry about the health of the clutch. You can quickly wear down the clutch if you don’t understand how to properly use it while changing gears. If you let out the clutch too slowly while pumping the gas too quickly, you’ll do a lot of damage to your clutch. 

Replacing your clutch can cost $1,000 to $2,500. 

Broken Computer

Cars aren’t just run on a series of pistons and pumps. Modern cars have a sophisticated circuitry system that controls everything from the radio in your dashboard to the timing belt. In fact, your car will likely be hooked up to a diagnostic machine when you bring it in for a checkup or repair.

You can cause damage to your car’s computer through mistakes like hooking up your jumper cables the wrong way. Some computers fail with age, and some fail from other problems with the engine. 

If your computer fails, you may need to replace it and repair other damage caused by it. The costs can be as little as $1,500 or as much as $100,000. For higher-end problems, you might as well just junk the car and buy a new one.

Cracked Head, Block or Head Gasket

The easiest way to tell if something has gone wrong with your head, block or head gasket is that you see “smoke” coming out of your tail pipe (or someone else tells you they see it). These parts are in your engine’s cooling system, and if they crack, they leak antifreeze out your exhaust. That smoke you see is actually antifreeze that has leaked into your cylinders or oil passages.

This is another problem that can be prevented by getting a regular cheap oil change. Failure to get regular oil changes can cause overheating, which can lead to your head, block or head gasket cracking. 

You can’t repair a crack in a metal engine part. The only thing you can do is replace it. The cost of replacing these items can be between $1,000 and $4,000.

Hydrolocked Engine

Overheating isn’t the only thing that can lock up your engine. If you drive through deep puddles, water can get inside your engine’s cylinders and cause it to hydrolock. 

Pistons squeeze air and droplets of fuel out of your engine’s cylinders. However, water cannot be compressed, so if it is inside the cylinders, the pressure will only go up. The pistons and the attached parts can become bent or broken.

The cost of repairing or replacing the parts can be $3,000 to $10,000.

The easiest way to avoid these and other costly repairs is to take care of your car by sticking to the proper maintenance schedule and practicing safe driving. Just getting a regular cheap oil change can help you protect many parts of your engine and save you thousands of dollars in potential repairs or replacement. 


If you aren’t sure what maintenance to perform on your car or when, talk with your mechanic and consult with your owner’s manual. The professionals at McCluskey Chevrolet are ready to help you create the right maintenance program for your car to help reduce the risk of repairs and extend its lifespan.