When you walk into a dealership searching for your next car, the furthest thing from your mind is likely repairs and the cost associated with these repairs. We never want to think about how it will break the bank if our next car needs substantial maintenance.
The truth of the matter is that it’s not uncommon to have hefty repair orders from a service provider or mechanic. Outside of owning a vehicle under a factory warranty, the only way you can try to avoid these issues is to do your research on your next vehicle purchase.
Let’s talk about some of the most expensive car repairs and engineering mistakes more common than others. You want to enjoy your next joy ride to the fullest, and the last thing you want to be asking yourself is, does auto insurance cover transmission repair?
Top 5 Engineering Mistakes of Car Manufacturers
Automotive engineers don’t always get it right. What might sound good in theory just doesn’t make the cut when it’s brought to the consumer market. Below are the top 5 flops where the engineers missed the mark.
#1 – Rotary Engines
Although this unique motor design earned a large following, they have since died in the car world. Some of the most common complaints about these engines were efficiency and excessive oil burning. Owners often disliked the cost of maintenance and the price tag to fix.
#2 – Difficult Access
Replacing a fuel filter should be an easy DIY job, 30 minutes tops. Not so on the third generation of Mazda’s RX-7. To get to the fuel filter, you had to crawl under and disable the rear suspension. Procrastinating on that task clogged up the filter and led to destroyed engines.
#3 – Carbon-Fiber Body
Some high-end car manufacturers wanted to introduce and keep alive the innovative idea of carbon-fiber construction, which supposedly gave better performance. However, the cost of materials and the labor that went into each vehicle quickly made these car manufacturers shy away from this thought process.
#4 – Poor Craftsmanship
Some vehicles, such as the Jaguar X-Type, were complete flops for the design and manufacturing process. These cars just completely miss the mark from broken mechanical parts to laughable fit and finish. These cars are short-lived and quickly get a bad reputation that spreads like wildfire.
#5 – Oblivious Identity
We can all probably think of that one vehicle that we didn’t exactly know what to call it. Is it a truck? Is it a sedan? Oh, it’s an SUV. Some models, such as GMC Envoy XUV, try to be several things at once.
While this sounds good in retrospect, it simply doesn’t work most of the time. These vehicles end up having design issues that eventually make them disappear.
7 Most Expensive Car Repairs
Even if you’re fortunate to be able to boast that your car is free of engineering mistakes, that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily free of costly repairs.
On the upside, cars are lasting longer nowadays because they’re built better. But that’s offset by a rise in auto accidents as well as owners hanging on to vehicles longer. So despite keeping up with maintenance, the length of time you keep your car and the amount you drive it could lead to one or more of these most-expensive repairs:
#1 – Engine & Cylinders: This will take you back anywhere between $6,000 – $10,000. Being the powerhouse of your car, it takes a lot of labor hours to replace an engine. Not to mention the part itself comes with a high price tag.
#2 – Car Battery: Now, we aren’t talking about those batteries you can buy at a superstore. Suppose you’ve opted to drive an electric or hybrid car.
In that case, it’s highly recommended to look into the cost of replacing said batteries because often, they will cost a pretty penny at around $6,000.
#3 – Airbags: You probably never even consider having issues with your airbags, and hopefully, you never have to. However, if for any reason your airbags deploy, or there is an issue with the airbag system, it’s an expensive fix. Typically this repair will cost $3,000.
#4 – Transmission: This part is essential to the mechanics of a vehicle. Without a fully functioning transmission, you’ll be stuck on the side of the road. Depending on the severity of the repair or a complete swap out, it can cost anywhere between $3,000 to $6,000.
#5 – Suspension: Smooth mobility is crucial, and when it comes to a car’s suspension, there are so many parts that can need repair.
From shocks to struts, the likelihood of suspension failure is not uncommon. Repairs under the body of a suspension will cost anywhere between $1,000 – $5,000.
Choosing the Right Vehicle: How to Avoid Costly Mistakes
There is no full-proof way to avoid car repairs. It might be a pure coincidence that you drove a car for 15 years with absolutely no major mechanical or electrical maintenance; sometimes, you have issues shortly after driving off the dealership lots.
There are ways to prepare yourself better when choosing your next vehicle and avoid mistakes that others have already learned about previously.
Research is necessary. If your next vehicle has some new high-tech engineering innovations, be informed on what goes into this technology mechanically and what it would take to fix it.
Read car forums reviews, and ask around when shopping. There is a lot of helpful information on common issues with specific makes and models, avoiding any insane repair costs. If the repair cost far outweighs what your car is worth, make the best financial decision.
No matter what, try to enjoy the car-buying journey. It’s an exciting experience, and you’ll want to make the best decision for yourself and your family.
Carla Hughes writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, AutoInsurance.org. With over 20 years of automotive experience, Carla has done extensive research into common engineering pitfalls and automotive repair issues.