A young man near a broken car with an open hood on the roadside.

Car Repair Costs And Ways To Afford Them

Victoria Araj6-Minute Read
UPDATED: May 31, 2024


Car repairs are unavoidable and, even worse, expensive. From routine maintenance to repairing or replacing damaged parts, keeping your vehicle up and running can cost you an average of $300 – $500 per visit to your mechanic – and prices seem to be going up. You can help yourself budget for expected and unexpected repairs by understanding what kind of price tag you can anticipate for various types of work you might have done on your car.

Let’s take a look at some typical costs for traditional car repairs. We’ll also review some financing options for when the price is just too high to pay out of pocket.

Average Cost Of Car Repairs

Don’t let seeing your check engine light raise too many alarms. Different repairs require different parts and labor costs, so not every trip to the repair shop will yield the same bill. Take a look at our breakdown below of common or necessary repairs a car owner may pay for throughout their vehicle’s life. You’ll quickly see that some repairs are a lot more expensive than others.

Routine Car Maintenance Costs

You can’t predict every trip to the auto repair shop, but sticking to a maintenance schedule can help you budget for expected maintenance services. Car owners can expect to have the following types of maintenance done multiple times throughout their vehicle ownership:

Type of Maintenance


Average Service Cost

Oil change

Every 7,500 – 15,500 miles (possibly fewer miles depending on vehicle and type of oil used)

$35 – $75

($65 – $125 for synthetic oil)

Tire rotations

Every 7,000 miles

Up to $120

Multipoint inspection

Every 5,000 miles (or every visit to your repair shop)

$0 – $250

A multipoint inspection ensures that the vehicle is working as it should both underneath and outside of the hood. Some repair shops will do this inspection for free in addition to providing another service, like an oil change.

Auto Part Replacement Costs

Wear and tear over the years can add to the cost of owning a car. Depending on how long you own a vehicle, you may have to replace some of all of these parts:

Type of Replacement


Average Service Cost

Cabin air filter

Every 15,500 – 30,000 miles

$30 – $70


Every 6 – 12 months

$50 – $61

Brake pads

Every 25,000 – 50,000 miles

$100 – $300 per axle


Every 3 – 5 years

$200 per tire


Every 6 years

$45 – $250


After 200,000 miles

$4,000 – $10,000

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Common Car Body Repair Costs

Whether on the road or parked, cars can be subject to accidents resulting from human error, nature or a parts failure. It could benefit you to always have some emergency money set aside for these common repairs:

Type of Repair

Average Service Cost

Flat tire

$46 – $56


$125 – $500+

Cracked windshield

$300 – $1,000+

Door replacement

$300 – $3,000

Fender bender

$500 – $6,000+

Why Is Fixing A Car So Expensive?

Car repairs can be expensive because of the costs that go into the work. If you’re taking your vehicle into a repair shop or dealership, you likely want their expertise when deciding the next course of action. In a sense, then, you’re paying for expertise you lack.

Labor costs and tools also add to the expense. Mechanics can spend hours or days working on a vehicle, using tools you may not have at home, and the expense comes out of the shop’s budget.

A repair shop may also have connections for ordering vehicle parts, whether they be from manufacturers or upgraded parts from the aftermarket. Quality parts will be more expensive but typically longer lasting. You’ll potentially save more money buying an expensive part now than if you went a cheaper route but had to visit the auto shop multiple times a year.

If you’re willing to pay the repair bill, you’ll likely sleep better knowing your car is in the hands of a team of professionals using the right tools and with access to the best parts.

Should You DIY Your Car Repairs?

If you’re handy enough and know your way around under the hood, you could save yourself on labor costs by performing your own oil changes, wiper replacements, tire repairs, etc. For larger repairs or replacements, you could even shop for your own parts. Be prepared to install them yourself, though, since most repair shops refuse to fix a car using parts a customer has purchased.

If something goes wrong during your DIY repairs, you could damage your car and also be in danger of violating your car’s warranty. Some car warranties explicitly state that for certain vehicles you must have all maintenance done at a specific dealership.

Unless you really know what you’re doing, you may want to play it safe and bring your car into a repair shop or dealership for repairs and maintenance. As for the additional expenses, financing options are available if you need some funds to cover the costs.

Financing Options For Auto Repair Costs

If you don’t have the money on hand for car repairs, talk with your mechanic about offered financing options or do your own research. We’ll look at some popular auto repair financing options next.

Personal Loan

A personal loan can get you $1,000 – $50,000 to put toward any car repairs you need, emergency or otherwise. These loans involve a straightforward application process wherein a lender reviews your credit score and debt-to-income ratio (DTI) to determine the rates, terms and loan amount you qualify for, if any.

Most personal loans don’t require collateral, so you won’t lose your vehicle or any other assets if you fall behind on payments. Defaulting on a personal loan has financial consequences, though.

In-Store Financing

Repair shops or dealerships may offer in-store financing for customers. This financing typically takes the form of auto repair personal loans or store credit cards. Some shops may work with specific lenders, too, saving you the trouble of scouring the web for the best deal. The in-store lender may charge high fees, though, so if you do find a better quote, see if the shop can match or beat it.

Payment plans, which can stretch your full payment out into smaller increments, may also be available at some shops. Just keep in mind that you may owe interest with a payment plan, in addition to finding high late fees in the contract.

0% APR Credit Card

Some credit card companies, as well as repair shops, may offer cards with a 0% annual percentage rate (APR) for a limited time period – often 6 to 21 months. During these promotional periods, borrowers may make interest-free payments toward their credit card balance, meaning you have the opportunity to finance and repay your car repair costs without accruing interest.

Be mindful, though, that more expensive car repairs could take longer to pay back, and once you’re past the promotional period, you could face an interest rate of up to 24% or even higher.

Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is money you’ve socked away in the event of a future emergency expense. If you need expensive car repairs done fast and you have enough saved up, you could dip into your emergency fund and cover the costs without taking out a loan.

On the plus side, you won’t owe anybody interest, since the funds are your own. If you deplete your fund too much, though, you’ll be more financially vulnerable if another emergency arises.

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FAQs About Car Repair Costs

Here are the answers to questions people frequently ask about car repair costs.

What is the most expensive repair to fix on a car?

Engine replacement is the most expensive car repair, potentially costing you up to $10,000. Replacing a car engine can even be pricier than many accident-related repairs.

Are car parts more expensive now?

Yes, the prices of auto parts have gone up over the years, largely due to a decline in service appointments. Shortages in labor and inventory have added to the growing cost of car parts, which were up 20% year-over-year in 2022. 

At what point is it too expensive to repair a car?

Many people say that once a car repair cost equals or exceeds the car’s current value, you should instead look for a new vehicle. Consider the car’s age and mileage, too, when deciding whether it’s worth fixing up if it breaks down in the near future.

Final Thoughts

Some car repairs cost significantly more than others, so car owners should be prepared to face a wide spectrum of prices that will depend on the nature of the mechanical issue at hand. For more expensive repairs, you may require some financial assistance in the form of a personal loan or another financing option. Try to mitigate your car repair costs by keeping an eye on your check engine light and staying up to date on routine maintenance.

Want a personal loan to finance an expensive car repair cost? Start that process today with Rocket Loans℠ and see how much you prequalify for.

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Victoria Araj

Victoria Araj is a Section Editor for Rocket Mortgage and held roles in mortgage banking, public relations and more in her 15+ years with the company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in political science from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan.