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Factors That Can Increase Your Auto Repair Costs

Most people only consider the cost of buying a car and keeping it filled with gas when they think about the cost of car ownership. Sure, they know that they’ll need maintenance like oil changes and may have to get the occasional repair, but they seem like inconsequential expenses when they are spread out over time, so you likely don’t calculate them in your monthly or yearly costs of ownership.

The reality is that car ownership can cost thousands of dollars per year, including the payment, insurance, gas, maintenance and repairs.

Some cars will cost more not just because they have a higher sticker price but also because they cost more to maintain. When you get auto repair estimates for these cars, they will be much higher than average.

Here are just a few of the factors that could drive up the costs of auto repair:

Sophisticated Computers

As technology advances, car engines have become more sophisticated. Computer systems are incorporated into the engine and other car systems, improving the car’s performance and fuel efficiency. For example, computer programs are used to match the key fob to the push-button start, ensuring that only the car’s owner can drive it away.

When repairs are needed on cars that have sophisticated programming, specialty tools and diagnostic systems are required to get to the bottom of the problem and to repair it. Not only are these tools expensive, but mechanics also have to get specialty training to use them. All of this can drive up the cost of the repairs.

The extra time it takes to diagnose these issues can also drive up the repair bill. In addition, the repairs themselves can take a longer time to complete because numerous other parts have to be removed to get to the computer parts. The cost of a new computer chip or other components can also be quite expensive.

Add up all these variables, and you’ll be looking at hefty auto repair estimates if your car has sophisticated computer programming.

Aluminum Parts

Many car manufacturers are exploring the use of aluminum to lighten the weight of the car. Doing so improves the car’s performance, helping it to drive faster and handle better. A lighter weight also helps to improve the car’s fuel efficiency. With a lighter weight, the engine does not have to work as hard, and it consumes less fuel.

Some manufacturers are using aluminum in the car’s body panels. However, some are concerned about the safety of using aluminum in the panels since it is a softer metal. Instead, these manufacturers are incorporating more aluminum into their engine parts, helping to lighten the load by replacing items that were previously made of heavy iron.

While there are many benefits to using aluminum, there are also some drawbacks — most notably, the cost. Aluminum car parts are not easy to manufacture, and they cost much more than iron or steel. If you own a car that has aluminum engine parts, you can expect to spend a lot more on replacement parts. The same is true for parts that are made of part aluminum and part other metals.

Don’t think that you can get away with replacing your aluminum parts with steel counterparts. These parts were not designed for use in the engine, and they will put too much strain on the car. At best, you’ll have diminished performance. At worst, you’ll cause even more problems that lead to additional costly repairs.

Luxury Features

Heated Seat Repair

You work hard for your money, and you deserve to treat yourself occasionally. Driving a luxury vehicle can make you feel like you’re living the high life. Yet luxury vehicles include luxury features that can be difficult and expensive to repair.

Luxury features might include things like a forward collision alert system, adaptive cruise control, rear and side view cameras, heated and ventilated seats, advanced audio systems, and much more. All of these features require special knowledge and tools to repair, which can drive up the bill. The parts for these features are also expensive, so replacing any part of these systems can be quite costly.

Specialty Cars

A luxury car off your local lot might not be enough for you to stand out. You may want to invest in a truly special car, like the exclusive Alfa Romeo or the forward-thinking Tesla S. If you drive one of these cars, you’ll enjoy the height of luxury and will definitely turn heads on the road.

However, these specialty cars are quite expensive to repair. Some exclusive luxury vehicles have to be sent back to the factory to be repaired. If you don’t buy domestic, that means shipping your car overseas for repairs. Even if you can have the car repaired Stateside, you’ll likely have to take it to the dealership, which can drive up costs. You’ll also have to pay for specialty parts that have be ordered from the factory.

Some of the most elite vehicles can require oil changes that cost $800 and it can cost as much as $100,000 to replace an engine. Of course, the average owner isn’t driving one of these elite vehicles, but even a luxury car can send the cost of repairs soaring.

Location

Car Repair Location

Real estate isn’t the only thing where location drives prices. Depending on the state where live, you could get much higher auto repair estimates.

CarMD released a report showing the average cost of a single car repair by state, and it found that drivers in New Jersey paid the highest costs. Drivers in that state paid an average repair bill of $392.99. The states rounding out the top five were the District of Columbia, California, North Carolina and Maryland.

Meanwhile, the states with the lowest average car repair costs were Vermont, West Virginia, South Dakota, Delaware and Iowa.

There can be great variation in the cost of auto repairs at different shops even in the same state. Therefore, if you live in one of the states with the higher average cost, it is important that you comparison shop and get a couple of auto repair estimates before you commit to the service. By shopping around, you could save yourself hundreds of dollars on a single repair.

Just make sure that you always work with a reputable provider that offers a guarantee on the work. You don’t want to end up paying much more in repair bills later because you tried to save a few dollars with a lower-cost mechanic who performed lower-quality work.

Pick a shop that is committed to providing the very best auto repairs for all types of makes and models. They should provide honest auto repair estimates that break down the cost of both parts and labor.

Even if your car requires expensive repairs because of the parts or the time required, the best types of shops will work with you to find ways to bring down the costs.

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