Auto repair costs can be very large. Especially if you don't know how much a repair should cost and you get charged for much more than you should be.
Repair costs are going to be different depending on which type of shop you take your vehicle to. There are three main types of repair shops: Dealerships, Independent Repairs Shops and Chain Stores
No matter which type you choose, get an detailed estimate of your auto repair costs.
With a detailed estimate you will be much more prepared for the repair bills... and if there are any problems you can always go back and see what they originally said they were going to do.
If you do not get a good estimate then you have no way of knowing how much you will be charged. If you just go by what the mechanic says verbally, then there is no way to prove what prices you were quoted since you don't have any written records.
If you already have a good shop that you trust then this is not a big deal... but if you don't, it is essential to get a written estimate beforehand. Read more about auto repair estimates.
Average auto repair costs per hour range from $60 to $125, which does look like a lot of money. I think that the reason people wonder why vehicle repair costs are so high is because they don't know how much it costs to run a good shop.
By the time my shop pays for rent, taxes, payroll, etc. There is very little left over for profit.
Many times people think that they should go to the shop with the lowest rates. I highly discourage this. Generally speaking the shop with the lowest labor rates will also be the shop that does not have the equipment it needs, does not train its employees well, has high employee turnover, etc. Do you really want to take your car to a shop like that?
My advice is to find a shop that does good work and treats you right and then give them your business. Even if their labor rate seems high to you, the most important thing is that they fix your car right and do not rip you off.
I know I probably sound like an auto parts sales person right now, but I'll say it anyway. It is so important to get your car checked out as soon as possible after you notice any problems.
A lot of people notice things that are starting to go wrong with their car, but they just keep driving it. Often times these are the same people who neglect to take their car to get the regularly scheduled maintenance on time. Both of these are a bad idea.
Auto repair costs grow larger and larger the longer you wait to have car repairs or car maintenance done. Sometimes it seems like you are saving yourself money by waiting to get repairs done, but in the long run you are just costing yourself more money because that small thing that was going wrong gets bigger and bigger and even leads to other problems sometimes.
Example: You might be driving down the freeway one day and notice a vibration type noise that happens only during certain speeds and it comes and goes depending on which way you are turning. This is a common symptom of a bad wheel bearing. If you just keep driving it (you can usually drive a vehicle with a bad wheel bearing for a quite a while) you will eventually cause other damage in the drivetrain.
If one wheel bearing has gone out, it is likely that the other one is going to go out soon as well. It is usually a good idea to replace both at the same time since the shop would already have your vehicle and have it up on the lift. They can just replace the other side while it is there. This saves the time and trouble of having to take your car back to the auto repair shop in the near future.
Keep your car in tip top shape. In every owner's manual you will find a schedule of maintenance. This schedule tells you exactly what needs to be done at pre set mileage intervals.
Many people don't know it exists or don't care enough to follow it. This is a mistake. It often leads to the vehicle breaking down due to neglect. If you are serious about your car and keeping auto repair costs at a minimum, then spend a little money to keep it maintained.
Spending time and money to maintain your vehicle allows you to squeeze more years and miles out of it. If you neglect or skip your vehicle maintenance, you will almost certainly end up paying more for repairs and it won't last as long. For more help with auto repair costs, check out my other guides below.