Gianetta Palmer is a writer, copywriter, and essayist. Her work has appeared in EverydayHealth.com, Healthline, and The Dyrt Magazine. She is the author of Scrunchie-Fried and writes a lot about car insurance in her spare time.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florid...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Jun 24, 2020

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Most common car repairs are simple enough that any car owner can handle it themselves—even if they have no prior experience with automobiles. However, don’t let yourself get so caught up in learning how to fix your car that you neglect to take your car in to the professionals when you should. Some car repairs are too complicated for an amateur to attempt. Here are a few you should leave to the pros, because you’re more likely to damage your car.

Table – Most Costly Car Repairs

Repair
Turbo
Fuel Injectors
Cylinder Head Gasket
Timing Belt
Fuel pump
Engine control unit
Seized engine
Flywheel and clutch
Transmission
Diesel particulate filter
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1. Technology-Related

Over the last few years, cars are becoming more computerized, sometimes seeming to function more as electronic devices than automobiles. If something happens to the electronic devices in your car—whether it’s the plug that you use to charge your car or the entire display console in the passenger cabin—computers are complicated, and you’re more likely to break something beyond repair if you try to fix it yourself. You’ll save money if you take your car into the repair shop immediately, and let the experts worry about the problem.

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Graphs Showing Estimate of Expensive Car Repairs

This is a graph showing the price of expensive car repairs

*Per Fuel Injector

Second Graph

This is a second graph showing the cost of expensive car repairs

 

2. Brakes

Although replacing the brake pads is an easy DIY auto repair, most other issues with your brakes aren’t something you want to risk handling by yourself, especially if you’re an amateur. From the rotors to your hydraulics, brakes are complicated, and every time you’re behind the wheel, your life (and all those in the car with you) depends upon them. If you hear your brakes squeaking or grinding, get your car into an expert. Mechanics who can work on the industrial-grade Rexroth Hydraulics are sure to be able to handle your standard vehicle. Don’t risk your safety. Keep your brakes in working order.

State by State Car Repair & Cost Estimate

StateRepairsInsuranceGasoline
Alabama$352$793$1,237
Alaska $341$1,077$730
Arizona $362$963$888
Arkansas $361$813$1,055
California $390$906$940
Colorado$385$848$890
Connecticut $385$1,058$929
Delaware $314$1,110$967
Florida $377$1,124$1,015
Georgia $385$927$1,096
Hawaii $370$906$869
Idaho $349$664$988
Illinois$343$805$852
Indiana $329$709$1,162
Iowa $315$630$998
Kansas $352$764$991
Kentucky$367$848$1,073
Louisiana $354$1,277$924
Maine $328$682$1,109
Maryland $388$1,030$951
Massachusetts $358$984$827
Michigan $317$1,064$994
Minnesota $346$782$1,033
Mississippi $356$901$1,231
Missouri $353$780$1,099
Montana$360$822$1,067
Nebraska $347$709$1,025
Nevada $364$1,078$771
New Hampshire $328$767$975
New Jersey $393$1,244$783
New Mexico $345$895$1,131
New York $365$1,196$713
North Carolina $390$708$1,032
North Dakota $344$662$1,207
Ohio $328$698$947
Oklahoma $338$839$1,175
Oregon $380$807$893
Pennsylvania$364$908$781
Rhode Island $371$1,142$800
South Carolina $368$860$958
South Dakota $312$654$1,056
Tennessee $353$762$1,021
Texas $364$1,001$860
Utah $371$810$918
Vermont $270$730$1,178
Virginia $382$758$964
Washington $375$910$866
West Virginia $310$975$1,033
Wisconsin $329$658$1,031
Wyoming$324$792$1,588
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3. Transmission

It’s easy to tell when a car has problems with its transmission. It could be making a sound that it’s never made before, or maybe it takes it a few moments to shift from park into reverse or drive. Whatever the problem, you should get it looked at. Your transmission is one of the most expensive parts of your car, and unless you’re changing the transmission fluid, any problem is going to be too complicated for an amateur to tackle. You could end up causing more damage to your transmission, making it even more expensive to fix than it would typically be. Let your auto shop handle the repairs.

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4. Engine

When the “Check Engine” light comes on, don’t ignore it. That little light could be indicating something as simple to fix as a loose cap or a spark plug. Or it could indicate a damaged catalytic converter. It’s simple enough to figure out what the check engine light is on for—any auto shop can hook up your car to a little computer that will read what the problem is. If it’s a simple fix, that’s great, but if it’s more complicated don’t hesitate to take your car in. The longer you drive without getting your car serviced, the more dollars you’ll fork out to fix the problem.

Vehicles with the Best Engines – Last Over 200,000 Miles

RankVehicle
1Honda Accord
2Subaru Legacy
3Honda Odyssey
4Toyota Avalon
5Nissan Maxima
6Ford Taurus
7Toyota Camry
8Honda Civic
9Acura TL
10Subaru Outback
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Conclusion

It’s great to save money fixing your car yourself, and when you’re just changing the air filter or wiper blades, it’s unlikely you’ll cause any damage. But if your car has major issues in the above areas, let the experts handle the necessary repairs.