Ideas to reduce the price of car repairs?

Manufacturers went to 409 stainless steel because of catalytic convertors that had long warranties. Those pipes going to the cats were also under warranty. Plus stainless retains heat better than carbon steel. Not long after the rest of the exhaust was also 409.

1 Like

One of the big staffing savings tech companies get by using non-US citizen visa-holders to do the tedious portion of the work is that those staff members are required by law to actively hold a a job to remain in the USA. If they lose their job, they lose their visas, with very little time to find another job. So they have a big incentive to stay employed with the same company.

Boss: We need you to work this weekend ! Sorry, but the project budget doesn’t allow for any add’l pay.

Visa- staff: Ok, we’ll work this weekend, no problem.

1 Like

What about using more bodge-repairs to reduce repair costs? For example if the plastic-underside of a front bumper got cracked when hitting a curb, instead of replacing, figure out a way to mend it. Glue reinforced with a wood splint, etc.

The simplest way would be for each manufacturer to tremendously reduce the number of models they offer. With more of the same type of car on the road, more second-hand repair parts would be available from crashed cars. Additionally, the knowledge that technicians need to diagnose and perform repairs would be less, making them more efficient at doing so.

I didn’t say it was realistic. There are not enough of me and bcohen2010 around that view vehicles as appliances.


Absolutely no offense taken! If anything I owe everyone an apology for “dragging a discussion too far into the weeds”.

In my defense however whenever price increases are discussed it’s too easy to take the easy solution and blame “the guy in front of us” or some amorphous “government” instead of taking the deeper dive to really understand where we’re at and why…

In this case of, “How do I reduce my repair costs?” we should probably start by considering if the overall inflation adjusted cost of repair has actually increased or just shifted. i.e. My new 1972 Vega had the same inflation adjusted cost of a 2024 Elantra but by the 3rd year the Vega required an engine replacement and my new Toyota Corona by it’s 5th year had shedded it’s 3rd gear, both resulting in very large repair costs which are not typical on current vehicles.

My argument would be that although periodic maintenance may possibly be higher on a modern car, because of improvements in technology, materials and manufacturing the overall inflation adjusted maintenance / repair costs are already significantly lower than they were 40 years ago. And further, when you consider the overall huge improvements in performance, convenience and longevity we’re already achieved significant inflation adjusted overall costs of ownership. So while I might cringe when paying my mechanic the cost of annual maintenance on my 20 year old car, considering that it’s lasted 15 years longer than was typical in the past, it’s already a bargain. .


Agree 100%!

I had one of these although I bought it used. Same failure mode! That car was a beast in deep snow. Very pedestrian looking and other than the transmission, was pretty reliable for me.

The article in the OP seems to be saying car owners are feeling the bite of car repair costs now more than before; hence the concern that this may impact future new car sales. Are you saying instead car owners are mistaken, and after factoring overall price inflation, car repairs were even higher 40 years ago?

Yes, because of their frequency. Gas stations used to have 2 or more repair bays, because of the frequency of maintenance and repairs. Now those are pretty much gone.


Ok, so while the repair cost for a given repair is rising more than the inflation rate now, fewer repairs are required, so car owner’s overall car repair expense is actually rising less than inflation. Definitely possible. Do you have any supporting data?

I’m not sure how car sales will be lower because of repair costs. Buying a new car pretty much eliminates repair costs for a period of time.


This is what the CEO for the Center for Automotive Research says in the OP’s link. Of course it is possible he is wrong.

“If cars are to be affordable, they must also be affordable to maintain,” said Alan Amici, president and CEO of the Center for Automotive Research. “And they must be affordable to repair, or else we’re going to have fewer vehicle sales. So I think the automakers are going to be motivated to drive those costs down.”

I use expected repair costs (reliability) to help choose which car to buy. I don’t delay buying a car because of repair costs.

hmmm … I have to concur, if I needed to buy a new car I wouldn’t defer b/c of hypothetical repair cost increases. But I would do as you do, research the reliability as part of the decision which car to buy. So maybe the CEO is saying that the manufacturers with less reliable-rated cars will feel a pinch to their sales and be motivated to make them more reliable, which should help decrease overall repair costs.

1 Like

Maybe reliability is more a factor.

Repair cost may not be the key driver as much as the poor financial skills of the average owner. The… I can afford the 72 months of payments on my new car… without any consideration of the maintenance costs needed sometime in that 72 months.


Apparently, all some slick salesmen have to do is to talk about the monthly financing payment to convince poorly-educated (or very naive) people that they can afford a particular make and model. All-too-many people fail to factor-in the total cost of a car loan, as well as the cost of maintenance.


No to mention any unanticipated shocks to their budget that may come along during that time. People that are highly leveraged in debt cannot weather even a single event and the whole house of cards (debt) comes crumbling down… a guy I know that does a lot of auction car buying said even he can see the number of repossessions going up recently…


When most families don’t have $1000 for an emergency, that $1200 brake job is a serious problem. Even worse, that same family doesn’t have enough credit to put it on a credit card.

When my wife and I bought our first house, we were stretched thin. Our emergency fund was a credit card with $5000 credit limit and no balance.

1 Like

My parents grew up during the depression. My Dad always drilled into us the importance of keeping a “nest egg” for unanticipated situations. Also, the true cost of owning a car. We had to pay for everything- no free lunch. I wanted to spend all of my saved $300 on my first car. What about insurance, gas, maintenance, repairs… WHAT??? :grinning:


Both my parents grew up poor and only new about the Great Depression via word of mouth and the news, didn’t effect them in the least… :laughing: