Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Most Expensive Repair Job

We have had many posts dealing with high repair bills. What has been your most expensive SINGLE REPAIR ever, excluding paint jobs? Please identify individual repairs in a multiple repair bill.

Mine was rebuilding the front end on a 1977 Dodge Colt; that cost $775 in 1996.

Please include your make, Model and mileage. if avalable.

Transmission rebuild, '92 Crown Vic, $1895. Transmission failed at 107K miles. Car is still in service at 140K miles.

I can’t offer a fair answer. Up until these past years I’ve always done almost everything myself. And for the past 13 years I’ve had a totally free multiple-lft, multiple-bay shop complete with free labor for the things I can no longer do. With the exception of my '72 Vega I’ve never worn out an engine or drivetrain component (except a clutch at 295,000 miles…that cost me $112 for the kit). Basically I haven’t had a major repair expense since the early '70s.

I guess the biggest thing I’ve had to replace was probably the timing chain on my '89 Toyota pickup at 200,000 miles. Other stuff has all been starter motors, radiators, a water pump, stuff like that…and I always get discounts on the parts. Or perhaps the biggest job was a half-shaft on my '91 Camry (blah!), but the shop and labor were free…and the parts were 20% discounted.

Sorry I can’t offer more. If I ever have to start paying my way through life I’ll be totally unprepared.

I still do my own work…I haven’t had a BIG repair in over 20 years. The biggest maintenance item I’ve had is the muffler system on my 98 Pathfinder…$400.

That 7 series BMW that I posted the picture of earlier cost some insurance company $22,000 (or so I was told by the parts dept,they talk with the body shop a lot) to repair. Car was probably worth $58,000 (if it wasn’t wrecked).

My assumption is that Doc hadn’t meant to include accident damage, but I could be wrong.

If it includes accidents, mine owuld be $7,000 for the only accident Ive ever been in larger than a small fender-bender. That happened 3-1/2 years ago to my Scion tC, and it was 100% the other driver’s fault. I got hit in the side on the highway by a driver that made a last-minute decision to change lanes. He had’t heard that two bodies cannot occupy the same space at the same time.

Agree, Mountainbike; I should have mentioned not to count Insurance claims. Those repairs are typically not the car, or its designer’s fault. The purpose here is to see what some typical repairs on various cars have cost the owners. Most will be brakes, transmission, engine, suspension, climate control, and driveline, I would imagine.

In that case I have seen plenty of 175.00 oil changes (they were given better names).$300.00 per side secondary ignition wire sets (ON BMW V-12’s)We would get paid and the customer charged 3hrs to mount and balance any 4 tires over 17", that hurts. I never have been on the recieving end of this treatment. A really overpriced item were those dual mass flywheels and 540i’s could really go through clutches.

This repair does not involve one of my vehicles but one at a dealership I worked for back when. It occurred at the end of 1984, involved a 1984 Subaru GL 4WD wagon, and remains etched in memory because of the ruckus that developed.

Back then Subaru had a 1 year warranty and the car in question had 30k miles on it and was out of warranty by about 3 months. The car was as new both in and out.
It was also an automatic transmission model that had developed an internal seal leak in which the final drive hypoid oil was being lost into the auto transmission. Other than a faint developing whine which the owner apparently became accutomed to the car ran great - until the trans exploded and split the case in half.

Working up an estimate (about 150 labor to change it) I just about had a coronary when the parts dept. told me 5 grand for the transmission, not including fluid, exhaust gaskets, etc. Oh boy, the owner is going to go ballistic. Which he did.
He accused us of robbery to the nth degree and to hold the horses until he came to the shop.
Once there and the entire deal was explained he settled down in regards to us and directed his anger (as it should be) towards the distributor, SOA (Subaru of America). He cursed them to oblivion and being the shop foreman there, I even got on the phone and begged Subaru to honor a good will warranty because the car was like new and only 3 months out of the warranty period. No dice. The guy fixed the car but said he would never buy another Subie once that one bit the dust.

This was aggravating because the MSRP of the car back then was about 9500 dollars (1984) and the repair was going to run over half of the original MSRP.
The owner apologized for the cussing he gave us over the phone and settled down when we showed him that the dealer cost on that transmission was 3900 bucks with a suggested retail of just under 5 thousand. Which is utter, unadulterated crap in my opinion.
Back then the catch phrase was “Inexpensive and built to stay that way”. Right.

My most expensive was about $3500 for a new transmission on our Olds Silhouette at 58,000 miles! But it had a 60 month/60,000 mile extended warranty as part of the incentive to buy it. So, it only cost us about a week-and-a-half without it. The Mrs. had to drive the Regal instead.

Did I break the rules? This is technically an insurance claim. :wink:

'97 Subaru Legacy L, AWD station wagon. 92,635 miles at time of repair. CEL came on due to misfire. Misfire caused by “traveling valve guide.” The valve guide would occasionally move and prevent the front left cylinder exhaust valve from closing. I’m not making this up. I saw the valve held slightly open by the guide. Apparently only the '96 model year has this problem.

Replace left cylinder head with remanufactured head. New head gasket, intake and exhaust gaskets, oil and filter, etc.

Total repair bill $1,106.00

Car still running well @ 125K miles.

Mine was a rebuild of the E4OD transmission in my Bronco. They quoted me $2100 for the job ( a very reputable independent transmission shop), but I opted for the Power-Stroke-spec torque converter and rebuild kit, which made the total closer to $2400.

I spent almost $800 to have my window regulators replaced on my Civic

Both have to do with a 97 voyager. 1300 for ac total replacement, and 1600 for trans

Dodge ram 2500
replace both heads: 4600
rebuilt transmission: 3600
rear end : 1200

I had a bill over $3,000 on a '98 Volvo V70XC that was a total redo of the parking brake (new cables meant taking out a lot of the interior of the car), rear brakes, and front brakes. The Volvo set a new level in car repair bills for me. Every year there was at least one $1,000 repair and that was a good year. No car prior or since has come close to repair bills that were commonplace with the Volvo.

I just replaced the clutch, pressure plate and dual mass flywheel in my 328i with only 88k miles.
$1,000 in parts.
Probably one of the most expensive repairs I’ve ever done.
Very frustrating considering that it was completely avoidable had the previous owner had better driving skills.

Those must’ve been some pretty nice heads, You can pick up some aftermarket alluminum Edelbrock heads for about half that. Does your truck have the V10? $4600 is pretty steep for a pair of stock heads on pushrod engine.

One suggestion for those older folks reading along who do their own work: if you don’t qualify for a shop discount, ask for a senior discount when you buy parts. Many peoepl don’t know that even dealership parts departments often give senior discounts. I just learned it myself last week. I also just learned that they’ll drop-ship parts to your home at no extra charge…even if you live in a rural town like I do.

I learned these things because I learned the most important thing many years ago…never hesitate to ask. It’s amazing what you can get.