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6 most expensive car repairs that make people want to sell their cars

woman worried for car repair

When your car breaks down and the mechanic tells you it’s going to be a big, costly repair, you’ll be faced with the choice: should I repair or should I just sell my car and get a new one?

Vehicle service contracts (also known as extended car warranties) make it so you don’t have to make that choice. You can get your repairs without dipping into your emergency funds no problem. But if you don’t have a plan to cover your repair, you’ll have to make a choice based on the value of your car.

Take a look here at the 6 most expensive car repairs that make people want to sell their cars.

1. Engine replacement

Replacing an engine is among the most costly repairs you can have done on your car, and it’s definitely a repair that can cost more than the car is worth. 

It normally costs upwards of $3,000 at an independent repair shop (the dealership is likely to cost more). Repairing a V6 or V8 engine is also more expensive, so if you have a high performance car, you could be looking at a bill that may very well be above $5,000.

For this reason, drivers who are no longer covered under the car manufacturer’s warranty and are not covered with the right types of extended car warranties will often opt to sell their cars instead.

2. Engine rebuild

Your engine will likely need to be rebuilt if: it’s making loud, rattling sounds when the car is idling; it’s sending thick clouds of smoke out of the exhaust; or your car is having a hard time starting. 

An engine rebuild may be a little bit cheaper than an engine replacement, but it’s still bound to cost $2,000 to $3,000.

If you’re not covered for repairs, you’ll have to evaluate the value of your car and how much longer you’d like to drive it before deciding on going through with the rebuild.

3. Transmission replacement

An extremely complex job, transmission replacement is another huge repair bill if you don’t have car repair coverage. It’s a job that can cost around $3,800 and more.

When there are too many problems with the transmission, replacement is the most reasonable option. Getting a new unit itself is expensive. It may be possible to replace the old transmission with a used transmission as a more affordable alternative, but you also run the risk of having it malfunction.

If your car already has a lot of miles, you’ll have to think twice before investing so much money on a new transmission.

4. Transmission rebuild

Just like an engine rebuild vs. an engine replacement, a transmission rebuild will also be a little less expensive than a transmission replacement, but it will also still cost thousands of dollars. 

A transmission rebuild is when a mechanic takes apart the entire transmission and inspects it for damages. They will then replace parts that are having problems and clean the assemblies. It requires a lot of attention to detail.

During the process the mechanic could find that there is too much damage and a replacement of the transmission will still be necessary. This makes a rebuild a risky option and one that you’ll have to consider carefully if you don’t have repair coverage.

Read our recent blog on how to buy extended car warranties that are affordable online.

5. Air conditioner compressor replacement

The AC compressor is essentially the heart of your car’s air conditioning system. It works as a pump that takes refrigerant and passes it to the evaporator.

The compressor is made up of several parts, which include pistons and valves. When the internal parts fail, the compressor will stop working. It may also stop working due to other factors like sludge and debris that has accumulated in the air conditioning system.

You’re likely to spend well over $1,000 to get it fixed. If the car isn’t worth you paying that amount out of pocket, you’ll want to consider changing cars and selling it without a working AC. However, your selling price will have to be lowered accordingly to interest buyers.

6. Clutch replacement

A slipping clutch or difficulty switching gears may be a sign that the clutch needs to be replaced.

The problem with the clutch is that it sits on the engine, and it’s hard to reach without removing a lot of other parts, such as the gearbox. The replacement parts themselves are expensive, and when you add them to the labor costs (it’s a very time-consuming repair), the repair bill can be around $1,200 if you don’t have a car repair protection plan.

Since clutch problems usually arise in older and higher mileage cars, it may not be worth fixing for such a high repair cost.

Avoid paying the most expensive car repairs with the right kind of extended car warranty

Vehicle Repair Protection is a low-cost monthly subscription that helps you cover expensive car repairs. Whenever your car needs an expensive repair that costs thousands, your VRP subscription pays the bill. You choose the nearest repair shop and you don’t have to take your car to different mechanics for a good price. Apart from comprehensive coverage, you also get a wide-variety of perks through the membership included with your subscription. has created vehicle breakdown coverage that is simple, trustworthy and affordable. Transforming the extended car warranty marketplace through technology and transparency, offers a full suite of worry-free, no haggle car care plans through low-cost, 100% online, monthly subscriptions that drivers can sign up for in less than five minutes. Get an instant quote today!