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Why exactly are car repairs so expensive today?

Taking the car to the repair shop has to be among one of the least enjoyable things in the world. 

It involves shopping around, negotiating prices, and spending a ton of money at once. After that there’s always a feeling of uncertainty — have you actually gotten a fair price at the repair shop? This is where a vehicle service contract (also known as an extended car warranty) that covers your car repairs can be of great help.

Let’s take a look at the main reasons why car repairs are so expensive.

The higher complexity of car repairs

New advances in technology have made our lives easier, but it’s okay to sometimes feel nostalgia about the past. 

Cars used to be fairly simple machines that anyone could fix. Today this isn’t the case for most newer cars. Long gone are the days of ease-of-wrench vehicles. You have to take a car to shop and work with a talented and knowledgeable mechanic. 

More than ever before, working on a car today requires a lot more technical knowledge of things like:

Complex electrical and computer components

Technology lovers might disagree with classic car enthusiasts who say cars have become too complicated with unnecessary gadgets, but there’s no doubt that cars have gotten extremely complex compared to how they once were. There are hundreds of CPU components in most cars on the road. This means almost every aspect of a car depends on electrical systems and computers.

Complex safety feature equipment

From anti-lock brakes to integrated steering wheels, from autonomous features to voice control… when you buy a new car, you’ll have many new choices on features that make your driving experience safer and more comfortable. It’s a good idea to invest in them; however, when something goes wrong, they are difficult and costly to fix.

Complex engines

Car makers have replaced big clunky engines of the past with smaller, turbocharged engines. These engines are working smarter to power cars and optimize fuel efficiency. These superior engines are very expensive to replace or repair.

Expensive repairs can be covered with a great extended car warranty plan. Be sure to do some research before deciding on one. Read our recent blog Red flags of a bad extended car warranty plan.

The rise in the cost of parts

When a major mechanical breakdown happens, you have to make a decision. Should you repair your car or buy a new car? Due to the soaring costs of car parts, people today are more likely to choose the latter. 

One big factor for why parts are so expensive is the rise of patented parts. Some cars require Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts because the manufacturers have prevented the production of generic parts.

Did you know car parts are so expensive that it has contributed to a rise in car theft? 
Last year, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reported a huge rise in car theft over the last 10 years. Thieves steal cars, dismantle them and sell the parts to dishonest vendors. Just a few basic components on popular small and midsize cars like Toyota Camry (the most commonly stolen car) or Nissan Altima easily add up to $10,000 when sold individually. 

The rise in the cost of car shop tools and equipment

Mechanics and repair shops must have certain equipment and tools to work on cars. Toolboxes with various sockets, ratchets and wrenches can range in price from $5,000 to $50,000.

Repair shops also invest tens or thousands of dollars on equipment. A check engine light scanner alone is $5,000. An optical alignment computer is $20,000. A lift is $40,000. A frame machine is $45,000. In the end, all these expenses are reflected on labor costs at repair shops.

Avoid expensive repairs with Vehicle Repair Protection 

When a mechanical breakdown happens, you shouldn’t be put in a situation where it’s better to sell your car rather than fix it. Expensive repairs can be covered with comprehensive car repair coverage (also known as extended car warranties for used cars) like Vehicle Repair Protection. For a low monthly subscription you pay month-to-month and can cancel anytime, your major repairs are covered without reaching for your wallet. 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!