The top 5 most costly car repairs and how to avoid them

 In Star Automotive News

Do you dread that call from your service centre telling you what you need to fix on your car after a service? Maybe you’ve heard the horror stories about when a head gasket fails, or you’ve already had that stomach-turning feeling and have had to splurge out once before?

In this article, we outline some of the most costly repairs, and how you can potentially avoid them.

Head Gasket

A commonly known issue you may have heard of, a head gasket is a major part of an engine and if it fails, can cause you a big bill. A failure may happen when the gasket seal between the engine and the cylinder separates, causing unwanted coolant to enter, this can cause the engine to overheat and blow. The head gasket is designed to not be replaced, so it is a big job if it requires any work and can cost you up to 400.

To avoid a head gasket fail, you will want to ensure your car is regularly serviced and you have the coolant changed at the recommended intervals, this will make sure the cooling system is working efficiently. Turning the engine off if you are stuck in traffic will stop the engine from possibly overheating and we recommend keeping an eye on the vehicle for any leaks, if you notice your coolant level is low, be sure to top it up!

Battery

This may not seem like the most expensive car repair, but over a car’s lifetime it will add up. On average, a car battery will have to be replaced every 4 – 5 years, and the cost for a new one is anything between £50 and £200, depending on your make and model.

Although you won’t be able to avoid this cost, you can take steps to look after your battery so additional issues don’t crop up and avoid having to replace it earlier. For example, turning your ignition off when waiting, ensuring you turn your lights off when parked and charging the battery regularly by going on a long drive. If you notice a light on your dashboard, get it checked out sooner rather than later.

Clutch

In time your clutch can become worn, however, this can happen much sooner if it’s not used properly. A replacement is going to set you back around £300 – £600.

To avoid replacing it early, I would advise that you;

  1. Always use your handbrake when stopping at traffic lights and take the car out of gear
  2. Change gears smoothly and avoid grinding gears
  3. Avoid keeping your foot down on the clutch at unnecessary times

Cambelt (also known as the timing belt)

Although a problem we don’t often come across, Cambelt failure can occur in older cars, cars which have not had regular servicing and over time due to wear. When a cambelt does fail it will usually mean the end of the life for the engine and in some cases the car. This costly repair can be avoided by regular inspections which may catch signs of wear and tear on the timing belt early, and having it replaced at the correct intervals.

Suspension

It is important that you look after your suspension, if you don’t it will make the car feel unstable and an all-round bad drive. To avoid unnecessary repairs, avoid potholes and slow down when you go over speed bumps, as these could break a road spring or even worse break or bend some of the suspension.

As soon as you hear a noise when cornering or going over a bump, take it straight to a service centre rather than leaving it to turn into a much bigger problem. You never know it could be something cheap and simple to fix.  

Having worn suspension could add up to 10m to your braking distance!

Seek professional advice if you’re worried

All cars can see unexpected faults, which can be frustrating, this is obviously more likely in older cars, especially if you haven’t looked after your vehicle and listened to recommendations from your service centre.

However, some service centres try to deceive their customers into thinking something is wrong when it’s not, so if you are unsure, always try to get a second opinion.

At Star Automotive, we never carry out any work until the customer has signed it off, so you can rest assured you won’t receive an unknown bill.

If you want us to take a look at any issue you’ve been told your vehicle has, give the team a call on 01202 697933 or contact us here.

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