Under the hood: A look at average car repair costs

Use our guide to discover what you should be paying for car repairs.

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Susan Meyer

Senior Editorial Manager

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She has worked at The Zebr…

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Beth Swanson

SEO Content Strategist

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Beth joined The Zebra in 2022 as an Associate Content Strategist. She is a licensed insurance agent whose goal is to make insurance content easy to r…

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How much does it cost to maintain a vehicle?

While costly, car repairs are a regular part of life if you’re a vehicle owner. According to data available through Statista, Americans spent a combined 194.9 billion on services related to car repairs and maintenance in 2021.[1]

Whether it’s routine maintenance or repairs for a fender bender, car owners often find themselves in the lobby of a body shop waiting to get their car — and their bill. 

Having a general knowledge of what common services should cost is helpful when getting quotes and estimates. While the price range for most repairs varies with different makes and models, it’s good to have a general idea of how much you should be paying to fix your car. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the average cost of car repairs, what auto insurance typically covers, the average cost of the most common services and tips for not breaking the bank when you’re at the body shop. 

What is the average cost of car repairs?

According to Cars.com, the average cost of car repairs typically ranges from $300 to $500.[2] While this is a good estimate, the real number depends on many different factors: the issue itself, the make of the car, your geographical location, how long you let the issue go before getting maintenance done and more.

Some cars will require more expensive parts. The price of parts and labor also varies from state to state. Timing is also a key factor when it comes to the price of repairs. Consider the last few years, for instance. COVID-19 caused supply chain disruptions leading to the highest inflation rate in decades. As a result, car repair costs are at a high.

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When does insurance cover car repairs?

Different insurance companies may have different coverage options for car repairs. Some of these options may include:

  • Collision insurance: Insurance that repairs and replaces a vehicle after a collision
  • Comprehensive insurance: Insurance that covers damages related to something other than an accident, like weather damage, theft or fire.   

Insurance will not, however, cover routine maintenance services like oil changes, brake pad replacements, tire rotations and mechanical breakdowns. 

The cost of repairs can also dictate how much you pay for insurance. In our 2022 State of Insurance report, we found that certain makes and models are more prone to crashes and need repairs more frequently. As a result, certain vehicles are more costly to insure.  

New cars, over used cars, additionally have modern and expensive technology that makes them costlier to repair — and therefore more expensive to insure. Our report found that the average cost to insure a new car was $1,838 while the average cost to insure a five-year-old car was $1,443.

Which cars require the most expensive repairs?

Consumer Reports asked their members how much they spent on maintenance repair in the last 12 months and found European luxury cars were the most expensive, with BMW, Mercedes Benz and Audi topping the list.[3]

As for the cheapest, compact cars from a variety of brands sat atop the list, notably the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Genesis and Chevrolet Tahoe. Users reported that the 2011 Nissan Leaf, an electric car, cost $0 to maintain over the course of a year. 

This isn’t to say that electric cars are always cheaper than gas cars. The costs depend on the make and model, your driving habits and more. However, electric cars tend to have fewer parts that need servicing, which can often make them a cheaper alternative.

Average car repair cost by service

Some services like oil changes and tire rotations are relatively inescapable. Others tend to happen a little too frequently, like replacing a blown tire or a dead battery. For services like these, it’s good to know an estimate of what the cost should be for your car, so you don’t end up overpaying. 

 average-car-repair-cost-by-service (1)

Regular maintenance 

Regular maintenance encompasses the services all cars need regularly. Some common regular maintenance services include: 

  • Oil and filter change: Oil and filter changes are typically necessary every 5,000 miles, but you should always consult your owner’s manual to see the specific regulations around your vehicle. The price of an oil change will depend on the make and model of your vehicle, as cars require different oils. According to Kelley Blue Book, the price of conventional oil is between $35 to $75 while synthetic oil can be over $100. Synthetic oil, however, runs longer than conventional oil.[4]
  • Tire rotation: Like an oil change, it’s generally recommended you rotate your tires every 5,000 miles, but be sure to consult your vehicle’s owner manual. The price of a tire rotation depends on where you go for the service and can range anywhere from $20 to $50. A basic tire rotation, meaning there are no other services included, shouldn’t exceed $50. If a mechanic is trying to charge you more, it may be best to go elsewhere. 
  • Multipoint inspection: Multipoint inspection is when a mechanic checks under the hood of your car to ensure the engine, battery and transmission are functioning properly. The cost of the inspection depends on the location and level of detail that goes into it but will typically be $150–$200.

Replacing parts    

Some car parts need replacing more frequently than others, and some makes and models use far more expensive parts than others. Some of the most common parts that need replacing tend to be:

  • Engines: The price of a new engine depends on the car and shop. For a non-performance engine, the cost should be between $4,000–$7,000. 
  • Brake pads: The cost of brake pads depends on the cost per axle, which is typically between $100–$300. If you choose to replace all four brake pads, you’ll likely find yourself paying $400 minimum. 
  • Batteries: Car batteries have a particularly wide price range, with cheaper ones landing in the neighborhood of $50 and the more expensive ones coming in at $250. The most common lead-acid battery will cost around $150. 
  • Tires: The cheapest tires usually cost less than $100. Moderate tires tend to cost between $100–$200, and specialty ones can range anywhere between $200–$1,000. The cost of your tires will depend on your vehicle and the type of tire. For instance, off-roading and high-performance tires will be more expensive than standard ones. 

Common repairs 

Accidents happen, and some types of accidents happen more frequently than others. Here are some particularly common accidents and the average cost to repair the damage. 

  • Fender benders: Although the damage generally isn’t severe, the price to fix the damage after a fender bender is usually around $1,000. If the repair requires new parts, these accidents can be costly when you add the price of parts, new paint and labor. 
  • Cracked windshields: Replacing a windshield for a moderately priced vehicle is usually between $200–$400. If you drive a luxury car, expect to pay north of $1,000 for a windshield replacement. 
  • Tire repairs: Getting a tire patched shouldn’t cost more than $20–$30. If the fix requires more than a simple patching, you probably need a new tire. 
  • Car door repair: Side swipes are far too common and the repairs can vary in price. Small dents may only cost $50–$100, but if wiring is damaged or you need to replace the whole door, then repairs can go up to $1,000.

How to save money on car repairs

Owning a car is expensive, but there are a few different ways to save on repairs and prolong the amount of time you can go without needing maintenance. A few tips include:

Get a second opinion 

The price of repairs varies from different body shops and dealerships. As a result, there’s no harm in visiting a few different spots to see if you get the same diagnosis and quote. 

When shopping around, make sure you ask the shop for estimates in writing to ensure you get the price they quote for you. 

See if you can do it yourself 

There are a few regular maintenance items you can do on your own, and the internet (or a car savvy friend) can help you save money and knock out repairs yourself.  Changing oil filters and replacing wiper blades are examples of less costly tasks you can knock out at home. 

If you’re unsure about the safety of the repair, consult a professional. Putting yourself at risk of injury is never worth saving money on car repairs. 

Don’t skip routine maintenance 

Staying on top of routine maintenance is a great way to ensure everything is up to date with your vehicle. Skipping regular maintenance will often lead to repairs that are far more costly than the price of regular maintenance. 

For example, if you skip regular oil changes, it can shorten the working life of your vehicle and cause expensive fixes down the road. 

Listen to warning lights 

Seeing the dreaded warning light is never fun, but ignoring it can lead to far worse and more costly damage to your car. Even if you’re unsure of why warning lights are on, it’s best to go ahead and consult a professional to see what the problem is. Addressing warning lights when they come on can save you money and give you peace of mind. 

Some other out-of-the-box tips for prolonging the life of your car include:

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Bottom line

Car repairs can be costly, but they are most cost-efficient when addressed at the right time. You should never ignore repairs because of the price of the service.  

Remember that all insurance quotes are different, and the coverage you currently have may not be what’s best for you and your vehicle. By shopping annually for new car insurance quotes, you can expect the best rates and save more on repair costs.


  1. Personal consumption expenditures on motor vehicle maintenance and repair services in the U.S. from 2010 to 2021. Statista

  2. How Much Is the Average Car Repair Bill? Cars.com

  3. Least and Most Expensive Cars to Keep on the Road. Consumer Reports

  4. Oil change prices. Kelley Blue Book