14 ten problems with your car that will cost you a fortune

ten problems with your car that will cost you a fortune

By Jason Unrau on 2018-04-17 18:10:30

When you buy a car, especially a newer one, you aren’t expecting major car repairs anytime soon. But the warranty period flies by quickly, and soon you are on the hook for all your car repairs in a vehicle that no longer has any coverage.

Alright, so there could be a few repairs necessary once in a while. That’s no big deal, right? Well, it could be. On your car, there are several systems that will cost you more than a few quid to repair. Here are ten problems with your car that cost more than you expected.

Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter is a component in your exhaust system that superheats unburned hydrocarbons in exhaust gases. Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? The catalytic converter operates normally at temperatures between 212C and 900C. It’s all because of a chemical reaction inside, where precious metals react with these unburned particles.

But when the catalytic converter overheats or begins to deteriorate inside, you’ll wish you owned precious metals to pay for the repairs. A catalytic converter replacement can easily cost up to £1,000, and more with high-performance cars.


Cars with turbochargers were often fast cars with high horsepower. But modern cars today implement turbochargers because they can make a smaller-displacement motor operate with the same horsepower as a larger engine but burning less fuel. The trade-off is that the car’s mechanical design is complicated, and it has an expensive turbocharger installed directly from the factory.

If your turbo’d car starts to lose power, you’re in for a world of hurt. The part alone can cost anywhere from £600 to £4,000! You can expect a costly labour bill at the same time. Lucky you.

Timing Belt

In normal operating conditions, a timing belt replacement should be done during the course of routine maintenance. It’s in the maintenance schedule for a reason. For most cars, changing the timing belt will normally cost a few hundred quid – that’s not cheap, but it doesn’t break the bank either. But if the timing belt breaks, it’s a whole new scenario.

A broken timing belt can result in bent valves in the cylinder head and other consequential damage. The engine will shut down immediately and you’ll be stranded. Repairs range from just installing a new timing belt to a complete motor rebuild.

Fuel Pump

Here’s an expensive repair you probably didn’t expect to see. A fuel pump is a small electric motor that pushes fuel from the fuel tank up to the engine. For most cars, it’s included with the fuel level sensor or float inside the tank and is usually referred to as a fuel pump module. Slap the word ‘module’ on anything and the repair cost is ten-fold.

Granted, it might not be the most expensive repair on the list, ranging in price from £300 to £800 or so. But it will always be an unexpected and unpleasant surprise when you need the fuel pump module replaced. For what it is, the repair cost is a small fortune.


Transaxle, gearbox, transmission, gearcase – all words for the same part. A car’s transmission is responsible for converting engine power into usable, controllable power. It’s full of gears, friction plates, hydraulic fluid, and electrical parts. It’s a seriously complex assembly.

When something goes wrong inside the transmission – anything at all – the repairs are going to cost you your firstborn. Hours of labour are required to remove it and re-install, plus the components inside are all expensive too. Sometimes it’s cheaper to replace the whole transmission assembly Look to spend at least £1,000 on transmission repairs, and up to £3,500 or more.


When it comes to cars, everyone knows the engine is expensive to fix. It’s a precision machine, and the difference between running smoothly and verging on blowing up is literally milliseconds in the operating cycle. So, when one small thing goes wrong, it can be catastrophic. A faulty crankshaft position sensor, low crankcase oil, water in the engine, or even a plugged oil galley can be devastating.

How much the engine costs to repair or replace depends on the extent of the damage, the make of the car, and the style of engine. Some normal cars might be £2,000 to rebuild the motor while other high-performance or diesel models could be £8-12,000. It makes you think twice about putting off your oil change, doesn’t it?


Your in-dash CD player is outdated and almost useless aside from the radio and AUX input. But that doesn’t mean it won’t cause you to have a heart attack with its repair cost. Your car’s radio is meant as a direct-fit component and ties in with other car systems. Some vehicles have an engine immobilizer feature tied into the radio while others rely on the same circuitry for airbag systems. It seems crazy but it’s true.

What’s more, the radio isn’t a run-of-the-mill replacement part. Some manufacturers make you send in your current radio before they’ll send you a new one. Plus, it could easily cost £600 or more. If you have integrated navigation, that could double the cost. What we do for our tunes...


Cars with manual transmissions have a clutch that will need to be changed at some point in its life cycle. The clutch disc is lined with friction material, very much like your car’s brake pads. The difference is that the transmission needs to be removed to replace the clutch disc.

It’s more annoying than anything for the usual car, sometimes costing as little as £200 for a clutch replacement. But sports cars and luxury models won’t get away so lucky. It can range up to £2,000 or more, especially if the flywheel needs to be changed too. It’s a good thing that manual transmissions are more fun to drive at least.

Engine Control Unit

When you start getting into electrical bits on a car, you aren’t expecting a massive repair bill. That is, unless the electrical bit is the control module that operates most of your car. The engine control unit, or ECU, does just that. For most cars, the ECU controls the engine, transmission, and most of the functions under the bonnet. The car’s cabin usually has its own control unit.

It really does make a big difference in cost, depending on what you drive. It might be a few hundred pounds to change out the ECU and program it, while some cars are a few thousand pounds. You can’t get away with a cheaper part either, because it simply won’t be compatible with your car.

Cylinder Head Gasket

Cars stuck at the side of the road with steam billowing out from under the hood are overheating. And when an engine overheats, the cylinder head gasket is susceptible to blowing out. It’s more common than you’d think, and the repair is invasive and expensive.

Essentially, the whole top of the engine has to come apart. The cylinder head gasket is replaced, but there could be more damage. The cylinder head itself may have warped in the unfortunate event, in which case it needs to be machined flat or replaced. £800 to £2,500 should cover the range of repairs.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
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