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Average Repair Costs For Used Cars

Average Repair Costs For Used Cars

06/07/2023

The average used car driver spends around £1,300 annually on car repairs and maintenance. That includes petrol — no surprise there — but also repairs and breakdowns. On a monthly basis, most people pay between £30 and £35 on trips to the mechanic, and about £65 and £68 for fuel, although this has now risen by 20% since the cost of living crisis. 

Of course, those are just averages and repairs can be very expensive for an unlucky few. A study by WarrantyWise found that the car average repair bill for an unexpected fix is close to £600. The more upscale the brand, the more it costs to fix.  

If your used car still has some time left on the original manufacturer's warranty, then you’ll still be on their schedule of standard maintenance packages and cover. For most used car owners, however, the warranty has already expired, so you have to pay for each service and part individually.  

There are things you can do to make surprise car repair bills less likely. There are car repair finance options like ours that you can turn to, but regular upkeep of your used car is the best way forward.   

In the meantime, let’s take a look at what that means in practice to look after your car.  

Average repair costs per car brand 

When something goes wrong with your car, it can be good to check what the typical prices are for fixing problems on your specific make and model. This helps both with budgeting, and ensuring you’re not getting overcharged when visiting a garage.  

Below are some average car repair costs, listed by brand - this can help compare car repair costs between brands too. 

Engine blown - replacement engine

  • Ford, Vauxhall, Mazda, Skoda: £4,500 - £6,000
  • Volvo, VW, SEAT, Toyota: £5,000 - £7,000 
  • BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Range Rover:  £9,000 - £13,000

Suspension damage - replacing a spring and strut

  • Ford, Vauxhall, Mazda, Skoda: £180 - £300
  • Volvo, VW, SEAT, Toyota: £250 - £340
  • BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Range Rover: £300 - £520 

Replacement battery

  • Ford, Vauxhall, Mazda, Skoda: £60 - £100 
  • Volvo, VW, SEAT, Toyota: £80 - £140
  • BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Range Rover: £90 - £300 

EGR valve replacement/refresh costs 

  • Ford, Vauxhall, Mazda, Skoda: £180 - £250 
  • Volvo, VW, SEAT, Toyota: £200 - £280 
  • BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Range Rover: £300 - £500 

Turbo Replacement

  • Ford, Vauxhall, Mazda, Skoda: £400 - £700
  • Volvo, VW, SEAT, Toyota: £550 - £800
  • BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Range Rover: £700 - £2,000  

Is it cheaper to repair older cars? 

Over half of the cars on the road within the EU are over 12 years old, does this mean they’re easier or cheaper to repair? In many cases yes, new cars often require expensive main dealer tools and data, and very old cars are often difficult to source parts for. 

Where the car is old enough that an independent mechanic has easy access to the parts and workshop guides, but the car is not yet so old that parts aren’t obtainable, jobs tend to be more straightforward and faster.  

One of the main reasons older cars can be fixed cheaper than new ones is that most main dealer garages charge upwards of £100 per hour. Meaning a simple oil change can be £100 before parts! 

6 Ways To Save Money On Car Maintenance 

1. Keep up with the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule  

Even if your used car is out of warranty, the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule is worth sticking to. Too many drivers try and save money on maintenance by delaying periodic service visits. New car or used, experts say that any savings you gain are short-term at best. Waiting too long between mechanic visits lets small problems escalate into big ones. And with a used car, there naturally tend to be more small problems.  

2. Save Money By Keeping Your Car Clean 

Making sure your used car’s body and underside are cleaned regularly will help keep grime and grit from accumulating around moving parts. It will also minimise scratches and other damage to your paint job, glass, and mirrors. Studies have shown that British drivers spend around £60 a year taking their car into the car wash. Pro tip: a car’s normal lifespan is seven to eight years. If you wash your car at home you could save slash £800 from your maintenance costs over that period.  

3. Drive your used car carefully  

Getting more life out of your used car could be as easy as treating it with more care. Your brakes, tyres, clutch and transmission will last longer and you don’t stress your systems and components to the max. Being nice to your motor is easier than you think.   

Start with simple changes. For example, don’t keep your foot pressed down on the clutch after you change gears. If you do, the clutch won’t fully re-engage, which could cause premature wear to the clutch plates, as well as unnecessary throw-out bearing wear. Over time that will cause major damage to your transmission which will be expensive to fix. 

Another thing you can do is steer clear of bumps and potholes. Your car’s suspension, underside, and tyres can all be damaged by flying over imperfect roads at high speed. What you’ll end up with is a painfully expensive repair bill — all of which could be avoided by taking it slow.  

Finally, keep an eye on what’s coming down the road. Watch for potential collisions and brake gradually as required. Easing on the brakes will keep discs and brake pads from wearing out before their normal lifespan expires. If you brake hard constantly, it creates more friction and wears down component materials faster.  

4. Make your next car electric  

Electric vehicles are increasing in popularity and that means there’s also a growing market for used EVs. Lower repair costs are part of the attraction. Along with being more sustainable, e-cars are rightly hailed for being cheaper to maintain. Their motors contain fewer moving parts. And perhaps most importantly, charging an electric vehicle is significantly cheaper than filling a tank with diesel or petrol.  

The latest industry research shows that electric cars are about 25 per cent cheaper to maintain than cars with a traditional petrol-fired internal combustion engine. On average, that equates to savings of about £300 annually.  

5. Repair costs for electric cars 

As mentioned above, electric cars contain much fewer moving parts than their combustion engine equivalents. Whilst an electric car is much simpler in principle than a petrol or diesel one, they are not always cheaper to fix.  

Many repair costs, such as repairing bodywork and suspension/brake problems involve just the same parts that the ICE cars use, so are rarely cheaper on an EV.  

Servicing is one area where EVs are easier to maintain, with only 2-3 systems that need fluid replenishing or replacing, compared to the 10+ of a diesel or petrol car.  

6. Fix what you can yourself  

If you’re willing to sit through a few YouTube videos and learn how to handle basic car maintenance, you can save a lot of money every year by keeping your used car away from the mechanic’s and doing smaller repairs, simple replacements like filters, and fluid top-ups yourself.  

When you take your used car into a garage, you’re paying for parts and labour. In many cases, a bit of shopping around will locate the same parts for less than what the mechanic will charge you for them. Learning to do straightforward fixes like oil changes can save you hundreds of pounds annually.  

Try Bumper  

Bad luck can catch anyone out when it comes to cars and maintenance. If you do find yourself facing a sizable repair bill for something unexpected, Bumper's ‘buy now, pay later’ service can help ease the pain for many different makes like BMW or Mercedes among others. 

Split the cost of repairs and services into monthly payments with 1000s of garages and dealerships nationwide. 

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