The Breakdown Blog

Most common mechanical problems for high-mileage cars

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You may choose to drive a car with higher than average mileage for several reasons. If your vehicle is paid off, it may be wise to drive it for as long as possible while you save up to purchase a newer vehicle. If you have a loan on your car, you may owe more than your car is worth, causing you to be "upside-down" on your loan. This means that you can't sell your car and pay off your loan, so you must drive it until it's paid off. Either way, driving a high-mileage car that's in good condition can be a smart way to save money. However, at some point, you may face an expensive repair bill, which you'll either need to pay out of pocket for or with VEHICLE SERVICE COVERAGE.

High-mileage car owners need a good mechanic

High mileage cars have many common mechanical problems that are preventable with routine maintenance. Even if you do a great job of maintaining your vehicle, issues may arise due to the failure of one of your car's parts or systems and can come with a savings-draining bill from your mechanic. 

For this reason, it's crucial to have a trusted mechanic or repair shop that you can depend on to help you with routine maintenance. In many cases, your mechanic can warn you that something is about to go wrong. For example, replacing a worn timing belt is much less expensive than repairing the damage done to an engine when one breaks. 

If you don't have a mechanic you can turn to when your car breaks down, be sure to get multiple quotes. If you know exactly what's wrong with your vehicle, you may be able to call several repair shops and ask about the typical charge for repairing the problem.


Average repair costs for high-mileage cars

  1. Exhaust system replacement: $300 - $1,200
  2. Brake line replacement: $150 - $200
  3. Shocks and struts replacement: $450 -$1,100
  4. Spark plugs replacement: $56 - $250
  5. Head gasket: $1,500 +
  6. Car battery replacement: $220 - $270
  7. Replace alternator: $290 - $680
  8. Replace starter: $290 - $995

Where you live and the type of car you drive are significant factors influencing how much you'll pay for repairs. In general, repairing a BMW 5 Series costs more in a larger city like Boston than in a more rural area like St. Louis. However, fixing a BMW 5 Series also costs much more on average than repairing a Honda Civic.


What can you expect when your high-mileage car breaks down?

When your vehicle breaks down, you may need to have it towed to your mechanic's shop so they can diagnose the problem. While there's a lot of helpful information available on the internet that may give you the confidence to self-diagnose the problem, resist the urge to go on a deep dive in an attempt to figure it out on your own. If you must have your car towed, be sure to call the repair shop and let them know that your vehicle is on the way so they can get the diagnosis and repair estimate completed as soon as possible. 

After your mechanic diagnoses the problem, the shop will probably call you to make sure you understand how long it may take to fix your car and how much it will cost. There may be several options for repairing the issue. You'll get a repair estimate via email or over the phone, and once you agree to have the work done, your mechanic will order the parts and get started.


How to avoid unexpected repair expenses with your high-mileage car

One way to help avoid expensive repair bills is to take good care of your high-mileage car. Talk with your mechanic and ask them for a high mileage vehicle maintenance checklist. You can avoid many common problems by getting regular oil changes and asking the repair shop to top off your car's fluids, and check the wear on your brake pads with each oil change. 

Making minor repairs can help you avoid more significant problems in many cases. For example, when your brake pads wear down too far, the rotors may become damaged, leaving you with a bill for hundreds of dollars worth of parts and labor. 

You can also help avoid expensive repairs by purchasing vehicle service contract covering your high-mileage vehicle's major parts and systems. With Ridesure, you'll get the coverage you need to help reduce your out-of-pocket costs after a mechanical breakdown so you can afford to keep your car in good working condition. Ridesure even enables you to get a rental car, so you aren't stranded while your vehicle is in the shop. 

With Ridesure, you'll have an extended warranty that comes with an easy claims process so that you can be prepared for the unexpected.


About the AuthorAndrew Hillin

“I have built successful business’ in the Home and Auto Warranty industries for decades. Let me share what I know with you”.