Long gone are the days a car was considered or largely looked upon as a luxury acquisition. Today, with the burning desire to commute and move from one place to another seamlessly, a car is more or less a basic need. It not only makes life easy but also ensures we go about our daily activities hassle-free.

That said, chances are that you own a car or plan to buy one in the foreseeable future. To that end, it’s imperative that you anticipate car repair costs now and then due to one reason or another. For many motorists, the process of getting their damaged cars repaired is pretty much straightforward – take it to a garage, wait for an estimate, pay, and pick it up at the end of the day or the next. However, have you ever tried to establish whether the quote was actually fair?

Whether it is a radiator, brake, or electrical-related problem, simply accepting the quote you get can result in an overpayment. What if the mechanic’s diagnostics were wrong? What if they were dishonest in the quote they gave you? To get the right quote and value for money, it is prudent to understand the damage under consideration and the estimate.

This post digs deeper into car mechanics to identify the common car repair issues and associated costs. To help you get even more info on car diagnostics and repair estimates, the post also seeks to answer the question: “Which is the best car repair estimate site?”

Important Facts About Car Repairs That You Need to Know

How much should my car repair cost?

To get the right answer to this question, it is advisable to start with the facts. According to the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), routine maintenance will cost approximately $$$500 to $$$700 every year. This translates to about $42-58 every month. Note that these are minor costs without factoring in major repairs.

New vehicles require less in maintenance compared to the older ones. The logical reason for this is that most of the parts are still in top performance and the impact of wear and tear is yet to be felt. The associated cost is also low because such vehicles are covered by warranties.

Knowing your car manual can help you to address many problems without going into a garage. For example, all cars come with manuals on tire inflation, as well as the location of different parts and diagnostics. Even for the cars that did not come with manuals, it is still easy to download this from the manufacturer’s website.

Before deciding to take the vehicle to a garage for repair, it is important to check whether you can rectify the problem yourself. Fortunately, there are many car repair videos that you can follow on manufacturers and expert’s websites to help you address some common repairs. For example, you can follow expert videos and learn how to change oil and replace tires without it costing you an arm and a leg.

The Common Car Repairs for Your Car and Their Costscar repair estimate

Oil and Oil Filter Change

Your car engine oil is very important because it keeps the engine running smoothly through lubrication. It also helps to absorb excess heat. With the continued running of your car, the oil degrades and becomes ineffective. Therefore, the oil should be part of your routine maintenance.

It is recommended that oil filters should be changed after about 7,500 kilometers. Note that this could be different for various vehicles. The cost of replacing your car oil ranges from $30 and $40. However, the price can go up to $50-70 if your vehicle uses synthetic oil.   

Wheel Alignment

The wheels of your car are the workhorses that make it possible to move from one point to another. Because they are subjected to the engine forces that generate torque to move the vehicle, they can easily get misaligned.

If you ask the local mechanic, the wheel alignment should be done after every 24 months. However, waiting for a long time to change and/or realign the wheels could result in a huge bill because small problems will have magnified. Instead, it is advisable to take your car for wheel alignment after every 12 months or about 20,000 kilometers.

If you alternate the vehicle’s tires with winter and spring models when the seasons change, it is advisable to go for regular wheel alignment. The cost of wheel alignment depends on the number of wheels that need to be aligned. If you only need two wheels to be aligned, the cost will range between $75 and $$200. The cost will double if you need all four wheels to be aligned.

Brake Pad Replacement

The car brakes are perhaps the most important safety feature in a car. They create friction on the wheels and slow the rotation until the car stops. If you notice grinding or squeaking sounds, it implies that the pads are damaged and will need replacement.

Generally, it is recommended that your brakes should be replaced after doing 80,000 kilometers. However, you might be required to replace the pads after 50,000 kilometres depending on the type of your car.

How much should a brake job cost?

The brake pads and rotors cost in Canada will depend on the garage that is running the repairs. However, the average brake repair cost is about $150. This figure is not universal as the cost can rise to $$300 per axle for most luxury cars. In such cases, the mechanic might charge an additional $$300-$$$500 in labour charges.

NOTE: You should be prepared if other components of the vehicle braking system will need to be replaced and this will cost extra.

The Timing Belt Replacement

The timing belt is very crucial in a car because it ensures that the engine fires at the right time. Though the recommended time for timing belt replacement is about five years, it is prudent to check it on your own if you have the right tools or ask a mechanic to check it when going for a checkup. Because the mechanic will need to open the engine, it is advisable to have the belt checked when you go for general maintenance every three months. Such general maintenance costs about $125.

The rule of the thumb is getting the car’s timing belt replaced after every 70,000 kilometres. Though advanced technology is making the belts last longer, it is advisable to be on the lookout. If you notice strange noises from the engine, it might be time to get the belt replaced.

Replacing the timing belt is among the most expensive vehicle repairs you should expect. Many mechanics will charge between $$$500 and $$$900. The secret of getting it right with timing belts is having it replaced as immediately as it starts developing trouble. If the problem prolongs, the cost could go up to $$$$2,000.

From the above evaluations, there is no doubt that the repairs can vary with a big margin. However, you can always have a grip on the repairs and associated costs by working with car repair estimating sites.

A Closer Look at the Top Car Repair Estimate Sites

Vehicle repair estimate sites should be motorists’ ‘manual’ to help them know more about car trouble and the associated costs of repair. Here is a closer look at the top estimate sites:

RepairPal Repair Estimator

RepairPal Repair Estimator is one of the leading car repair estimators that have won the hearts of motorists for precision and commitment to customer value. For the RepairPal Repair Estimator, you should always try to understand your car and its problem(s) before setting off to seek help at a garage. Here is a summary of the pros and cons of RepairPal Repair Estimator:

  • They have a dedicated question and answers page to help motorists diagnose car problems
  • You can access reviews from past clients to establish what was wrong with their vehicles when they had similar issues like you are experiencing with your car
  • They guide clients to shops offering genuine spares
  • They provide tips that extend even to buying spares and insurance
  • Though the site is great, they lack a garages that clients can go to and get vehicles serviced

AutoMD Repair Estimator

AutoMD Repair Estimator is another professional site that is dedicated to helping clients understand their cars and cut repair costs. The service is free and helps motorists promptly pull out the quotes for various repairs.

To ensure that motorists can negotiate the price with mechanics in garages, AutoMD Repair Estimator provides a full price breakdown. Besides, they also have mobile mechanics that can move around to assist you in order to keep the cost low.

  • The site compares quotes from different garages and factors in the  actual price of the spares in order to give the right estimate
  • The company has mechanics who can  come to your place to assist you
  • You can get the car repair quote based on your type of vehicle
  • You can follow feedback from past clients to know how their problems were addressed   
  • You can reach the service via mail or phone for help
  • The site is free
  • The site requires users to sign up in order to get quotes. This means that it retains some of their info

Auto Service Cost

AutoService Cost is an auto repair estimate site that seeks to empower people to take greater control of their cars. The site targets to help motorists understand different parts of their cars and address common issues without necessarily taking the vehicle to a garage. Even when you need to seek assistance from a mechanic, the service also helps to connect you with professionals who are genuine and affordable. Here is a closer look at the pros and cons of using AutoService Repair:

  • The website is very simple to use for  vehicle diagnostics and repair estimates
  • Motorists can use the website to  get in touch with expert mechanics who will not rip them off
  • The site allows motorists to compare the price of parts from the local shops
  • The site is free
  • Though the site connects motorists with local mechanics, they do not have their own garages that one can take a car into for assistance  
  • The site relies on the quotes submitted by different mechanics and garages


If you have a car, understanding the nature of various problems and average repair estimates can help to pull down the involved repair costs with a significant margin.

How much should my car repair cost? The answer to this question is that you should not pay more than the average charges in the market.

By using the above vehicle repair estimates, you can dig for more info about the problem and even fix the issue yourself if it is not complicated. However, if you need to seek the services of a mechanic, the estimate sites listed above will also show you the average amount to pay and even link you up with affordable mechanics!