The 10 Most Common Car Repairs in Australia
According to RACV’s latest Car Running Costs Survey, the average monthly cost of servicing a medium-sized car - aka maintenance and repairs - is about $35, or $420 per year.
This figure can be much higher when you factor in unforeseen repairs like flat tyres or broken windscreens. And as much as you might want to, you just can’t avoid some car repairs if you want to continue driving.
To help you understand more about the kinds of issues you could run into (pun intended), we’ve compiled a list of Australia’s 10 most common car repairs and the potential costs of these repairs.
On this page:
- What are the most common car repairs?
- What are the common costs of car repairs?
- What does the average car service cost?
- The most common ways to damage your car
- Can car insurance help?
- Consider a car repair loan
Originally published on 4 June 2021.
What are the most common car repairs?
Below are 10 of Australia's most common car repairs, in no particular order.
1. Front windscreen replacement
A cracked windscreen can be dangerous, whether caused by road debris, severe weather, or flying items. It can make a vehicle unroadworthy and impact its overall structure: the windscreen can account for about 30% of a car’s total structural integrity!
Repairing the front windscreen typically involves a professional technician removing the damaged windshield and installing a new one using adhesive and specialised tools. They can also repair small cracks before they turn into big windshield-sized cracks.
2. Air-conditioning re-gas
A car’s air conditioning is essential, especially given we live in a ‘sunburnt country’. Even during the cooler months, the air con is vital for demystifying foggy windows.
The most common reason an aircon malfunctions is a lack of refrigerant gas. Over time, the refrigerant gas in a car's air-conditioning system can deplete, resulting in reduced cooling performance. If it gets too low, the air-con could stop working entirely.
An air-conditioning re-gas involves evacuating the remaining gas, checking for leaks, and recharging the system with the appropriate refrigerant.
3. Front brake pad replacement
The front brake pads do approximately 70% of the braking required to slow down or stop the average vehicle, which is why they typically need to be replaced more regularly than rear brake pads. This repair involves removing the worn brake pads and installing new ones to ensure safe and effective braking.
4. Tyre replacement
Tyres need to be replaced every 5 - 10 years, or roughly every 40,000 kilometres, due to the constant friction and heat they endure from holding the weight of your car on the road. When the tread depth becomes insufficient, or tyres sustain damage that cannot be repaired, they need replacement. You might only need one tyre replaced at a time or all four, but replacing them in pairs is normally recommended (front or rear).
In our article on the cost of replacing tyres, the average tyre price in Australia can cost anywhere from $80 to $800+, depending on the size, brand, and type of vehicle. For a small car, tyres can start under $100 and go up to $300; for SUVs and sports cars, tyres can easily cost $700 or more.
5. Battery replacement
One of your car's most essential components is the battery, providing an electric current to start the engine. When it fails, your car does too.
Car batteries have a limited lifespan and eventually lose their ability to hold a charge. To replace it, you need to disconnect the old battery, remove it from the car and install a new one. You can do this yourself, but getting a professional is generally recommended.
6. Timing belt or chain replacement
The timing belt or chain keeps the crankshaft and camshafts perfectly timed, which keeps the engine running effectively. Without it, parts of the engine can collide at high speeds, leading to severe damage.
Over time, these belts or chains can wear out, become loose, or break: replacement involves removing the old timing belt or chain and installing a new one according to the manufacturer's specifications.
7. Rear brake pad replacement
While these brake pads only do roughly 30% of the braking, they can still eventually wear down and need replacement.
8. Clutch replacement
In cars with a manual transmission, the clutch sits between the engine and transmission, allowing the driver to change gears. Over time, the clutch disc, pressure plate, or release bearing can wear out and require replacement.
9. Spark plug replacement
The spark plugs ignite the fuel and air inside your petrol-run engine. If they’re overdue for replacement, your fuel consumption can increase, and your car may struggle to run as smoothly as it once did.
10. AC compressor replacement
The AC compressor is a vital component of the air-conditioning system that pressurises and circulates the refrigerant. When the AC compressor fails or becomes faulty, it can result in a loss of cooling capability.
Although it can sometimes last for years and years without needing to be replaced, the chances it will fail generally increase after your car has driven over 150,000 kilometres.
What are the common costs of car repairs?
Let’s look at how much these common car repairs might cost you to fix.
In the table below, we’ve compiled data from Autoguru on the typical cost range of these repairs. Remember that the prices below are without consideration of the severity of the issue, the make and model of your car, and the mechanic. However, it can still be used as a handy point of reference.
|Car Repair||Cost Range|
|Front windscreen replacement||$300 - $1,000+|
|Air conditioning re-gas||~$100+|
|Front brake pad replacement||$150 - $350+|
|Tyre replacement||$80 - $800+|
|Battery replacement||$100 - $150+|
|Timing belt/chain replacement||$500 - $1,500+|
|Rear brake pad replacement||$150 - $400+|
|Clutch replacement||$800 - $1,500|
|Spark plug replacement||$100 - $350+|
|AC compressor replacement||$800 - $1,200+|
See also: The 5 most expensive car repairs.
What does the average car service cost?
The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) releases a quarterly Transport Affordability Index. According to the latest report for Q1 2023 (January to March), the typical two-person Aussie household spends around $1,760 per year on tyres and servicing, which could include any of the above ten repairs and more.
The AAA’s data shows Canberra residents paid the most to service their cars, at an average annual cost of nearly $2,300!
|City/Region||Average yearly cost: Tyres and servicing||Quarterly increase|
The most common ways to damage your car
Outside of the usual wear and tear, what are the main ways people end up needing to get their car repaired? A 2018 study of over 2,000 Aussie drivers by Finder found that being rear-ended by another vehicle is the most common cause of car damage, with as many as two in five admitting to being hit from behind.
The second-most common type of damage was having a car scratched, with 39% of respondents saying their vehicle had been scratched by someone who didn’t fess up.
Older drivers are more likely to be rear-ended; Meanwhile, people from Tasmania are likelier to damage their car by hitting an animal, which is least likely in Queensland and South Australia.
|Occurrence||Percentage of drivers affected|
|Car was rear ended||42%|
|Person scratched their car and didn’t admit to it||39%|
|Car was broken into||25%|
|Damaged car by hitting an animal||18%|
|Car was keyed||15%|
|Hit by an uninsured driver||15%|
Can car insurance help?
Car insurance can usually help pay for car repairs and damage in most cases. There are essentially four different types of car insurance in Australia:
- Compulsory Third Party Insurance (CTP)
- Third-Party Insurance (don’t confuse it with Compulsory Third Party Insurance!)
- Third Party, Fire and Theft Insurance
- Comprehensive Insurance
Comprehensive car insurance is the one you want here, as it covers everything CTP insurance does as well as damage to your car from another vehicle; damage from rain, hail and other natural disasters; your car being stolen, and much, much more.
A good comprehensive car insurance policy will set the average household back around $1,960 a year - or about $980 per person. While that might sound like a lot, these policies can not only cover you for unexpected expenses like the 10 common car repairs in this article but for much more significant expenses.
If your car is rear-ended, like 40% of Aussies experience at some point, the bill for that without a car insurance policy could end up in the thousands.
If you don’t have a comprehensive car insurance policy, though, or your policy won’t cover the cost of the necessary repairs, you could potentially turn to a car repair loan if necessary…
Consider a car repair loan.
If your car’s been in a wreck or your service ended up costing an eye-watering amount, you don’t have to dip into your savings. At Jacaranda, we offer car repair loans for some of the most common issues you might face with your car.
With fast applications1, 60-second fund transfers3 if approved and fixed repayments to help you budget, a car repair loan with Jacaranda Finance could be your solution.
You can get in touch with William via email@example.com.