Most expensive car repairs: Is getting a loan worth it?

Car repairs can rack up a hefty bill. Which ones are the most expensive?
Last modified: 21st February 2023
Jemima Kelly  |  

There may come a time in your car’s life when it starts to rattle or make bumping noises you’ve never heard before. Unfortunately, unless you have a drumkit in your boot, these noises are most likely a call for repairs. 

Car repairs can rack up a pretty expensive receipt, and though some argue you can get along fine as long as the wheels keep spinning, getting your vehicle looked at by a professional is the wisest road to take. 

In this article, we explore the five of the most expensive car repairs as found by the likes of repair agencies DingGo and AutoGuru

On this page: 

See also: The 10 Most Common Car Repairs in Australia.

1. Oil leaks 

As oil leaks can cause some severe structural damage to your car, they are not something to put off getting looked at. However, locating the leak can become quite complex, meaning it’s often a pricey procedure. 

Why is my car leaking oil?

Your car could leak oil for many reasons, including when the gasket (the sealant that keeps the oil inside the engine) wears down, a stripped or leaking drain plug, or a leaking ring or valve seal. 

The latter is the most concerning, as the oil will not explicitly leak outside the engine unless there are holes in your gaskets. An internal oil leak will occur instead, which can often emit thick smoke from your exhaust. 

How much does it cost to repair an oil leak?

Oil leaks cost, on average, anywhere between $250 and $1,000. Some expenses are minimal, like the gasket plug or oil filter. However, repairing more extensive parts could cost thousands: replacing the head gasket can cost upwards of $3,000.

2. Camshaft replacement 

The camshaft is a long rod that opens and closes valves in the cylinder head. As with all moving parts of the engine, the camshaft can have potential issues. Though not as common as an oil leak, camshaft repairs are not too few and far between. 

Some symptoms of camshaft issues include backfiring, loss of engine power and a tapping noise from the top of the engine. These symptoms are pretty common for most engine issues, so it will take a professional to diagnose properly. 

How much does it cost to replace a camshaft?

The actual parts for most models could come to around $200 to $500 for the camshaft, plus related costs for seals and gaskets. The labour is the most expensive part of the camshaft replacement. Expect to pay around $1,000 to $3,000 for the labour costs.  

Unfortunately, not having it properly installed can cause further issues and is one of the main reasons camshafts have issues in the first place

3. Transmission 

Your car’s transmission is essentially what changes the gears when your vehicle is going at a certain speed. The two types of transmissions are pretty familiar: manual and automatic. A manual transmission consists of the gearbox and clutch, while an automatic transmission relies on the torque converter to change gears. 

As the transmission keeps you in control of your car, it’s essential to get it serviced regularly and be wary of any problems that are occurring.

How much does a transmission repair cost?

A basic transmission repair can cost anywhere between $200 and $500, depending on the repair's complexity and the car's make and model.

An extensive repair, however, could set you back a couple of thousand dollars. If your entire transmission needs multiple complex repairs or an entire replacement, you could be looking at a receipt from $1,000 to $5,000

4. Full Engine Replacement 

If your car’s engine has flatlined, and the mechanics deem it unsalvageable and necessary to replace, you could be digging pretty deep into your pockets to cover the cost. 

How much does a full engine replacement cost?

There are three options when it comes to engine replacement: new engines, reconditioned engines and second-hand engines. According to, if you go for a new engine with a longer life warranty, you could be spending around $28,000.

A reconditioned engine (a used engine that has had modifications) will cost approximately $12,000, while a second-hand engine from the salvage yard will set you back around $5,000

Should I replace my engine or just buy a new car?

This is a major question on the minds of many with cars that need major repairs. Is it worth paying for repairs or simply buying another car? Which one is cheaper and which one will I get more value from? 

Insurance company NRMA lays out some helpful steps to think about when you are in this dilemma:

  • Get three quotes: get quotes from different mechanics on how much the car repairs could cost. 
  • Do some research: find out what the make and model of your car would normally cost. 
  • Weigh up the expenses: If the cost of repairs is higher than the market value of your car, it might be worth considering a reliable replacement car
  • Warranty: is your car still under warranty? If so, it could be worth going through the repair process as the manufacturer will cover it. 

If you’re in the market for a replacement car, consider applying for a Jacaranda Finance new or used car loan. You could receive up to $25,000 for your next set of wheels.

5. Hail damage

Australia is no stranger to the odd unpredictable hail storm, and though many car owners will rush outside to strap on a mattress or blanket the bonnet in pillows, sometimes it’s just too late. Assessing the damage after a hail storm is heartbreaking, but repairs are essential, especially if you want to keep your car’s value as high as it can be. 

How much do hail damage repairs cost?

Depending if the damage is localised or at multiple sites (the latter is more common as hail strikes at random), your hail damage could cost anywhere from $500 to $10,000, maybe even more. In some cases, it could be more economical to write off the car entirely. 

Does insurance cover hail damage?

Comprehensive car insurance, aka the top-level car insurance in Australia, is most likely the only insurance that will cover most or all of the costs of hail damage. Even then, there’s a lot of waiting on hold with the insurer as you and everyone in a 10km radius of you could have experienced the same damage. 

If you have anything less than comprehensive, such as compulsory third-party (CTP)  insurance, you may have to pay for hail repairs out of pocket. 

Is getting a loan for car repairs worth it?

There’s nothing worse than getting slapped in the face with a bill from the mechanic sitting in the thousands. On the one hand, you need these repairs done for safety’s sake, and on the other, you’re looking at a hefty receipt. 

If spending money on something you hadn’t budgeted for could become tricky, you could consider applying for a car repair loan instead.

At Jacaranda Finance, we understand car emergencies sometimes get in the way of life, which is why we offer fast and flexible car repair loans. Apply today, and you could receive up to $25,000 to cover the cost of that oil leak or broken camshaft. 

What’s better is when you apply, you can receive a same-day outcome2 during normal business hours once all information has been provided. That means you won’t have to wait around for a bank to approve you just so you can get back on the road.

Written by - Jemima Kelly

Content Writer
Jemima Kelly is a Content Writer at Jacaranda Finance. She is enthusiastic about accurate and informative content, and holds a Bachelor of Creative and Professional Writing from QUT.
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