/ Money, Motoring

What’s your most costly car repair bill?

There’s never a good time for something to go wrong with your car, but expensive repair bills somehow crop up at times when you want them least. What’s your biggest ever repair bill?

As a former two-time Alfa Romeo owner (glutton for punishment), I’m fully aware of the horror moment when a mechanic hands over a repair bill that makes your jaw almost drop to the floor and your wallet clench in distress.

I’ll not forget the knee-buckling receipt for my Alfa GT diesel when I took it to a franchised dealer for a minor service. £1,200 for a non-major service almost floored me, and the experience was further compounded when the car had an electrical fault on the way home from the dealership and went into limp mode. If anything, I could have used the four-sheet-long repair bill as tissues to wipe away the tears…

Cars Editor, Claire Evans, is just as familiar with the situation:

‘My Renault Modus suffered a faulty electrical control unit that pushed my annual service bill over £600 for 2012. Until it was fixed, I had to indicate left to turn the windscreen wipers on and right to turn them off!’

The most expensive car repair bills

But it’s an experience I know many motorists face each year. And we find out the severity of annual repair bills each year in the Which? Car Survey.

Last year, 47,500 of you told us about the 57,000 cars you own, including what the most common faults were on your cars, and how much your annual repair bills totalled.

And for some car owners, the results were rather costly.

Land Rover Discovery 3 owners had it worst, with an average annual repair bill of £478. According to our data, 23% of all Discovery 3s suffered from suspension component faults, which would be one of the main reasons for the costly repairs.


Tell us about your most costly repair bill

The Which? Car Survey 2014 is ready for you to fill in now so you can tell us about your repair bills in the last 12 months, as well as how satisfied you are with your car over the last year of motoring.

What you tell us about your car has a direct effect on which cars we recommend and which we don’t, so we would love to hear from you. And if you do fill in the survey, you’ll be entered into a free prize draw to win £2,500 – the equivalent of free fuel for a year.

And as well as filling in the survey, leave a comment below to tell us what your most expensive repair bill has been in all your time of motoring. Can you beat my £1,200 shocker?


I had a timing chain disintegrate on my Audi A6 2.7tdi. No damage to head or pistons, but the total repair cost was £4300. I drove the car for two days and the fan belt shredded, allegedly due to the air conditioning pulley no longer turning, causing the vehicle to overheat.Its now back at the garage that repaired the engine and they say its nothing to do with them, the fault is just a coincidence…

vauxhall insignia 2011 problems with the gearbox differential away now £ 2500 to get it fixed after contacting Vauxhall they said they would pay 50% not bad since it never been right in the first place

Branny says:
16 August 2016

2010 VW Polo that I bought new so far:

New engine at 62000 miles due to the timing chain stretching (it has a full VW service history too) – £4500 (dealership melted my headlights during the repair).

Countless headlight bulbs that seem to last less than a year.

4 sets of rear drums at £299 each.

Exhaust front pipe “snapped” (quoted £582 at VW) local Indy did it for £113! How can they charge 400% more?!?!

During its last service they said everything was fine. Two days later I’m getting an air con leak fixed (I pointed this out to a “technician” before the service) and of the engine mount bushes replaced.

As if the overcharging isn’t bad enough, they don’t even spot basic faults that air pointed out to them!

It won’t ever be seeing the inside of a VW dealership again.

If it’s just the headlight bulbs that are failing then you might be unlucky, Branny. If other bulbs don’t last long, this suggests that the alternator is producing a higher voltage than it should. A friend has a Toyota Yaris with this problem.

Brake disks and drums can corrode very quickly when cars are exposed to a lot of salt. A poor batch of steel can also be a problem and a friend once showed me the state of the front disks on his Renault Laguna after less than three years. It was unfit to be on the road and had not had its first MOT.

I would have pushed the main dealer for a goodwill payment regarding the timing chain. You also have statutory protection under the Sale of Goods Act (replaced by the Consumer Rights Act in Oct 2015). Years ago I was given a new engine for my three year old VW, two years after the guarantee had expired.

Nicely done Audi A4 57 plate. ..
Oil pump at 2k …& may of blown away my year old turbo. .. great as a result of the manufacturer falt….
Never buy a Audi again …

Matt says:
2 November 2016

£6140.25 to repair my Audi A5 – it’s a 60 plate with 83,000 miles and fully serviced and well maintained….but….the fuel pump went wrong and fed metal fillings into the engine meaning full fuel system replacement including injectors……total nightmare

how about a $10,333 bill for a engine rebuild on my 1988 Maserati Karif expensive but as only 32 rhd cars produced well worth it .
And it will eat early 911,s for breakfast .

Mine was clutch replacement on my BMW 3 series.

[Sorry, your comment has been edited for being promotional, which breaches our Community Guidelines https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/. Thanks, mods.]

When being given the bill spare a thought for the poor technician carrying out the work. You might have paid the garage anything from £40 – £150 per hour depending on where you took it but just remember the technician receives £7.50 – £13 per hour.

Out of that pay received the technician has to buy their own tools and equipment. This can cost a small fortune. The tool box to store the tools in can be anything up to £22000!

This is why your trained and skilled technicians are leaving the trade in droves!

My 2008 x type is now in need of a new clutch and dual mass flywheel ect £1200 its also in need of front bushes shed got 181000 miles on the clock and I’ve spent around 3k in servicing and replacing parts.ive had the car about 5 years .

Unfortunately, you can expect to have to spend money on a car that has done a high mileage. The parts you have mentioned are subject to wear & tear.

Leo Harry says:
25 September 2020

Hello this is Leo Harry. Is it the Service light or is it the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Light or Engine Management light) that is illuminated?