Repairing your car is a necessary (and often dreaded) expense, and part of the dread comes from a classic case of fearing the unknown. In other words, even if you know what the problem is, accurately estimating how much a car repair is going to cost can be a quite the challenge.
“Any experienced car owner knows that one of the main factors driving the cost of replacement parts is the manufacturer, and sometimes the model, of the vehicle in question”, says Alan of PartCatalog.
Most Expensive Car Parts: Fact Versus Fiction
There are plenty of assumptions out there about the cost of replacement car parts, such as the idea that foreign cars cost more to maintain in the US than American-made cars do.
Some of these assumptions contain a grain of truth (for example, some foreign cars do have pricier parts, because they need to be sourced from faraway locations; others, however, kill the assumption because they can easily be repaired without relying on any type of importation).
Vehicles With the Most Expensive Parts: A General List
What the true cost of replacement parts comes down to is a combination of factors, ranging from “foreign versus domestic” to “luxury versus basic.” It’s difficult to give a precise ranking of part cost by vehicle, because other factors play into the cost (such as geographic location and car condition).
With that in mind, the cars with the costliest parts can be ranked fairly accurately by category. The three vehicle types below hold the dubious honor of requiring the most expensive repair parts to American drivers.
1. Foreign vehicles
As mentioned above, this one needs to be handled with care. It’s often stated as a blanket fact, when it’s actually closer to a conditional probability. The grain of truth at the center of the common statement is that foreign cars require parts, and sometimes tools, that may need to be imported.
Because of the tools, in particular, a lot of mechanics specialize in foreign vehicles as opposed to domestic ones– the idea is that a Toyota mechanic will stock up on all of the Toyota-required tools, so he’ll work on those exclusively. Exclusivity automatically leads to higher prices in most markets, and car repair is no exception.
2. Luxury vehicles
This may sound like a re-statement of Murphy’s Law, but the more complex the item, the more things there are to break. Luxury vehicles are typically loaded with enhancements ranging from heated seats to automatic sensors and plenty more.
Of course, every specialty feature needs its own maintenance (and parts), and as you can imagine, the parts that operate sensors inside a Dodge will probably be very different from those inside a Chevy. At that level of detail, you’re going to be dealing with very specific mechanics and replacement parts.
3. Cars in high demand
This may sound like a marketing strategy– if a car is in high demand or extremely popular with the buying public, the replacement parts tend to cost more. However, the driving factor here isn’t actually greed.
The fact is that many mechanics and individuals source car replacement parts from the great market of used and junked cars, and the more popular a car is, the more picked-over the used selection will be. Since demand drives price, new parts can skyrocket to surprising levels in a short amount of time.