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Most Expensive Car Breakdowns and How to Avoid Them

most expensive vehicle breakdowns and how to avoid them

A car can fail for various reasons, and while some malfunctions are common and easy to fix, other problems will require qualified help and costly repairs. Today, we reveal the most expensive breakdowns in a car and offer advice on how to avoid them:

  • Engine failure - $500-$4,500
  • Crack in the head gasket or engine block - $1,500-2,500
  • Automatic transmission failure - $500-$4,000
  • The car’s computer burned out - $500-$1,500

1. Engine Failure

The engine is the most expensive car part to repair. Due to insufficient lubrication in the motor caused by inadequate oil levels and quality, moving parts overheat and damage each other. The consequences of engine failure may be catastrophic. You will have to overhaul all damaged parts, and the high-quality components don't come cheap. There are cases when repairs do not make sense; it is easier to buy another engine. Fortunately, you can easily avoid this issue by monitoring oil levels and changing the fluids regularly. 

Water hammer

how to avoid expensive car repairs

When driving at high speed through deep puddles, water enters the cylinders, which will inevitably lead to water hammer, breakage of connecting rods, pistons, valves, etc. The air is compressed in the combustion chamber. As a result, pressure increases. But liquid cannot be compressed. Therefore, if water gets into the combustion chamber due to air compression, it begins to put pressure on the pistons, damaging the engine.

A modern car is well protected from water hammer. After all, moisture can only enter the engine through the air intake, and it is usually located in the upper part of the engine compartment. In addition, intake pipelines are of such intricate shapes that it is hard for moisture to pass through them. However, the possibility of a water hammer still exists.

The engine only needs to swallow a little water, a volume slightly larger than the combustion chamber, and the most expensive breakdown is guaranteed. That is why owners of diesel models with a very high compression ratio, as well as fans of off-road driving, should be especially careful. Remember that overcoming even a shallow wade is very risky without special vehicle preparation.

On ordinary roads, a simple rule will help you avoid water hammer - never drive through deep puddles at high speed, so as not to create a wave in front of the car that will cover the air intake. The danger criterion is the water level exceeding the lower edge of the front bumper. Don't rely on luck. If there is a puddle of unknown depth in front of you, slow down in advance, engage a lower gear, and only then move forward evenly.


There are many reasons why the engine temperature may suddenly begin to rise. The most common causes of engine overheating are damage to the head gasket, a crack in the cylinder head, or damage to the cylinder block itself. If your car overheats, it can cause capital damage to the engine. 

Remember that the sooner you turn the engine off, if the temperature of the power unit rises, the less damage you will cause to the engine parts.

To avoid the most expensive breakdown and protect the engine heat transfer properties, make sure it is correctly adjusted. For example, address the Indy Auto Man service station for diagnostics and make sure your vehicle's heart beats seamlessly. Check the coolant level regularly and keep a spare bottle of coolant or distilled water in your car. Periodic engine washing will remove unwanted deposits inside the engine and contaminants outside.

2. Crack in the Head Gasket or Engine Block

car repair in Indianapolis

In most cases, you should not see antifreeze leaking from anywhere, especially from the exhaust system. The engine cooling system is a closed environment. This means the coolant circulates from special engine cooling channels to the radiator, interior heater, and back. Antifreeze should never leave this circulation chain, or it will cause the most expensive breakdown you could avoid.

If antifreeze makes its way into the exhaust system, the coolant gets into the oil and the combustion chamber. As a rule, this happens when the engine head gasket is damaged, there is a crack, or even worse if the cylinder block itself bursts.

To avoid the problem, the driver should follow simple rules:

  • Regularly check the antifreeze level in the expansion tank.
  • Use quality coolant that meets the vehicle manufacturer's specifications.
  • Change the coolant promptly.
  • To repair the cooling system, use original spare parts and sealing elements.
  • After parking the car, inspect the area under it to identify any coolant leaks.
  • Carry out an external inspection of the pipes, radiator, thermostat, and other elements to identify any incipient antifreeze leakage.

If you detect any leaks, address the car service immediately to avoid costly repairs.

3. Automatic Transmission Failure

how to repair transmission failure

Transmission problems immediately make the car immobile. The transmission includes everything that is involved in transmitting torque from the engine to the drive wheels. The main unit here is the gearbox.

Manual units demonstrate high reliability and serve faithfully until the car gets old, provided it receives timely maintenance. Automatic transmissions are more demanding. Their maintenance must be carried out in strict accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.

The transmission can break down for several reasons. The most common causes of malfunctions are software problems or broken solenoids. These are not expensive breakdowns. It is much more serious when some mechanical parts break down in the box due to the age of the car or your driving style. 

Use the original automatic transmission fluid - special ATF oil. The most important thing is not to overheat the gearbox - when the temperature rises, the gaskets and seals lose their elasticity. After this, leaks begin, and metal parts become deformed. In winter, you should warm up the car for a couple of minutes before driving. If problems arise, contact our specialists in Indianapolis - we have a wealth of experience in dealing with most modern transmissions.

4. The Car’s Computer Burned Out

car computer issue repair in Indianapolis

Many cars have protection in case you reverse the polarities when connecting wires or cables. However, not all models are equipped with such protective circuits. If you confuse plus with minus and connect some wires, then the most common and expensive breakdown is a failure of the electronic engine control unit. Also, along with the computer, the wiring harnesses are damaged. In this case, the only way to solve the problem is to call for a tow truck to take your car to the specialized service station.

How to Avoid Expensive Car Breakdowns

Follow these simple recommendations to detect any issue before it brings one of the most expensive breakdowns to your vehicle:

  • Strictly observe the maintenance periods specified in the operating manual. Every car has a maintenance schedule to remind the owner when to go to a service station. Timely diagnostics and replacement of consumables save the driver from possible expensive repairs.
  • Pay attention to your car more often to detect an incipient malfunction. If any part does not work correctly, replace it as soon as possible. In this case, car repairs will not ruin your budget. If you neglect emerging problems, you will face serious breakdowns requiring much more time and money to fix.
  • Practice careful driving. Your driving style determines the lifespan of your vehicle and the frequency of your visits to the service station.

If you have been putting off your visit to a service center for a long time, something is bothering you about your car, but you are not sure if it is a problem - just schedule your appointment at Indy Auto Man right now!