The Most Common Repairs for New Cars

The costs of car repairs can add up over the years of ownership, particularly the more wear and tear the vehicle experiences. However, even a new car can require costly repairs.

The costs of car repairs can add up over the years of ownership, particularly the more wear and tear the vehicle experiences. However, even a new car can require costly repairs.

J.D. Power notes that even though some consumers buy a new vehicle for the benefits of a factory warranty and the belief of a trouble-free ownership, the truth is components of the car might still require repair.

As part of J.D. Power’s annual Vehicle Dependability Study, owners of three-year-old vehicles reported the components they replaced or repaired in the last 12 months. While some of these issues may be small fixes, they can still hurt the company. The fewer problems owners experience with their car, the greater the brand loyalty. For instance, brand loyalty among owners who reported three or more problems slipped from 56% (no problems experienced) to 42%.

The 2014 study found 11 vehicle components that most frequently needed repairs or replacement despite the fact that the vehicles were between two and three years old and the current owner was the original owner.

10. (tie) Door handles and locks

According to the 2014 study from J.D. Power, just less than 1% of vehicle owners said they had to replace the door handles or door locks in the last 12 months. The cost can be anywhere from just $30 to a couple of hundred depending on the make and model of the car.

10. (tie) Climate control system

Slightly less than 1% of all vehicle owners replaced components related to the air conditioning and heating systems in their cars. Unfortunately, the climate control system is comprised of multiple smaller systems, so the costs can vary greatly, but will typically cost a couple of hundred depending on how big the issue is.

7. (tie) Spark plugs

While 1% of vehicle owners participating in the 2014 study needed to replace spark plugs, that’s less than the previous year (1.5%). If you replace the spark plugs yourself, then it will cost less than $100, but having it done at a shop will run roughly $200 to $300, most for labor costs.

7. (tie) Remote keyless entry

The percentage of vehicle owners who indicated they had to replace their remote keyless entry system is the same as in 2013’s study (1%). This can cost as low as $99.

7. (tie) Fuses

With 1% of owners replacing a fuse in their car in the last 12 months, there has been a slight increase from the previous year. If your car doesn’t have extra fuses, then you can purchase a kit with different fuses for as little as $5.

5. (tie) Tire-pressure monitoring system

In 1.8% of surveyed vehicles the tire-pressure monitoring system had to be replaced, which is down a full percentage point from last year. The cost to replace pressure sensors can range from $50 to $250 depending on the vehicle type.

5. (tie) Headlight components

In the last 12 months, 1.8% of vehicle owners (the same percentage as the previous year) indicated they needed to replace headlight components. Replacing the bulb can cost up as little as $7, but if the headlight is a HID, then it could cost a few hundred. And if there is water damage, it could cost up to $2,000 to replace the headlamp.

4. Brake rotors

According to the 2014 study, 2.4% of vehicle owners had to replace brake rotors, which is a 1.2% improvement from the previous year. If you neglect the brake pads (which can cost roughly $200 to replace), then you could find yourself with a much more expensive problem. Resurfacing the front rotors can cost over $200 and replacing a pair of brake pads and rotors will cost nearly $500.

3. Windshield

At the time of the survey, 2.7% of vehicle owners said they had replaced a windshield in the last 12 months. If the windshield just needs to be repaired, then it could cost $50 or less for a rock chip and $70 for something longer. However, the cost to replace a windshield can run you $300 to $650.

2. Exterior lighting

Representing the largest year-over-year improvement among the most commonly replaced components, 3.4% of owners needed to change a tail light, brake light or turn signal lamp in the last 12 months. These are relatively inexpensive expenses that can cost between $5 and $50 if you do the work yourself. Or it can cost between $70 and $300 (mostly labor costs) if you have someone else do the work.

1. Battery

Although there was a slight improvement of the percentage of owners who needed to replace a battery on their vehicle, 5.9% still had to do this in the last 12 months. The battery itself can cost between $45 and $100 and most places will install for free.