Overpriced Repairs? Consumer Reports Says Stay Away From These Brands

If expensive repairs are not your idea of fun Consumer Reports suggested you stay away from these brands. This was a big study of both average-priced and premium vehicle repair costs. Consumer Reports calculated the average cost to make certain repairs, then compared those numbers across the board. 

Prices were based on the Motor Information System’s repair database for labor. Parts pricing was determined by NAPA aftermarket component costs. Actual manufacturer component costs will generally run higher for a variety of reasons. 

German brands make up the bulk of high repair costs found

Car mechanic doing repair work
Car mechanic doing repair work | Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

As you might (or might not) imagine, German brands make up the bulk of what Consumer Reports found. Specifically, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche are all shining brightly in the “crazy expensive” categories. To give just one example, we looked at front strut replacement. 

The average repair cost according to Consumer Reports is $975. Replacing the front struts on a Porsche Panamera is $4,808 while the cost for a Nissan GT-R is $5,867. As you can see, the differences in price are a real eye-opener. 

Now, let’s look at starter replacements. Starters are becoming more confined as packaging components become more critical. So replacing a starter, according to Consumer Reports, is on average a $630 charge. But for an Audi RS5, it will run $2,708, and in a Mercedes GL63 AMG, it is just under that at $2,695. 

Now alternators can be surrounded by other engine components

A mechanic inspecting the engine of a Chevy Silverado
A mechanic repairing a 2008 Chevy Silverado | George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Alternator replacement used to be a simple procedure because it was exposed at the front of the engine. But now alternators can be surrounded by other engine components. That makes it harder to get to. An average bill for replacing the alternator is $825. Conversely, for a BMW M760i xDrive, the replacement cost is $2,669, and for a Porsche Cayenne, it will run $2,810. 

According to Consumer Reports, there is going to be a direct correlation between the cost of a vehicle and the cost of repairing it. So one shouldn’t be shocked to discover that a Nissan Sentra will be a lot cheaper to fix than a Porsche Panamera. What you have to watch out for are used cars that were once very expensive that are now cheap to purchase.

Repairs on these vehicles are extremely high

A mechanic working to fix a Ford F-150 with engine problems
A mechanic working on the engine of a Ford F-150 | Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

What is sometimes the case is that repairs on these vehicles are extremely high. And because they probably have a lot of miles on them lots of repairs are just around the corner. As an example, a 2002 Mercedes CL500 coupe ran around $100,000 when new. Many, with under 100,000 miles on them and in great condition are well under $10,000 today. Many are even under $5,000. 

But repairs for things like the active body control or ABC system are guaranteed. They were a weak link in an otherwise incredible vehicle. If a line fails it instantly leads to many issues due to contamination of the fluid due to the break. A simple line failure can run a few thousand dollars. Possibly even costing the price you paid for the Mercedes to begin with. 

You can check out Consumer Reports’ full rundown of the cost of repair to see if the dream car you’re ready to purchase may end up becoming a nightmare.