5 Crazy Car Electrical Repair Costs You Never Want to Make

Car electrical repair costs can be extremely high. Your automobile may have a lot of great features – I know I love my backup camera – but these features are all electrical. When one of these components go bad, you’ll know because they stop working.

I’ll know that if my camera stops working, it needs to be replaced.

But the camera is only one of the many electrical components. There are three main electrical components of an automobile:

  1. Battery
  2. Alternator
  3. Wiring

There are obviously more components that you need to know about if you require an automotive electrical repair.

Electrical systems can be expensive to repair and difficult to diagnose. 

Car electrical problems repair costs that no one expects are:

5 Car Electrical Repair Costs No One Expects

1. Automotive Electrical Diagnosis and Repair

I remember a time when I was just done with a foot massage and went to my car to drive home. When I started my car, it sounded odd, but then I noticed that my headlights kept dimming and would go off randomly.

When I hit a bump, more issues would pop up, leading me to believe that something was wrong with my electrical system.

But what I didn’t expect was the cost of the diagnosis. You’ll spend $90 to $100 for just trying to diagnose the issue. If the mechanic can’t determine the issue quickly, the costs will only go up and up.

Thankfully, a product like Automend Pro explains how to diagnose and repair automotive. Plug it in, let is diagnose the issue and decide whether you want to perform a DIY repair or if you plan to go to a mechanic.

2. Starter Replacement Costs

A starter is one of the key major electrical components of a car. When you turn your key in your vehicle’s ignition, it will draw power from the battery and turn the vehicle over. Sometimes, the starter will begin to die, leaving your vehicle struggling to start.

You’ll find that most people look towards their battery and alternator first before replacing a starter because it’s easy to test the voltage of the two.

Why does no one want to replace their starter?

Average costs are:

  • $130 – $160 for parts
  • $300 to $450 for labor

Total average costs are $430 to $600+. You can’t neglect a starter’s repair because it sends signals to the solenoid and is responsible for moving power from the solenoid to the motor. If your starter fails completely, your vehicle will not start.

3. Alternator Replacement Costs

Speaking of an electrical component leading to a car not starting, the alternator is one of the most important parts of your automobile. While your battery holds a charge, the alternator is responsible for recharging the battery as you drive.

After all, your battery won’t recharge on its own, unfortunately.

You have a few options when your alternator goes bad:

  • Remanufactured
  • New

A new alternator will cost more, but you’ll also have the benefit of a brand new part that is not rebuilt. You can expect to pay the following:

  • $120 – $150+ for labor
  • $450 – $600+ for parts

You can expect to pay $570 to $750+ for your alternator. A few of the OBD II codes that are likely to pop up if your alternator is failing are:

  • P2502
  • P2503
  • P2504

There are a lot of gadgets that you can purchase that will read you OBD II codes, or the codes from the computer that display a check engine light. An alternator issue is one of the repairs that you don’t want to wait to have done, or you may be stranded with a dead battery.

4. Battery Replacement Costs

Batteries in older vehicles used to last a long, long time. I remember my first vehicle having a lot of issues, but my battery lasted something like ten years. With my newer vehicle, I have had to replace my battery once in five years. Even a high-end replacement has a 2- to 3-year warranty.

You’ll find some figures suggesting that replacement costs may be $45 to $125, but this is a very misleading figure.

I have a small Honda, and the batteries that I found when making my purchase for a replacement were between $79 and $240.

A lot of car part retailers will replace the battery for free, or you can pay $40 to $50 to have someone replace it for you. Replacing a battery is a breeze, so it’s not something you’ll have to go to a mechanic to do if you have even the most basic tools.

Otherwise, you can expect to pay $79 to $300 for a battery replacement – seriously.

5. Battery Cables

Another critical component for your battery is the actual cables connecting to your battery. You can follow these cables, indicated with a red and black lead, away from the battery to your other components.

The cables tend to wear down over time.

You may be able to replace just the metal terminal, or you may need to replace the entire cable. Aftermarket parts will cost far less than OEM parts. You’ll also be able to replace these cables yourself, or you can go to a mechanic and expect to pay labor costs that range from $75 to $95.

Parts, if you have to replace both a positive and negative cable, can cost $130 aftermarket to $200 for OEM, or a little higher.

Total replacement costs, including parts, often range between $250 and $300. Thankfully, it’s not common for these cables to go bad. Old cables can have their sheathing become brittle and will eventually go bad. Friction on the cables is going to be a major factor in these wires breaking and improper installation.

If you’re lucky, you won’t ever have to replace your battery cables, but if you do, expect to pay a decent amount of money in parts and labor.

The car electrical repair costs outlined are for common vehicles. Exotic vehicles or sports cars will have their price increased. When dealing with these more exotic vehicles, you’ll spend more money for virtually everything from repairs to fuel.