Top 10 most expensive mistakes in car repair

Better built cars and an uncertain economy mean that Americans are holding onto their cars for longer than ever and are doing more of their own repairs. Nearly half of those who already do their own auto repairs say they are doing more of them themselves this year; 3 in 4 of those who rely on a mechanic say that economic conditions are making them more likely to attempt their own repairs, according to a recent survey by But there are mistakes that even the most seasoned do-it-yourselfers can make. Whether you like to go under the hood or take your vehicle to the shop, here are 10 expensive repair and maintenance mistakes to avoid:

1. Neglecting to change oil and filters and other simple maintenance

Chrysler Group LLC/PRNewsFoto/File
Spring is the time to spring for vehicle maintenance, according to Mopar, Chrysler Group's service, parts, and customer-care division. Ignoring simple maintenance tasks can mean huge costs down the line.

Ignoring simple preventative maintenance, like changing oil and filters or failing to make minor car repairs today, could mean thousands of dollars in auto repair bills tomorrow. There are some simple, but important, repairs and maintenance tasks car owners can do on their own – or have a mechanic perform at an affordable price – before these minor fixes become major repairs. For instance, neglecting to change the oil and filter periodically will increase contaminants and shorten the engine life. In the worst case scenario, it could mean an engine replacement. The do-it-yourself cost for an oil and filter change is approximately $25 on a 2005 Toyota Camry, and at the shop, costs approximately $65. An engine replacement on that same car would cost more than $4,000!   

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