The 9 Most Expensive Check-Engine Light Repairs To Watch Out For

A check-engine light could signal a major issue, so don’t put off the repair.

Woman frustrated with car
Updated June 6, 2024
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Everyone has been driving down the street when the dreaded check-engine light flashes on your dashboard. So, what does that mean?

In many cases, it’s just a minor issue or a problem with a sensor. Knowing you won’t face a big repair bill can help lower your car costs. But sometimes, the light indicates there is a major repair in your future.

Here are the most expensive repairs that your check-engine light might indicate to help you prepare for a rainy day and get ahead financially in case a more serious issue ever comes up.

Editor's note: all price estimates come from Jiffy Lube.

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Fuel-injection pump

Syda Productions/Adobe Mechanic looking at engine

A fuel-injection pump allows fuel to get into your engine at a smooth interval in order to keep your car running properly without flooding the engine or causing other issues. 

The pump includes different pieces working together, and any issue within the assembly can cause it to fail. A new fuel injection pump could cost you around $2,500 to replace.

Transfer case and torque converter

Mr. Music/Adobe Mechanics checking engine

Cars with automatic transmissions have something called a torque converter, which helps keep your car moving forward.

It costs around $2,900 to repair the torque converter. Ignoring a repair like this could lead to a dangerous situation, such as the housing rupturing and spewing shrapnel and oil. 

This is one fix you want to make as soon as you are aware of a problem.

Hybrid battery

Deymos.HR/Adobe Mechanic looking at car

If you have a hybrid car, replacing the battery can be expensive. Prepare to dig deep into your wallet to cover a cost that might be around $3,000.

With any luck, advances in technology will eventually see batteries become more efficient and long-lasting, meaning you won’t have to replace them as often.

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Supercharger

Drazen/Adobe Mechanic using laptop

A supercharger can pull more air into the cylinders of your engine. That allows you to combust higher amounts of fuel and gives your car extra horsepower.

Superchargers are usually found in high-performance vehicles, and they cost around $3,020 to repair.

Transfer case shift motor

Grafvision/Adobe Muddy jeep

The transfer case shift motor plays an important role in helping you to shift into and out of four-wheel drive.

If your transfer case shift motor is malfunctioning, you will likely have issues engaging your four-wheel drive system. Expect a repair to cost you $3,272.

Cylinder head assembly

KANGWANS/Adobe A mechanic repairing an engine

The cylinder head assembly is an important part of a car’s engine block. It is needed to keep the cylinders operating properly in your vehicle.

One major issue with the cylinder head assembly occurs when the engine overheats, causing cracks in a cylinder head. Any engine light that comes up with this issue could cost you $3,575.

Transmission assembly

Gorodenkoff/Adobe Female mechanic working on a car

If your transmission assembly fails, it could cause cascading issues under your hood, which is why it’s important to address it fast. 

You may have issues with shifting, leaking fluids, shuddering, and noises that will require a professional to fix the transmission assembly.

It can be one of the more difficult repairs to take on, which is why you’ll probably have to pay $3,644 to fix it.

Transmission replacement

AA+W/Adobe Auto mechanic working on car engine

The transmission in your car allows your engine to switch gears as you drive. It usually has five or six sets of gears along with a series of gear trains that help it switch those gears.

Unfortunately, a transmission replacement is a major repair, and you can expect to pay around $3,800 to replace it.

Hybrid inverter assembly

tigercat_lpg/Adobe A female mechanic

The hybrid inverter assembly is important for the proper operation of your hybrid car or electric vehicle. If you need to replace it, expect to pay a lot of money.

This relatively new technology has a big price tag to replace it. Get ready for a repair of around $4,100.

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What to do next

yaroslav1986/Adobe A check engine light

When the check engine light illuminates, It’s important to take your car in and get it looked at promptly. You can typically keep more money in your wallet if you respond quickly. 

Failing to repair a problem could lead to a more expensive bill down the road. Or, failing to fix the issue could even end up voiding your warranty.

And of course, you could also put yourself and others in danger if you fail to fix a problem. Instead, take your car in as soon as possible to get a diagnostic review and any necessary repairs.

Bottom line

Dragana Gordic/Adobe woman in car

A major car repair can be expensive. But taking a few proactive steps can help you prevent the need for that repair so you can keep more money in your bank account.

For example, make sure you take your car in on a regular basis for routine maintenance such as oil changes, fluid checks, tire rotation, and other recommended maintenance.

Paying small maintenance costs now can help you avoid major repair bills later.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.