How Involved Will Your Car's Repairs Be?

When you go to an auto repair shop, one of the biggest questions you'll probably have is how involved fixing your vehicle will be. Let's take a look at three common repairs and what they might involve in terms of time and labor.


A lot of this depends on exactly how much trouble the suspension is having. Replacing a full set of shocks, for example, should take a couple of hours. The same goes for components like control arms. Issues with multiple components should add up a couple more hours for each component, but you may get lucky if all the issues are in the same spot and don't require removing anything to get to them.

The suspension system, though, can hold some surprises, especially if you live in a northern region where a lot of salt is put on the roads. Salt getting into the suspension can lead to rust and seized bolts. In the worst scenarios, damaged components have to be cut out using a torch. As you might guess, this could add a day or more to a job.

Engine Problems

The motor is one of the hardest parts of a car to provide a time estimate for fixing. Diagnostic work may be as simple as checking the codes from the computer and swapping out a few parts, wrapping up in less than an hour. On the other hand, something very involved like taking off the heads can take half a week.

Also, be aware this assumes that the right parts are available. If the mechanics at the auto shop have to wait for parts to be shipped, that could build in anywhere from a couple more days to a couple of weeks depending on how rare the components are.

Air Conditioning and Heating

To the extent that the A/C and heating systems in cars present time problems for repairs, it mostly has to do with the make and model of the car. Compact cars, especially ones built in Europe, have a reputation for being buttoned up tightly. That means doing something like replacing a heater core or a belt may require removing a number of other components. That can take a couple of days to do. If the problem is something simple, such as the A/C system needing to be recharged, the problem can be addressed in under an hour as long as the right supplies are on hand.