One of the many hidden costs of car ownership are repairs. So as cars get more complicated, repair costs are bound to go up. Cars.com recently paid over $14,000, and waited nine weeks, to get their Chevy Volt back from the repair shop after a rough front-end collision.
The total cost of repairs was $14,187 after Cars.com rear-ended another driver on the road, causing the damage pictured above. The initial estimate pegged the cost at about $10,000, but after a few setbacks and a return to the shop, the final cost ballooned by over $4,000. Why did it cost so much? Well for one, a Chevy Volt is a $41,000 car. Anything with that kind of price tag isn’t going to be cheap to repair.
Mechanically though, the Volt’s battery pack requires extra cooling systems that have to be re-pressurized to ensure everything stays nice and cool. Unfortunately an auxiliary coolant pump had to be replaced after the system was re-pressurized (that was the only way to figure out it was broken) adding extra time and costs to the repair. And while a normal car might have just two or three “heat exchangers” (I still call them radiators), the Volt has five, along with all the associated plumbing that made putting the Volt back together a bit more time consuming.
Now, while I know $14,000 sounds like a lot to repair a front end collision, an estimate for similar repairs to a 2012 Chevy Malibu would have only been around $2,000 cheaper (and that is just an estimate.) Plus, replacing the airbags and seat belt pretensioner cost over $1,100 alone, so this wasn’t all just mechanical. This isn’t a problem with just the Volt, but modern cars a whole, with their complicated engines and computer systems driving up repair costs. I suggest you read the whole account of the repairs, as well as the story from the initial crash, to get an idea of what really needed to be repaired on the Volt.
Still, nine weeks is a long time to wait to get a car back from the shop. Just another reason I won’t go to mechanics. I mean…how hard could it be?
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.