Understanding the Three Main Parts of Your Auto Repair Bill

An auto repair bill can be a scary thing, containing an alarming list of numbers for incomprehensible reasons. When your car breaks down, the last thing you want to worry about is a financial misunderstanding, and acknowledging the three main segments of your bill can make the process clear and seamless. The three main parts of your auto repair bill will be the overhead, labor, and parts.


First, the overhead includes utility bills, rent, and computerized diagnostic equipment. This section will raise the cost of “parts,” and it is included to keep the repair shop running. It is important to recognize that every day a shop operates, it pays bills for a myriad of functions, and this adds a price to the shop serving your needs.


The technician’s time and effort are rewarded through your labor bill. This will be billed at the shop’s hourly rate.

In general, shops have a book time for the length each task takes to complete so that you can go in knowing how many hours of labor you will be paying for. You will be charged based on the book estimate, even if your technician works quickly.


This is the most important part of the auto-bill. As previously stated, the overhead is included in this charge, but it contains other elements as well. Sometimes, a repair estimate will give you options as to the type and price of the parts to be installed. Options include:

  1. Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts: These are the same as parts installed on the assembly line. They are the most expensive, but notably the best parts that can help keep your warranty intact.
  2. Used or remarketed parts that will probably not flaunt maximum longevity
  3. Aftermarket parts, which are built by outside manufacturers

Fees regarding parts may also include the proper disposal of old parts.

Leasing a car may include warranty coverage on such charges. Overall, newer vehicles are less likely than older ones to break down and demand large bills, but sometimes we all encounter less than optimal situations. Hopefully, understanding charges will allow for a painless auto repair experience.