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Avoiding the most common car repairs

Monday - 10/17/2011, 5:29am  ET

carrepairs512.jpg
Most costly car repairs can be avoided through regular maintenance. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON - Do you get steamed every time your car is in the shop and you're told you're going to need a really expensive repair? Turns out many of the costliest fixes can be avoided in the first place.

According to CarMD, the average repair bill is now more than $300.

CarMD says most of those costly repairs could be prevented if owners paid attention to routine maintenance.

Replacing spark plugs -- the fifth most common repair -- at $10 each could save the catalytic converter and your wallet $1,000.

A loose gas cap can result in a 0.5 percent decrease in gas mileage. Gas caps cost $.80 a piece.

An oil change is a lot less expensive than replacing an entire engine.

And so when it comes to cars the message is simple: Pay now or prepare to pay a lot more later.

For a complete list of the most common car repairs, click here.

WTOP's Del Walters contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)