How Much Do Repairs Cost During Van Life?

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Let’s say you’re a traveler and you want to see the whole world in the van you just bought. While your road trip will undoubtedly be one of the most incredible adventures of your life, you must consider the possible repairs you may have to do down the road. So, how much can you expect to pay on van repairs while doing van life?

Repairs during van life can cost from a couple of hundred dollars well into the thousands. The costs for doing so may vary greatly, depending on how well the van is treated throughout its lifetime.

In this article, we’ll reveal the surprising factors that can greatly impact your vehicle’s upkeep expenses, and share some expert tips to help you avoid costly surprises down the road.

Traveling the world is fantastic, and there’s certainly no replacement for seeing different places and getting to know other cultures. It’s essential to keep up with the repairs for your van no matter the cost. In this article, I’ll share with you how much you may have to pay for those repairs.

Van Repairs Can Cost Hundreds to Thousands of Dollars

Any vehicle needs repairs—even other machines like electronics and your latest technical gadgets like iPhones and Android phones.

Taking care of your van means being able to travel longer and farther. So there are basic and essential repairs you must always pay for, no matter the cost.

Have you ever gone out for a ride in your vehicle and you hear a noise?

You look at your rearview mirror, and you suddenly realize what that commotion is all about.

Oh, no! It’s a flat tire!

Hey, it happens. And when it does happen, you need to make sure you have enough money to pay for a repair that you didn’t know would happen.

Here’s a quick overview of the most common repairs:

  • Electrical issues: This can include problems with the battery, alternator, or other electrical components.
  • Plumbing issues: Leaks in the water system, problems with the toilet, or issues with the hot water heater can all be common.
  • Engine problems: Since campervans are often older vehicles, engine problems such as overheating, oil leaks, or transmission issues can occur.
  • Body damage: Scrapes, dents, and other damage to the body of the van can happen when driving on rough roads or parking in tight spaces.
  • Suspension issues: The suspension system can wear out over time, leading to problems with the ride quality and handling of the vehicle.
  • Heating and cooling problems: The heating and air conditioning systems in a campervan can also break down, making it uncomfortable to live in during extreme temperatures.
  • Brake problems: Worn brake pads or other brake components can cause problems with stopping the vehicle safely.
  • Tire issues: Flat tires, worn tires, or other tire problems can be common when driving long distances on rough roads.
  • Interior wear and tear: Living in a campervan can take a toll on the interior, with things like upholstery, flooring, and cabinets needing repairs or replacement over time.
  • Gas and propane issues: Problems with the gas or propane system can be dangerous and require immediate attention.

Let’s break it down by looking at one of the most popular camper vans people use for van life.

Common Repairs for Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans

One black Sprinter campervan in the nature

Here is a table that lists the most common Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van repairs and their approximate cost:

RepairApproximate Cost
Fuel Injector Replacement$1,200 – $1,800
Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Valve Replacement$400 – $600
Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) Replacement$1,000 – $3,000
Brake Pad Replacement$300 – $500
Transmission Replacement$4,000 – $8,000
Alternator Replacement$500 – $800
Suspension Repair$500 – $1,500
Source: – Please note that these costs are approximate and may vary depending on the specific model and year of your Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van, as well as the location and labor costs of the repair shop.

A van that’s used very often among van lifers is the Mercedes Sprinter Van. The average cost of an oil change for this van can be between $234 and $264. Labor costs are estimated between $55 and $69, while parts are priced between $179 and $195. 

However, you can also do the oil change yourself, which will save you some money.

It’s imperative to do oil changes because it has a crucial role in keeping the engine cool, protecting the engine’s internal parts from damage, and preventing contaminants from accumulating inside the engine.

Overall, the yearly cost for maintaining the repairs for a Mercedes Sprinter Van is around $1,778.

If you have another van where you live out your van life, you can expect the average yearly cost to be roughly the same.

Make sure you save your money wisely!

As discussed earlier, the Sprinter van is very popular in van life. 

The young travelers of the Explorist blog admit that while their Sprinter van is fantastic, its unexpected repairs can be rather costly.

They said, “rather than budget repairs each month, keep a savings account with money in it for repairs.”

This is a fantastic idea! Make sure you create a type of savings account that’s dedicated solely to repairs.

The Explorist bloggers have paid as little as $50 some months for repairs and as much as $2,500 for other months.

This is quite a range, so be sure you know what to expect when you drive a van as established and durable as the Sprinter.

Here’s the main points you should keep in mind regarding maintenance costs for the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van:

  • The average cost of an oil change for a Sprinter Van is between $234 and $264, with labor costs estimated between $55 and $69, and parts priced between $179 and $195.
  • Doing oil changes regularly is important for keeping the engine cool, protecting internal parts, and preventing contaminants from accumulating inside the engine.
  • The yearly cost for maintaining and repairing a Sprinter Van is around $1,778.
  • It’s a good idea to create a savings account dedicated solely to repairs, especially for unexpected ones.
  • The cost of repairs for a Sprinter Van can range from as little as $50 to as much as $2,500 per month.

Common Repairs on Ford Transit

Ford Transit campervan

Here is a table that lists the most common Ford Transit Van repairs and their approximate cost

RepairApproximate Cost
Brake Pad Replacement$300 – $500
Alternator Replacement$500 – $800
Starter Motor Replacement$400 – $600
Fuel Pump Replacement$700 – $1,200
Transmission Replacement$4,000 – $8,000
Suspension Repair$500 – $1,500
Engine Oil Pan Gasket Replacement$300 – $500
Source: – Please note that these costs are approximate and may vary depending on the specific model and year of your Ford Transit Van, as well as the location and labor costs of the repair shop.

According to the young couple from the blog “Far Out Ride,” the “Maintenance and repair cost is one of the reasons why we chose the Ford Transit over the Mercedes Sprinter or the Dodge ProMaster.”

They discuss the cost of occasional repairs, which they say is to be expected. However, the cost of additional, unexpected repairs ranged greatly.

After some time on the road, they had to pay for new brake pads and rotors for the rear tires. This cost them $750 after 42,500 miles of driving at the dealership.

On, you can buy a Bosch Disk Brake Rotor at an affordable price. This product provides trouble-free operation of the antilock brake. Do keep in mind that this requires you to do the repair yourself. 

Further repairs on their Ford Transit cost them $330 for a loose tie-rod in the front passenger area, $40 for a sliding door adjustment, $220 for new brake pads in the front, and $665 for new brake pads and rotors in the back.

As you can see, unexpected repairs can be pretty steep. If you want to live a van life, make sure you save enough money for repairs that arise quite suddenly.

Common Repairs for Volkswagen Van

vw crafter campervan

Foster Huntington traveled the world in his Volkswagen van. He shared that, sometimes, he would have to pay for a repair that he didn’t foresee.

Huntington said that the most common surprises have to do with repairs. “There were unforeseen things where I had to cough up, like, $1,100.” 

The young man also shared that you can certainly do your own repairs, but that would only take you so far.

He had to pay for a blown radiator that cost him over $400. Sometimes, you just have to cough up the money and save your vehicle.


Van life is fantastic. I’m sure you would agree with that!

Honestly, what’s better than visiting different places in your own mobile home? 

And you can still do a few repairs at home if you really need to. Like Tommy is showing us in his video:

However, to live out van life properly, you need to ensure you save enough money not just for the usual repairs a vehicle needs but also for emergency repairs that most likely occur when you least expect it to.

Here’s to safe and happy traveling!

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