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This post, “11 Tips to Save Money on Car Repairs, was contributed by Tim Fox. Tim is the co-founder and writer of Elite Blog, where he and his friend share the latest information and opinions about cars and motorcycles.
Car repairs, of all expenses, can be among the most annoying. They can even be embarrassing, especially if it was something you could have prevented. The truth is sudden car problems and the accompanying costs are more than annoying; they can be devastating to your budget. You, just like many others, cannot go for long without reliable transportation, which means you’re often on the hook for expensive repairs, no matter the costs.
The good news is that you can save money on car repairs with a little savvy and old-fashioned elbow grease. Check out our best tips to save money on car repairs below!
1. Be ready to do it yourself
Do you instinctively run to your mechanic every time car troubles arise? Think again.
The truth is that not all car repairs need to be performed by a mechanic. Your mechanic likely generates his highest profit margins from the simplest repairs. In fact, the best way to save money on car repairs is to learn to manage a few basic maintenance items yourself.
You can easily change the car battery, replace brake lights, change wiper blades, take care of oil and filter changes, and much more.
Yes, it will be daunting at first, but with practice it will get easier. If you are not sure how to fix a small problem, check out video guides from Advanced Auto Parts, Auto Zone, and You Tube.
2. Be proactive with preventive maintenance
In medicine, they say that a pound of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. This is also true when it comes to proper auto maintenance. Speaking from experience and expert opinion, here are a few preventive maintenance tasks to keep your car running smoothly and save money on car repairs that will arise due to poor maintenance.
Regularly check fluid levels.
Low fluid levels are disasters just waiting to happen. Monitoring and refilling all fluids will stop problems in their tracks. You will avoid system failures and expensive repairs.
Inflate your tires to manufacturer’s recommendations
It might seem harmless to drive with under-inflated tires, but this increases wear and tear on your tires and car suspension and has a negative effect on gas mileage.
Have glass chips repaired immediately
Repairing a small glass chip is inexpensive. However, leaving it exposed to bumpy roads and temperature fluctuations is a costly mistake. Eventually you will have to replace the entire windshield, which will definitely leave a dent in your pocket.
Regularly replace brake pads
Neglecting your worn out brake pads only does more damage to the braking system and components. You only need a few bucks to buy new brake pads.
3. Use warranties to your advantage
Did you know that most of your car parts have a limited or lifetime warranty? This information and should be communicated to you at the time of purchase and should be printed on your receipt. The information is also captured into the system of your auto store. Starting a file for this information is one of the easiest ways to save money on car repairs.
Whenever you have an option for a lifetime or one-time purchase offer, spend the extra cash on the warranty. It will save you one day. Even if you do not believe that your car is going to be around for that long, it does not harm to have the warranty.
4. Look for used parts
Used parts, unknown to many car owners, can save you hundreds of dollar on repairs. And you will be surprised at the quality and reliability of such parts. Nationwide directories such as LKQCorp.com and Car-Part.com are good spots to start your search.
5. Dodge the dealership
If your car is not under warranty, the last place you should take it for repair is a dealership repair center. You’ll end up paying more money and dealing with inconvenient appointment times and wait times.
Instead, find a local, independently-owned service center by asking for recommendations from friends and co-workers. You’ll find competitive pricing, discounts on routine maintenance such as oil changes and tire rotations, and convenient appointment windows.
6. Take the time to research
Car repairs are stressful, but when faced with a major repair, it pays to get a second opinion.
Many mechanics may include unnecessary charges or suggested repairs when providing you with an initial estimate. When possible, go to a site like AutoMD.com and do your own diagnostics, or get a second quote from another mechanic.
7. Build a relationship with a mechanic you can trust
We know you trust your mechanic. However, spoiler alert – many of them out there do not have your best interests at heart. Some might even be charging you for services you don’t even need!
That said, most mechanics are honest and decent. The problem is finding a good one and building a professional relationship. Referrals from family and friends could make it easy for you. You can also try searching at RepairPal.com.
8. Be smart and reduce core charges
Did you know most car parts can be rebuilt? These parts are referred to as “core.” Starters and batteries, for example, fall into this category.
Every time you replace one of these parts, the old ones have to be returned to the store and you have to pay a “core charge.” But you can return the parts and avoid paying the charge.
9. Always refer to your owner’s manual
You may not believe it, but regular reference to your owner’s manual can help you beat dishonest auto technicians at their own game. Taking just a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the maintenance schedule of your vehicle can help you save money on car repairs – hundreds or even thousands – over the lifetime of your vehicle.
10. You better shop around
If you do not have a mechanic you already trust, be ready to shop around as long as it takes to find one. As a general rule of thumb, have your car problems diagnosed by at least two technicians. Then compare their estimates and follow the savings.
11. Look for online coupons and discounts
We get it: you want your car back on the road as quickly as possible. Car pooling, loaner vehicles, and rental cars can be a major inconvenience.
But the truth is that you can often easily save money on car repairs by searching for online coupons and repair details. This helpful guide will get you started.
Cruising for savings
Your car is likely one of the biggest hits on your monthly budget, but the right strategies and know how can help you put a few dollars back in your wallet when repair needs arise.
Mrs. Picky Pincher saysNovember 6, 2017 at 8:23 AM
I’m not sure if this is a common thing, but we do have a local repair shop that’s named something like “Bring your own parts.” You order the parts and they just fulfill the labor. Sounds like that sort of arrangement could be a way to save a few bucks as well.
We also used our car insurance to snag a free tow truck when our truck broke down. Check your policy to see what’s free!
Erin Mackey saysNovember 6, 2017 at 8:49 AM
Thank you for sharing these great tips! My sister is struggling with this right now and I’ll definitely be sharing these with her!
Cotar Olson saysNovember 11, 2017 at 6:38 AM
Although repairing of a car at a garage is cost effective but some service center fixes car related issues lower than your expecting budget. You can also take suitable steps in order to avoid the costly repair. Regular checking of transmission fluid, brake fluid and engine oil keeps your car healthy internally. To keep the tire in good shape it is necessary to check it in periodically. Avoid costly repair search for good repair shop who make proper diagnosis of the vehicle and do accurate service as required to the car.
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William Jacob saysNovember 17, 2017 at 4:25 AM
The work of repairing a car is most annoying & the cost relating to sudden car repair is extra burden on our budget. There are some tips which if followed money can be saved on car repairs. We should learn some basic tips of maintenance such as changing car battery, replacing brake lights,oil & filter changes to save money on car repair. We should perform some preventive maintenance tasks to avoid wastage of money in car repair due to poor maintenance. We may look for used car parts which can save us about hundred dollars on repair. We must build a professional relationship with the mechanic we trust. The owner’s manual should always be followed. In spite these precautions, there is always a chance of money wastage in car repairs. So we should always remain in touch with specialized repair agencies for repairing our vehicle. To know more about specialized repair works, you may visit http://www.dfwaimescollision.com/
Domenic smith saysNovember 20, 2017 at 3:23 AM
Nicely written and very useful post. The thing is that we have to maintain our cars regularly so that it performs smoothly for a longer period. And should repair our car near a trusted and certified repair center. And before taking your car to the repairing center you should have done some research on the repairing center like is the cost of repairing affordable for you or not, and are they customer friendly or not etc. There are some people who try to repair their vehicles by themselves for saving some amount of money. It is alright to repair your car if there are some minor damages to your car and can be repaired in-home, however, if there is any major damage, then you should be concerned with the repairing center in order to prevent any worst situations. If you are searching for such a repairing center at an affordable price then you can visit following website. Thank you.
Deb Pearl saysNovember 21, 2017 at 7:51 AM
I had some really expensive car repairs last month, and I would honestly love to avoid that from happening again. That is a great idea to make sure I take it in for preventive maintenance. That would make sure my car keeps running smoothly and would save me money in the long run! Thank you for all the tips!
Kevin Soto saysNovember 23, 2017 at 6:25 AM
Nobody can estimate the cost of a vehicle breakdown, because if the automobile breaks down, then it can cost anything. In fact, I can tell you that a vehicle repair can be expensive and incalculable. Keeping the vehicle in the peerless shape without wreaking havoc on the spreadsheet is not as easy as it sounds. Being a car owner, you have to do so many things to maintain the optimal performance of your vehicle. You must keep up with the preventive maintenance schedule, consider safety while taking the vehicle aftercare service, learn basic maintenance techniques by going through the owner’s manual, choose the best car technician, by which you can prevent unwanted car troubles and save your wallet from draining.
Roger Middleton saysJanuary 25, 2018 at 8:51 PM
My son’s car has been having a few problems and we’re worried that it’s only going to get worse from here. I liked that you had mentioned that it can be important to do your research to make sure you can get it repaired properly. We’ll have to start researching the problems, and then we’ll be able to start looking around for a professional that can handle the car repair!
Apolline Rapier saysFebruary 12, 2018 at 4:16 AM
I really appreciate your work. After some interval of purchase, a car generally show some problems, which are very common. During this time one should be concern about the regular maintenance of car. If you are not serious about its fitness then the chances are maximum you spend lots of money in future. The following tips are helpful for saving your money- Be ready to do it yourself, Look for online coupons and discounts, Search for better garage shop, Always refer to your owner’s manual, Build a relationship with a mechanic you can trust, Do a preventive maintenance, Be smart and reduce core charges, used warranties, looked for used parts, make a research or you can visit http://www.baydiagnostic.com/ .
Adela Addision saysFebruary 28, 2018 at 3:33 AM
Fixing your car issue in an auto garage center is certainly a cost effective approach. But however some garage provides their service in very high price. Which can hamper someone’s budget. Regular checking of transmission fluid, brake fluid and engine oil keeps your car healthy and everlasting. To keep the tire in good shape it is necessary to check it in regular interval. Desist costly repair, search for good repair shop who make proper diagnosis of the vehicle and do accurate service which is required to the car. Please visit https://roninautowerks.com/services/ for any kind of service.
Leviticus Bennett saysMarch 6, 2018 at 10:51 PM
My car is starting to make some strange noises when I first start it in the morning. I like your point about checking with two or more technicians. I might also ask some friends for any good recommendations. I just want to make sure my vehicle is driving in tip-top shape.
James saysApril 3, 2018 at 10:16 AM
Strangest thing I ever dealt with: After a head-on collision on I-5 in Irvine, long story-other guy’s fault, his insurance company deducted the value of my wreck from my settlement. They said the wreck was mine to get rid of and after polling local yards, it was worth a minimum of $500, so they kept $500. I found it strange that I had to find somebody to take the wreck and when I called around, no one would touch it. I even called the insurance company to see who they got pricing from. Turns out they had no idea. Took forever to find someone as it was 1990 Audi 200. A specialized yard in Sacremento drove down and paid me $1200 for it.
Raj Sharma saysApril 23, 2018 at 4:46 AM
Wow,great.Amazing article.I appreciate the way you wrote the article.Yes,You are correct we need to try yourself out otherwise it will be too costly .To keep car running in a good condition you need to keep it well maintained. Thanks for sharing the article.