Millions of people rely on their cars on a daily basis. Many people are able to utilize alternatives like bicycles or public transportation, which is great, but the rest of us need a car to get around. Seeing that a car is such an important asset and a necessity for many, it can be devastating when it’s out of commission. We all want to keep our cars on the road. And people on a budget working towards debt recovery need to do so while keeping the costs as low as possible. Here’s how to save money on auto repairs.
How to Save Money on Auto Repairs
While your car is an important part of your life, and certainly worth maintaining, you may have other important priorities like getting out of debt. So, you’ll want to save money whenever you can. Check out these tips to save money on auto repairs.
1. Know Your Car: Knowledge about your own car usually comes with time and experience, but you can tap into the experiences of others to get a head start. Visit online forums and talk to people who know cars, and your make and model specifically. Find out the common issues with your car that people have previously discussed on these websites. This way you can anticipate what repairs you may be facing down the road and what you can do to avoid them, as well as find answers when problems do arise.
2. Do Your Own Maintenance: There are a lot of basic maintenance jobs that you can do yourself to keep your car running smoothly. Oil changes. Tire rotations. Replacing bulbs, batteries, and wipers. Wash and wax. Component replacements (radio, door handles, switches, etc.). Every job you do yourself is money in your pocket. Parts and materials are less expensive when you buy them yourself, and you won’t have to pay for labor… just spend your own time. Again, the internet is your friend. Not only will you find inexpensive parts, you’ll also find a ton of instructions and videos for auto repairs. Just search! Some jobs may be out of your league, but you won’t know until you see for yourself. It could be easier than you thought!
3. Shop Around for Repair Quotes: Say you go to a garage to get something like a strange engine noise or a check engine light checked out. The diagnosis comes back, and it’s bad news. You don’t have to just accept whatever they tell you. Ask for a quote for the repair, and take it home to think about it. This gives you time to research the problem yourself, get a quote from another garage, or find out if you can fix it yourself. If the repair your car needs is associated with a hefty price tag, calculate your auto loan and see if trading the car in will have a better value.
4. Be a Regular: After shopping around a few times, you’ll discover which shops/mechanics are the most skilled and honest. Once that is determined, build a relationship with them by frequenting their business. Businesses take care of their regulars. For the jobs that you can’t do at home, it’s good to have a trusted mechanic. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and chat up these people to build a rapport.
5. Word of Mouth / Referrals: If you can’t find one on your own, look to your friends as well as online reviews to find the most reputable garages and mechanics in your area. A good reputation is the best tool a business has to get more customers. If you are referred by a friend, be sure to mention their name when you bring your car in. The shop will likely treat you kindly out of appreciation for the other loyal customer.