How to Save Money on Car Repairs
Owning a car is a major expense for most Americans. According to AAA’s 2013 “Your Driving Costs” study, the average cost of owning and operating a sedan was $9,122 each year. Insurance and fuel are a big part of expenses too, but repairs can be the ultimate tear into your budget. Repairs are often unexpected, so planning ahead can help save a lot of money. Fortunately, there are a few different ways car owners can do this.
Fix it Yourself
The clearest way to save money on car repairs is to fix them yourself. While this may be easier said than done, there are many things you can fix on your own. If you’re new to fixing cars, start slowly with simple projects. For example, almost anyone can change their own wiper blades. Most jobs can be done easily if you have the right tools. Once you get comfortable with the smaller jobs, you can quickly work your way towards more advanced jobs.
As you should when shopping for anything, compare prices for car repairs. Call around to see how much it costs to get certain jobs done. Make notes of each shop and the prices you both agreed on to avoid any extra last minute expenses. This should give you some idea on what to expect regarding estimates. Once you get a solid estimate, you can continue to get a second opinion and possibly convince a mechanic to lower his or her price. Comparing prices not only helps you stay within the budget, but it can also give extra assurance on repairs that really need to be done.
Find a Trustworthy Mechanic
If you’re fortunate enough to find a shop you like, try to become familiar with its mechanics and make a list of favorites. Not only will you build rapport with the people there, but you’ll become a valued customer. Once they realize you value their expertise and that you’re a loyal customer, they may offer better deals. If you don’t know of any great shops or mechanics, ask for recommendations. Having a mechanic you can trust can provide extra peace of mind.
Skip Unnecessary Maintenance
Again, you can save money and skip unnecessary maintenance on your car. Some mechanics may stress repairs you don’t really need for more money. Talking with another mechanic can help avoid this. Also, regular preventative maintenance can save money, but not all maintenance needs to be as often or all at once.
Purchase Necessary Parts Yourself
Buying parts necessary for repairs is the simplest way to save money on a repair bill. Even if you can’t fix the issue yourself, finding a good deal on a car part can help you avoid spending too much. Often, the cost of parts is marked up significantly through a mechanic or garage. Before getting a job done, ask about the parts you may need. Most mechanics or shops allow you to purchase your own parts.
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