7 Best Tips to Save Money on Car Maintenance and Repairs

save money on car repairs

Save Money on Car Repairs and Maintenance

Learn 7 top tips for how to save money on car repairs and maintenance. Whether you need to get regularly scheduled vehicle maintenance done, have repairs needed from general wear and tear on your vehicle, or need repair work done after an accident, these tips will help you save money on your vehicle.

 

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7 Best Tips to Save Money on Car Repairs and Maintenance

If you have been driving for a while, you know how expensive taking your vehicle to the shop can be. It really makes me have a love-hate relationship with my car sometimes! (In all fairness, it has been a great car, so I really shouldn’t complain. But I just hate how much money it costs to have vehicle repairs and maintenance done!) Fortunately, we have literally been able to save thousands of dollars over the years by following the five tips below.

1. Get regular maintenance done to save money on car repairs and maintenance.

You have the potential to save thousands of dollars over the years on your transportation costs by getting regular maintenance done. This can help prolong the life of your car. And the longer you are able to drive your car, the more bang you got for your purchasing buck. Get your oil changed regularly, have the tires rotated and aligned, replace filters, get recommended or needed tune-ups, and so on.

Follow the guidelines in your vehicle owner’s manual so that you are getting needed maintenance done on the recommended schedule. Though this costs money, it costs a lot less money than a blown transmission or engine from vehicle neglect! 🙂

 

2. Save money on car repairs by shopping around.

Another one of the main ways that you can save money on vehicle repairs and maintenance is by choosing carefully where to have your mechanical work done. Call around to do price comparisons so that you know where to get the best deal for the work that needs to be done.

When we have vehicle maintenance or repair work that needs to be done, I will generally call at least a half a dozen places to see who is currently offering the best price for the needed work, both auto parts stores and auto mechanics.

If you are mechanically inclined, or have a family member or friend who is, search for the needed repair on YouTube, and see if you can do the work yourself. Especially for relatively simple repairs, this could be a great option to save your family money.

And if you have children who are old enough, have them do the repairs with you (or at least watch as you do the repairs). Passing on mechanical knowledge is an invaluable skill that could save your children literally hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout their lives!

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3. Be very wary of car mechanics.

Related to the point just above, another way to potentially save a ton of money on vehicle maintenance and repairs is to shop around for good car mechanics. I generally call half a dozen places or more when I’m looking at repair work that needs to be done. And I also look at the price of just the cost of the part, separate from the labor.

So, when they tell me it’s going to be “$842 for parts and labor,” I ask them to break that apart for me, parts separate from the labor. I’ve had mechanics straight-up tell me that the high cost is because of the labor, which is itself very cheap, they claim. And so I ask them for the exact part name and as much info as I can get about it so that I can look it up for myself.

And I’ve looked up the cost of the part online at that very moment and can see that it’s much less than the amount they quoted me. I’ve found that generally the parts costs at least 50 percent less than the number the mechanic quoted me.

So I’ve learned over the years that most of the car mechanic shops, even the honest ones, even the ones with good or great Google or Yelp ratings, greatly inflate the cost of the parts. This is a huge profit margin for them. Please, please do your research and don’t just take what they say at face value.
How can you combat this challenge? Shop at awesome online parts discount stores like RockAuto (I’ll talk more about that below). I love RockAuto! Even the chain auto parts stores like Napa, O’Reilly Auto Parts, and AutoZone have much better prices than the mechanic will quote you—but in my experience RockAuto has always trumped those prices, hands down. Sign up for a free account with them today!

 

4. Look on Craigslist or in your local classifieds ads to find mechanics (but be careful) to save money on car repairs and maintenance.

You can also save money on your vehicle maintenance and repair costs by finding a reliable, trustworthy small-time or independent mechanic from word-of-mouth referrals from your friends (ask for recommendations on Facebook, for example), or check Craigslist. (But as with everything on Craigslist, be cautious!)

We’ve had only good experiences using services from Craigslist, but always do your due diligence. Especially for large projects, ask for references, look for online ratings, and check websites like the Better Business Bureau.

 

5. Don’t use the dealer if you want to save money on car repairs!

I’ve just explained how expensive auto mechanics can be. The dealers are even more expensive. My general rule is simple: avoid them. Instead, look to RockAuto and other online parts stores for amazing deals.

As I mention above, these online sellers generally offer a much better price than buying the part from a mechanic and even much more so than from a dealer.

6. Read the owner’s manual to help you save money on car repairs.

It is a great idea to become familiar with the regular maintenance needs of your car by reading the owner’s manual. When you first purchase your car, whether new or used, take a little time to at least scan the owner’s manual. Then you will have a general idea of needed maintenance. And if (when) something goes wrong with your car in the future, the information could prove invaluable at some point.

Did you misplace your owner’s manual? Look online! Chances are you can find an electronic copy. 

7. Don’t ignore the dashboard malfunction indicator light (check engine light).

Checking out potential issues early is another important way to save money on car repairs. Even though you may be tempted to ignore the malfunction indicator or check engine light, that is not a good idea. Even if nothing seems out of the ordinary with your vehicle, there could be a potentially big problem caused if needed maintenance work is delayed.

All of the auto parts stores that I know of do a free reading of the malfunction indicator light report and it only takes a few minutes, so at least looking into the issue won’t cost you anything and won’t take very long out of your day.

You could save a lot of money on car repairs by not putting this off!

Conclusion

 You can save a ton of money on car repairs and maintenance if you follow the tips listed above. Take care of needed regular vehicle maintenance. Save money on needed vehicle repairs by shopping around for parts and labor and by doing the work yourself if you can. Research auto mechanics before you decide to use one. And again, price compare!

 

What are your best tips for how to save money on car repairs and maintenance? Leave a comment below and let me know. I would love to hear your money-saving tips!

 

Invitation to Share

Was there something in this article that inspired you to change something about your money? Are there ideas or tips that you feel could help a family member or friend or people in general? Would you please take a minute to share this article via email or social media? I would love your help to share these principles of financial well-being with others. Thank you!

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How to Buy a Car with Cash (and Give Up Car Payments Forever!)

how to buy a car with cash

How to Buy a Car with Cash

In this article I am going to discuss how to buy a car with cash. My firm belief is that most people’s retirement savings are sitting in their garage—and that is not where we want it to be! We want that money to be working hard for you to earn you an awesome way of life during your later years!

If you live in America today and own a car, you probably have a car payment. In fact, there’s a good chance that you’ve never even thought about buying a car without having a car payment. But there is another—and better! :)–way to live. And it’s to be car-debt free.

So let’s talk about how you can get out of car payments (forever!) so that you can put your money toward building your own wealth and not the bank’s! One of my favorite finance guys says (I’m paraphrasing) that the biggest automobile casualties happen on the auto dealership floor. So let’s make sure that you are not among that group anymore.

Read on to learn how you can buy your next car with cash!

 

How to Buy a Car with Cash: Imagine Never Having a Car Payment Again!

I know that this idea of not having any car debt is going to be completely foreign to some of my readers, but stick with me and this one piece of advice will literally change your life forever. I’m not exaggerating. The truth is, you don’t have to have a loan to have a good car. Beginning today, you can help change this trend in America and in the world.

And I’m going to teach you how to do it—how to buy a car with cash and end the cycle of car debt. It’s simple, even if it may be a little hard at first. (But I don’t think it will be too hard when you compare it to the huge benefits of being car debt free forever!)

 

Consider Selling Your Current Car to Get Out of Car Debt

First, if you have a hefty car payment and owe a lot on your car, consider selling it and buying a less expensive car so that you can get out of car debt more quickly. So, for example, if you sell a car that you owe $18,000 on that is worth $20,000 and you buy a little get-around car for $2,000 (the difference between what your car is worth and what you owe on it), then you can start saving up to buy a car for cash with the money that you were previously using for your car payment.

I know that you probably won’t want to drive a $2,000 car forever, but you won’t have to! (And isn’t the idea of having no car payment an amazing one? Isn’t it maybe even worth a few funny looks in the grocery store parking lot, if you decide to buy an inexpensive car with “character”?) And don’t think that you can’t drive a $1,000 to $3,000 safely and reliably. We’ve been driving our 15-year-old car (that I love) that’s worth less than $2,000 for the last 8 years, and it has been such a great car.

Once you get rid of your hefty car payment, you can start saving up to move up in car, and you can do it pretty quickly. I’ll show you how below. 🙂

Or if you love your car and can pay it off (by paying extra toward your car payments, if needed) in 18 to 24 months, then keeping it probably isn’t a bad idea. But again, once you pay it off, keep your car! And keep driving it until you can save up the money to buy your next car with cash.

 

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Pay Yourself a Car Payment

Once you have gotten out from under your car loan by paying off your car, you can start saving up your money so that you can be your own bank for your car purchases. That means that instead of paying the bank a car payment, you pay yourself a car payment every month. If you don’t have a savings account already set up for this, go to Capital One 360 or another bank or credit union where you can easily set up multiple savings accounts. Then you can start putting money into this account every time you get paid.

The average car payment in the U.S. is more than $400 a month. That seems crazy to me. If you can save $300 a month, for instance, from no longer having a car payment, and you’re driving a car worth a couple thousand dollars, you can buy a $5,500 vehicle in a year. (That’s by saving $300 a month for a year; $300 x 12 months = $3,600 plus the now maybe $1,800 value of the current car = about $5,500.) That’s still not an expensive car, I know, but it’s definitely one that can get you around and be safe and comfortable and all of those things.

And then by doing the same thing, you could buy a $9,000 car a year after that. (That’s $5,500 + $3,600 = about $9,000.) Do the same thing for one more year, and you’ll be in a car worth nearly $13,000, or hold on for two more years, and you’ll be in a car worth close to $17,000 after just four years of saving up and paying for your vehicles with cash. I know that the car you’re driving will depreciate a little during that time, so these numbers aren’t exact, but they are close enough to give you an idea of the amazing power of saving up and buying cars with cash.

If you want to have a vehicle that’s even nicer than that, then keep saving in this same way, and even add more to your monthly car savings fund over time. In just five years after buying your $2,000 get-around vehicle, that you bought in order to work your way out of car debt, you could be in a vehicle worth about $20,000, and you can keeping saving this way indefinitely. No more vehicle loans ever!

 

 

 

How to Pay for Two Cars with Cash

If you’re a two vehicle-family and you want two nice, $20,000-plus vehicles, alternate car saving—every 5 years you can buy a $20,000 vehicle (plus the value that your current vehicle still has after the five years, so potentially $30,000 or more). And of course if you feel you want to spend even more money than that on a vehicle, you could always save $400 a month or more, and build up your car savings account to be bigger or build it up faster.

Or, on the other hand, think about this possibility: What if you decided you were OK never driving a car that cost more than $10,000? So you paid $200 a month into your car savings accounts, and then with the rest of the money that you used to use for a car payment (say it was an extra $200 a month), you put it in an investment account to build future wealth (or pay for a future dream, like owning a nice boat or a motor home or cabin in the mountains or whatever you would love to have).

If you invested that $200 a month for 30 years, instead of paying it toward car payments, and you earned a reasonable 11 percent average annual rate of return, your money would grow to over $530,000! That would buy a pretty sweet . . . virtually anything that you want. 🙂

Want to learn even more ways to save on your vehicle? Read this article for 35 ways to save money on your transportation costs.

 

Conclusion

I hope that if you’ve never considered buying a nice car without having a car payment, that you’ll look into doing it now. Learning how to buy a car with cash really will change your life. Even though saving up to buy a car or make other large purchases takes being intentional and being dedicated and being disciplined, it’s worth the effort.

When you buy with cash, you keep your freedom. You control your money, instead of someone being in control of your money. And over the years, you’ll literally save tens of thousands of dollars in interest. All that money can then go to work for you building your wealth, rather than someone else’s.

I hope you’re ready to make that change! Just leave a comment and let me know if you need any encouragement or help. 🙂

 

Have you considered paying yourself a car payment before? Are you ready to start doing that now so that you can buy your next car with cash? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this idea; I would love to hear your thoughts!

 

Invitation to Share

Was there something in this article that inspired you to change something about your money? Are there ideas or tips that you feel could help others? Would you please take a minute to share this article via email or social media? I would love your help to share these principles of financial well-being. Thank you!

Join Our Facebook Group!

Join our closed Families for Financial Freedom Facebook group to get support and share ideas for how we can all improve our financial well-being by earning more, spending less, saving more, and investing more and reach our financial goals. You can do this! And we are here to help.