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.
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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!
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!
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