No one wants to pay big bucks for auto repairs, especially when they’re an unwelcome surprise and not in the budget. Sometimes there’s no avoiding an expensive repair, but there are ways you can reduce the costs of keeping your car on the road. Even when a large repair needs to be done there are still ways to save money. These tips will help you save money on auto repairs and avoid expensive repair bills.
Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance
It’s location, location, location in real estate, but when it comes to saving on auto repairs, the key is good maintenance. It seems a little counter intuitive to spend money to save money. If you’re on a tight budget, then why spend money on your car unless something must be fixed in order to keep it on the road?
Regular maintenance does two things to reduce the cost of auto repairs. First, it helps extend the life of key components in your car. An oil change doesn’t cost much and it keeps your engine running smoothly. Rotating you tires helps keep them from wearing unevenly and needing replacing sooner than usual. Cleaning your wiper blades helps keep debris from damaging the rubber and scratching your windshield. Take care of your car and you will reduce the frequency of many repairs.
The second way regular maintenance helps is by identifying problems when they’re minor rather than when they’re major issues. If you find a nail in your tire when you inspect it, then it may be fixable with a patch instead of waiting for a blowout and needing to replace the whole tire. Proper brake maintenance could be the difference between simply replacing the brake pads or needing to replace the far more expensive discs. Changing your oil keeps your engine from overheating and causing all kinds of expensive damage.
Take the time to maintain your car and you’ll reduce the time and money you need to spend on repairs.
Do it yourself auto repairs
Yes, it might seem a little scary when you look under the hood, but you can do many auto repairs yourself without needing to pay a professional. That owner’s manual hiding beneath your seat and covered with dust was written so you can understand how your car works and perform basic repairs and maintenance.
Changing a flat tire, replacing wiper blades, adding oil, and even changing an air filter are not difficult things to do even if you have zero experience. Changing a fuse is also something a car repair novice can manage. Just pull out the manual and it will tell you what you need to know. Chips and scratches are easy to take care of, too. Matching paints can be ordered from the manufacturing in little bottles with small applicators that make touch-ups easy.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you have friends or family who are car repair enthusiasts. They’ll likely be happy to share their knowledge with you so you know how to do the job next time and can avoid a repair bill.
Find a reputable repair shop
The wrong time to find a repair shop is when your car is down for the count. Search out a reputable shop in your area and use them for regular maintenance. This is a great way to establish a relationship with a business and it sets your mind at ease when you must trust them to tell you what car repairs you need.
Ask around and see who your friends use and who they avoid. Good repair shops develop a loyal following of people who are happy to share how wonderful their mechanics are and why they’re the perfect shop for you. If you’re new to an area or don’t know who to ask for guidance, then utilize AAA services like Approved Auto Repair. They can help find a reputable shop in your area that can do the auto repairs you need.
Ask questions and get it in writing
You’re not an expert. If the auto body shop is talking over your head, then ask them to explain. You should feel comfortable with the work being done and the price a shop is charging. They should be able to provide you a written quote so there are no surprises when the work is done.
A written quote lets you see if something you didn’t approve ends up on the final bill. An auto body shop should not be doing repairs you never authorized and any reputable shop will be happy to write down the details for you so you can be sure.
This also lets you do a little comparison shopping. Ask other auto repair shops how much they would charge for similar car repairs. Often, you’ll find a wide variety of pricing with some coming in very low and others very high. Shoot for the middle and you’ll be getting the repair you need at a reasonable price.
What tips do you have for saving money on car repairs? Share them with us in the comments below!
For discounts on repairs from certified technicians in your area, check out the AAA Approved Auto Repair facility locator.