If your car is giving you trouble, it can be a frustrating and expensive process to get it running again. However, there are a few ways that you can save money on car repairs. Check out these 10 tips and tricks!
1. Consider purchasing an extended warranty
When you buy a car, you automatically receive a warranty from the manufacturer. This standard warranty typically covers defects in materials and workmanship for a certain period of time or mileage, whichever comes first.
However, you may also be offered the opportunity to purchase an extended warranty. Also known as a service contract, an extended warranty is a type of insurance that helps to cover the cost of repairs after the manufacturer’s warranty has expired.
While extended warranties can be costly, they can also save you money on unexpected car repairs. If you’re considering purchasing an extended warranty, be sure to do your research. Compare different car warranty companies to find one that best meets your needs.
2. Compare prices
When your car needs repairs, it can be tempting to just take it to the first auto shop you find. However, it’s important to compare prices at different shops before making a decision. This is because auto shops can vary widely in terms of pricing, and you may be able to save money by doing some comparison shopping.
Keep in mind that the cheapest option is not always the best option, but you should still get quotes from several different places before making a final decision. By taking the time to do this research, you can ensure that you’re getting the best possible deal on your car repairs.
3. Ask friends and family for referrals of reputable auto shops
Asking friends and family for referrals is a great way to find a reputable auto shop. You can trust that your friends and family will give you honest feedback about their experiences. They may also be able to provide you with contact information or recommend a specific mechanic.
When you get referrals, be sure to ask follow-up questions to get more information about the shop, such as what services they offer, whether they have experience with your type of car, and what their prices are like.
Once you have a few referrals, you can start doing your own research on the shops to see which one is the best fit for you.
4. Always keep an emergency fund
No one likes unexpected car repairs. They always seem to come at the worst possible time, when we’re already stretched thin financially. And they’re never cheap. Whether it’s a new set of tires, an unexpected oil change, or a broken engine, car repairs can easily cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
That’s why it’s so important to always have an emergency fund. By setting aside a few hundred dollars each month, you can build up a cushion that will cover unexpected car repairs – and other unexpected expenses – without putting you into debt.
5. Get a second opinion
If your car isn’t running properly, the first step is to take it to a mechanic for a diagnosis. But what if the mechanic says you need a costly repair? Before you agree to any work, it’s important to get a second opinion.
Once you’ve found a few reputable mechanics, take your car in for another diagnosis and compare the estimates. Be sure to ask each mechanic to explain the problem and the proposed solution in detail. With some research, you should be able to find a mechanic you can trust – and avoid overpaying for unnecessary repairs.
6. Check online reviews of auto shops before taking your car there
When your car needs repairs, it can be tempting to take it to the first auto shop you find. However, it’s important to do your research first. Checking online reviews is a good way to get an idea of what to expect from an auto shop. Look for reviews that mention both good and bad experiences. Pay attention to patterns in the reviews.
For example, if multiple people mention being overcharged or upsold, that’s a red flag. You can also check the Better Business Bureau website to see if there are any complaints on file. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, call the auto shops and ask about their rates and policies.
7. Negotiate the cost of repairs with the mechanic
Many mechanics are willing to work with customers on the price of repairs, especially if it means getting the job. Of course, it’s important to be reasonable when negotiating. Don’t lowball the mechanic or try to haggle over every last penny. Instead, focus on getting a fair price for the work that needs to be done. With a little bit of effort, you may be able to save yourself some money on your next repair bill.
8. Ask for an itemized receipt
Any time you take your car to a mechanic, be sure to ask for an itemized receipt. This will help you save money in two ways.
- It will allow you to compare the prices charged by different mechanics.
- It will give you a chance to catch any errors in the bill.
Unfortunately, some mechanics will try to charge for services that were not performed or parts that were not used. By carefully reviewing the receipt, you can avoid paying for these phantom charges.
9. Use a credit card with rewards
If you don’t have an emergency fund saved up and you don’t have the cash to pay for those unexpected car repairs, another option is to pay for it with a credit card. More specifically, a credit card that offers rewards. Many cards offer cash back or points that can be redeemed for statement credits, which can help offset the cost of repairs.
10. Consider fixing it yourself
When your car breaks down, it can be tempting to call a tow truck and take it straight to the nearest mechanic. However, depending on the problem, you may be able to save yourself some time and money by fixing the repair yourself.
Of course, not all car repairs are easy to do on your own, and it’s important to know your limits. However, minor repairs such as changing a flat tire or jump-starting a dead battery are usually fairly simple, and even major repairs can often be completed with the help of a few online tutorials.