If you live in America outside of a major metro area with good public transportation, a car is probably a necessity. And if you drive a car, sooner or later it is going to need some kind of car repair. Although you can minimize the likelihood of a breakdown by ensuring that you keep the car in tip top shape, drive it gently and perform all regular maintenance services religiously, you’re probably not going to be able to put off the inevitable forever. So, when you do waltz in to your local auto shop, you want to make sure that you can minimize the cost of whatever repair may be due for your vehicle.
So, in the spirit of saving money while keeping your car healthy and running at peak performance. Here are some tips for saving money on car repair services.
- Learn to perform basic repairs and regular maintenance yourself. - This is a big tip for saving money. If you can avoid taking your car into the local auto shop for an oil change a couple times a year you can shave about $50-$60 over your maintenance costs right there. And if you can learn how to rotate the tires you can save even more. We’ve already covered the basics of changing your own oil in a previous post on this blog, and a simple web search should get you to a page that can help you learn how to do a tire rotation. Adhering to a regular maintenance schedule is instrumental for keeping your car from needing auto repair in the first place so make sure not to neglect your maintenance.
- Get your car a tune-up or check-up at least once a year. - This is a really important tip as well. Although you can save money and reduce the chance of expensive repairs by performing regular maintenance yourself, you probably don’t have the know-how to do all of the needed services that are associated with good vehicle maintenance (and which can help you avoid a costly auto repair). So, make sure you have the professionals at your local auto shop take a look at least once a year (more if you drive a lot).
- Skip unnecessary oil changes. – This was covered in a previous post as well, but if you haven’t heard it’s a good idea to check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for information on regular maintenance and while you’re perusing the necessary maintenance regimen, take a look at how often your owner’s manual recommends an oil change for your vehicle. Many people are still operating on a 30,000 mile timeline in between oil changes, and this is not necessary for many newer vehicles so definitely check to see if you can save yourself some cash.
- See if you can purchase your own parts for your mechanic to save money - This one may not be an option since a lot of mechanics will not allow you to bring in parts for liability reasons, but if you can find a technician at a local auto shop that will allow you to purchase your own parts, you may be able to save some big money over what it would cost to purchase them from the shop. As always, make sure you shop around and get the right part. If you don’t, you’re definitely in for some trouble because that one is on you.
- Build a relationship with a good mechanic when you find one. - It’s always best to shop around for anything and auto repair technicians are no different. Once you find one that you particularly like, make sure to establish a relationship and keep going back to that mechanic to build trust and loyalty so that you are unlikely to be hit up for unnecessary repairs and the like.
(photo by Sue Mischyshyn via geograph.ie)