If you have a car, you’re probably familiar with the hassle of spending money on car repairs. Getting your car repaired can be time consuming, expensive, and cause problems with transport if you have to leave it in the garage for days. However, it is possible to save money on car repairs, so that your time in the repair shop doesn’t break your budget.
Make sure you’re reading carefully, because just a little bit of industry knowledge can save you from spending thousands of money on auto services. Doing your research, shopping around, and keeping up with maintenance are just a few great ways to save money on car repairs. Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family for help, as it’s one of the best methods to fix a problem cheaply.
Our ten best money saving tips will help you keep your car on the roads without unnecessary costs.
Top 10 Tips to Save Money on Your Auto Repair
Read the Manual
The first way to save money is to read the owner’s manual for your car. The manual should give you recommendations from the manufacturer on when you should schedule maintenance, and will give you an idea of how long your parts will last.
Making sure you know just how often to replace your brakes or tires means you’ll be able to save up in advance. For the best budget tires we have a full review guide to help. This way, you’ll be able to avoid breaking your budget on replacing multiple parts at once. Keeping an eye on your manufacturer’s guidelines can also stop you being pushed into unnecessary replacements by your mechanic.
Doing research will ensure you approach repairs with confidence.
Choose the Right Auto Repair Shop
Choosing the right auto repair shop might sound easy, but it can be tricky to know who to trust with your repairs. Finding somewhere with high reliability is key to keeping the price of repairs down.
Asking trusted family, friends, and coworkers for recommendations can help car owners save a lot of money on the price of repair work. Checking online reviews and articles will narrow down the best shops in your area, so you can be sure you’ll be getting good value services. Online communities will share updates on local shops, and could provide the referrals you need.
It’s also a good plan to shop around, and getting a second opinion can help you weigh up different technicians and their services. You can compare their estimates for time and cost, and choose the shop that’s giving you the best deal for your car.
Too few people actually visit auto shops before they get repair work done. Chatting with staff, making sure the work area is clean, and seeing cars in good condition can reassure you that you’ve chosen a good mechanic. Asking what type of cars or repairs they specialize in is also really useful. It’s a good plan to choose people with experience in your specific model or maintenance issues.
Professional certification boards such as Automotive Service Excellence will also indicate which auto mechanics and service providers are trustworthy.
Once you’ve found a good mechanic – stay with them! A good provider will be honest with you about expenses, and will reassure you that you’re getting the most cost effective services for your car. Building a relationship with someone you trust can reduce any uncertainty.
Maintenance and Preventive Measures
Regularly performing maintenance tasks may be time consuming, but it can really help you reduce spending in the long run. Referring to your owner’s manual will give you useful hints on where to focus your preventative maintenance.
Getting regular oil changes is always a good idea. As your engine runs, pieces of metal, dirt, and other debris can get into your oil, which will cause more wear on your engine. Taking your cars in to the shop for an oil change or filter is also a great opportunity to test how reputable your mechanics are. If they give you estimates for extra maintenance services, make sure you ask questions. Refer to your manual to check that their suggestions are necessary, and relevant to your specific car.
Aside from oil, regular checks and refills on fluid levels will help you keep your car in good shape, and prevent expensive system failures down the road. You should also maintain your tires. Make sure they’re inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended levels to avoid extra damage.
Driving with care will also help you save money on car repairs. Regularly driving with low gas can affect your fuel pump, and driving fast over uneven ground can damage several car parts. Your tires, suspension, and steering can all benefit from careful driving. Treat your car well, and you’ll be able to reduce unnecessary spending.
Addressing small glass chips as soon as they happen is also a good way to make savings. Fixing the glass isn’t a big expense, but avoiding repairs can mean you have to replace the whole windshield. Changing temperatures or uneven road can cause a chip to get worse fast, so taking quick action can save your budget.
Finally, changing your brake pads often may seem like a small thing, but worn out brake pads can cause damage to the whole brake system and other parts of your car. Regular replacements could save you from fixing a bigger issue down the line.
Know the Typical Car Repair Fees
Knowing the typical car repair fees for your area can save you money, and point out when your auto store isn’t giving you a fair charge.
Don’t forget to check prices online, as there are several useful websites that can give you example repair charges for your area or zip code. Looking at numbers roughly in the middle of the highest and lowest estimate will give you the most accurate result. Getting a few estimates from different technicians will be an advantage too.
Do Some Minor Auto Repairs Yourself
Doing your own research and performing minor car maintenance yourself is one of the easiest ways to save money. Consulting a vehicle maintenance website or forum can give you more information, and help you stay informed if you do have to take your car to the shop. The internet is a great option for broadening your knowledge of car maintenance. Books and blogs could also provide the instructions you need.
Learning to manage basic maintenance items without the help of a mechanic is something any car owner can do. Using budget OBD scanners and diagnostic tools can be a great way to reduce costs and there are many guides here and on Youtube to help with how to videos.
Changing your car battery, replacing brake lights or wiper blades are simple tasks that will make a big difference. Even changing your own fluids or air filter can save your budget and prolong the lifetime of your vehicle. A simple oil change can have a big impact.
You can also perform your own checks at home with a scanner app on your smartphone. The app will scan data from your vehicle’s built in diagnostics and give you details about any issues. Diagnose problems yourself, and use the information to get a better deal from your mechanic.
Avoid Paying Labor Charges Twice
Fixing an issue can require a lot of effort, especially if the problem parts are in a hard to reach place. You can reduce costs on future repairs by getting them all done at the same time.
Therefore, you won’t have to pay multiple labor charges, because you’ll be addressing a list of things all in one go. Consulting your owner’s manual can give you an idea of when certain car repairs need to take place. You can keep money aside to get all the key parts checked at one time, and multiple labor charges won’t be your problem.
You might have to negotiate a reduced overall labor charge, if your mechanic’s quote includes individual prices for replacing all the affected components. Don’t be afraid to ask them to break down the prices on your receipt. Staying aware of what you’re being charged is a great tip for making big savings at the garage.
Be Aware of the Warning Signs
Staying aware of warning signs is one of the key steps towards saving money as a consumer. If your check engine light comes on, get it checked by a mechanic as soon as you can. The issue might be small, but staying aware can stop you spending a lot of money on repairing your vehicle.
However, if your check engine light is flashing, do not attempt to drive the vehicle. Arrange for your car to be towed to the repair shop, as driving with the check engine light flashing can cause serious damage to your engine. Keeping on top of the warning signs can stop you causing extended damage to your vehicle, and is one of the key ways to save money on purchasing auto parts.
Checking your owner’s manual is another great method to make sure you’re watching out for the right warning signs.
Choose a Ding Repair Specialist
Having dents and dings on the side of your vehicle is common, and finding a dent repair specialist is something anyone can do to reduce the cost of car repairs. Many shops will sand down all the damaged components and repaint them individually, which will boost your service charge. Instead, Painless Dent Repair or Painless Dent Removal, are specialized techniques used to remove minor dents and dings from your vehicle without replacing the entire panel.
Replacing car parts can be a huge drain on your budget, so having a specialist repair minor problems can prevent further damage and conserve money in the future. As with mechanics, it’s a good idea to shop around, and ask friends for recommendations. Some websites can provide you with hundreds of reputable technicians, and it’s important to check their certifications and compare with other providers. It’s good to be sure you’re getting the best service you can, so you won’t be paying to fix it later.
Addressing minor repairs regularly will often work out cheaper, as they won’t have the chance to get worse, meaning you won’t be out of pocket for extensive car repairs.
Buy Discount Parts
Buying your own replacement parts is another great step that will bring down your overall repair cost.
You may not be able to source certain parts yourself, and some shops may not allow you to provide your own parts. However, where you can, it’s a smart idea to purchase your own auto parts. The internet can offer you a range of options for saving money on parts. A reputable online business will often charge a lower rate than a dealership or mechanic repair shop.
If you’re looking for small parts like brake lights, don’t pay a costly charge to get them installed when you can purchase them separately, and easily replace them yourself. No one likes to spend money unnecessarily.
Checking for online discounts or coupons is another fantastic way to reduce the strain on your wallet. Some websites will offer you parts at competitive prices, and will occasionally have offers or discounts you can make the most of. You’ll want to check if there’s extra shipping fees, and make sure they have a fair returns policy. It’s always a good plan to check for other options on the market – the chances are that you’ll save a surprising amount of money.
Keeping on top of your warranty is another key step. Don’t pay the price of a costly replacement part when it might still be covered by warranty.
Furthermore, reducing your core charge is another good method to help you conserve money on car repairs. Most car parts can be rebuilt – these are known as core parts. When you replace these parts, the old ones are returned to the store and you’ll need to pay a charge. It’s essentially a way to encourage recycling – if you return the part yourself, you’ll be refunded the charge.
Keeping an eye out for used parts can also save you hundreds on repairs. They’re often reliable, and can be very cost effective.
Ask a Friend to Help
Finally, it’s always a great plan to ask a friend to help you. People you trust will want to help you get the best quality service for your vehicles. They can advise you on the best shop to visit, and might know some great companies to source cheap parts.
A knowledgeable friend can provide you with handy information, and give you great tips on vehicle maintenance. It’s always good to get specialized info on shops in your area from a local, and your friend might be able to provide the advice you need.
If you’re thinking of taking on car repairs by yourself, asking a neighbor to help you change that air filter can reassure you, and get the job done faster. You might even know an individual who regularly carries out maintenance on their vehicle, who would be happy to share their knowledge, or do the repair for you. You might not even need to visit the shop at all!
If you’re struggling to work out which shop is reputable, a friend can be a good source of advice, and help you search for a mechanic that will deliver the best service to fit your needs. Asking people in the community for tips is a great plan, and it can keep the strain on your finances to a minimum.