Note: Today I have an awesome guest post for you about how to save money on your car repairs, written by a professional mechanic. Take it away, Tim!
Car repair is one of life’s necessary evils.
While no one wants to deal with the maintenance, it is essential to keep your car running and get you where you need to go. There are countless articles and tips on how to save money on a car repair, and by being resourceful it is possible to minimize the repair costs.
The good news is that there are several tools, such as an obd scanner, that can help you identify exactly what the problem is so that you can get the correct parts and, ultimately, save money on a car repair.
Keep Up on Preventative Maintenance
If you’re wondering what you can do right now to save money on car repairs, the answer is to make sure everything is functioning properly on the vehicle. Preventative maintenance costs a little money now but can save big time spending down the line.
Keeping up on oil changes, filters, and fluids will keep the parts in your vehicle running at optimum levels for as long as possible. A good repair shop will notice potential problems before they happen and advise you on the necessary steps to take. They should be able to document why and when the maintenance is necessary for your specific vehicle.
To save money on car repairs, getting an estimate from a couple different shops is a good idea.
Car maintenance is most expensive when something breaks or wears out completely. An example is brake pads- when you start hearing noises while braking, have the checked out and changed if necessary. If you let them wear down to the point of metal on metal grinding, the repair will be more expensive. So keep everything up to date – a small investment now can save massive dollars!
Get Work Done All at Once
The main reason for this is to save on labor charges.
A good shop will charge you labor each time you visit, but won’t tack on multiple full-price labor charges for a mechanic doing more than one repair. This is particularly relevant for labor concerning parts in the same area- if the mechanic has to remove the same thing under the hood twice to make two repairs on separate occasions, you’re going to pay more – but if he can do both repairs while only getting set up once, you’ll save money and time.
If the check engine light comes on, get an obd scanner and do a scan immediately.
Waiting will only make the problem worse and more expensive. The same goes for other maintenance- if something doesn’t sound right, or the car is driving weird, take it into a mechanic as quickly as possible. It works kind of like going to the doctor – the longer you wait, the worse the symptoms get and the more expensive the treatment.
Often, car maintenance will cost less when taken care of right away because the issue hasn’t had time to fully develop or break a part.
Learn How to Do Simple Repairs
If you have a garage, driveway, or other space where work can be performed at home, you can save money on car repairs by learning to do simple things like oil and filter changes, brake pads, and changing wiper blades by yourself.
The only cost is the parts, and you will likely learn a thing or two about how your car operates that can help you become more aware when something might go wrong. Need a quick tire rotation? If you know how to change a tire, you can do this for free!
Look for discounted parts on the internet before paying full price at a dealership or auto parts store. Another place to look is a junkyard – often they will have slightly used parts for significantly cheaper than new ones.
Read the Owner’s Manual
Believe it or not, the maker of your car has provided an entire book of helpful hints to keep your car running well and your maintenance costs down. The manual will also tell you what to expect as your vehicle reaches certain mileage points.
Around 100,000 miles, expect to do some preventative maintenance, and if you’ve kept up on everything up to that point it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. The manual may also have instructions on basic repairs, saving you a trip to the mechanic as well as money.
Find a Trustworthy Mechanic
The easiest way to blow money on car repairs is by using an untrustworthy repair shop, or one that is not familiar with the make and model of your vehicle.
Be sure you are using a shop with Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified technicians and that the technician working on your car or truck is certified in the category of which he is doing work. For example, a technician that is a certified to work on breaks may not be the best option for engine repair.
How clean is the repair shop? Dirty rags everywhere, overly strong odors, and other debris are signs of sloppy, and likely uncertified, mechanics. Ask a friend or relative for a recommendation on a good shop if you aren’t familiar with one in the area.
These tips for how to save money on a car repair will put your vehicle in a good place to drive well for many years.
A lot of this seems like common sense, and it is – by staying on top of routine care and not waiting until the car breaks down to make fixes, you will save a lot of money and increase the lifespan of your vehicle. If you have a friend that is knowledgeable about cars, always ask them for advice before signing that big check at the repair shop, they may have a trick that can knock a couple hundred bucks of the bill.
But remember – car care isn’t always fun, but when done right makes both you and your car happy.
About the Author:
My name is Tim Miller from Denver, Colorado. I don’t know why I do love cars and always want to discover them. When I was a teenager, I often researched and watched on Youtube then asked my dad to fix his car. Of course he usually refused me, but I still did when he went out. I changed windshield wipers at first, then moved to more complex things. After 1 year fixing my dad’s car for free, I have charged fee whenever he asked me to help him. I knew incidentally what an OBD scanner was by searching on the Internet. Now I have over 10 years experience in car repair and using OBD scanner. With what I know, I think I should share with everyone. I am writing a blog name OBD Advisor. Hope it’s useful for all you guys.”