words Al Woods
Having a car for most people is a must. It’s the fastest way to get to work, a vehicle enables you to run errands onyour time, and it enables you to travel on a whim. Many of us feel fondly about our vehicles, that is, until something goes wrong.
Part of car ownership means dealing with repairs. Unfortunately, those repairs can cost a small fortune, and many of us can struggle to pay for those repairs.
You don’t have to put off important repairs that can put your safety and pocketbook at risk. You can save money on even complex repairs when you follow these tips.
Buy the Parts Yourself
When you go to the mechanic for a repair, they may have the part on hand, or they may order it in. However, they don’t have the time to research current prices on the part to find the cheapest one. Not to mention, some places charge extra for sourcing the part. You have a lot more control over what you pay if you buy your parts yourself.
For example, once you know that you need to have your brakes done, look for a big brake kit online. You can compare different kits and find the cheapest one. Then, all you have to do is pay for the labor to have it replaced.
Need a repair done right away? Ask if the mechanic if they do any price matching, or if they can get the part you want quicker than you can. Honest mechanics are just as serious about providing you with an affordable repair as you are.
Make the Repairs Yourself, If Possible
When it comes to some things, a mechanic is a must, but there are plenty of things you can repair on your own vehicle after a little bit of research. By learning how to do a few things on your own, you can save a lot of money.
For example, did you know you could pay upwards of $75 to have your windshield wipers replaced, but you can buy the same wipers for $40!
Additional repairs you can do yourself include:
- Change the brake pads yourself with just a few tools for around $30 per pad.
- Change the battery with a basic set of wrenches. Just make sure you attach the cables properly.
- Replace a headlight or a taillight and save on the cost of sky-high labor rates.
- Replace your own air filter by turning a few screws and opening the air filter housing.
Check the Warranty
It never hurts to check the warranty on your car if you’re in need of a repair. That’s especially the case if you have a newer car. Most new car warranties cover nearly every part and system in the car for 36,000 miles or three years, whichever comes first. Some luxury brands cover vehicles up to 50,000 miles, while other manufacturers may cover special parts for much longer. For example, Chevy provides an 8-year, 80,000-mile warranty for its Volt batteries.
Have an older car? Check anyway! You may have purchased an extended warranty when you purchased the vehicle!
Consider Buying Used Parts
Some parts cost a fortune, even if you do source them yourself. If you want to save even more, consider buying used parts instead.
Some parts are better used than others. For example, used tire rims can be found for a real steal, but you probably don’t want to mess with used brake parts.
Search for used parts online, or call your local garbage and recycling facility. Some mechanics also have the ability to offer used parts. You just have to ask first.
Don’t Put off Repairs
Out of all the tips on this list, this is the easiest one to follow. As soon as you know there’s a problem, you should look into it as soon as you can to prevent an even bigger, more expensive, problem from developing.
For example, when your check engine light goes on, you should tighten your gas cap, just in case. If that doesn’t do the trick, you should schedule an appointment right away. You might get lucky and find out your oxygen sensor needs to be replaced, or you may find out you need a new mass airflow sensor. Although you can drive with a broken one, your car will eventually stall out, which could leave you stranded and with worn engine parts.
An essential car repair doesn’t have to drain your bank account! With these tips, you can save on nearly every kind of repair.