7 Ways to Save Money on Auto Repair Bills
Posted by: Lydia on 25/08/2017
As an engineering achievement, the car is a modern marvel, able to transport us quickly but safely at high speeds. It’s really no surprise, then, that the machine and all its parts can encounter some issues on occasion. With the car repair industry having an annual revenue of $16 billion dollars, there will always be work for mechanics in our world.
Whether you’re a confirmed car junkie or just a daily A to B commuter, car repairs are a reality of life. Nobody likes to deal with them, but handling them the right way can save you a lot of time and money. Here are 7 of the best ways to deal with repairs, save money, and keep your car on the road.
1. Prevention is better than the cure
The first rule is always a little annoying to hear if you’ve just had a repair issue arise. Nonetheless, it’s a Golden Rule for a reason. Regular servicing of your car ensures it will always be at peak performance, and minimises the risk of major problems arising out of the blue.
The best reason for taking this approach to car repairs is that it not only treats problems quickly, but it can even make your car more durable overall. This is because car technology and performance is always rapidly improving. Accordingly, a hot tip from a mechanic about a new oil or accessory today could help you avoid repairs tomorrow.
2. Identify and fix problems early
Regular servicing may identify a problem you didn’t notice or that wasn’t visible. As soon as you realise there’s a problem, though, it’s essential to act on it as soon as possible.
If you hear that tick-tick-tick sound in your engine, or you suddenly find that your car’s stalling when the light turns green, get it checked out right away. Oftentimes it may just be a small issue that’s easy to fix, or even ‘nothing to worry about’, but taking quick action is important.
3. Know your make and model
Every car may have four wheels and an engine, but there are a ton of differences under the bonnet.
It’s understood that a Ferrari is a fundamentally different car than a Porsche. A Land Rover has some big differences when compared to a Jeep. The same applies to your regular sedan or daily driver.
That’s why it’s important to know the particular ins and outs of your make and model. All it takes is a bit of Googling to discover known issues with your vehicle. Most of the time these are very small, like the air conditioning not working properly or a window being slow to unfold. Equipping yourself with this knowledge and familiarising yourself with the appropriate online resources for your vehicle will ensure you can keep an eye on problems before they arise.
4. Learn the basics of car maintenance
You might not have any plans to serve as pit crew for an F1 team anytime soon, but it’s still worthwhile to know a little about the basics of your car. Having some general knowledge is not only useful for undertaking simple repairs and dealing with minor issues yourself, but it can also save you money.
A knowledgeable driver can save on costs by ordering parts and doing minor repairs themselves. Beyond that, a bit of knowledge can help ensure you’re getting good value from your mechanic when you need them to perform bigger repairs.
5. Stock up on extra parts when you can
Once you become comfortable with your car’s features and challenges, it’s a good idea to seek out specific information about parts. Classic car enthusiasts know that getting parts when a repair arises can be a real and protracted issue. That’s why stocking up on parts ahead of time is a good way to save money.
Moderation here is good, especially if you live with family or housemates. Nobody is saying you need to order a spare engine to put on the coffee table, as others likely won’t agree it's a ‘conversation starter.’ But ordering small and cheap parts like windscreen wipers, oil filters, and belts or hoses can be a good idea.
6. Build good relationships with your mechanic and suppliers
Despite some old cheeky jokes, the majority of mechanics in the auto industry are fair and reasonable. With a very competitive auto industry comes the need for mechanics to offer customers very competitive pricing.
Building a friendship with your local mechanic can ensure you’ll get a fair deal done on your servicing and repairs every time. Better still, just like you’ll always look to do the very best by your friends, a good working relationship will often see a discount applied, or some free extras thrown in when you get work done.
7. If in doubt, get a second opinion
It’s a big misconception, but many people think that because someone is an expert, that expert will resent another opinion. In reality, many mechanics know that cars are complex, and sometimes a second opinion is of great value.
So, while it is important to do it with tact - you don’t need to tell your local mechanic he’s missing a problem and is a dummy - if you have doubts about a problem with your car, get a second opinion. Because mechanics have different ways of working and different suppliers, one may be able to do the same work for you but at a cheaper price or with a different solution.
On the road again
However you look at it, at the end of the day, repairs are a reality of car ownership. As we’ve shown here, though, how you approach them can make a difference. Ultimately, repairs are not a ‘sometimes’ thing, but actually require ongoing vigilance. But by staying ahead of the repair game, you can actually save money and time - and it might even give you an opportunity to spend your savings elsewhere. An old car can turn into a great investment, after all.
What other tips do you have to save money on your auto repair bills? Let us know in the comments below: