In a tough economy, everyone is looking for ways to save money. One of the expenses we simply cannot avoid is that of car repair. However, with some understanding of the industry and your particular vehicle, you can lower the costs of repairs for your vehicle over the course of the year.
First, do not forget about your routine maintenance. Regular tune-ups, oil changes, and fluid flushes will keep your vehicle running at its best and avoid potentially avoidable expenses. When you notice a problem, take care of it right away. It can cost a couple of hundred dollars to fix your engine’s cooling system, for example, when you notice a leak. Ignoring the leak could cause you to fry your engine, and that repair will run in the thousands of dollars. By taking care of the little things when they come up, you can avoid big car repair bills in the future.
Next, check your car’s owner’s manual to ensure you are not getting oil changes you do not need. The rule of thumb is to have your oil changed every 3,000 miles, but some newer model vehicles are created to run longer. While you do not want to ignore your oil change, you don’t need to be paying for oil changes you don’t actually need. This can add up to significant savings.
One of the most important ways you can save money on car repair is by finding an honest mechanic or shop. Learn what the mechanic charges per hour, and find someone you can trust not to add hours on to your bill that are not actually spent servicing your vehicle. You may find hourly prices to be higher at dealerships, so consider choosing an independent shop you can trust or a non-dealership chain store. Of course, if your vehicle is still under warranty, you may benefit from working through the dealership, but otherwise you will likely save money going elsewhere. Chain stores typically have set prices across the board, making it easier to trust their quotes, whereas independent shops require you to take the word of a mechanic you may or may not know or trust.
Another way to lower the cost of your car repair is to choose the right vehicle. Research the average costs of repairs for the vehicle you are considering. Some vehicles are known for their costly repairs. Hybrids, for instance, may help you save on fuel costs, but when you need to replace or fix something, be prepared for a large bill.
In these difficult economic times, we are all looking for ways to cut expenses. The good news is that car repair doesn’t have to break your budget, if you do it right. Pay attention to your routine maintenance, and take care of problems as soon as they surface. Take the time to find a shop you can trust, and avoid paying for maintenance, like oil changes, before you really need it. Purchase a vehicle that is affordable to fix. By following these tips, you can keep your vehicle running well without spending a fortune.