Expenses are never fun, and car repairs are some of the most frustrating. Sudden car troubles, especially ones you could have possibly avoided, can cost an arm and a leg and can be devastating. It’s not easy to go days or weeks without reliable transportation, often leaving no choice but to fork over the cash for the repairs. Take a look at these four ways you can help keep your car repair expenses in check.
Find a trustworthy mechanic
Unfortunately, not all mechanics are reliable – there are even some who will charge you for repairs your car didn’t need. On the flip side, there are plenty of hardworking, decent, honest mechanics who will help you. Make sure you find one of those good ones and build a genuine relationship with him or her. Even if your car is still under warranty, you can still go to your mechanic instead of the car dealership. Just remember to make sure your maintenance is performed on time!
Do it yourself
If, after constant repairs, you keep finding yourself wondering, “should I junk my car?” that’s probably a result of continually dropping cash to fix your old car. If you’re at your wit’s end and tired of spending money, it’s time to learn some of the basic car maintenance and repair tasks so you can perform them yourself. Take some time to learn how to replace your fuses, battery, air filter, headlights and brake lights.
Find used car parts
Salvage car parts can save you hundreds – maybe thousands – of dollars in car repairs. If you can do the work yourself, it can save you even more money. A nationwide directory will allow you to search junkyards for the part of the car you need. All you have to do is provide the make and model of your vehicle. Many places will ship the part to you, or you can limit your search to junkyards in your area. You can also try to find the parts you need on eBay or Craigslist.
Keep up with preventative maintenance
Prevention is worth it! While it may seem like a hassle at the time, it’s so true that proper car maintenance will keep your car running well. Here are a few of the most important preventative maintenance items you need to do:
- Keep your tired inflated.
Improperly inflated tires have an effect on wear and tear on the tire and the suspension, and can take a toll on your gas mileage.
- Keep your wheels aligned.
Take your car to the shop often to have the alignment of your vehicle checked. You’ll feel a pull on the car to the left or right if the vehicle is out of alignment. If the car is out of alignment, the tires will wear unevenly and wear prematurely.
- Check your fluid levels regularly.
Low fluid levels may increase the stress on the systems the fluid is servicing. Low fluid levels are also a clue that there may be a fluid leak you don’t know about. If you catch fluid leaks early and have them repaired, you may avoid system failures and expensive repairs.
If you are faced with a substantial car repair bill, it’s always a good idea to seek a second opinion. Make sure you have a clear understanding of every line item of work that is being proposed. If you don’t know what something means, look it up online or ask questions! Make sure you don’t pay for extra costly car repairs that aren’t necessary.