Eight Ways To Save Money On Car Repairs

by Hank Coleman

You can save money on car repairs.I hate taking my car to the mechanic to get repairs. I always worry that I’m going to be overcharged for the repairs needed to fix my car.

I have to admit that I am not mechanically inclined in the least little bit. My best friend and I tried to change my oil one time in high school, and we quickly gave up after accidentally dumping several quarts of oil on his parents’ driveway.

Even if you are not knowledgeable about taking your car to the mechanic, there are several ways that you can save money on car repairs. If you educate yourself a little bit about the process and different ways to save money on car repairs, then you will feel better about taking your car to the mechanic and confident that you save money on car maintenance.

Eight Ways To Save Money On Car Repairs

1.Shop Around For Repairs – If you are faced with an expensive repair, it may help you save money on car repairs if you shop around. Most people do not think to get multiple estimates for car repairs, but there is a reason that the government requires three different bids in most cases before they award a contract. You are more likely to receive a more accurate quote on the price of your repair if you shop around and receive multiple quotes for the repairs.

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2. Skip Unnecessary Maintenance – You do not need to change your oil every 3,000 miles. That is the old rule of thumb that no longer applies to most modern cars thanks to technology advances that have been made. Many synthetic motor oils can last for a year or more between oil changes Delaying unnecessary maintenance like excessive oil changes save you money will save you money on car repairs.


3. Consider Preventative Maintenance – You have heard time and time again that you can save money on gas by changing the way that you drive. The same is true for maintenance as well. Preventative maintenance can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Do you keep up with all of the recommended maintenance on your car? While it may seem like a hassle, it can save you money in costly big repairs. Changing your oil regularly is the best way to prevent catastrophic damage to your car’s engine.

4. Ask For Referrals – You wouldn’t pick your doctor or a lawyer by thumbing through the Yellow Pages, and you shouldn’t pick your car mechanic that way either. The best way to find a great mechanic and to save money on car repairs is to get a referral.

Which repair shop do your friends use? That is a great way to find a good one you can trust. You can also find reviews of repair shops on websites like Yelp. Or, you can always poll your Twitter followers or your friends on Facebook too.

5. Get Your Own Code Reader – Have you ever wondered what the error code displayed in your car means? If you had your own error code reader, you would know exactly what was causing your check engine light to come on. If you already know what is wrong with your car when you take it into the mechanic, you can head off any needless repairs before they even start.

6.Surf The Web For Tools – There are a lot of great tools and websites out there to help you learn the cost of certain repairs. Wise Bread has a great list of six tools to save you money on car repairs.

They list some great websites like RepairPal, DriverSide, and AllDataDIY that can help you become more familiar with car repairs, what to expect, what they cost, and other information. The more information that you know will help you feel more comfortable in the repair shop and help you save money on car repairs.

7. Find Your Own Parts – One way to save money on car repairs is to purchase your own parts. This will essentially cut out the dealership or mechanic who is acting like a middle man. There are many websites and even stores like Autozone where you can find cheaper car parts than purchasing them at a dealership or service department. Many mechanics do not advertise the fact that you can purchase your own parts and bring them to them to install.

Another great option for people with a little mechanical skill is to head to your local junk yard to find your own parts there for a fraction of the cost of a new part. To save the most money on your car parts there bring your own tools to pull the parts from cars in the salvage yard. Do It Yourself and Save at AutoZone

8. Do you know a mechanic? Do you know someone who is the classic shady tree mechanic? You might find a great deal to save money on car repairs by offering a local mechanic a little bit of side work. Like with referrals, you may be able to find someone who knows someone who is looking for a little extra income. This can be a great opportunity for you and the mechanic.

What about you? How do you save money on car repairs? Did I miss any good tips? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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Save Money On Car Repairs

About Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the founder of Money Q&A, an Iraq combat veteran, a Dr. Pepper addict, and a self-proclaimed investing junkie. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and a graduate certificate in personal financial planning. Email him directly at Hank[at]MoneyQandA.com.


Hank Coleman has written 563 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.


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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Eric J. Nisall - DollarVersity

Preventative maintenance is a great measure to take (and it can apply to almost any facet of life). Taking care of things properly greatly reduced the risk of breakdowns, although eventually everything wears down.

One thing I heard of that may also save money is going to the tech schools and letting them use your car as a teaching aid for a specific issue. It may not be an ideal situation to have novice techs working on your vehicle, but at least you know they are being supervised and if you really can’t afford any other options, it’s worth a shot.

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Hank

I love that idea. That’s like going to the barber school for a free hair cut. I’ve heard of people doing that for free massages too. My mother-in-law just went to a culinary school for dinner…great meal at a very reduced rate.

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Eric J. Nisall - DollarVersity

That’s exactly where I got the idea from Hank! I remember watching 2 1/2 men and the cheap brother was happy to have some money so he wouldn’t have to the barber school for his haircuts. That and there is a pretty good dental school down here where they allow regular people to make appointments for the students to learn hands on.

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Kevin @ DebtEye

Great idea Eric…never thought of that. How do you begin to find these type of places?

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Travis Thompson

I’ve had good and bad experiences with this. The college I live near has a huge automotive program, and they’ve taken care of the easier projects for me. However, once I needed a head gasket replaced, and they absolutely did not have the finesse required to ensure it sealed properly. Of course, they’re just students… but for intensive jobs that require experience should be avoided at auto schools.

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Hunter - Financially Consumed

Great post Hank. I have two mechanic buddies that have saved us thousands of dollars. Good point on avoiding overservicing. Honda tried to charge me $60 to change a cabin air filter, which I did myself in 3 minutes.

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Hank

Thanks, Hunter. My problem is doing which services like your air filter are erroneous and could be skipped or done yourself.

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Suba

Learning to do some small things yourself could save money I guess. I am a total moron when it comes to DIY car maintenance. And having a mechanic friend always helps. Preventive maintenance is a great point.

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Michelle

I’ve found that surprisingly, my dealership where I bought my car is actually the cheapest for everything that I have needed so far. They beat their competitors by a TON.

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Hank

Michelle,

That is really interesting point. That’s a good deal if you have done the comparison between car shops and the actual dealership. My mother would only use the dealership because she built a relationship with them and trusted the people working there.

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Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

Preventative maintenance is huge. The last two cars I have owned have both lasted 15 years until I sold them which is due to the fact I took such good care of them. It saved me a ton of money in the end since I never had to buy a new car.

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Marie at FamilyMoneyValues

Changing oil regularly is huge – one of the best things you can do (and you can do it yourself – I have many times).

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Hank

And now with synthetic oil, you do not have to do it but once per year on most newer cars….another good savings.

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Hack - Smart Money Hacks

I saved almost $800 once by installing a radiator on a car I owned. The part from autozone was half as much as the shop and I invested my time in exchange for the labor costs.

Good list of ideas Hank!

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richar pearce@mobile car mechanic faversham

Hi Hank.
You have some very good advise here. I have a mobile car mechanic business in Sittingbourne Kent UK. I believe that making car owners aware of preventative maintenance is very important also explaining that a lot of tasks can be undertaken themselves and very importantly shop around, listen to experiences from friends and relations, a little bit of research can save you a lot of money.
I have a couple of pointers to add.
If you are going to supply your own parts and they are defective you will pay the car mechanic twice where as if the mechanic supplies the part at it is defective they will have to remove the part and refit another one free of charge.
If you use a mechanic who does some work on the side please make sure that they are legit as you will have no comeback if things go wrong with your vehicle after they have been working on it.
This may sound like I am trying to throw a spanner in the works, I am all for car owners saving money, I have written articles and blogs that contain hints and tips for owners who do their own servicing and repairs.The reason I made the above comments is to hopefully help people to save money.

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FIRE Finance

This is a great post. Recently my car broke down, it was making a funny noise (somewhat like taka taka taka ….) when I started the engine. I took it to an authorized repair shop at the original dealer – they said that the ac pipe was damaged and quoted a price of $2k for its replacement! I was shocked, my insurance did not cover it. Finally I went to a AAA approved repair shop and got the job done for around $1800. It was a huge expense! It’s good to do preventive maintenance but these sort of repairs just jump out of the blue!

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Marissa - 2nd Skies Forex

One thing about old cars, they need continual repairs. When we had an old car, my husband had to learn how to DIY car repairs or at least learned it so that when we had to bring to car to a mechanic for repairs, he is aware of what’s going on. It’s always good to learn basic car repairs even if you don’t do the repairs yourself. There are actually some maintenance tasks that are easy to do if you invest in tools and of course time to learn them.

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Michelle

I always go to my dad first before I ever go to a dealership or mechanic.

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James Bergman

I think you should definitely change your oil more than once a year. Yes, you may not need to do it every 3,000 miles, but oil is the lifeblood of your car and it should be taken care of. However, I do agree that it is a good idea to shop around for your own parts. Chances are you will save a lot of money, especially if you buy used.

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