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 accidently 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 are receiving the best value on your repairs.

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.

 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.    Find A Mechanic On The Side – 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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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 is currently pursuing his Certified Financial Planner credentials. Email him directly at Hank[at]MoneyQandA.com.


Hank Coleman has written 524 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.


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{ 48 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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Claire

If you need extra cash, this seems to save me some extra money every month http://howtofixstuff.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-to-save-money.html

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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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Laura Johnston

Yes, number 3 is a good one. You don’t need an oil change that regularly, especially if you use a decent synthetic oil. You can even save a few more bucks buy doing it yourself at home. There are loads of pages giving step by step instructions and I managed to change my oil myself for the first time ever in under an hour, I even changed the oil filter. Ok, I had to buy a few tools, but I have them for next time. But with all this information available on the internet, you can do a lot of smaller jobs yourself. I’ve changed my own battery and oil, now I’m going to learn a few more simple preventative maintenance procedures to save some money on the cost of motoring!
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Automatic gearbox

The tips given above are so remarkable! For car owners who want to save money, these tips can be helpful. However, in instances where the situation could not just be handled by the car owner, it would be best to let specialists take a look and fix the problem.
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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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Auto Parts Sterling VA

I agreed with given information about 8 ways to safe money to repair the car, but I’ll suggest to people its more importance of time now so if an unprofessional person start repair their car by themselves so it will hard for them to reinstall everything after fix the problem. But if any body knows how to repair car and they have time then its best to save money.

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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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auto financing

Great pointers Hank. I really see preventive maintenance as the key to save money from car repair. Also, it is important that the owner must learn the basics on mechanics, so that when reoccurring problems happen he doesn’t have to worry anymore because he got everything taken care of.

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CarInsuranceQuotesOnline123

One of the best ways to save on car repairs is to also have an auto insurance company that has good partners to service your car in the case of an accident. From my research at least, certain car insurance companies have claims that usually end up costing less than repairs from other carriers, and thus your premiums stay low since the cost of repairs and damage does not adversely affect your rates.
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jackruth@car repair NJ

If you are looking for your car insurance for the first time, the process may seem a bit confusing. There is a terminology you may not know, different types of coverage, and so forth. In order to make the right choice you need to know the meaning of these terms. Car insurance is required in the majority of states. Such states have car insurance minimum required and in order to drive legally to have such minimal overage is enough.

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Cash For Junk Cars NJ

I def agree with the 8 tips you mentioned above. It a necessity for every car owner to also know a few basic when it comes to car problems so they know exactly what they’re getting them selves into before possibly getting conned by a crooked mechanic. I learned this first hand. Great post Hank.

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DavidAltima

1,3,4,5 are great. I am cautious with 2,6, 7 and 8. The expression you get what you pay for applies here. I have had more problems than I can count with AutoZone type parts, Plus part selection requires knowledge For most people the DYI option can only work for the most basic jobs, have any mechanic on the side show you his qualifications before you let him screw up your car. Competence here is not a mechanical inclination. It is a profession. Poor repair can cost a lot more the long run. It is naivety to equate high costs to the mechanic being crooked. The best suggestion made was to ask for referrals. Generally, a value producing business will leave you better off in the long run, unless cousin Jim Bob is an awesome mechanic who has free time after hours And he picks out the parts for you.

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Led @ auto floor mats

I personally shop for my car parts. I don’t rely on whatever parts are available on the mechanic shops, since it would be very costly. If there’s still time and in a not so emergency situation, I search for good and not so expensive repair shops. Following the list above would definitely cost you a lot of money.
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junkcar buyer

Cash for cars is our business. Junk cars are a nuisance and an eyesore. In some cases they can cost you money: if your county wants you to keep them registered and insured regardless of if they run or not, or fine you for not moving them. Getting cash for junk cars is a perfect solution to this problem.

We buy junk cars including, all years, makes and models in any condition. Wrecked cars, junk cars, damaged cars for sale, and even crashed cars for sale are of interest to junk car buyers. Yes, we buy wrecked cars; and more importantly you junk a car with us, junk car removal is included free of charge, provided it is local junk car removal. You do not pay us one cent instead we take your junk car for cash paid on the spot.

Lost car title, that is OK to. Getting a new vehicle title can sometimes cost more than a Junk Car is worth, but it is ok, lost vehicle title is no problem at all. You can still sell your car for cash, junk cars with no title is NO PROBLEM!

We buy your junk car for the highest CASH paid on the spot! …Prompt, professional service with Honesty! Sell your Junk Car to us today and receive a 2 Nights and three days stay at a Deluxe Hotel in over 50 cities across the US.

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junkcar buyer

Cash for cars is our business. Junk cars are a nuisance and an eyesore. In some cases they can cost you money: if your county wants you to keep them registered and insured regardless of if they run or not, or fine you for not moving them. Getting cash for junk cars is a perfect solution to this problem.

We buy junk cars including, all years, makes and models in any condition. Wrecked cars, junk cars, damaged cars for sale, and even crashed cars for sale are of interest to junk car buyers. Yes, we buy wrecked cars; and more importantly you junk a car with us, junk car removal is included free of charge, provided it is local junk car removal. You do not pay us one cent instead we take your junk car for cash paid on the spot.

Lost car title, that is OK to. Getting a new vehicle title can sometimes cost more than a Junk Car is worth, but it is ok, lost vehicle title is no problem at all. You can still sell your car for cash, junk cars with no title is NO PROBLEM!

We buy your junk car for the highest CASH paid on the spot! …Prompt, professional service with Honesty! Sell your Junk Car to us today and receive a 2 Nights and three days stay at a Deluxe Hotel in over 50 cities across the US.

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Forex Trading

Dear HANK,
I liked what you said about 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.
Continue this kind of articles because they are very good and useful, congratulations.
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Harris Gracia

Some Tips are great but sometime your car needs a mechanic who is professional by his/her work.
But thanks for sharing these ,,we think these tips also work for those who are looking for a cheap auto repair
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truck transport company

The best variant for me is to find a good mechanic among the friends. In this case you’ll have the work done well and you won’t be overcharged.

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Anand Shah

I am also agree with the truck transport company. I think this tip also work for those who are looking for a cheap auto repair. Continue this kind of articles.

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Matchless Car Service at Turley Car & Truck Pty Ltd

Great guidelines on car repairs! Really these are helpful when it comes to saving money on repair.

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BMW Coding

The easiest way to figure out if the auto repair software you are considering is good or not is to read past customer reviews. Spend a considerable amount of time reading through as many as possible. This includes positive and negative reviews. They will give you an idea of the pros and cons about that particular product.

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Get the Best Mercedes Service in Brisbane

I must say your tips are very useful. If followed, these can really help to save money during the car repair. Thanks for sharing this article with us.

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Thiago

Great tips, I appreciate this. Our car is getting old and needing work more often, so anything to save money on it is a huge help. Thanks for sharing your expertise!

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Alpina B3 Transmission Flash New York

Thanks for the share. Car software from time to time needs some upgrade. And always do it since some parts may function better as an effect.

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Remote Car Starter NJ

In-car audio is always evolving because people are constantly looking for new ways to enjoy their music and media when on the move and the technology is becoming better equipped to meet their needs. Here are five new bits of kit which you may want to factor in when you finance your car if you want a little wiggle room to invest in some upgrades.

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car fuel system diagnostics Morris County NJ

Thanks for sharing. If you ever need some fixing or maintenance on that car of yours you can always contact us on our website. Thanks.

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Caryl Anne

Great post! These tips will definitely help anyone save money on car repairs! I agree that shopping around before deciding on anything can help you save money. Plus, this can insure oneself that the best decision was made because all options were looked into. Thanks for sharing!
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car stereo systems NYC

Consider how often you’ll use a system. If it is for background music or easy listening, consider a pre-packaged system. If music is your passion, select separate components. Both offer excellent value, but separate components offer the best sound quality. Before you shop, make a list of your needs and wants.

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brake repair Morris County NJ

All vehicles should be equipped with one rearview mirror mounted inside the vehicle that allows a view to the rear of at least 200 feet. A rearview mirror should also be placed on each side of the vehicle mounted on the outside of the vehicle’s front doorframes. Make sure that your mirrors are clean and pointed in the correct direction. The mirrors are designed to assist drivers in keeping track of traffic around their vehicles.

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BMW navigation map updates

When considering which auto shop to settle on, ensure you get to hear what other customers have to say about their services. It does not matter if it is a dealership or an auto shop.

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control arm

Having your car go in for its normal check up is just like what we do when we have our yearly physicals. It makes sure that nothing is wrong, and if there are issues, you can then proceed to get them fixed. It will make your car reliable over the long haul because the maintenance will help diagnose any problems your car may have.

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susenhumpryes

I do believe the above tips are very helpful for maintaining a car, but the selection of proper destination for servicing and maintenance in also necessary for extending the life of car. The believe is that how you maintain your health by going doctors at the time of need and having proper food as the same you have to go for car servicing for car health and using proper products for car. And most of people choose luxury car for their comfort so as to maintain that they need to choose a proper center for maintenance and servicing. So more or less the buying of a luxury car is not enough the maintenance will show how much you are capable to have it.

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angelamason

Now a days many new technology is introducing in market to reduce the work of people so as in car servicing also.We can follow the above tips for saving money from car repairs,but here if you chose a reliable servicing center for your car service and maintenance in a regular interval of time then it will also help you to reduce you extra cost for car like any luxury cars- Mercedes,BMW,Porsche etc

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Lauren Hockenson

”Money is so expensive now” means earning money is difficult to people rather than spending. So we ere focusing on how to reduce all the extra expenses by taking right care of all the other things that we use in day to day life. After buying a car to maintain it we are spending so much money,and also in small silly things we need to take care like selecting the better service point for your car so it will reduce the extra cost of servicing.
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