Every car owner dreads taking in their vehicle to the garage for a service or repairs. Whilst some expenses are unavoidable, there are lots of ways that many of us could be lowering our car maintenance costs. Here are just a few ways to save money on car repairs.
By far the most effective way to save money is to shop around. Every mechanic will charge different rates. Many may even offer discounts on services at certain times of the year. Use comparison sites to look up rates and ring around local mechanics to get estimates. Make sure to look at reviews too as reputation can often be just as important – a repair service with bad reviews may be trying to make up for it with low prices.
Buy your own parts
By looking online for your own parts, you may often be able to save costs. Repair centres will pay extra on top so that they’re making a profit by ordering the part in. There are lots of websites online that sell car parts – make sure that you know the exact part you’re after and read reviews so that you know you’re buying from a reputable parts dealer. When buying second hand, it may be worth meeting with the seller in person so that you can inspect the part for yourself as photos and descriptions can sometimes be deceiving. Some second-hand parts can be risky – particularly partially worn tires. Not might these tyres fail sooner causing you to have to replace them again in a couple months, they might also not meet road-legal requirements, especially if you’re buying from abroad where legal tire tread depths differ.
Do your own repairs
Some small jobs could be worth taking on yourself. Replacing a windscreen wiper or light bulb is relatively easy and you’ll save yourself both time and money by doing it yourself. Other jobs such as replacing fuses might not be a tricky as you expect either. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube for these kind of jobs on every car model imaginable. Giving these small repairs a try might even give you the courage to try bigger repairs.
Take legal action
You may be owed compensation in some cases such as a car accident, which could help pay for repairs. Find a personal injury lawyer and consult them for advice to see if you have a claim worth making. Solicitors can also help negotiate other problems you may have such as insurance companies not paying up or mechanics screwing up repairs and not offering a refund. In each case, always try to look for a specialized lawyer so that you know you’re getting the most effective service.
Consider preventative repairs
With many repairs, it may be more efficient to nip them early in the bud – it could end up costing more in the long run. This is particularly the case with tires – letting them go flat will affect the pressure on other tires causing them to wear quicker. Keeping an even distribution of pressure on all tires will ensure they wear at a slower rate. Similarly, brake pads should be replaced before they get too worn. Letting them wear out completely might then start to damage the brake rotor, which is much more expensive to replace. Of course, some preventative repairs are only worth doing if you’re hoping on keeping onto the car for long.
Know when to cut your losses
Sometimes a car’s damage won’t be worth the repairs. This can be particularly the case with heavy engine damage or gearbox faults. This is where you may be better off cutting your losses and buying another vehicle. You can often earn a bit of money from scrapping your vehicle that could help go towards buying a new car. Shop around scrapyards to see what rates they charge – even the biggest write-off may still have parts worth salvaging.