Every driver, at some point in their life (unless they’re really, really lucky) has had to deal with repairs on their vehicle.
Whether it’s to repair damages due to a collision or to just have regular maintenance done, or replacing a part, vehicle repairs can be quite costly, and who doesn’t want a few tricks up their sleeve for saving money on said repairs?
If there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s the importance of saving a buck or two, and that’s exactly what we’re talking about here – helping you save money.
Let’s get started!
Know Your Car
One thing that every driver should do when they get a new or new-to-them vehicle is familiarize themselves with their owner’s manual. I know, I know – nobody ever reads the manual, but I promise it’ll help you save money in the long run.
Think about it for a sec – if you know what needs to be done at regular intervals for your particular model, you can make sure they get done at every service interval to avoid small issues building up because of a lack of maintenance, and your vehicle will thank you for it in the long run.
Be Clear And Specific
Use all your senses to describe the problem: a sense of smell, sense of hearing, sense of touch/feel, sense of sight – all of it can help you to describe a problem more specifically to your technician so he or she can spend more time fixing the problem without as much guesswork.
Be sure to clue them in on any strange sounds it makes and when it makes them, whether it pulls to the left or the right and what speeds it occurs in, etc.
All of this information is vital to finding the problem and the right solution.
Know Your Warranty
If you are aware of what parts or issues are covered under the manufacturer’s warranty, then you can take them to be repaired at the dealership after you’ve gotten an official analysis of the problem, rather than spending money you don’t have to on a repair that’s covered.
Having it repaired at a local shop shouldn’t void the warranty, but since they are independent they won’t be able to honor the warranty, so you may have to pay for the repair.
Who wants to pay for repairs when they could get them done for no charge? Not this guy.
Second Opinions Matter
Now, I know that nobody wants to spend all day going from repair shop to repair shop trying to figure out what’s wrong with your car.
However, getting a second opinion could potentially save you a few bucks when dealing with auto repairs, and it can also serve to give you some peace of mind.
If you’re unsure about what the mechanic is telling you, or if you’re not too keen on the price, or whatever the case may be, go have it checked out at another shop.
When you go, there’s no need to repeat what the other mechanic said – provide them with the same information you gave the other shop, and see what they say or can find.
After all, even though we’d like to believe that everyone is honest, this is simply not the case, unfortunately; some people really will take you through hoops to get a little extra income into the shop, so getting a second opinion works as a kind of stopper to that.
Check Labor Rates
When you take your vehicle to get repairs, you’re not just paying for the parts to be replaced – you’re paying for the time and effort it takes for the mechanics to put them in and ensure the vehicle is in proper working order before it’s returned to you!
Most shops will have different rates for different types of repairs, so it’s best to inquire about the price of the labor for a specific repair before handing over the keys.
After the repair is finished, you also need to go through your bill to ensure you’re being charged for the correct repairs at the rate they informed you of when discussing the issues.
Use School Shop Classes
Like many schools specializing in a certain customer-central profession, many Auto Body and Mechanic schools offer hands-on training, and sometimes you’re able to take your vehicle in to let a student do the repairs for you as a part of their training.
Now, I’m sure there are a lot of you out there who are a bit iffy on this prospect but don’t fret; they have instructors present to help if they have any questions, and they are being trained to do their job correctly.
Who better to trust with your repairs than a student? They want to pass, and to pass, they have to do the job the right way – and isn’t that the way you want your repairs done?
Ask About Shop Deals Or Specials
An auto body shop, at the end of the day, is a business.
They do repairs for profit to keep the store open, and any store knows that deals – aside from your overall reputation – are where you get a lot of your business.
Though some shops don’t advertise as plainly as a retail chain might, they definitely will run deals from time to time, and all you have to do is ask what kind they have going on when you go in.
Should I Already Replace My Car?
There are times when you’ll feel like car repairs won’t be enough. At that moment, you get to ask yourself if you should already replace your car instead of insisting on repairs.
Well, your mechanic is your best judge, so it’s always a good idea to take note of his two cents in this matter. But here are a few ways to evaluate your need for a car replacement.
First, you might want to run an estimate of the value of your car without repairs. If the repair will increase the value of your car, why replace it?
Next, consider your usage of your car in relation to the amount of time lost when you’re having it repaired. For example, if you are using your car to commute to work and require frequent visits to the mechanic for repair, your loss will keep piling up. So better replace it with another one.
I didn’t say buy a new one because you can always opt to replace it with a second-hand car that can do the job of getting you safely to work better.
This brings up the next question, so if you opted for a replacement car, should you lease, buy a new one, or buy a second-hand car?
A new car ensures that it will be under warranty. But take note that the depreciation on a new vehicle is jaw-dropping. If you decide to purchase a new car, its value can decrease to as much as 25% even after just a year. So this is not a good option unless you have millions of net worth that you can tap for this sole use.
I guess leasing is the least popular option, and not to mention the most expensive way to operate a car, so I’m leaving this option for you to consider but I don’t recommend it. Especially if you already have a car that you only need to replace in the first place.
So the last option for you is to buy an affordable, used car with the money you’ll be able to save from selling your current car. You’ll still own a car, you just got rid of the hassle of visiting the mechanic frequently! Just make sure to buy one that will not cause you the same problems if you decide to use this option.