For many people, having a car isn’t just about convenience – it’s a matter of necessity. In particular, in areas where there isn’t sufficient public transit, having a car can be the only way to get to work, to buy groceries, or get to the doctor. The problem is that owning a car means budgeting for all those added expenses, including gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs and that can add up fast. Luckily, these four tips can help you save on repairs and put a cap on excess costs.
Know Your Mechanic
Just as you always want to have a good relationship with your automotive dealer so that you know you’re getting the best rate on your car’s financing, one of the most important things you can do to save on repairs is to build a relationship with your mechanic. That one-on-one relationship is important because, while any certified mechanic can perform repairs, they may not do it honestly or at a fair price, and an unfamiliar mechanic certainly won’t offer you special deals. A trusted mechanic, on the other hand, will provide special insight into the repair process, even when it may not be in their best interest. They want to work with you to care for your car.
One of the most common causes of car problems is exposure to the elements; it’s why people with nice cars prefer to park them in a garage. If you want to save big money on repairs, then, covering it up is a good first step. For those who don’t have access to a garage, even using a portable garage to shelter your vehicle can help. It will also help reduce the amount of time you spend scraping snow and ice off your car.
Of course, if you don’t have anywhere to set up a portable garage, the most important thing you can do is clean off any ice, snow, and salt that’s accumulated on your car. These can cause or worsen rust, causing major problems with the undercarriage of your car, never mind cosmetic damage.
Do Your Research
YouTube, AutomotiveForums, and other online platforms are powerful tools for any car owner, and much of the time they have all the information you need to complete a repair yourself. Before you head to the shop, then, search online for information about the problem. Even if you can’t perform the fix yourself, you’ll be better informed when you get to the shop, and that can help you get a better deal.
Consider Used Parts
There’s an extensive market in used car parts for most popular models, especially if you drive a slightly older make of vehicle. When you first head into the mechanic, though, they won’t normally offer you used parts, but you should ask about them. Used car parts can save you a lot of money, but they work just as well as new and have to be carefully vetted before they’re put up for resale. Why pay good money for a new car steering wheel or air conditioner when a used piece works just as well?
You need to take good care of your car, including investing in maintenance, if you want to get the most out of it, but that doesn’t mean spending indiscriminately. Rather, by building a good relationship with your mechanic and spending smarter on your vehicle’s needs, you can extend its lifespan and ultimately keep costs down.