Cars are expensive. For most of us, a car is the most expensive thing that we will ever buy, except for our homes. But, it’s often not the cost of the vehicle itself that affects us. There are car financing options to help with the costs. We can buy second hand or even lease a new vehicle. It’s generally the costs of running a car, such as insurance and fuel which have the most significant impact on our families finances, and even worse, the often unexpected expense that is a costly repair.
As much as we’d like to believe that our car would run happily and without incident until we were ready to buy a new one, they don’t. Even the best cars need repairs from time to time, and the bills can often be crippling. As our cars get older, they often start to need more and more work, until eventually, the money that we are putting into keeping them going just isn’t worth it. When this happens, it tends to become clear that the time has come to buy a new car. But until that time, we just have to do our best to keep the costs of repairs down. Here are some things that you can do to save money on your car repairs.
Take Care Of Your Car
Perhaps the best way to save money on car repairs is to avoid them in the first place. This doesn’t mean ignoring the warning signs that something is wrong or carrying on as normal in-spite of the presences of that annoying check engine light. It means looking after your car. Take it for regular services to get your oil checked and changed, your tyres and brakes tested, and your engine given a once over.
Other ways to take care of your car include driving carefully, and within the limits of your car, and keeping it somewhere safe, secure and preferably covered when you aren’t using it.
Read Your Owner’s Manual
Your owner’s manual is a valuable tool when it comes to looking after your car. It’s got all of the information that you need on how to use your vehicle, and you should certainly get it out before you consider making any changes or doing anything differently. Your owners manual also includes details like the recommended air pressure for your tyres, so make sure you check it before topping up.
Make Some Money
Some car repairs come entirely out of the blue. But there are others that we know that we’ll need eventually. Over your cars life, you are bound to need more than one set of new tyres. Tyres wear out faster than cars, this is a good thing. The more you drive, and the harsher the terrains that you drive on, the more often you’ll need replacements.
There are plenty of ways to save money on new tyres. You can use different brands, or downgrade to less premium options. You can buy your own tyres and ask a mechanic to fit them. But, you can also offset the costs by finding a place to sell used tires, making money toward the cost of new ones.
Get Work Done ASAP
Let’s face it; we’ve all ignored that check engine light, and carried on driving even though our car is making funny noises, or doesn’t feel quite right. You might have even carried on after warnings from a mechanic at your latest service or MOT. While it can seem as though this is saving you money, it’s usually just delaying in inevitable. While you are waiting, and continuing to drive, you might actually be making the problem worse, leading to much more expensive repairs in the near future.
Use Trusted Mechanics
If you’ve got a mechanic that you’ve always used, or who has been recommended to you by a friend, stick with them. Mechanics are a bit like hairdressers in the sense that they all do their job in different ways, offer different specialities, and have different prices.
If you haven’t got a mechanic that you trust, finding one can be one of the best ways to cut the costs of repairs and get the best service possible. Take your time to shop around, even getting quotes from different people for the work needed. Look at reviews online, ask for recommendations and speak to the staff at the garage. Never just use the first person that you see.
Avoid Big Chains
Big chain garages can be convenient. You might have one close to home, they may have a website with all of their information, and you might be able to book a convenient appointment online. But, don’t doubt that you are paying for this convenience. Big chains and brands tend to charge more, both for parts and labour. So, ask yourself if that convenience is worth it?
If you do prefer to use a big chain garage, look online for deals and offers before you book in. You might be able to save money.
Buy Your Own Parts
Most garages will use brand new, branded parts. But this isn’t always necessary. If you’ve got a trusted mechanic or even a friend that knows more than you do about cars, ask them for advice. But, in many cases, you could buy your own replacement parts online, sometimes second hand or refurbished, or just from a different brand. These are often much cheaper, and a local garage can will still do the work for you. Just make sure you speak with them about your plans first.
Make a Claim
We often try to avoid making claims on our insurance, to keep premiums down in the future. You might not even be able to claim for all repairs, so check your policy. But, bodywork damage, windscreen chips and cracks, and some other work is usually included in your policy. Sometimes, it’s worth paying the excess and taking the hit next year, to save money on repairs. This is definitely a good idea if you don’t have a no claims bonus, or yours is protected as part of your policy. Speak to someone from your insurance company for advice if you need to.