Is your car making a squeaking noise when you brake or seems to be struggling when you start it? If so, you may need to perform repairs on your car to ensure that it is safe to drive on the road. For those who do need to fix their car, what are some ways to keep the cost of auto repair work in check?
1) Take the Car to a Friend
If you have a friend who works at a body shop or runs his or her own shop, take your car to that friend for an estimate. There is a chance that he or she would be willing to give you a break on the price of parts, labor or both. This could save you hundreds of dollars off the price of what your repairs would otherwise cost.
2) Buy the Parts Yourself
Instead of paying retail price for parts at the body shop, you can find quality parts online for a fraction of the price. There are dozens of online retailers or private sellers who have the exact same part that is in your car right now who are willing to sell for pennies on the dollar compared to what you would pay at the shop.
3) Do the Labor Yourself
The price of labor is the biggest reason why it costs so much to have your car repaired by a professional. Therefore, if you know what you are doing, it may be best for you to do the repair yourself. In many cases, a basic repair job can be completed on a Saturday afternoon or in a couple of hours after you get out of work.
4) Have the Repairs Done at the First Sign of Trouble
Taking care of an issue with your vehicle at the first sign of trouble could stop a minor issue from becoming a large issue. For example, when you hear your brakes squeak, you should take the car in for service right away. Typically, squeaking brakes are a sign that your brake pads are wearing out.
If taken care of right away, you might pay $50 or less for a new set of pads. If you wait, you could end up paying $600 or more for new rotors. When you bring in your car for its annual inspection or every three months for an oil change, ask whoever is working on your car to do a routine check of your car's essential parts to ensure that everything is working properly.
5) Buy an Extended Warranty or Service Plan
Purchasing an extended warranty or service plan enables you to take your car in for service without worrying about how much it is going to cost you. For a few dollars a month, you can purchase a plan that will either cover the cost of your repairs or reimburse you for all or most of the cost of work that you need to have done to your car. Those who buy a used car from a dealership may be able to purchase the car as a certified used car. What this means is that the dealer is guaranteeing that the car will run properly for a certain period of time. If it doesn't, the dealer will take care of any repairs that it needs.
Even the smallest vehicle repairs can be costly. Fortunately, there are several ways in which you can reduce the cost of any work that needs to be done on your vehicle. When you buy the parts that your car needs or do the job yourself, you can save hundreds of dollars off what you would be charged by a body shop. Additionally, sticking to a routine maintenance schedule and bringing your car in at the first sign of trouble can keep a minor issue from spiraling out of control.