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How To Save Money On Your Car Repairs

Mar 23, 2008
Car repairs are a necessary, but often high-priced expense. However, you can save on your car repair bills and still keep your vehicle well-maintained. In this article we'll cover 5 tips you can use to keep your car repair bills down and save money at the shop. So, keep reading to learn more.

1. Practice preventive medicine.

One of the best ways to save money at the garage is to limit the number of times you have to take your car there. So, drive carefully, don't put unnecessary wear on your engine, avoid overheating and stay on top of small maintenance tasks.

For example, replacing your filters is a very easy and inexpensive way to help keep your car running smoothly. A new air filter will cost you a few dollars and will help keep your engine running clean. Changing your own oil and oil filter is a relatively quick (though messy) job that should be done every 3000 miles, or typically 3-4 times per year. And doing it yourself will save you $15-20 each instance.

2. Get referrals from friends.

Do your homework to find a local mechanic who is trustworthy, reliable and sincerely interested in servicing your vehicle with honesty and integrity. Ask around at home or the office to see who your friends are using.

You can also use online customer review sites like Yelp.com or MechanicRatingz.com to see what other consumers in your area are saying about a particular mechanic.

The value of an honest mechanic can hardly be overstated. Even if the person's labor fees are a bit higher than competitors, your peace of mind and savings on unnecessary work recommendations you might otherwise receive from less scrupulous mechanics is well worth it!

3. Don't be afraid to negotiate.

If a mechanic or garage comes at you with a higher-than-expected price, don't be afraid to negotiate or simply ask how you can lower the price.

For example, let's say your mechanic approaches you with a quote for $780 on recommended work. Simply tell him that's a lot for you right now, but is it possible to do it for around $650 or $700? Next, ask if there are any jobs within the needed work that you can do yourself to help bring the cost down. By working with, rather than against, your mechanic, you're more likely to get a better deal.

4. Source your own parts.

If you know what part needs to be replaced, try sourcing it yourself. Rather than paying retail for a head gasket, you may be able to locate and purchase your own and bring it in with you to the mechanic's shop. Not only will you save money on the garage's markup on parts, but you'll also save time.

Be aware that some mechanics or shops will not permit this practice since they want to warranty all parts they install. However if it's permitted and you have the inclination, go for it.

5. Get it all in writing.

Have your mechanic write down everything he or she will be doing to your car, including the reason why the work is required and the total cost. Don't let them do any additional work without your permission.

Finally, always get a summary of the work completed once you've paid, along with a full listing of all new parts. Not only will this protect you as a consumer should any repairs fail, but it's good to have repair records for when you sell the vehicle.
About the Author
For information on practical money saving tips, please visit http://www.moneysavetips.com, a popular site providing great insights all about creative savings ideas, such as student debt help, prepaid credit cards for teenagers, invest tools and many more thoughts for your consideration!
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