Whether you get into an accident or put your vehicle through a lot of wear and tear, you’ll eventually need car repairs or maintenance. Replacing damaged parts, getting new brakes installed, or replacing your tires are common repairs that can get expensive.
Avoid waiting too long if repairs are needed for your vehicle. Things will only get worse and more parts could be damaged and need to be replaced. Your vehicle could break down or you could get a ticket for a correctable violation.
It’s possible to save money by performing maintenance and small repairs yourself if you’re comfortable with working on cars and have the tools, skills, and knowledge needed to do a professional job.
You’ve probably heard stories about repair shops overcharging their clients. You can prevent this from happening by selecting the right repair shop or mechanic and by doing your research.
Start by figuring out what needs to be done on your vehicle. You might already have an idea of which parts are damaged or might be able to have a friend look at your vehicle. You can also get a diagnosis from a repair shop or mechanic. Get a diagnosis in writing, but you don’t need to feel obligated to use the same shop or mechanic for the repairs.
There are also websites and apps you can use to access pricing information for a wide number of auto repairs.
These tools are a good way to get an idea of the price range of the repairs you need. You might not find a repair shop or a mechanic who charges the exact amount given by the site or app you use, but using these tools will allow you to easily recognize a shop or a mechanic who overcharges for repairs.
These simple tips will help you get a fair price for the repairs you need:
- Choose a mechanic or a repair shop that is ASE certified. A shop or a mechanic who obtained the Automotive Service Excellence certification will care about offering good customer service and fair prices. If you’re an AAA member, look for an AAA-approved shop.
- Check reviews. Look at complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau, read reviews on sites like Yelp, and talk to anyone you know who has recently had similar repairs or maintenance done.
- Talk to the mechanic or to the owner of the repair shop before taking your vehicle there. Ideally, also visit the repair shop. Ensure the shop is clean, ask who will work on your vehicle, and find out where the spare parts will be coming from.
- Consider having more than one repair done at once. You can save money by having several parts replaced while your car is in the repair shop as long as there is wear and tear on these parts. However, be wary of suggestions to replace parts that may not need replacing.
- Always get a detailed quote. The repair shop or the mechanic who will work on your vehicle should provide you with a detailed quote that includes the cost of labor and what they are charging you for parts. Ask to be contacted to authorize any additional repairs in case the mechanic finds more issues once they start working on your car.
Preventive maintenance can also help you save money on car repairs, since you’ll be less likely to have to pay for costly repairs if you take good care of your vehicle. If you need to have some repairs done, take the time to look for a reliable and affordable shop or mechanic and take your car there again if you need repairs or maintenance in the future.