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Cheap Car Repair: How to Lower Your Car Repair Costs

Posted by MoneyKey on April 24, 2019

You’ve done all the research possible when it comes to buying your new car. You’ve performed an online competitive comparison, you know what models will suit your lifestyle needs (storage capacity, performance specifications, fuel mileage, etc.), and you know what your monthly vehicle budget is. But one thing you can’t always anticipate are the inevitable unexpected costs that come along with owning a car. When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, a single unexpected car repair may throw your entire budget into disarray. While applying for an online loan to deal with an unexpected expense between paychecks can be a useful option, we’ve put together a list of cheap car repair tips that can help reduce these costs so you’re not floundering the next time an unexpected car expense crops up.

Even a cheap car repair can cost more than maintenance

If you’re living on a tight budget, you may be tempted to ignore the uncomfortable squeak your car makes when you come to a stop. If you wait long enough, maybe it’ll disappear, and you can avoid a cheap car repair altogether? The truth is that whatever the problem is, it’ll likely only get worse if you continue to ignore it. Fixing a more severe problem will likely come with a higher price tag.

Beyond the high mechanic’s bill, there are other costs to consider as well. If your car needs an expensive repair, it’s likely to be out of commission for a few days. You may have to rent a car or even miss work, adding even more stress to your budget.

a car in need of a cheap car repair

All of these factors add up quickly, so minimizing the risk of your car breaking down and the associated costs is a must. Addressing the problem as early as possible should help to reduce the cost of fixing it. You may even be able to make the minor fix on your own depending on what it is.

Even if you have a cheap car repair shop in mind, keeping up with maintenance can cut your costs and may eliminate the risk of facing time without a vehicle. Regular maintenance may also extend the life of your car, potentially saving you even more money.

If you’re looking for ways to make room in your budget and grow your savings in case you run into an unexpected expense, check out these savings tips to help save on monthly expenses.

Find a cheap car repair shop that’s reliable

Finding cheap car repair shops can be a challenge, but it’s an important venture if you’re looking to keep car repair costs down. Ask friends and family if they have a trusted mechanic they go to, and you may even be able to leverage these relationships for discounts.

It can be easy to get talked into an exorbitant car repair bill if you’re not particularly car savvy, so take the time to find a mechanic you trust and continue to nurture that relationship to make sure you’re not being taken advantage of.

Your chosen shop will be able to recommend the right preventative maintenance for your car and if you do run into a problem, you can go to them with confidence knowing you’re getting an honest estimate and a cheap car repair cost.

Get routine, regular maintenance

an oil change is a cheap car repair you can do yourself

Regular oil changes and other services not only keep your car in ideal condition, they also give your mechanic the opportunity to run diagnostics. This may root out any potential problems at an early enough stage to avoid expensive repairs down the line. Regular oil changes can help keep your car running at its best, and waiting to change your oil until it’s a sludgy mess can lead to significant problems.

Fix minor problems yourself

As we’ve already mentioned, small problems can rapidly turn into big ones if left unaddressed. Even if you catch these problems early, you’ll likely want to avoid a trip to your mechanic altogether if you can. There are several small repairs that you can do yourself that could save you hundreds of dollars. It may be daunting to go out of your comfort zone, but you don’t need to be a trained mechanic to replace your windshield wipers or fix a small chip in your windshield with a windshield repair kit. When you catch a small issue, do the research to find out if you can make the fix yourself. 

Take up defensive driving

Whether they’re checking their phone or heavily focused on the lunch they’re trying to stuff down on their drive, drivers get distracted in a number of different ways. Unfortunately for you, this can not only lead to unnecessary car repair costs, but can be a significant risk to your safety. While it’s impossible to completely mitigate the risk caused by errant drivers, driving defensively can keep you focused and potentially help you avoid disaster. Some important defensive driving tips are:

  • Don’t neglect your turning signals
  • Don’t fall victim to road rage
  • Keep an appropriate amount of space between yourself and the car in front of you
  • Monitor your blind spots AND stay out of the blind spots of others
  • Keep a steady pace

a smashed headlamp that needs a cheap car repair

Shop around for a cheap car repair

While it is always a good idea to build a working relationship with a mechanic you can trust, it’s important to compare all of your available options. Compare the prices at several different shops to get the best possible deal on the work you need done. Different brands may have different costs for the same repair, and you could save hundreds of dollars simply by shopping around. You may also want to get a quote on a repair from one mechanic and see if any others will do the repair for less.

Save receipts and keep track of warranties

invoice for a cheap car repair

Regardless of the specific work being done on your car, any cheap car repairs done by a mechanic will come with a receipt. Save all of these receipts in a safe location. In many cases, the work done or parts purchased will be under warranty, and you’ll need to keep track of these in order to take full advantage. Tires, new batteries, brakes and other items often have a warranty or guarantee, so saving your receipts should help you keep track of when the work was done and help you to avoid missing out on any potential free repairs.

Don’t let a cheap car repair become more expensive than it needs to be

Whether you need your car for your commute to work, to drive your kids around, or to visit family, for many people it’s an essential part of your existence. But keeping up with normal car expenses like gas and insurance is hard enough without adding the extra stress of having to deal with unexpected car repairs.

Making sure you plan ahead, keep up with your car maintenance, and get the needed cheap car repair work done as soon as possible can help save you money over the lifespan of your car! If you run into an unexpected expense that needs to be taken care of right away, feel free to reach out to us to see if an installment loan can help bridge the gap until your next paycheck!

What are some of your favorite tips for taking care of a cheap car repair?


Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and does not constitute financial, legal or other professional advice. For full details, see MoneyKey's Terms of Use.

Posted in: Lifestyle

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