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Emergency Car Repair: How to Pay for Repairs When Money is Tight

Posted by MoneyKey on September 24, 2019
emergency car repair

Have you ever been happily driving along when all of a sudden, something feels off? Maybe you start to hear an unfamiliar noise, the steering wheel starts to rattle, or the check engine light comes on to let you know that something’s wrong.

When this happens, what flashes through your head? Is it all the shifts at work you’re going to miss while you wait for a repair? Or maybe you won’t have any way of getting your child to their next soccer game? Whatever it is, when your car is an important part of your life, having to suddenly deal with an emergency car repair can be a big problem. And when money is tight, it might not be so easy to deal with.

If you’re living paycheck to paycheck and you need to take care of an emergency car repair, there may be a few things you can do to cut back on these costs. For starters, depending on the severity of the repair and your comfort level, you may be able to take care of some of these repairs yourself.  

You should also speak to your family and friends to see if they have a mechanic they trust. Don’t be afraid to shop around and compare prices of different body shops though. And when you do settle on a place, you may be able to bargain your way to a lower price.

If you do run into an emergency car repair and don’t have enough savings to cover the costs even after doing everything you can to lower them, direct installment loans online may be able to help you tackle this expense. These online installment loans can help tide you over until your next paycheck when you run into an unexpected emergency expense. 

So, let’s dive in and take a look at some ways that may help you tackle an emergency car repair when money is tight.

Can I Pay for Car Repairs with no Money?

someone changing a car's oil

Can you repair a car for free? It’s not likely. But there are things you can do that may help you lower these costs. First though, it’s important to understand what an emergency car repair really is.

When you hear “emergency car repair”, your first instinct might be to lump all car repairs into the same category. However, there’s an important distinction between regular car maintenance and an emergency repair. There’s a big difference between having to bring your car into the shop for regular scheduled maintenance, and needing to get your taillight fixed because someone backed into your car in a parking lot.

Whether you buy or a lease a car, scheduled maintenance is something you may be able to plan for in your budget well in advance, whereas a broken taillight is harder to anticipate. And if you’re living on a tight budget, you may be unprepared to handle the costs of an unexpected repair. If that’s the case, there may be some things you can do to help lower these costs.

Emergency Car Repair Options

When you’re dealing with an emergency car repair, the cost of a repair isn’t a firm number, and if you shop around, negotiate with a mechanic, or even handle the repair yourself, you may be able to lower the costs.

1. Fix It Yourself

Someone doing an emergency car repair at the side of the road

One of the best ways to cut back on the cost of your emergency car repair is to skip the trip to the mechanic altogether and take care of the job yourself. Now, this only applies to certain types of repairs, as some of the bigger fixes that require more specialized work should be left to the mechanic, but there are still some small repairs that you may be able to take care of yourself.

For example, let’s say you’re driving along when all of a sudden you start to feel the telltale signs of a flat tire. If you don’t get this tire changed right away, you could be in danger of missing work for the week. The problem is, the cost of changing a tire isn’t cheap.

One thing you may be able to do to lower the cost of a tire change is to change it yourself. Your car will typically come with a lug wrench and a jack, so you could cut out a significant part of this cost by rolling up your sleeves and doing the work on your own. If you’ve never changed a tire on your own, watch some tutorials online and get familiar with process.

2. Consider All Your Options

Some people might be inclined to head to the dealership where they got their car when they need to handle an emergency car repair. But if you want to get the best possible price, you may want to get quotes from a number of different body shops and look for the best price out there.

By shopping around, you can create competition for your business and get a better deal on your car repair. You may also be able to leverage the quote you get from one shop to get a better price from another.

3. Do Some Research

someone researching where to get their emergency car repair done

Finding an honest and reliable mechanic can be a tricky task, so when you’re looking into what repair shops you may want to go to, start by talking to your family and friends to get recommendations. You should also look through reviews online to get a better sense of whether a particular mechanic is reliable.

You should also check to see if the mechanics at the repair shops you’re looking at are certified by the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and that the shops themselves are Better Business Bureau (BBB) certified. Both of these certifications may give you some indication that the mechanic you’re looking at is properly certified.

4. Negotiate

As we’ve mentioned, the final cost of your emergency car repair isn’t set in stone. If you can show a mechanic that you’ve gotten quotes from other places, they may be willing to lower their price.

While you’re speaking to different repair shops, don’t forget to ask them if they have any promotions going on, or if there are any coming up.

Using Loans for Emergency Car Repairs

If you’ve done all you can to lower the cost of your emergency car repair and still can’t afford the cost of the repair, fast loans online may be able to help you tackle these costs in between paychecks. Between auto repair shop plans, personal loans, credit cards, and payday loans, there may be an option out there that works for you when you’re short on cash and your car breaks down.  

1. Auto Repair Shop Plans

The entire purpose of an auto repair shops plan is to help you when you’re having trouble paying for your repair upfront. Typically, a repair shop will strike up a partnership with a lender or financial institution and offer branded credit cards that have financing options for car repairs. These cards will typically provide plans that help you finance your repair and have low introductory interest rates.

Generally, you may be approved for one of these plans even if you don’t have the best credit.

2. Personal Loans

someone looking up installment loans online to pay for their emergency car repair

Unsecured personal loans – like unsecured installment loans – typically won’t require you to put up any collateral. Instead, a lender will review your credit score and look at a number of other qualifications that may vary from lender to lender.

If your credit is good enough or you’re able to meet the other requirements a lender may have for you to qualify for a loan, an unsecured personal loan may be able to help you pay for your emergency car repair.

3. Payday Loans

If you’re looking for a quick influx of cash to help you handle your repair, a payday alternative loan may be able to help. These are typically offered by credit unions and they may have lower interest rates attached to them than certain other payday loans.

However, if you can’t qualify for a payday alternative loan, you may want to look into a regular payday loan. These loans are meant to help you get through unexpected emergency expenses in between paychecks.

Surviving Emergency Car Repair

Whether someone needs their car to commute to work every day, to visit family, or to chauffer their kids around to various activities, for a lot of people, it’s an integral part of their lives. But having to deal with an unexpected car repair can really slam the brakes on your ability to tackle some of your day-to-day activities. And if you’re living on a tight budget, you might have a tough time dealing with the cost of these repairs.

To help you cut down some of these costs, you can:

  • Get quotes from multiple repair shops to find the best price.
  • Get recommendations from friends and family.
  • Negotiate better prices with your repair shop.
  • Do the repair yourself.

If you manage to lower the cost of your repair but still can’t cover the entire price, installment loans online with MoneyKey may be able to help you out. These loans may be able to help you deal with the cost of your emergency car repair until your next paycheck.

If you’re looking for other ways to save on car expenses, check out this article on how to save on car insurance to learn more today!


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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