An unexpected auto repair bill can be stressful news in this unstable economy. If this is true in your case, here are some ways you may be able to save money on your next auto repair bill.
In the past, you may have traded in your auto every few years to get the latest model available, but with the economic downturn, more and more people are hanging onto their cars once they are paid off to avoid a monthly car payment. However, doing so means the likelihood of paying for costly repairs at some point in time. Learn what you need to know to keep these expenses to a minimum.
Preventive maintenance is one of the most important things you can do to avoid a big auto repair bill, especially when it comes to things like hoses and filters, as these can be replaced cheaply. Check the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual that came with your car to see what the manufacturer recommends as far as service and replacement schedules are concerned. For instance, having your cooling system flushed periodically helps to spot little problems that could lead to your engine overheating if left unchecked. This could require replacement of your entire engine, which can cost thousands of dollars. Similarly, as your car ages, be prepared to spend several hundred dollars on regular servicing, such as replacing the timing belt after 60,000 to 100,000 miles. Though it might feel like a lot of money to spend for a mere checkup, this is hardly anything compared to the repairs you would have to make if your timing belt snapped while you were driving the car, which can cost up to $3000.
Another way to save money is by avoiding unnecessary oil changes, especially since most modern cars can go up to 10,000 miles without one. As many people still adhere to the outdated rule of getting an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, they are spending twice as much money as they need to. Be sure to check your car’s maintenance schedule to see the timeframe recommended for an oil change for your particular model, but consider the savings to your wallet if you waited as long as you safely could to get your next oil change.
When you own an older car, it is very important that you have auto repair performed by a mechanic whose work you trust, especially once your warranty has run out. To find such a mechanic, start by asking your friends and family which one they use and what they think of their prices and the quality of their work. You can also check online with a company that specializes in providing reviews of goods and services in your area, although sometimes a subscription is required to access this information. If you are a member of a state automobile association, you can likely go to the website to see if there is a list of mechanics and shops whose work the organization can vouch for. In addition, verify that the mechanics you are considering using have a good reputation according to the Better Business Bureau.
Keeping auto repair bills to a minimum is certainly a smart financial move in this economy, as these costs can mount up quickly. However, with a little research and effort, it can be done.
Article Tags: Auto Repair
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