Categories: Useful Automotive Information
How To Manage Car Repair Costs
As a car owner, there are common recurring expenses you must prepare for. That includes the maintenance, insurance, and car repairs.
Notably, car repairs have become so expensive these days that owners sometimes can’t afford them have to keep their vehicles off the road. Common car repair types include cracked windshields, shock absorber replacement, wheel alignment, rear-end damage, engine repairs, and ball joint replacement. Other expenses include damaged car components that need to be replaced. Finally, you must pay labor costs for the technician that’ll perform the necessary repairs.
Generally, the exact repair costs depend mainly on the type of vehicle, the repair needed, and others. Most of the time, repair costs can cost an arm and a leg. Luckily, drivers like you can manage car repair costs to keep repair bills on the low side. Continue reading to learn more.
1. Get Comprehensive Insurance Coverage
Choosing a car insurance cover that’ll help you better manage your car repair costs is vital.
Comprehensive car insurance is one of the most preferred car insurances as it covers damage to your vehicle from causes other than collisions. That includes natural disasters, falling objects, break-ins, fires, and rioting or vandalism. The insurer will pay for accident-related repairs if your car gets damaged following a covered event. Meaning you won’t have to pay out of pocket, which can be quite expensive if any of the aforementioned events occur.
Getting insurance coverage is one of the best ways to save money for unforeseen repairs. Usually, insurance companies assign an insurance policy number for every customer’s car. You must provide the number when filing claims, making payments, and updating your account information.
If you have car insurance, ensure you use your assigned insurance policy number when filing a claim with your insurer.
2. Include Regular Car Maintenance Into Your Budget
Car maintenance includes regular things you must do as a car owner to keep your vehicle in top shape. Notably, neglecting maintenance can increase your repair costs because minor defects can put more wear and tear on other car components. For example, not making regular oil changes can ultimately affect overall engine health and may lead to an emergency repair due to failure.
Car repair costs become more manageable if you stick to routine maintenance. The following are some vehicle upkeep tips to help you save money on repair costs:
- Change oil regularly per the manufacturer’s recommendations;
- Keep the air filters clean;
- Schedule regular tune-ups;
- Check your tires and always keep the backup tire inflated;
- Keep your battery clean to prevent corrosion, cracks, and other potential damage;
- Check and change the brake system sooner if it’s not working efficiently;
- Get new windshield wipers when necessary;
- Check the suspension system regularly, including the shocks, springs, and struts, and replace or repair them as needed; and so on.
Ideally, car maintenance checks are best performed twice every six months or every 50,000 miles (whichever comes first).
3. Budget For Repairs
Setting aside some money in your monthly budget is vital to pay for anticipated repair expenses. This enables you to plan out your finances responsibly.
When developing a budget, you should consider your car’s current condition. If you have an older car, it may probably need more repairs, so you should increase the amount you want to set aside. For better estimates, you can use your previous months or year’s repair costs as a reference.
Plus, consider saving up an emergency fund. These savings can come in handy in case of critical car repair emergencies. Usually, these repairs are more urgent, so they should be fixed immediately to prevent car failure.
4. Form Solid Business Relationships
Some local auto repair stores may over-diagnose and charge you more for repairs. Therefore, it’s best to make comparisons by shopping around to find a trusted mechanic with the best deals to handle your car repairs. Building a solid business relationship with this shop gives you a better shot at negotiating discounts.
5. Consider Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Repairs
If there are minor repairs you can handle at home, you can do them yourself to save on labor costs. Common DIY car repairs include:
- Changing spark plugs;
- Removing scratches from paint;
- Jumpstarting a car;
- Fixing a leaky gasket cover;
- Repairing a dim light; and others.
You can research online for how-to guides to learn some basics of handling specific repairs. Performing these repairs, yourself can save you hundreds of dollars every year. Even so, ensure you leave the most sensitive parts or complicated repairs to the professionals to avoid further damage and more costly repairs.
Like any other assets, cars undergo everyday wear and tear, and you may need to repair them occasionally. These repairs can be expensive and planning for them within your current financial situation ensures you’re prepared for anything. Luckily, the tips enumerated above are helpful for managing your car repair costs.