If you dread a visit to the mechanic’s garage due to a fear of getting a sky-high bill, it’s time to take control and see where you can cut costs. In many cases, simply knowing a bit more about your car and taking good care of it can reduce your chances of more serious repairs in the future.
Here are five tips to keep in mind to reduce auto repair costs.
1. Take Car in for Regular Servicing
One of the best ways to avoid costly problems down the road is to take your car in for regular service visits. Maintaining your car by changing its oil, transmission fluid, and filters can keep it clean and in proper working order. This can also help you build rapport and trust with your mechanic, if you go to the same garage for all of your servicing, and may even yield a discount.
2. Use In-Car Diagnostics
Each car comes with its built-in diagnostic system, which is designed to quickly determine what’s wrong. Some fault symbols may be on the dashboard, particularly in more technologically advanced vehicles. These allow you to enter the fault code, brand, and model into the auto maker’s website to find out exactly what’s wrong without paying a technician to figure it out for you.
3. Learn how to DIY
An easy way to save money is to order parts and repair your car on your own. If you have little to no prior knowledge of cars, you’ll need to do your research first or you could end up making the problem worse. There are many short courses available to teach the basics of car maintenance, so you can change your oil and replace the heat shield with confidence. It’s also a good idea to learn as much as you can about your specific car, so you can get a feel for your car’s strengths and weaknesses.
4. Get Multiple Quotes
Once you have some idea of what’s wrong with your car, you’ll want to shop around and compare quotes from several different garages in your area. Prices can vary considerably, both for servicing and parts. You can do this by calling garages nearby, or entering your information into a price comparison website for an instant quote.
5. Ask for an Estimate First
Along these same lines, always ask for an estimate of the cost before you agree to any work being completed on your car. Make sure the estimate you’re quoted includes extras such as the cost of labor, taxes, and parts. It’s helpful to let the garage know that you would like to be notified before any more work is carried out, and to be shown new parts before they are replaced. This can help you avoid any nasty surprises when you receive your bill.