Saving Money on Automobile Repairs
By Nikki Willhite
Automobile expenses take a big chunk out of our income. This
includes repairs and upkeep. A trip to the shop is almost always a painful
Here are some tips to help keep these expenses down:
Proper maintenance will reduce repairs. Hopefully you have the
manual to your automobile. If you don't', find a copy of it, and follow the
instructions to service your car. Some of the most basic things you want to do
frequently will include:
-Check the car's fluids; oil, transmission, radiator, power
-Measure the pressure in the tires and add air when necessary.
-Check the elasticity of the hoses and belts in the engine.
-Check the oil filter, brakes, and rotate the tires.
If you don't know how to do these things, find someone who does,
and have them teach you. Or take a course at a local college. It is well worth
With more skill you can learn to monitor the carburetor, clutch,
spark plugs, and much more. I would also encourage you to take proper care of
the outside of your car. My husband religiously waxes our car at least twice a
year. The difference is incredible. We keep our cars a LONG time. They look
good. It is always shocking to see our car on the road when it hasn't been
maintained. What a difference!
When you do have to take your car in to the shop, be prepared.
Know the best place to go. Ask around. Find the most reputable shop in your
area, and develop a good relationship with the owner.
Make sure the owner has been around long enough to build a
credible reputation, and that his business is certified. He should communicate
well with you, and not do any repairs until you authorize them.
Take advantage of having your car in the shop to do any other
items that may be necessary, and spare yourself the extra expense of having to
take it in later. Keep good records of which repairs and maintenance has been
done on your car, and the dates. Keep all these records together in a well-
organized notebook with a summary at the beginning. Take this with you when you
go to the shop so the mechanic can see at a glance anything that may be overdue
for your vehicle.
One of the reasons it is cost effective to do these things is
that your car is going to be "pulled apart" anyway. If something needs to be
done, it will be cheaper to do it now.
When not to repair
This is an area my husband deals in all the time as an insurance
adjuster. Sometimes it is not worth the money to repair a car. This may be
because of the age and condition of the car, or because of its condition due to
If you have been in an accident and have insurance, your
adjuster will let you know if it can be repaired or not. The industry standard
is that if it costs over 80% of the value of your car to repair it, which after
an accident includes cosmetic work, they will not do it. It is considered a
Even if you go ahead and have it repaired, the title will be
stamped that the car has been totaled, and you will have a hard time selling it.
When it comes to mechanical repairs on your car, and whether or
not to do them, there is some dispute. I do not agree with the research I've
done. I do not agree with the percentages of the value of the car to the cost of
the repair, and when not to do it. I believe they are too quick to discard a
If you do have an older car, and you have not been maintaining
it, then you may not want to repair it. However, if you have been taking good
care of your car, even if it is an expensive repair, I think it is worth the
cost so that you do not have to make payments on a new car.
I have my own personal story on a decision I had to help my son
make when his older truck blew its engine. The story is at:
We can't live without our transportation! Take
care of your vehicles.
Make them last. The savings will be substantial.