Saving Money on Car Repairs (and Maintenance)

Tips for saving money on car repairs from the ThriftyFun community.

Regular Maintenance

A good way to save money is to get your car regular maintenance! I notice that I have fewer major problems than many of my friends and acquaintances. I think it's because I always get my oil changed when it's due and do a maintenance check-up once or twice a year.


By Christine

Do Homework Before You Buy

I just bought a scooter. It is 125cc and I get 75 mpg. I did some research online before I made my purchase. Mine is a Yamaha Vino 125. I noticed in the different forums that I visited that they had the least repairs.

By Ole Lulu

Find A Reputable Mechanic

Consumers can lose lots of money yearly, by taking their vehicles to unestablished garages and mechanics, on unneeded and poorly done repairs. Before you need repairs, look for a mechanic who is: certified & well established, who has done car repairs for someone you know, and who communicates well about repairs, options and cost.

By Terri H.

Women Beware

My husband has been a mechanic for over 20 years. He has had to fix a lot of problems caused by other mechanics. Mostly to cars brought in by women. So if at all possible get your husband, brother or a trusted friend to go with you when you take the car in and when you pick it up. You will have a much better experience.



Find A Reputable DIY Mechanic For Smaller Repairs

Check with friends and family for reputable "mechanics." My husband, though non-certified, is very good with domestic and some foriegn, especially Toyotas (Service Manager for two years) and does side work for little labor. And he also advises people if they need to do a big job what the hours and parts cost before they get ripped off by some shops. We have saved A LOT of money and time over cosmetic repairs, water pumps, timing belts, replacing alternators, recharging air conditioner, etc.

By camo_angels

Get An Estimate First

Always get an estimate in writing before having repair work done on your car. Once the repairs are done, only pay for the repairs that you authorized. Pay with a credit card so you can reverse the charge if there is a problem with the work that the repair shop won't remedy.



One way to possibly save on some car repairs is to check with your local high school and see if they have any type of automobile class. Many are willing to do the repairs if you are willing to pay for the parts.

By Robin

May 11, 20070 found this helpful

Our local library offers an on-line resource that allows us to look up books on repairing your make and model of car. Ask your libary if they have this resource, or carry the hard copies of the books. Simiple repairs can be easily done if you have the book.

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May 11, 20070 found this helpful

We always do any of the easy repairs ourselves, we have a book and do what we can. Also I've found that a country mechanic is a LOT cheaper than someone in a city or a well known company. We found a great mechanic in a little country town not to far from us and he charges $40 an hour labor and he lets us bring in our own parts, and that brings me to the next point always try the junkyard first. We needed a part for my husbands car new it would have been over $100, we got it for less than $20. Having a car is expensive, but if you try a little you can save a penny or two and every bit helps.

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May 13, 20070 found this helpful

Just as with major surgery, if your car needs something expensive, get at least one other opinion! We took our car to a dealership that we trust, because it had a shimmy in the front end. I waited 4.5 hours to get the estimate, which was $822.00. I was told it needed a control arm, struts, and some other things. My husband took it to a tire dealership and showed it to him. The mechanic used a crowbar to demonstrate to my husband that there was no wear in those parts. He eyeballed it while it was up on the rack and spotted a bent rim. He replaced the rim for $16.00. That was a year and a half ago, and we have not had any problems since then. I was proud of my husband for saving us $800.

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May 14, 20070 found this helpful

I totally agree with the previous posts... you can do a lot of the work yourself! You can save a lot of money, plus you have the comfort of knowing the job is done right. Checking the fluids and changing the oil is extremely easy, and you only need a wrench to do it! Get a repair book at your local auto store... you'd be surprised by how much you can do yourself!

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December 23, 20070 found this helpful

Another thought is to buy the service manual for your specific year, make and model of car. The service manual will have specific steps and drawings for your car. While more costly than the generic books it may tell you enough to fix something simple and when you really need to take it to a shop with proper diagnostic tools.

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October 16, 20080 found this helpful

Go to Firestone if there is one in your area. They have a life-long maintenance package. For example, if you have your tires rotated, they offer you a life-long package so that for the length of time that you own your vehicle you can take it to any Firestone nation-wide once you have purchased this package you will never be charged for a tire rotate,balance and allignment ever again. Mine cost $106 plus the first time charge for the work, but from now on when I take it in for an oil change($20.00) I can have my tires rotated, balanced and alligned for no extra charge as long as i own my car. It pays for itself the 2nd visit. Yhey also have other packages for brakes, etc. and we have already decided to purchase that when it is time to have our brakes done.""

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August 10, 20150 found this helpful

While it is true that regular oil changes and maintenance will prolong the life of your car, it is also important to know the car you are buying. Some cars are cheap and will not last no matter what you do. Others will go to 300,000 miles with little work done on them. Some are good cars but require high maintenance costs. If you live near a big city find out what the cab companies use. The city of Boston is starting to use Toyota Camrys for many of the city cabs. These cabs run all day and all night.

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August 11, 20150 found this helpful

I went to a well known repair shop 3 wks before Xmas. I was there to have them add brake fluid to my car. They told me I needed new front brake pads and the cost would $800. I thought that was outrageous but instead I said I didn't have any money & would have to ask my son for the $$$. With that he said he could knock off $200 and just do one brake pad! Again I said no. That was 2 yrs ago - the brakes are fine and I'm $800 ahead of the game. Guess the guy thought he needed more $$$ for Xmas presents.

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October 1, 20160 found this helpful

Sometimes is cheaper to buy used engine for you car if it has serious damages in the engine (overheating for example) than ask someone to repair or rebuild engine. There are many dealers and thematic websites for buying used engines, like this , in the net. I think this is good advice how to save money on car repair too.

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