Getting your car repaired is one of the most frustrating things to have to pay for, because even the smallest repairs can end up being expensive. Not only does it use your cash but can be time consuming and most vehicle owners are paying for problems that they don’t really understand and are just following the mechanics advice.
We’ve made some easy to follow steps which will make the process easier and save you money, so you can spend less time servicing and more time enjoying your car.
Maintain Your Vehicle
The more attention and care you give your car, the longer the important components will last before needing to be replaced. This means that when you do go to service your car the cost for repairs will usually be lower. You can do simple things like ensuring the tire pressure is to the recommended manufacturers level which you’ll find in the owners manual.
Just because you’ve found a trustworthy mechanic or because you’ve been with them for years, it doesn’t mean that you can’t shop around and get other price estimates. This will allow you to check if you’re being overcharged you just need to be aware of how long your first quote is valid for and then you can shop around.
You shouldn’t share your previous estimates with other garages as this may affect the quote that they give you. However, you can use your initial quotes to negotiate if you want to see if other garages will undercut and lower their prices.
You should be a aware that if you get a garage to go too low on prie then they may use cheaper parts or take less labour hours to complete the jobs. You can compare any quotes to car forums and online communities.
Diagnose The Problems Yourself
Technology has advanced massively over the last few years, and devices that once exclusively available to mechanics and professionals are now available for everyday drivers.
Onboard diagnostic scanners (OBD II) connect to your vehicle allowing you to diagnose any problems carry out an overall health check. This also highlights small problems before they develop into large issues. The diagnosis will be in the form of a code which then translates into an issue.
By diagnosing the problem yourself, you can either fix it or at least when you bring it to a mechanic there’s less chance of them overcharging you or being dishonest because you already know what the problem is.
You don’t even need to buy a dedicated unit as you can now get a Bluetooth dongle and download the associated app which can do the same job which will allow you to track and monitor performance whilst you drive. The best apps will let you report issues, understand issues and store data from previous tests.
Do The Repair Yourself
It can be daunting at first, but there are many repairs that you can do yourself and don’t have a high difficulty. It could be as simple as changing your oil or increasing the pressure in your tires. Even more advanced repairs such as replacing brakes can be learned in a few hours without the hassle of bringing your car down to the mechanic.
You may have to purchase a few bits of equipment such as a tool box and jack stands but these will last many years so it’s a worthy investment. There’s a unique sense of pride that you get when you get your hands dirty and repair your own car.
As time passes by you’ll quickly learn a range of different repairs and eventually you’ll only have to bring your car into a mechanic for serious repairs saving you a substantial amount of money over the years.
Buy Parts Yourself
Websites such as PartsGeek sell parts at competitive prices, so if you get a quote from a garage you may be able supply the parts yourself for them to fit if their price are more costly.
There are different types of parts available that come in different conditions. If you have a nearly new car then you’ll want to use genuine or replacement parts, whereas if you have a slightly older model then you’ll be best with buying aftermarket parts which are more affordable.
Take Notice Of Warning Signs
Take action if you get warning signs that there may be an issue with your vehicle. For example if your check engine light comes on then get it checked as soon as you can, because it could be a simple fix or it may be something even more serious such as severe engine damage and the longer you leave it the harder and more expensive it may end up being to repair.
Find The Best Mechanic
Obviously, the best way to save money is by finding the mechanic that you can trust and is honest to you without trying to trick you into paying more for your repairs. Once you find this mechanic you can then remain loyal to them for years
These mechanics come in all shapes and sizes and could be your mom and pop mechanics all the up to your regional dealerships. As a general rule the large national dealerships will be more expensive because they usually have larger premises which increases the prices that they charge customers. There are several ways to find a reputable mechanic:
There are a huge number of car forums and repair review sites which allow you to search for mechanics even down to the specific model of car. These forums also allow you to see reviews for each garage which will give you unbiased opinions allowing you to a make a better decision about whether they are right for you.
Word Of Mouth
Word of mouth is often the most underrated yet powerful way to find a high quality mechanic. Ask your family, friends or neighbours about where they go and if they’d recommend them, and they will be able to give you first hand experience and details which will allow you to make a more informed decision.
Visit The Premises
Before you bring your car in for a repair, go in and check the garage itself so you can get a sense of the vibe. Hopefully it should be busy because a high quality garage will have lots of customers, and check how they treat you once they walk in as they should be instantly welcoming.
Talk to the staff about if they specialize in the type of car that you have and if they offer any additional services such as warranties and guarantees on any work they complete. By following this process you quickly see if they’re honest and high quality.