Car owners need to be prepared for expenses. But that doesn’t mean that they should just accept them as they are. Fuel consumption and better insurance deals can whittle down car costs but perhaps the most dramatic changes can be made in how we approach the money we spend in the garage. Here are some ways to figure out if you’re spending too much and if you can make major cuts.
Can you do it yourself?
This is perhaps where you can save the most amount of money. Preventative maintenance is always better than having to rely on repairs and without it, you will experience problems way more often than you should. There are also some repairs and replacements you could easily handle yourself with a little effort, like replacing your brake pads or changing the fuel filters. Learn your car and learn what you’re willing and able to do yourself. Some of these tasks are nowhere near as hard as they seem.
Is your mechanic trustworthy?
We don’t like to treat suspicion as our natural “mode”. However, when it comes to being a savvy consumer, you have to make sure you have a reliable mechanic. Get quotes, do your homework on expected costs, ensure they include VAT and ensure they’re clear about any ‘hourly costs’. Be wary of any that use aggressive sale tactics, such as trying to scare you about the condition of the car without giving you accurately information on why it genuinely might be dangerous to drive it.
Can someone else do it for cheaper?
This might not be a discussion you want to have with your mechanic in fear of feeling like you’re stepping on their toes. But parts providers and specialist services might cost less than getting the mechanic to take on extra duties. For instance, if you need replacement tyres, go to someone like Wiltshire Tyres whose job it is to provide them. If you don’t want generic parts for your car, then go to the manufacturer. Don’t give mechanics the chance to markup the prices of what you could get at a market price elsewhere.
Are you prepared for the mechanic costs?
Sometimes, repairs are unavoidable. C’est la vie. What is avoidable, however, is the impact it can have on your finances. The cost of repairs might change depending on how you’re able to pay for it. If you don’t have the free cash, you may be forced to take out a loan which increases how you much spend on it overall. Make estimated car payments part of your budget, ensuring you always have money set aside for those repairs you will eventually need.
Get a more reliable car
Maintaining the car isn’t all you can do to make it less likely to need repairs as often. You can have just as much impact by choosing a better car in the first place. Sites like Confused can be a great source to find those manufacturers judged as the most reliable. Picking for longevity for future won’t only decrease repair costs. Those sorts of cars are also looked on very favourably by insurance providers.
A mechanic deserves fair compensation for the job done, but that doesn’t mean that you deserve to pay as much as you have been. Make sure you’re getting a fair deal and only using a mechanic when you need to.