Read my disclosure policy here.
For some people, cars are a passion.
They prefer to drive wherever they’re going, they appreciate seeing nice models on the street and they probably might even be into automotive racing.
However, for other people, cars aren’t something you think about until they refuse to start, begin to make a weird sound or just quit on you completely.
No matter where you fall on the spectrum, one thing everyone knows is buying a car is not a great investment.
The average person will spend $335,080 on cars in their lifetime.
The car depreciates in value as soon as it rolls off of the lot, and eventually, it’s going to cost you more than just some gas money when you have to get it serviced.
Whether it’s something relatively routine, like new brake pads, or something catastrophic, like a new transmission, you’re going to roll into the shop knowing your wallet is going to take a hit one way or another.
While these expenses are unavoidable, you can do your best to minimize them.
Read on here.
Here are a few tips to make sure you save as much money as possible when it comes to car expenses:
1. Educate Yourself
The best way to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth from a mechanic is to understand exactly
what he or she is doing to your car. If you don’t want to get surcharged for things like “blinker fluid,”
it’s best to know your way around a car. Having in depth, technical knowledge isn’t necessary, but it
wouldn’t hurt to understand some basics so you know you’re not getting taken for a ride.
2. Try Doing Your Own Maintenance
Of course, an even better way would be to figure out how to do some basic repairs and maintenance yourself. A socket and oil filter wrench set will pay for themselves with all the money you’ll save by changing your own oil. Just check with your areas requirements for proper disposal. Also, be sure to take into account your car knowledge, ability level and judgement. What’s basic for some people is not for others. (Read my disclosure policy here.)
3. Consider Buying a Code Reader
If you find yourself really taking to car repair, you might even want to consider getting a car code reader. This is what mechanics use to access your onboard computer to figure out what the deal is with your check engine and other warning lights. Sometimes these problems can be easy enough to fix by following along with a trusted YouTube tutorial. Remember, anytime you can do something at home and not have someone else do it in the shop is money in the bank. But like most DIY projects, you have to know what is manageable for your ability level.
4. Get Your Car Fixed Somewhere You Can Trust
The second best way to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth from a mechanic is by going to one you can trust. Ask around about trustworthy mechanics in or around your area or do in depth research online to see if a certain shop can be trusted or not. Once you find a trustworthy place, stick with them; they’re not always easy to find.
If you find yourself in a situation where you really can’t afford to have your car serviced, some towns have places that offer free repairs for people in need. To find one in your area, try searching on Google “vehicle repair ministry in [town name]”.
The Bottom Line
Taking care of a car will inevitably be a huge investment throughout the years, and that’s not going to change. However, by following these tips, you will find yourself saving a little money.
BIO: Ali is a “Jill of all trades.” She writes about DIY projects, home advice and healthy living on her blog
Homey Improvements and works as a content coordinator at a tech company. Follow her on Twitter @DIYfolks.