Car repair bills can run up to well-over $1000 for simple to moderate repairs. Required general maintenance costs can range anywhere from $150 to $700 per service at your local dealer. But they don’t have to. You can save money on car repairs and service costs.
Typically, at least half of these expenses are labor and shop fees. The best way to save a lot of money is to roll up your sleeves, become a part-time grease monkey, and learn to be self-sufficient with your own vehicle maintenance. Let’s take a look at some of the most common service repairs that are required.
Save Money on Car Repairs: Services You Can Perform, Yourself
There are a number of basic car maintenance tasks that you can take on, yourself. To name a few:
As a car owner, you can realistically expect to pay approximately $375 to $400 (on average) for the combination of the above services (total), together, when you perform them yourself. Don’t worry, though. It’s highly unlikely that all of the services will need to be done at the same time.
Why Not Take it To a Mechanic for the Basics?
If a car dealer or other third-party automotive repair shop does the work, expect the total to be upwards of $900 on the low-end. Depending on the type of vehicle, you could end up paying over $1,400 for the same. Of course, smaller economy models are usually less expensive, whereas larger SUVs, pickup trucks, and sports cars can cost a mint. Service costs are also impacted by whether the vehicle is a domestic model or an import.
None of the repairs and maintenance mentioned above requires any expensive specialized tools, computers, or equipment. You likely have most of the necessary tools already. Any tool needed that is missing from your arsenal is quite affordable and will provide you with years of repeated service.
But I’m not an Auto Mechanic. Where do I Start to Save Money on Car Repairs?
You may need to boost your knowledge level. Rely on your local auto supply stores for good input. There are also some very good, informative tutorials online on YouTube and blogs like this. Realistically, the service and maintenance items above take little time, little skill, and little money to perform. Just as with anything else in life, if you haven’t done it before, you may be uncomfortable the first time or two. But the satisfaction of being able to save on expensive car repair costs will put a smile on your face.
Know Your Limits
Many other common maintenance and repairs may require some specialized tools. A general rule of thumb to follow: if any one tool necessary for a repair costs upwards of $100, then you likely should rely on a mechanic to perform the job. Common repairs that fall into this category are complete radiator/coolant flushes, mounting and balancing tires, exhaust pipe and muffler replacement, engine timing adjustment, and general tune ups.
This list isn’t exhaustive. However, it’s a good start to determine if you can save a ton of money doing it yourself, versus needing to rely on a trained automotive technician. In any case, general maintenance should not be forgotten or ignored. If you fail to change your oil or perform other basic routine maintenance, a fairly straightforward DIY repair costing $50 can likely lead to a mechanic charging $1000+ for damages caused by neglecting it.
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