4 Ways to Cut Down on Car Repair Costs

A car that has been in an accident

For the vast majority of us, our car is an incredibly important asset for our day to day living. Whether it's going to the grocery store, picking up the kids from school, or commuting to work, keeping our car on the road is not optional - it's essential.

Unfortunately, car repairs can often be very expensive. If you're in debt and working hard to make ends meet, then the last thing you need is to spend a ton of money on your vehicle.

Is there a way to cut down on car repair costs? Here are 4 tips that can help out.

1. Drive Slower and Smoother

If you've got a muscle car and/or a lead foot, maybe you don't want to hear this one. But it's a fact: drivers who take it easy on the road have vehicles that last longer, get better gas mileage, and generally have less problems. While changing your driving habits may be tough, in the long run it could save you a significant amount of money.

2. Perform Routine Maintenance on Your Car

It's important to stay up to date with your car's maintenance schedule. Sure, an on-time oil change may set you back a few bucks, but it's far better than paying for a wrecked engine down the road. Make sure that you also periodically check your other fluids, change out easily accessible filters (like your air filter), and rotate your tires.

If you don't know how to perform these routine maintenance tasks on your car, the good news is that it's easy to learn, especially with the resources of the Internet at your disposal. And when you perform these tasks yourself, you'll know for sure that they are being done right.

Moreover, remember that you don't always have to buy OEM or brand name products to make the maintenance effective. Ordering car parts and products online is often less expensive than going to a local parts store.

3. Think Before Repairing

If your car is experiencing a serious problem, then take some time to analyze the possible causes before you perform a repair, or take it into a shop. A good rule of thumb is to look for the cheapest solution first, and then progressively work your way up to more expensive repairs.

For example, your car may indicate that your air-fuel mixture is too low or too high, which often means that you'll need to replace its O2 sensor. While that could very well be the case, look for a less expensive fix before investing in a repair that could cost hundreds of dollars. It may be that a simple cleaning of your Mass Air Flow sensor will do the trick instead, at a fraction of the cost!

4. Find a Trustworthy Mechanic

There's no worse feeling than paying out of the nose for a car repair, only to find that the same problem reappears in a week's time. Sadly, it's very common for disreputable or incompetent mechanics to take advantage of unsuspecting customers.

In contrast, if you find a trustworthy mechanic to work on your car, you'll save serious dollars in the long term, and avoid much of the frustration that comes with unexpected car issues. How can you find such a mechanic?

Many of the best mechanics can be found through word of mouth. Be sure to read online reviews as well. Additionally, a good mechanic will often walk you through the details of his diagnosis, and what exactly a repair would cost, before taking on the job. These are good indicators that your mechanic can be entrusted with the care of your car.

Saving money on your car repairs can help you to pay off your debts more quickly, and allow you to use your paycheck on other important things.