- Be sure to carry Your Car Back To The Dealer for Free Repairs If It Is Still Under Warranty.
All new cars come with a three year or 36,000 mile (which ever comes first from date of manufacture) bumper-to-bumper warranty which covers most almost everything (except “wear” items like brake pads). But some new vehicles have much longer warranties.. Many late model cars also have extended powertrain warranties that may go 5 years to 10 years or 100,000 miles, or even lifetime! So be sure to inspect your warranty coverage to see if you may be entitled to free repairs at your dealership.
- Take Your Vehicle To An Independent Repair Shop When It Is Out Of Warranty.
Many dealers offer great service, but they are also expensive. The average labor rate is typically around $90 to $100 ore more per hour, and the price for original equipment parts change is usually much higher than comparable aftermarket replacement components. Independent repair shops can often do the same repairs for less labor and parts expense. But ensure the shop has qualified technicians and that they are using up-to-date scan tool software and other service equipment.
You can equally specify if you want OEM replacement parts or aftermarket parts (new or remanufactured). Remanufactured parts can often save you even more money, so long as they are from a quality supplier and are backed by a one year or longer warranty.
- Fix It Yourself – Where You Can
Most maintenance and auto repair jobs are still simple enough that you can do them yourself. This includes changing spark plugs, filters, belts, hoses, brake pads, sensors and many other components. Some of these job may need special tools, and in every situation accurate diagnose of an issue should always be made before any parts are changed. Guessing at the cause of a problem can get very expensive if you don’t really know what issue is and keep changing parts hoping this or that will fix the fault.
- Don’t Attempt Fixing It Yourself If You Can’t
Trying to repair an issue that is beyond your capabilities can sometimes end up costing you more than taking your car or truck to a dealer or a repair shop and paying them to diagnose and repair it for you. Yes, everybody wants to save money. But if you are not very sure what you are doing, or you don’t have the proper tools or know-how, you can screw up a lot of things that can be expensive to fix. It will often be cheaper to pay somebody else to fix your vehicle for you.
- Get Rid of Your Car Before It Starts Costing You a Lot of Money
This is the most vital tip of all. Though we may dearly love our old vehicle or truck (especially if your vehicle or truck is paid for), it is NOT going to last forever without a lot of repair expense. After so many miles and years, component parts start to wear out, break and fail. The trick to saving money on repairs is to sell or trade your old car before it reaches the point where it is going to break your budget to keep it running.
Major repairs like a transmission or engine can be budget breakers. The repairs often cost more than the car is worth. Replacing your oil, other fluids and filters regularly can assist prolong the life of the engine (and maybe the transmission, too). But even highly maintained cars eventually reach the point where parts start to fail. The parts most likely to need changing include the battery, alternator, water pump, fuel pump, brake calipers and rotors, electronic modules (of which there are many on late model cars), various sensors (oxygen, throttle position, mass airflow, etc.), catalytic converters, exhaust pipes and mufflers. None of these parts by themselves are budget busters, though some parts and modules can easily cost several hundred dollars or more apiece!. It’s when you start adding up multiple repairs and repeat repairs that the cost of keeping your old car running begins to make less and less sense.
So now when should you get rid of your wheels? My advice is to sell or trade your old vehicle or truck before the odometer turns 80,000 to 100,000 miles (less if most of your driving is in stop-and-go city traffic, or more if most of your driving is done on the open highway). Or, get rid of it when it reaches its 8th birthday. It might still be running good and may have not cost you a dime yet in repairs, but that isn’t going to last. The odds of an expensive repair hitting you sooner rather than later are going up sharply the longer you linger.