Thursday, August 19, 2010

Car Repairs

For many families, owning a car is not a luxury but an important necessity. However, there are a lot of costs associated with owning a car. There is the cost of fuel and regular maintenance. There is also the cost of car repairs. No matter how well you care for your car, there will be times when it needs to be repaired.

If you don't know a lot about cars, you may feel that you're at the mercy of the repair shop and have to spend whatever they tell you it will cost. However, there are steps you can take to make sure you're saving as much money as possible on your next car repair.

* Call independent repair shops instead of dealerships - Dealerships often recommend you call them first about your car repair, since they are most familiar with your vehicle and have the same brand of parts in stock. However, this is often the most expensive route to go. Instead of calling dealerships, call independent repair shops and see if they can give you a better deal.

* Buy your own replacement parts - There is always a cost for labor and parts. When the car repair shop shops for replacement parts for your vehicle, they are not looking for the best deal for you. They are probably thinking more about their convenience. You can save money by shopping around for your own replacement parts. Then your only other cost will be the labor.

* Try to repair it yourself - Some car repairs are minor and can easily be accomplished on your own. Research online to find out what the problem with your car is. You can also get a repair manual for your car. Use what you learn to find the correct parts to repair it and fix it yourself. Not only will you save money, you will gain new knowledge and confidence about repairing your car.

* Perform regular maintenance - Sometimes, major repair jobs can be avoided all together simply by following the recommended maintenance routine for your vehicle. For example, the cost of having your engine cooling system repaired on time will be much less than the possible repair bill for an overheated engine if you don't.

* Get a second opinion - Some repair shops will recommend that you make other repairs that aren't really necessary at that time, and that you can't afford. To make sure you're getting the real story on what's wrong with your car, take it to another repair shop and see what they say. If the two opinions are vastly different, you know you have some more research to do and that one of them may be trying to take advantage of you.

Car repairs are an unavoidable expense of owning a car. However, with the proper maintenance, some research and creativity, you can keep this expense under control.

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