How to Save Money on Car Repairs
Owning a vehicle, while extremely convenient and in many cases, necessary, is an expensive investment. Not only do cars cost money in terms of gas, insurance, and registration fees, there are also other expenses to consider, including accident repairs, flat tires, dead batteries, and engine failure.
The unexpected repairs you may have to make to your car are often expensive, as they require manual labor and new parts, both of which are not all that budget-friendly. While there are some repairs you can do yourself, such as changing your oil, replacing your battery, or changing your brake pads, there are some repairs that need to be completed by a certified mechanic.
Because mechanics can be pricey, here are a few ways to help you save money on car repairs by finding a good auto repair shop.
One of the best ways to find a good repair shop is to read customer reviews or ask friends and family about their experiences with various mechanics in the area. Most car repair shops have reviews on their websites, but many of these are scripted to only show positive reviews. For instance, if you are looking to choose a windshield replacement company, reading reviews over sites like Yelp can help you get an accurate reading on a company and whether or not they do great work for a reasonable price.
Additionally, check out automotive websites for recommendations. Many of these sites can offer you advice on a particular mechanic shop, especially ones that specialize in certain cars or certain areas of car repair.
Unfortunately, there are many mechanics that will attempt to overcharge for services or try to get you to do more car repairs than necessary. Instead, do your research beforehand so you can be assured you are going to a trustworthy company.
Many people qualify for AAA, allowing them access to be a member to the organization. Those who have a AAA membership can go to certified mechanics that are under the AAA branch. Additionally, if you are ever in a situation where you are stranded, whether it is a flat tire, car accident, or engine trouble, you can call AAA and they will send out a mechanic in the area to come help you immediately. Lastly, AAA members get other discounts and benefits on a number of other things, including travel, repairs, and medications.
Whatever mechanic you go to, make sure he or she is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Not all mechanics or car repair shops get certified, and going to a non-certified shop can lead to shoddy work or even dangerous mishaps. Many people get recommendations for mechanics from friends of friends, and because it is through word of mouth, most assume they are reliable. Despite their reasonable prices and good recommendations, if they are not certified, you might want to think twice about using them.
Visit the Shop Beforehand
One of the best things you can do before using a mechanic is to visit the shop beforehand. Many people make the mistake of trusting too soon and drop off their car without checking out the shop in person before the appointment.
Visiting the auto shop can help you view how it is run and how many customers there are. While all auto shops can have slow days, if you notice that there are few people coming in and out, or dropping off or picking up their cars, the shop might not be as legitimate as you hoped.
A good auto shop should be clean and welcoming with an organized system. The shop should be working on cars in relatively good condition and the area surrounding the garage should not look like an old junk yard. While you are there, take some time to speak with the staff. Ask them questions about your car, what parts it needs, and even ask for a quote. As you speak with them, you can gauge their knowledge on their job and if they treat you well or with disdain. Your first impression on a place will tell you a lot about the company.
During the times where your car needs a mechanic to repair its problem, make sure you do your research beforehand to find a well-priced, certified mechanic to help you out.