We’re all too aware of how expensive owning a car is. Not only do you have to factor in regular aspects such as fuel, tax and insurance, you also know that if your car has a problem, you will have to pay for a repair. Often, we do not budget for these costs so a car repair bill can come out of the blue. With this in mind, we will provide you with some ways of how you can save money on fixing your car the next time you encounter a problem with your vehicle.
- Research what you need
Car manufacturers build car parts which are individual to them. however, many parts on your vehicle have not been built or manufactured by the manufacturer as they are often bought in, in a large quantity, to be fitted to vehicles. An example of this is an electric window motor. You may have ten different car brands who all use the exact same part which is likely to have been manufactured by a single electric motor company. Therefore, if you are need a specific part, don’t just opt for the branded version as you can get a non-branded version which will do the same job.
- Independent Dealers
It is worth checking with your main dealer first to see what their prices are for parts and repairs, as in some cases they may offer you a deal. However, if you find that your main dealer is coming up as particularly expensive, it is worth comparing the prices of independent motor repair centres. Independent dealers can often be cheaper due to the fact that they don’t have the same overhead costs and there are certain parts and repairs that they may not be able to undertake due to the specification of your vehicle.
When you purchase a vehicle, there are two kinds of warranties for you to take into account. The first one is the manufacturer’s warranty. This warranty come with a time limit e.g. you can have your car repaired under this warranty for a set period of time, as long as a certain number of miles are not exceeded. The time limit varies for different manufacturers, one manufacturer may offer you 3 years or 60,000 miles whist another may specify 2 years but unlimited mileage.
The second kind of warranty that is available to purchase is known as an extended warranty. This can be taken out once your original manufacturer’s warranty expires and allows you to continue to have warranty cover on your vehicle.
- Do It Yourself
If you have basic car knowledge, some repairs can be completed at home by yourself. For example, bulb changes or filter changes. For repairs that are more complicated, if you are feeling confident you could go on to YouTube as there are a number of videos which provide a step by step instruction on how to complete repairs.
- Regular Maintenance
One simple way of cutting down repair costs on a vehicle is to ensure that you regularly check and maintain your vehicle as per the owner’s manual. You need to regularly check tyre pressures, oil levels, coolant levels, washer fluid levels and visual checks on brake fluid and power steering fluid. For example, if you regularly check your brake fluid level and clean your brake discs and pads with products that you can purchase over the counter, you could avoid an unnecessary car brake repair. Regular checking of safety critical parts will also ensure that passing your certificate of fitness will be more likely.
- Car Manufacturers
Different car manufacturers have different repair costs. For example, Japanese car parts in Europe are a lot more expensive than their European rivals. This is often down to location and transportation costs. Therefore, when you look to purchase a vehicle, it is worth checking the car parts costs at that time. This way you can compare the car parts across the different car manufacturers and if you need a repair in the future, you are already aware of the potential repair costs.
- Car Parts Online
If you are friendly with your local car garage, they may be okay with you purchasing the part that you require online and then fitting if for you. A positive of this is that you can research a wide variety of stockists online to get the part at the best price. You will now only have to pay the labour costs at your garage and not pay over the odds for the actual car part.
- Purchase a Diagnostic Machine
In a situation where a warning light appears on your car dashboard you would need to take your car to a motor repair centre. There is often a cost for diagnosing a problem. An option is to go online and purchase a diagnostic machine. With a diagnostic machine you are able to plug the device in the ECU unit and the machine will read any fault codes that apply to your vehicle. This will therefore cut out diagnostic charges and will give you an idea of what a mechanic will be looking for when you take your vehicle in for repair. Additionally, if you are able to do any repairs yourself, you will be able to purchase the parts needed online and complete the repair yourself.
- Regular Servicing
Regular maintenance of your vehicle may cost you money in advance, however it may save you money in the long run as regular maintenance will mean that your perishable car parts will be replaced/ repaired. Therefore, as these parts have been replaced, the vehicle will have a longer life as these parts will not then cause other bigger parts to fail.
Owning a car does not need to be all about expense. Costs can be reduced by following your maintenance schedule and taking heed of the above advice.