Owning a car is expensive. Unfortunately, it only gets more expensive as the years go by and your car needs more and more work.
The average car owner does not know how to repair his or her own car, or even how to keep the vehicle in running condition. This means that most of us are at the mercy of our auto repair shop, and have to pay whatever the autoshop writes up.
When it comes to minor repairs and maintenance fixes, the average car owner could easily pay for his or her own supplies and do the repairs on their own, saving hundreds or thousands of dollars a year on over-priced parts and labor. Here’s five routinely overpriced car repairs you can do at home.
1. Oil change
If you can stand to get a little dirty, you can buy a can of oil and change out your oil yourself without too much trouble. If you aren’t up for that, you can also take your car to an express oil change company that will charge you less than a dealership. Because these businesses are looking to make a profit, say no to the offered extras; most of the time, you don’t need them.
Going in for a tune-up is a dangerous activity, in terms of price alone: If you don’t specify what you want from the dealership or repair shop, you are likely to get a bill that is much larger than what you would have paid if you only got what you need.
If you keep track of what your car is due for and go in to get those specific things replaced, you can have more confidence that you are paying for services you need.
You can top off fluids yourself in your garage by just lifting up the hood, so why take it into the shop? Most of the time repair shops will top off fluids just to boost their own profit margin, when you could have done it easily by grabbing some washer fluid and filling up your car at home.
While this is probably more complicated than you can handle at home, it is rarely as extreme as mechanics often make it seem. Every 30,000 miles you should consider getting your brakes looked at. Be sure to ask for a brake pad change, and go to a mechanic that you trust, that way you know you are getting a good replacement, and can trust that person’s recommendation to do more if necessary.
5. Repair contracts
This is more common at dealerships. Car salesmen will offer you a deal that pays for all future repairs, and is “merely” added to your loan and lease payment. However, this is rarely as good a deal as it seems.
Instead of getting work done at the dealership, consider going to a trusted mechanic who will perform the job at a lower price. That way, you only end up paying for exactly what you need, and can do the little maintenance repairs yourself, without paying dealer prices.