So, you turned the key this morning, but your car didn’t start? Not a good way to begin the day. When you take it in to the mechanic, did you ever wonder if you were being taken advantage of? Here are a few money saving tips for handling emergency car repairs.
If you have an older car, it is best to take it to an independent repair shop. They are almost always more cost effective than a dealership. To select the right shop, you will need to do some homework. Use tools like Google to search for auto repair shops and read the reviews from other customers. You can’t please everyone, but too many bad reviews are a sure sign that something is wrong with that shop. Also, the sites listed below with online tools also have listings of mechanics they recommend. Do your research.
If your car isn’t running enough to take it in for repairs, remember that your car insurance company may cover the cost of towing the car to a local mechanic. That can be a great savings.
Repair shops in most areas are required by law to give you a written estimate before any work begins. Be sure you get one before you OK any repairs.
Once you get that estimate, take time to use online tools such as RepairPal, AutoMD, or Autobytel to research the prices that were given for repair work. These tools are easy to use and give you a good indication of the average price for the type of repair you need. Some mechanics take advantage of people that are not knowledgeable about current repair costs. Don’t just assume that because he seemed nice, that you are being treated fairly. There are many cases of overcharging on labor or adding several hundred dollars to the price of the part. Always question the mechanic about any unexplained fees or charges that are on the estimate.
Don’t feel pressured by the mechanic to give an immediate approval about the repairs. Always take some time to research and see if they are an honest mechanic with competitive prices. Most mechanics will allow at least twenty-four hours to decide if their company will be making the needed repairs.
With a good estimate and a shop with a solid reputation, you can feel comfortable about moving ahead. There is, however, one other way that you can save money. Remember that most auto repair shops are used to taking credit cards from their customers. The shops have to pay a fee to the banks for accepting that card. Many shops will be happy to give you a discount if you pay in cash. Savings are good, but where is the cash going to come from, you ask? It’s not like you budgeted for a car repair, right? Well, you could borrow from friends or family, but that often causes problems even if they lend you the money. It is often a better approach to look for a loan that can get you some quick cash. An auto title loan is one of the best ways to go, since they are often approved the same day as you apply and a credit check is not required. Embassy Loans is a leader in that industry and can fill you in on the details.
Emergency car repairs are never any fun. But, with a little research and the right approach, at least you’ll get back on the road and know you were treated fairly.