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Save Money on Auto Repairs With This Little Tip That Most People Overlook

Faced with a huge auto repair bill? Here's a little tip that doesn't occur to most people, and it won't break your budget.
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Rest assured, when you’re faced with a huge auto repair bill, you won’t break your budget with this suggestion.

Imagine this auto repair nightmare: It’s a Monday and a busy start to your already hectic week. You decide to take the expressway to get to work, but upon turning on the ignition, nothing happens. You realize right away what it is – the timing belt snapped and it couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Unfortunately, the car repair costs on a major car component is not in your budget. What do you do?

Here’s our little tip. It’s not rocket science and it is no secret but the best way to save money on auto repair is with:

Basic Car Maintenance

Many car owners don’t even consider auto maintenance until they are faced with a huge car repair bill.

Basic car maintenance  is a necessity for any motorist who relies on their vehicle to get them to work. Car enthusiasts, while enjoying road trips to outdoor adventures, also count on their car to transport them to their destination.

RELATED: 3 simple tips to save you money on auto repair!

Failing to follow a car maintenance schedule can result in draining your bank account dry. Moreover, many people and families live a few paycheques from being broke – one huge auto repair bill can send them into a financial hiccup.

Car Maintenance Checklist

Whenever you purchase a new vehicle or adopt an older car, in order to keep your car operational, invest time in learning the ins and outs of your auto maintenance schedule.

RELATED: Should I buy a new or a used car?

The best way to remember when to service your car is to make a checklist of important auto parts that need regular check ups. Parts such as the brakes, tires, spark plugs and your car’s air filter wear away, break or need a replacement yearly or at a predetermined mileage point.

How do you make sure you have enough funds in your bank account to pay your mechanic for any car maintenance or repairs?

While you might use a credit card to pay an unexpected repair, you may end up paying more, due to interest. What was originally a $2,000 car repair can turn into a $2,400 expense after a year of credit card interest accumulation.

Related: Auto Insurance: Tips On How To Save Money

It may not occur to some people that the best budgeting tip for car repairs is to have a repair fund.

Auto Repair Fund

Having a repair fund can save you a lot of headaches and hassles when you are faced with emergencies and everyday type repairs. While it may come as no surprise, budgeting for a car repair fund when you are a few paycheques away from broke, is difficult, but it can be done.

How Much Should I Budget For a Car Repair?

You can ask your auto mechanic for advice, but as a general rule, if your car is newer, you should aim to set aside around $1,200 per year, or $100 a month. You can always let the money build up until a repair is required. While this is only a guideline, expect some years to pay more as your car ages.

Another way to figure out how much you should save for a big repair bill is to look at prior spending habits. Review your car repair bills from the previous year. Add up the total expense and divide that by 12. The end result is an average amount you spent per month on your vehicle. Drivers can use this estimate to plan on a budget for the year.

For some drivers, having an amicable relationship with your mechanic can go a long way when it comes to an unexpected car expense. Devoting time developing a friendly relationship with the person who fixes your car can result in reduced labour costs or free auto repair services.

RELATED: 5 Tips for Finding a Mechanic You Can Trust

Lastly, in order to accurately come up with a budget that represents your vehicle’s needs, take into consideration the following:

  • Mileage – Cars with over 160,000 km generally need more repairs than cars with fewer kilometers driven.
  • Season – Winter in Canada can chip away at your car and your bank account. Consequently, heavy snow, icy roads and freezing winds increases the wear and tear on your vehicle faster than any other season.

RELATED:  Top tips to help your car last forever

  • Type of Driving – The constant braking and gear shifting that city driving is known for doesn’t help in preserving the life of your car. On the other hand, highway driving causes less wear and tear on your vehicle, thereby minimizing any day-to-day car maintenance needs.
  • Auto Maintenance ­– Vehicles that are kept on a car manufacturer’s maintenance schedule typically require less repairs or fewer costly repairs.

Investing in a car repair fund can mean the difference between accumulating debt and having the money available in a pinch.

Don’t let another auto repair bill surprise you; start budgeting today for auto repairs that could happen tomorrow.

Related: How to save fuel in 10 easy lessons

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