How to Find Affordable Auto Repair

Michael J. O'Connor
September 14, 2023

Owning a car that you love has many benefits and can bring you so much joy, especially if you spend a lot of time driving. However, when something goes wrong with your vehicle, it can be incredibly anxiety-inducing to think about a high repair bill. Even the least expensive vehicles are susceptible to expensive repairs and these can drive up the true cost of ownership for the car. When this happens, knowing how to find affordable auto repair is essential. 

You have a lot of options when it comes to getting your vehicle fixed and it can be difficult to sort through them. This is especially true if you are working with a budget and need to keep costs down. Knowing some techniques for finding affordable auto repair will help you get your vehicle running again without having to spend a fortune. While you can’t anticipate when your car will have a mechanical issue, you can save money if you know how and where to look. 

Get Multiple Estimates 

When the time comes to take your vehicle to the shop, it is tempting to go with the first option that pops up on Google. The issue with this, though, is that just because a shop is popular, that doesn’t mean that it is going to offer affordable auto repair. The best way to find auto repair within your budget is to get multiple estimates. Shops are required to give you an estimate in writing before any work is started and this can help you find the one that is going to fit in your price range. 

While it may take some extra time to get estimates from multiple shops, it could be well worth it. Look for shops that have high ratings from former customers and find out what they will charge for the specific issue you are having. Shops generally have different labor costs and you might end up being able to save money by using one with a lower cost for doing the work. Some shops may also be able to save you money on auto repair by using aftermarket parts and the only way to find out is to get an estimate. 

Consider Overall Value of Repairs

It is important to remember that saving money on auto repair is not always going to mean you spend less for the repair itself. In many cases, getting a high-quality repair will end up being cheaper in the long run. If you can be certain that the problem will be fixed and that you won’t have to take your car right back to the shop for the same issue, you are saving money. Getting auto repair done right the first time will almost always be the cheapest option. 

In most cases, finding cheap auto repair means finding the shop that will do the job the best. If, for example, you need to have a serpentine belt replaced, working with a shop that will tension it correctly and use the highest-quality replacement is your best option. This way, you won’t have to bring the car back in three months when the belt snaps or starts squealing. While it is difficult to predict if a repair will last, a knowledgeable, high-end shop will most likely end up being cheaper, even if the repair itself is more expensive. 

Avoid the Dealership 

Choosing where you get your auto repair done is the biggest factor when it comes to the price. For many people, the dealership is the first place that comes to mind when they need auto repair. However, this will almost always be the most expensive option if your vehicle is no longer under warranty. While the dealership is a great choice for those who still have factory coverage, any repairs that aren’t covered will end up being incredibly pricey. 

The dealership is one of the most expensive choices because of the parts they use. Dealerships will only use original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, parts for auto repair procedures because they want to be sure that their vehicles stay as close to original as possible. A third-party shop will usually give you the option to use aftermarket parts, which can end up saving you a lot of money on the final price. Unless you are able to get repairs done at the dealership for free with your factory warranty, an outside mechanic will be much more affordable.  

Look for Local Programs 

Sometimes, finding affordable auto repair isn’t a simple matter of wanting to save money. If you have recently been experiencing financial hardship and don’t have a lot of money in your budget for auto repair, finding an affordable shop is crucial. Fortunately, there are financial assistance programs that can help you get your vehicle fixed so you can go about your day-to-day life. Getting the help you need when you need it most can be a big weight off your shoulders and that is what these programs are for. 

For the most part, assistance programs can help you pay for auto repair if you need your car to get to work or school. Organizations like the Salvation Army and Working Cars for Working Families will work with you to get your vehicle back up and running. Some of these organizations have on-site repair shops or volunteer-run repair drives that you can attend to get your auto repair done free of charge. If you qualify, you may also be able to get financial assistance to get your vehicle fixed at a traditional shop, which can help you get back on your feet and get your car running again. 

Stay on Top of Maintenance

Even though it may not seem obvious, the best way to keep your auto repair costs down is to stay on top of regular maintenance. A vehicle that has been well-maintained will always be cheaper to own in the long run than one that hasn’t. Maintenance prevents larger auto repair issues and keeps your vehicle in good shape for the long haul. With a proper maintenance schedule, you can be certain that your repairs will be few and far between and that they will be cheaper when they do come up. 

Regular maintenance should include things like oil changes, tire rotations, and wheel alignments at intervals suggested by the manufacturer. By keeping up with this maintenance, you can prevent larger repairs and save a lot of money in the long run. For example, getting regular tire rotations decreases uneven wear on your tires and can increase the longevity of that set. Any time you can spend a little bit of money on a maintenance procedure, you are saving a lot more on a bigger repair further down the line. 

Get the Best Auto Repair for Your Vehicle

When an issue pops up with your vehicle, it can be stressful knowing that you could end up having to pay a large auto repair bill. Doing everything you can to keep your costs low and knowing how to prevent expensive repairs can help you gain some control over the situation. By taking the right steps and understanding how to keep prices down, you can save money on auto repair and get your vehicle back on the road. 

If you want the best auto repair for your vehicle, ServiceUp is here for you. With one easy-to-use dashboard to help you manage your maintenance, collision, and mechanical repair needs, it has never been easier to get your vehicle fixed by qualified, experienced technicians. Whether you need simple oil changes or major body work, ServiceUp will take care of everything and get you back on the road. Get an estimate today to find out how ServiceUp can help!

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