Find the Best Price for Your Car Repair Costs
Your car has just broken down and you received a car repair quote for what you think is an insanely expensive price. Is it the cheapest option? Should you ask your friends or Facebook if they “know a good mechanic”? What repairs can you put off and which ones need to be checked out by a licensed and insured auto mechanic? Compare.com has all the answers and tips you need for getting your car fixed safely, at the right price.
How Should I Handle My Car Repair Costs?
You’ve just been hit over the head with an expensive repair bill for a dislocated passenger-side flange bolt (we’re making that up, but you get the idea). Your first thought is that the price seems very high. Your second thought is, “What the heck is a flange bolt and how did I dislocate it?” Don’t panic. Follow these steps to ensure that you’re not going to over-pay to get your car fixed.
- Ask about the severity of the problem. Can you drive your car like it is, or would it be unsafe to drive? If you can drive it away, tell the car repair shop that you’re going to wait.
- Get the specific name of the problem or part to be repaired. Be careful here, mechanics will often give you an over-simplified explanation to appease you. It’s not because they think you’re stupid, it’s because the exact explanation can be lengthy and hard to follow. Write down the exact car repair they claim you need, then check for information about the repair online.
What to Look for Online
- Pay attention to your sources of information when it comes to car repair. Avoid DIY forums and websites. Instead, look for forums designed for use by your vehicle maker’s technicians, if one exists. Use your best judgment. Don’t believe everything that you read. If a member of an automotive repair forum seems to have answered your question, find out more information about that user. Confirm their credentials if possible. There are lots of armchair mechanics out there, so be careful and always double-check any information you get online.
- Check the price of the auto part. Try the online store for your local auto parts retail stores if that is an option. Also look for used auto part shops or junkyards to see if you can get it even cheaper. Some junkyards stock “dead” cars that still have good parts and will let you remove a part yourself or may offer to remove the part for you for a small fee. Be aware, buying a used car part may not include a warranty on the part. It’s generally a good idea to use this as a last resort. When buying your own auto parts, keep in mind that many vehicle repair shops may charge an additional fee for any parts that weren’t purchased through them.
- Check the average time it takes to make the repair. If you know the price of the part and the hourly rate for your auto mechanic, you can tell if the price you’re being quoted for the car repair is reasonable.
- Get quotes from other car repair shops or garages. As with everything, comparison shopping is the best way to find a price that will work for you. It will also let you know if the shop you’re currently at is giving you the best price.
What Does Car Repair Insurance Cover?
If you’re looking to reduce the risk of having to pay out large repair bills for your vehicle, then car repair insurance may be right for you, if your car qualifies. Car repair insurance, also known as mechanical breakdown insurance or a vehicle service contract, is a means to help cover the cost of repairs usually after a car warranty has expired.
Many insurers may set restrictions with the age of car and number of miles on the odometer. A great example of a company that holds restrictions on their coverage is Liberty Mutual. They work with Forevercar to help provide repair coverage for cars that are no older than 15 years old and less than 250,000 miles. It’s most common to see many companies setting the limits to 7 years or newer and less than 100,000 miles.
Make sure to read the fine print on these mechanical breakdown insurance plans. They usually have a deductible that is paid out for every visit to the mechanic. They may also have restrictions on certain repairs. In some cases, if the car wasn’t maintained properly, it may not be covered.
Avoid Unlicensed & Uninsured Auto Repair Shops
It’s not usually a good idea to have a friend fix your car for you. Even if they are a certified mechanic (unless you’re bringing it to their shop, during regular business hours and are paying the shop directly to perform the car repair, rather than paying a friend under the table) it may still be a bad idea. The reason for this is a liability risk. If your friend fixes something and something else breaks, it makes the problem worse, or you have an auto accident due to an improperly installed part, your friend will then be personally responsible. If any of these things happen after a car repair shop fixes your car, they are covered by a special insurance. In short, it’s safer for everyone involved to go through a licensed, certified, and an insured mechanic or car repair garage.
Is it Worth Getting Your Car Fixed at a Dealership?
As a general rule, a dealership charges more for repairs on your vehicle. Why is that? When you get your car repaired at the dealership they only use what are called Original Equipment Manufacturer (or OEM) parts. These parts are often much more expensive than “aftermarket” parts.
Aftermarket parts are car parts manufactured by someone other than your car’s automaker. These parts are typically just as good but in some cases, your car’s warranty may require OEM parts (otherwise voiding your warranty if OEM parts aren’t used). The dealer uses OEM parts because it’s the recommendation of most, if not all, automakers to use OEM parts for all car repairs. Ultimately, it’s your call. It is, however, important to be able to make that distinction. Ask your current or potential car repair shop if they use OEM or aftermarket parts. If they use OEM, ask if they’d consider using aftermarket parts to reduce the cost of your car repair. They may say no, but it’s worth asking as it can shave down your price considerably.
We know that having to deal with car repair emergencies can create a very stressful situation. To ease the stress a bit, we want to introduce a new way to save money. Money that can be put towards repairing your vehicle. Try our quick & easy online insurance quoting tool. We’ll do all the hard work of matching you up with popular car insurance companies to help you find the best rates on a policy. Try it out free and save today!