A friend recently called and needed my husband to tow his car to the car repair shop. He’s had his car for about a month when his mom handed it down to him. It had been a good car for her. But, the engine belt fell off because it should have been replaced some time ago. The car overheated and the engine was blown. It was a very expensive repair. Car repair and even car maintenance can hit your budget hard. Here are five ways to avoid causing expensive auto repairs.
- Follow maintenance schedule. Nobody wants to spend money on a car that is working fine. But, the maintenance schedule is very important. It can help you avoid costly emergency repairs.
- Warning lights and other problems you notice. When the warning lights turn on, look at your owner’s manual for a list of what it means. Some of these lights should be investigated immediately. If you have warning lights or are having problems, have it looked at immediately.
- Upgrade motor oil. I try to be frugal but I always use upgraded motor oil. It helps my car run better and helps the engine to last longer.
- Keep tires inflated and rotated. Uneven wear on tires usually means that something else is wrong. Tires are expensive and getting them rotated regularly will help them last longer.
- Look for a reputable company. Always get three estimates. Don’t always go with the lowest price. Sometimes, the lowest price will just go up once they start working on the car. And, avoid predatory financing companies. These companies will offer to let you pay over a period of time but you should shop around before signing for a loan. You don’t want the loan to outlast the car repair.
In December, we were going on a trip and taking both of our cars. We needed to buy new tires for both cars and brakes for my car before we went. We couldn’t afford to have something happen while we were gone. But, it was very expensive.
You should have an emergency or sinking fund for car repairs. The older your cars, the more you should have in this fund. If you don’t use it when you’re ready to buy a car, you could use it for a down payment. Just start this month. If car repairs keep happening now is a great time to start putting away money for that.
Set a budget. If you need help with how much you should or could be putting into this fund, please contact me.