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How to Save Money on Car Repair

Four simple rules to follow: (1) Buy a car that's easy to maintain, (2) If buying used, get an inspection (3) keep up on the service schedule, (3) find a mechanic you trust and stick with it.

Flashy Car = Costly Maintenance

Consider how much your regular oil changes, fluid flushes and brake replacements will cost while you're on the car dealership's show floor. As a general rule, high performance cars and high price tag cars are more expensive to maintain. This is because they take high-performance fluids, high performance parts. European built cars often fit in this category. Beware also cars with bigger engines as they sometimes require more engine oil. A good new car dealer will be able to tell you how much to expect to pay for vehicle maintenance. For used cars, google 'maintenance costs' before you buy.

Used Car = Unknown Trouble

Buying a used car can represent a significant cost savings. But you're also buying into the way someone else treated their vehicle. Asking for the seller's maintenance log is a good idea. Contracting a certified mechanic to do a pre-purchase inspection before you buy is an even better idea.

Scheduled Services

Not keeping up with the maintenance of a vehicle can add considerably more expense to owning and operating a vehicle. The best cost effective maintenance would be simple fluid changes, motor oil transmission fluid and brake fluid, coolant. If components are allowed to fail they often cause damage other parts of the system, which leads to a larger expense. For instance, if your brake lines begin to corrode, the brake fluid being pushed into your brake calipers could be degraded and start to wear them away. Your vehicle’s maintenance should occur at your manufacturers recommended guidelines. Ultimately we all know it is cheaper to change your oil than to change your engine! So book ahead - schedule that oil change the way you schedule a dentist appointment.

Stick with a Trusted Mechanic

If you look around, you can probably find an oil change deal for less than $30. Or you can find a cut-rate mechanic who may work for $60 per hour. But are you going to save money in the long run? You can find a high-end mechanic shop that may bill out for over $150 per hour and they may save you money with superior knowledge and equipment.  Or you might opt for the middle-of-the road - your choice will depend on how you value your time and the service experience. But consider the time cost of shopping for deals every time you need a service. What's your time worth? Whatever your preference, you are almost guaranteed to save money if you stick with one mechanic shop for a long time. They'll be familiar with you and your car, they'll know what to look for based on the last appointment and they'll have the parts ready. Smart businesses reward loyal customers.

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