How to Save on Unnecessary Costs in Auto Repair – A Guest Post!

We’ve all been there. The car starts making a strange noise, always at the most inopportune moment, and your heart sinks. Oh no. What is it now? I really don’t have time to deal with a mechanic this week! And the cost?! It’s gonna cost me an arm and a leg!

I know that awful feeling all too well. That’s why, when Tate from Active Insurance contacted me to see if I would be interested in sharing this lovely infographic, I gladly agreed! I do love a good infographic! (And I also work full-time in insurance, so that could have been part of the reason, as well!) Let’s see what he has to say!

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We all know that cars cost money to own and maintain; on average, a sedan costs $9,122 over its lifetime and Americans spent an average of $750 annually on car maintenance in 2013. Sadly, 27% of Americans report being unhappy with repair services they’ve received from a mechanic, with cost being the top offender. In fact, unnecessary auto repair is consistently ranked among the top causes of consumer complaint in the U.S. annually – so what can Americans do to lower car maintenance costs?

Engine problems, tires and rims, and timing belts are the most common car parts require repairs from mechanics. Engines are the most important part of your car, meaning they encounter problems more often than other parts. Tires have a 2-4 year life span, but poor road quality can damage tires and shorten that life span. Timing belts are difficult to remove and replace, requiring intensive (and expensive) labor.

However, these common repairs aren’t typically the most expensive car repairs. A blown motor can cost up to $4,000 to repair, while a transmission replacement can run you $1,800 to $3,500. A head gasket replacement and labor can cost between $1,200 and $1,600, and an air conditioning compressor can cost up to $600 to replace, plus additional service charges.

Be smart and avoid common scams, like a verbal estimate followed by a higher final charge or charging for services that are advertised as free, by visiting mechanics that your trusted family and friends recommend. Look for shops endorsed by the AAA with ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certification, and ask for clarification on repairs or costs you don’t understand. Pay in full only after the agreed-upon repairs are completed, and get a second or third opinion if the repairs seem very expensive or intensive. Finally, help keep excellent mechanics in business by recommending them to family and friends.

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I am loving having all of those tips and all of that information right at my fingertips in this graphic! Thanks so much, Tate!

What about YOU? What is your best tip for making sure you don’t get scammed by a mechanic?

Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at Kristen@theroadtodomestication.com. I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!

33 thoughts on “How to Save on Unnecessary Costs in Auto Repair – A Guest Post!

  1. interesting read and by the way, love your site. very clever. some of these things i had never thought about and hope my shop doesn’t ever replace anything on our cars with used parts or such. my biggest issue for car repair is always tire pressure gauges, so annoying. thanks for pointing out some great things to think about.

  2. Great tips. We recently got a new car and upgraded from a 2003 to a 2014. We are making sure to keep up n oil changes and other maintenance. Thankfully we have an honest mechanic too and don’t get scammed.

  3. I love this graphic. So much good info. Sometimes the best way to save money on car repairs or avoid being scammed is to perform regular maintenance on your vehicle. That way you can build a good working relationship with a shop you can trust.

  4. I hate dealing with car mechanics! Normally my husband has to do that part of life’s tasks and we just talk about it and ask around when they say we may need something more than was agreed upon.

  5. Luckily, we have a good mechanic that we’ve known for years. My son in law has plenty of stories of being scammed for car repairs, so we don’t plan to change mechanics any time soon!

  6. Thankfully, my husband works on our cars and fixes them, but in the rare occasion we need to take them somewhere, he’s pretty aware that these are common “tricks” to be aware of, Thanks for sharing!

  7. This is a good infographic to share. We’re pretty lucky to know a friend of a friend who is a wonderful mechanic. He helps us out when the cars act up. 😉

  8. The stats about how much Americans spent in 2013 for car maintenance is breath-taking. You have given many great tips & the graphical explanation is simply awesome to make it understand so easier. Thanks for the wonderful article.

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