AskPatty Certified Female Friendly Logo

5 tips to Pay for Car Repairs Even Without an Emergency Fund

Published Mar 16th 2018, 8:00am by Kaeli Gardner in Featured Articles

By Lidia Staron, Guest Contributor

Every car owner sooner or later faces the inevitable – having their car repaired. Unfortunately, not everyone is prepared enough for the cost, which ranges from $500 to $2,000. In fact, only 39% of Americans have enough savings to cover an emergency.

Gladly, anyone can have their car fixed without getting buried in debts. Here’s how:
1. Checking the Insurance Policy

All cars are subject to insurance policies although the coverage may vary. If the car wreck is due to vehicle collision or road accident, owners can expect that the repair expenses will be shouldered by their insurance provider. However, car insurance is not meant to cover regular wear and tear, although some insurance companies include random mechanical failures. It is important for car owners to carefully check their existing policies to be sure about what types of repair are included.
2. Paying through Credit Card

Using a credit card to cover for car repairs is another smart move. Major car repair companies accept credit cards and if paid on time, car owners can free themselves from the interest. On a regular basis, customers have at least 21 days before the interest kicks in. This should give the borrower some time to earn money and settle their bills.
3. Alternative Funding

Securing a cash advance or personal loan is another option. There are lending companies that specialize in auto repair loans for people with bad credit. It is important, however, to be selective about whose lender to choose as interests for their services may greatly differ, ranging from the 200% to 2,290%.
4. Finding Affordable Mechanics

Not all car repair companies are the same. Some are committed to providing quality services at a reasonable price while others are busy upselling their services for repairs that car owners don’t actually need – just so they can increase their profits. The AAA has a Car Care Center where drivers can find recommended auto repair shops in their respective areas. Drivers should also check whether the auto repair shop or mechanic is ASE certified. This agency conducts certification test series and assessments, which is a good way to filter the ‘best’ mechanics from the rest.
5. Do It Yourself

Most car issues require professional intervention. But there are problems that car owners can address on their own. With parts bought online, some basic tools, and a little knowledge, many car repairs can be done without calling a mechanic. These include the following:

  • Changing the brake pad – compared to the industry average of $250, one can purchase a new set of brake pads for $20-$40. The tools needed are pretty basic – wheel lug wrench, basic wrench, pliers, a jack and set of jack stands.
  • Changing the battery -  with just a basic set of wrenches, this can be done with ease. A new battery costs only $80, but a dealer will charge $200 and up to do it.
  • Changing spark plugs – Using a spark plug wrench and other basic car tools, this is one of the easiest car repairs anyone can perform. Drivers pay over $300 just to have their spark plugs changed when they can do it on their own and just buy a set of spark plugs for $30.

“Save for the rainy days” should be everybody’s mantra. But as more and more people struggle with their finances, setting aside funds for emergencies is truly a challenge. And just like home repairs and illnesses, car repairs are inevitable. Too often, they happen when people least expect them.
Thankfully, there are several good alternatives. Of course, drivers should first check if the repair is covered by their insurance plan. If not, using their credit cards to pay is a nice, interest-free option. For people with bad credits though, this may not be possible. Fortunately, there are companies that offer alternative funding especially for auto repairs. Finding a reliable, ASE-certified car repair shop or mechanic is very important to get reasonably-priced and reliable services. Lastly, drivers can save money by taking care of the basic maintenance work which requires just a few tools and a little knowledge.

comments powered by Disqus

Need Car Advice?

Ask The Experts!

Looking for a New or Used Car?

Search for our Certified Female Friendly® Car Buying Marketplace locations

Help Our Charities