If you are cash-strapped with little to spend on car services, and you know a great independent car mechanic who loves home-baked apple pie, offer to make a couple in exchange for rotating your tires. Some people swap services like housecleaning, pet grooming, and lawn care for car maintenance or repair so neither person has to pay cash.
Do it Yourself
Some vehicle services are not difficult to learn. The local college or vocational school may offer a basic auto maintenance class you can take to care for your car’s routine maintenance. You can also browse the numerous online how-to videos that show and tell you how to do things like replace a headlight, flush the steering wheel fluid, and check your brakes if you are mechanically inclined.
Many leading car shops and auto dealers offer regular coupons by mail or on their websites. Coupons may offer a complimentary first oil change to try their service as an introductory offer. A coupon of five oil changes may be sold for the price of three when you buy them together. Check regular community mailings and the local online or print newspaper for coupons or discounts.
Drive a Bargain
If you need a service performed and you can’t find a coupon for the car shop that you want to do the work, ask if a discount is available. Chances are they will give you a discount of ten to fifteen percent overall or on service, if not the products. Many auto shops are competitive and will give a discount if requested. You can also ask about low-interest or zero-interest financing on pricier services, as well as having only the most necessary work done at present, delaying secondary work until you have more money. Everything is negotiable, so don’t hesitate to ask.
It’s easy to get attached to a favorite oil change shop or auto repair business because it’s familiar or convenient. But to save money, it’s a good idea to shop around and compare pricing, which you can do online or by phone. You can also compare websites and check the local Better Business Bureau to see if shops you are considering have a low or poor rating. Ask friends or coworkers who drive well-maintained vehicles where they have work done, and then contact the business to see if a referral discount is available.
Needing a brake job or a radiator flush is not something to look forward to. But it can be managed financially with creative thinking and planning. Start setting aside a monthly amount toward car repairs and maintenance if you are not already doing so. Even twenty-five dollars per month will come in handy the next time you need a repair or service for your vehicle.