Car repairs can be devastating to your budget, especially when they're unexpected. You're often on the hook for expensive repairs no matter the cost, too, because you can't go for long without reliable transportation.
The good news is that you can save money on your car without having to DIY your own repairs. Here are a few ways you can save money the next time you need your family car fixed on the fly.
Look for used auto parts
One of the most expensive things about repairing a vehicle is the cost of the auto parts associated with the repair. Fortunately, you can save on these auto parts by using used parts instead. In fact, the global automotive aftermarket industry alone is expected to reach $722.8 billion by 2020.
Depending on the type of auto part you need, you can find used auto parts that are still high-quality and durable. Up to 13% of the world's steel is used in the automotive industry, and steel parts are built to last.
Just make sure that you're investing in the right used parts. For instance, polyurethane parts are often used in the automotive industry and are made by mixing and injecting two liquid components into a mold where they chemically react and cure. Steel might last for years with proper care, but you'd be better off buying other parts like those made from polyurethane new.
Avoid the dealership repair center
You might feel like your car's dealership is the best place to go when your family car is looking or sounding a little worse for wear. But unless your car is under warranty, you don't want to take it to your dealership repair center. You'll only end up paying more money and dealing with inconvenient wait times and appointment times.
Instead, try to find an independently-owned service center. Ask for recommendations from co-workers, friends, and neighbors. Local, independent service centers will often have competitive pricing and discounts on routine maintenance services.
Refer to your owner's manual
It's important to remember that an unfortunate part of owning a car is that you can get easily swindled out of money when your car needs a repair and you don't know what's wrong with it. But your owner's manual can help.
Your car's manual has your vehicle's maintenance schedule inside, which can help you beat dishonest auto technicians at their own game. The more familiar you are with your vehicle's maintenance schedule, the more you can save money on car repairs over the lifetime of your vehicle.
Every car will need some kind of repair at some point. Unfortunately, car repairs aren't always great for your budget, especially when you need them immediately. By following the tips above, you can save money on your car repairs the next time your family vehicle needs a fix.