Unless your car is brand-spanking new, chances are good you are spending a pretty penny to keep it up and running properly. From routine oil changes and new tires to repairs, you might feel like your trusty vehicle has become a money pit.
When you look at how much the most common auto repairs cost, it’s understandable why you’d feel this way. To examine this topic a bit more and also look at ways to make car repair less of a strain on your budget, please consider the following:
Common Car Repairs and What They Cost
Granted, the cost of fixing your vehicle does vary depending on where you live in the U.S., as well as if you do some of the work yourself, if you take your vehicle to a family friend who tinkers with cars, or you bring your four-wheeled baby to a dealership. Having said that, it is still possible to get an average cost of a number of common repairs. For example, according to Bridwell Auto Center, the six most common car repairs and their costs are:
- The spark plug and ignition coils, $390
- Thermostat replacements and gas cap replacements, $210
- Solenoid replacement and emissions purge control replacement, each about $200
- Replacing the gas cap, $25
- Catalytic converter replacement, $1,163
Other common repairs and their costs include the oxygen sensor replacement at around $259, a new battery at $140, new tires at around $450 (although this number can easily be much higher) and an A/C repair for about $490.
Are These All Really Necessary?
If money is tight and/or you dread the idea of being without your car while it’s being repaired, you might understandably question if you really have to have all of the recommended repairs completed right away. While you can certainly raise your concerns with your mechanic, and it’s possible that some issues can be put off for awhile, in most cases the aforementioned common repairs must be dealt with as soon as possible. In the case of the ignition coil and spark plug repair, for example, when the ignition coil is not working properly it will not ignite the fuel properly, causing a misfire and loss of power. In addition, this can severely damage the engine and the catalytic converter. By shelling out the money now to fix these issues, you are avoiding more financially catastrophic repairs later on.
How to Pay for Auto Repairs Without Breaking the Bank
Fortunately, you don’t have to risk really damaging your car or racking up really high credit card bills to pay for repairs. Start by setting aside $50 a month for emergency car repairs—if you can swing more, by all means do so. Also, strive to follow the car maker’s suggested maintenance schedule of important things like oil changes, fluid changes and tire rotations; this can also prevent costlier issues later on. Also, work to find a mechanic that you really trust with your car. Even if you have been going to the same fix-it shop for years, ask around and see if your close friends or neighbors with a similar make and model to yours can recommend someone who is possibly more reasonable in price.
If you ever get an estimate for a needed repair and it sends up red flags for you, by all means get a second opinion—you are not required to have the mechanic complete the recommended repairs. Finally, if your existing vehicle warranty has expired, look into car warranty plans, which can really help you save a pretty penny in auto repair costs. For instance, Protect My Car provides drivers with extended auto warranty plans that provide coverage for cars that are no longer covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. The company offers three choices for its extended warranty plans, including the Driveline policy that is for cars that are four to 10 years old and have more than 80,000 miles.
Keep Your Car Safe by Being on Top of Repairs
Owning a car is probably never going to be the cheapest thing in your budget, but it also does not have to break the bank. Start by being aware of what you can expect to pay for some of the most common car repairs, and if necessary shop around for a new mechanic. Also, understand why the repairs, although costly, are important and can prevent significant damage. By putting away money into savings and investing in a car warranty plan, when your vehicle does need a repair it should no longer destroy your budget or cause your credit card balance to rise.