Tips on Saving Money on Common Car Repairs
Owning a car or SUV is not exactly the cheapest experience in the world. You have to pay for things like gas, new tires and then the myriad of seemingly endless repairs and tune-ups.
At the same time, you love your vehicle and you don’t want to walk everywhere, rely on public transportation or ride sharing services to get you where you want to go.
While expense is inherent to car or SUV ownership, it does not always have to break the bank. Let’s start by looking at some of the most common and also most expensive auto repairs—as well as their typical costs—and then ways that you can save as much money as you can on your car upkeep.
The Costs of Common Car Repairs
Some of the most common automotive repairs include:
- Replacing the oxygen sensors — about $259
- Replacing ignition coils and spark plugs — about $400
- Replacing the mass air flow sensor — about $378
- Replacing the OE catalytic converter — about $1,200
Slightly less financially painful but still common repairs include the replacement of the evaporative emissions purge control valve for about $175; replacing the evaporative emissions purge solenoid replacement for around $195 and—if you totally luck out—you might get by with the common yet cheap replacement of the lose fuel cap for less than $17.
Super Expensive Repairs that Happen More Than You Like
Unfortunately, the list of common car repairs does not start and end in the above paragraph. If you tend to hang onto your vehicle for a number of years, you might end up shelling out money for some still-common and even spendier repairs. This includes replacing the alternator for at least $700, getting a new oil pump for at least $800, and all new wheel bearings for around $1,000.
How to Keep Costs Down, Part 1
If these repairs make you re-think the idea of going everywhere by bus, please think again. If you are smart with your car upkeep, you can often save a lot of money on future repairs. For instance, you know how the owner’s manual recommends that you get the oil changed every X number of miles and that your battery is checked regularly? These proactive checkups can help to prevent costlier repairs later on. For instance, a car that runs on virtually no oil is a recipe for engine disaster. An oil-less engine will not be able to keep things moving, and will seize up and cause the car to stall. Unfortunately, many cars do not switch on their low oil warning light until it’s too late.
Also, if your car is acting sluggish, prior to bringing it in for a new alternator, check the battery first; you might find that the wires running to the battery are loose and need to be fixed for about $175, which is a lot nicer than 700 clams for a new alternator. Strive to bring your car in for regular tune-ups. Even if the car is running well, it’s better to be proactive about servicing rather than waiting for something to go wrong.
Keeping Costs Down, Part 2
Another way to save money on car repairs is to look into an extended warranty. If your existing warranty has already expired, you can select from a number of car warranty plans from companies such as ProtectMyCar.com. It offers three levels of extended vehicle protection that are great for all types of cars and drivers. For instance, the Driveline policy protects cars between four and 10 years of age and with more than 80,000 miles, and includes five years and/or 125,000 miles of warranty coverage against unexpected mechanical failures. The Select policy is the best option for cars with more than 50,000 miles, and the Supreme option is similar to the warranties from the manufacturer and are great for drivers who plan on keeping their cars for longer than the warranty terms. In all cases, you pay a $100 deductible and Protect My Car covers the rest.
Keep Car Costs in Control
It’s good to know that you don’t have to become a devoted pedestrian to prevent paying a ton of money for car repairs. Yes, car and SUV repairs can be costly, but by staying on top of the tune-ups and oil changes and looking into car warranty plans, you won’t have to either drive an unsafe vehicle or rack up tons of charges on your credit card.