You already know that it’s a bad idea to skip service appointments. Some people think they can save money this way, but you’re really going to end up spending more in the long run. Preventative measures are always going to cost more than repairs.
So, what do you do when you’re on a tight budget?
Well, fortunately, there are ways to save money while still servicing your vehicle.
Here are some tips:
1. Do your own service work
If you’re handy with a wrench at all, you may want to take on some of the service work yourself. And even if you’re not handy, virtually anyone can learn to do an oil change. And that alone can save you a lot of money over time.
Let’s say an oil change is $30 (this will vary based on your vehicle and where you live). And five quarts of conventional motor oil might set you back $15.
The amount of oil you’ll need will be based on your vehicle, and it can vary drastically. An economy car might need 3.5 quarts while a larger sedan might need 5 or more.
But if you can save $15 or more with every oil change, that’ll really add up over time. If you get an oil change every month, that’s $180 in your pocket at the end of the year.
And oil changes aren’t the only service you can handle. You can DIY services like changing the windshield wipers, checking and changing the car battery, replacing the air filter and changing headlight bulbs. Is it time to change the AC filter? You can probably handle that job too.
Each of these services will probably cost almost double if you have a mechanic perform them, but when you DIY, you can save big.
When you do have to pay for someone else to service your vehicle, look for deals. You can find them in the local newspaper, coupon mailers or online. Always visit a company’s website before bringing your car in. They often have coupons listed there too.
3. Ask for deals
You might get a deal based on another membership you have. AAA is an organization where membership will often come with perks like discounts on automotive services. Costco is another. Think about the memberships you have and research which ones come with deals on automotive services. You really don’t have to pay full price.
4. Consider paying cash
When you finally do find a place to service your vehicle, ask if they offer a cash discount. Many companies will offer a considerable discount on cash sales, partly because they don’t have to pay the fees associated with processing your credit card. But you should always ask. Not every company will do this, and it’s usually the smaller businesses that will offer this type of discount.
5. Join a rewards program
If you find the best deal at a larger auto repair shop, they might have a rewards program. This is common on regular services like oil changes, but you won’t find it everywhere. Still, if you can combine a rewards program with a coupon or cash discount, you might be able to save a significant amount of money.
Not only can you save money by performing some auto services yourself, but you might even be able to make some money by doing them for your friends. At the very least, you can become the most popular neighbor on the block.
And if you do have to take your car in for service, never pay full price. There are always discounts to be had, so go through this list until you find one.