Car Maintenance Costs – 10 Strategies to Save Money
How much do you spend on car maintenance each year? Research released by Kwikfit in June 2018 suggests motorists spend an average of £162 per month running their car, excluding the purchase cost itself. Whether or not your own car maintenance costs are that high, you’ll probably agree that it’s probably one of the larger expenditures out of your budget every year.
The good news is that there are ways to save money. Here are our tips to save on car maintenance costs.
1. Don’t leave maintenance jobs too late
Address any damage or wear and tear as soon as you spot it. When you allow something to deteriorate, it becomes more costly to fix. For example, if you do not replace worn brake pads promptly, the delay could lead to disc damage which is far more expensive. Regular car maintenance should result in lower repair costs in the long run.
2. Read your car maintenance guide and keep on top of scheduled checks and services
If you have a newer or a more valuable car, you may prefer to go to a franchised dealer for service and repair. Even though this may cost you more in the short term, in the longer term it helps to maintain the value of your vehicle. Some buyers prefer to see a full manufacturer’s service history, which could mean higher residuals for you.
As your car gets older and the mileage increases, you might save money by finding a reputable local garage that you trust, instead of going back to a franchised dealer. At this stage, it probably won’t impact the resale value too greatly.
3. Shop around for tyres for extra savings
When you change your tyres, make sure to shop around and get plenty of quotes. The prices you’re quoted can vary hugely. Some suppliers may offer to price match – it’s worth asking. There is room to haggle on tyres!
Have a good look online at specialist online tyre retailers such as www.mytyres.co.uk or www.blackcircles.com; you may find a bargain.
4. Save money by doing a Pre-MOT Check
When you take your car for an MOT, make sure you don’t fail on silly little things that can easily be sorted out before you go. Check things like bulbs, tyres and wipers. Even if the garage offers you a free retest, they may first charge a premium to make these small fixes. It can be inconvenient to fix elsewhere and then return for the MOT.
Read our advice on 10 Really Easy things you can Check before your Car’s MOT
5. Find a reliable garage/mechanic and compare prices for car maintenance work
Use recommendations for a great local car mechanic and check review sites such as Trust Pilot, feefo and Checkatrade. If you leave reviews and give personal recommendations about a mechanic you trust, they may give you better deals on the basis of your valued custom and feedback.
You should definitely look at both independent and franchised garages and make comparisons. There are some great independent specialists for prestige vehicles like BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar. Check on Google to find someone in your area. One great thing about using an independent specialist is that they will often offer you the option of using manufacturers’ or aftermarket parts. This means that you can have your car repaired with original parts if you wish but save significantly on labour costs.
Remember that if you need warranty work, most local garages (even if they are specialists) are not authorised to do these repairs by the manufacturer.
If you need a specific part quickly your decision may be made for you depending on who has the fastest access. Don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal if you have been quoted a cheaper price elsewhere.
6. Do your homework on standard charges to save on car maintenance work
If you feel that a mechanic is suggesting unnecessary work, check it out by getting a second opinion.
You can benchmark a price by getting online quotes through comparison websites such as Whocanfixmycar.com or Bookmygarage.com. You do not have to use their garages, but it may give you a better idea of the price you should be paying.
Did you know that you can also book a mobile mechanic? They come to your house and repair your car on your drive. Because they have lower overheads they are sometimes more cost-effective and could be more convenient for you. Find one in your area via clickmechanic.com
7. Save Money on Parts
If you want to shop around for the parts your mechanic needs, you may be able to get a better price and save some money. Check sites like ebay.co.uk and eurocarparts.com. If you are not very experienced and are not sure what questions to ask, you may want to ask for advice from someone you know who makes these types of purchases more frequently. Always ask your mechanic if he will use your own parts before purchasing, as some only accept parts that they ordered themselves.
8. Take some preventative measures
Rubber mats and seat covers can protect the fabric inside the vehicle – particularly if you travel with children and pets. Living with seat covers may not be very stylish but it could improve the resale value of your car.
Check your oil level because the potential damage to an engine, if you are too low on oil, can be expensive – possibly even terminal.
9. Is it economical to purchase an extended warranty?
By purchasing an extended warranty you can save money on unexpected repairs as the cost is covered by the warranty. You don’t have to buy this from the car manufacturer – there are many providers. Shop around as some may offer greater value in price or in what is covered. Pay very close attention to what is not covered, as getting the right warranty cover could save you significant amounts of money when something goes wrong. For example, some of the after-market warranty products will exclude wear and tear so are probably not a great purchase if your car is older or has higher than average miles. Check Moneysaving Expert for some car warranty options.
Time is money, so DIY maintenance may not be your thing. However, if it is a simple task there are many resources online including youtube.com, with straightforward guides that you can use time and time again. A little bit of skilling-up comes in handy and can help you save, as long as you don’t mind getting your hands dirty!
So to sum up, shop around, do your research and make any repairs as soon as possible. Remember that for younger cars, manufacturer-approved services and repairs can help hold more value in the vehicle. Saving money on your car maintenance costs will take away some financial stress and let you focus on driving.