Consumer Reports estimates that, on average, auto repairs cost drivers 4% of the yearly cost to own their vehicles. So, even if you drive one of the least expensive cars, you could still spend a couple hundred bucks a year or more on car care. Throw in a blown tire or a dead battery, and that number can quickly blow your budget. Here are some ideas for how to manage your car care.
KEEP A MAINTENANCE CALENDAR
Start with your owner’s manual for details on regular upkeep. Or try out free apps to help you track your repairs and make a checklist of upcoming fixes you need to save for.
FIND A COOL MECHANIC
Instead of rushing into the arms of the first mechanic you see when an emergency hits, find a repair shop before you need one.
- Ask around. The opinions of trusted friends and family members should carry more weight than strangers on Yelp (but still check Yelp, obviously).
- Hit up the Better Business Bureau. Scour the Better Business Bureau for common complaints about local mechanics to know which auto repair shops to avoid.
- Don't wait for an emergency. Narrow your options then see how well you like a particular shop with small tasks before the bigger repairs pop up.
STASH SOME CASH
We know, another thing to save for! But think about how important your car is to you, and consider how much you depend on it to get around. Chances are that even if you are a perfect driver (aren’t we all?) something can happen out of your control that leaves you needing money for a repair. Car maintenance costs can add up quickly; better to have some savings on hand rather than max out your credit cards.
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