How to Save Money on Car Repairs

Mar 2, 2011

A few weeks ago, our car started making a terrible noise.  Awful.  And, when the weather got colder, the noise got louder!

My dad drove with me one day and insisted I take the car in to get checked.  (Up until then, I had really been procrastinating because who has time for car problems?)

I took the car to our local repair shop - the one around the corner from our house.  I had to pay them $50 just to tell me what was WRONG with the car.  And, when they gave me the estimate, I literally almost passed out.

$3000 worth of repairs is what they told me!  THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!

We just got this car three years ago.

I thought I was going to be ill.

When I looked the bill over more closely, I realized that a thousand of it was maintenance stuff they were recommending.  Well, I certainly wasn't going to get any of that done.

But, that still left me with $2000 worth of repairs.


I didn't know what to do or how to make this cost any less.  So, I decided to walk into my local Advance Auto Parts store and talk to the guys there.  As soon as I told them where I had gone for the estimate, they told me, hands down, they are the most expensive place in town.  (Who knew?)  They then gave me a business card of a "guy" they like - you know, the kind of guy that does repairs on his own.  Sometimes  called a "shade tree mechanics." 

They told me that he is good at what he does and 100% reliable (which, according to them, is HIGHLY unusual in this business).

They also looked up one of the parts I needed (a rack and pinion).  They told me that, brand new, it costs $225 and that I shouldn't let anyone tell me it's more. (I went back to my estimate from the shop and they were charging me $700 for the part!)

I called this guy and he worked up an estimate for me.  For what the other place was going to charge me $2000, he was going to charge $1000.

Now, THAT is more like it!

$1000 is still painful, but in comparison . . .  I'll take it.

Not only did he charge me the accurate price for the parts, but his labor was about 1/3 of the cost of the shop.

AND, the best part?  He came to pick up my car at my house and BROUGHT IT HOME for me!

You can't beat that!!

Because my repairs were so extensive, he took my car to a shop where he works.  But, for smaller repairs, he told me commonly comes and works in your driveway.

AND, you know what's even better?  Not only did he tell us that the new parts came with a warranty, but he told us that he'll warranty his LABOR for a YEAR!

As my husband said, "Who does that???"

We took our car for an alignment the next day and the shop told us that the guy had done a good job with everything - so we know he doesn't do shoddy work.

So, if you live in the Austin area, email me and I'll give you his name and number to hang onto.

And, if you live elsewhere - my word of advice?  When you need car repairs, go to your local auto parts store and ask them for a recommendation for local mechanics.  You might just save  THOUSANDS!


Kati said...

Thanks for sharing you link on MBC! I am now a follower :)

Erin MacPherson said...

Yay! This helps so much! Thanks!! I need his number...

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