It’s never fun to be surprised with an expensive vehicle repair right when you least expect it. Many repairs can be quite extensive and can completely bust any budget you may have been working hard towards. That’s why it’s important to plan for the inevitable ahead of time by budgeting for car repairs.
This will give you a cushion to bounce back on in the event of an emergency, whether you need an engine repair or a brake replacement. Don’t get sidelined by an expensive visit to the repair shop. Make car repairs a part of your overall budget, right alongside your mortgage, rent or car payment.
Here are some tips as you prepare a budget for vehicle repairs, inspections, regular service and maintenance in Fort Worth.
1. Make an Emergency Fund
If you own a car, you need an emergency fund. Just like you should have a cushion in your budget for unexpected household expenses, you should have a fund for vehicle repairs. That way, you will have some money to dip into should you need it unexpectedly. You can create a separate emergency fund just for car repairs, or make one big one that covers all household expenses.
The best way to do this is to create a separate bank account, and name it Emergency Fund. Throw $100 in there to start, and add a little bit to it each month. Even a few hundred will make a difference. Just be sure to keep adding with each paycheck. After you use up the money for one repair, start saving right away because you know another one is on its heels.
2. Create a Specific Line Item Each Month
As with any budget where you add line items for groceries, mortgages, entertainment and clothing categories, you should add one specifically to help with vehicle repairs. Come up with an amount you can afford out of each paycheck, and add that every single week. You can make adjustments as you go forward, but the key is to stick to the budget.
Now you’ll be well equipped to tackle any repair that crops up. Did you know that the most common vehicle repair is ignition coil and spark plug replacement, at $400? This is second only to catalytic converter replacement at a whopping $1400.
3. Know Why Auto Maintenance is Important
Following the recommended manufacturer’s schedule of maintenance could save you a lot of stress, headaches, time, and money later on. Bring your car in for regular tune ups and checks so your Fort Worth mechanic can spot issues before they become expensive and complex. You don’t want to be faced with an unexpected major breakdown that puts your vehicle in the shop and you stranded for a ride.
In the event you need a rental car to fill in the gaps, that vehicle repair emergency fund will come in handy for that as well.
How Can You Reduce Car Repair Costs?
After creating a budget, you may wonder: how can I reduce the chances that my car will need an unexpected repair? While many repairs are simply inevitable – just like household expenses such as basement flooding after a storm or a new roof after a major leak – you can take steps to limit the risk of vehicle failure by heeding these tips.
1. Do it Yourself
If you’re handy and have some supplies on hand, you can perform some of the repairs and maintenance tasks on your own. Yes, most repairs should be performed by a professional, but you can address some small issues over time to avoid a costly repair. You can save on the labor costs when DIY’ing a car repair, but you will have to devote more time on your end.
2. Change the Oil
Many car owners neglect simple tasks such as changing the oil. Again, while you can bring your car to a professional for an oil change, you could technically handle it yourself and save a few bucks. Either way, you can’t neglect the importance of adding fresh oil so that your engine runs in optimal condition. Oil changes should be performed every 5,000 to 6,000 miles, but don’t forget to check the oil in between those formal changes. Keeping your car healthy on a regular basis is critical.
3. Check Tread and Tire Pressure
Tire rotations can be done at the same time as oil changes. This ensures even tread wear and saves you money down the line on premature tire replacement. Even wear also contributes to safety while driving so you don’t risk a blowout or even poor gas mileage.
4. Clean Air Filters
The air filter is designed to keep pollutants out so they don’t infiltrate your car’s important components via the vents. You should be changing your air filters once a year at the very least. Not only will you and your occupants breathe in clean, fresh air, you will give your AC system a break so it can work more efficiently without straining.
5. Take Your Car in For Tune Ups
Just like you go to the doctor for regular checkups, you should take your car for regular checkups by a mechanic. A licensed mechanic will inspect your whole vehicle, checking the condition of all systems, identifying potential problems, and ensuring your car is in optimal shape.
Contact Rick and Ray’s Auto Plaza
We know how expensive car repairs can be. That’s why we offer affordable financing options such as EasyPay Financing for peace of mind. To learn more, contact us in Fort Worth today. From air conditioning and steering repairs to electrical and suspension systems, we can make any repair you need in an efficient and timely manner. We will also give you a detailed invoice of what we performed along with the costs of each line item to keep you in the loop about where your money is going.