Many people are shocked when they get the bill from the mechanic or even the estimate. If the car repairs go so far as transmission repair and maintenance you can expect quite the bill to come back. Even the smaller pieces such as brake pads and windshield replacement and repair can add up quickly. Brake pad replacement can cost $100 to $250 per axle (learn more here) and windshield replacement is usually around $100. It seems almost ridiculous that certain things cost as much as they do. It might even seem like your mechanic is overcharging, but often the placement of certain parts or the work it takes to figure out what is wrong is what really adds up more than the repairs themselves. Staying on top of things like oil changes can help you save money and keeping up with wheel alignments can help you avoid expensive repairs, but you should understand why repairing a car costs so much.
The Price of the Parts
The price of parts is a small piece of the puzzle. If you drive a foreign car the parts will likely be more expensive than a local made vehicle. Smaller mechanics might even charge more for certain parts because they cannot buy them in the same quantity as other players. This tends to add up over time.
Car paint jobs are another pricey part of repairs. The way the paint must be put on is expensive as well as the type of paint. It needs to be able to stand up to the elements over time and handle flying rocks and other dangers that cause chips. Auto body shops often charge significant amounts for new parts especially if you have any kind of custom paint color. You can save some money by going and finding the replacement pieces off old cars at a junk yard. You will be more successful if you drive a more common car, the rarer the vehicle, the harder it will be to find the parts and the more expensive those parts will be. Check out the following site if you are trying to decide whether to go with Maaco vs an independent shop.
The Labor Factor
The labor is what really adds up when it comes to getting your car fixed. Mechanics charge a significant amount per hour to make up for all the schooling they have gone through and the time they spend without a car to fix. The thing is, it is not like changing the filter in a coffee pot, often you have to take out other pieces of the vehicle to get to what needs to be fixed. This then adds up to more hours and a larger bill. For example, tinting a car’s windows uses very little material/tools, but still costs around $200 due to the amount of labor required to complete the job. www.WindowTintingPricesData.com has more information about the process and what affects the price.
You need to understand the anatomy of the vehicle in order to understand why certain repairs take longer than others. The easier it is to get the parts that need to be adjusted or changed, the less time you will have to pay for. If your car needs its transmission fixed, it will likely be quite a hefty labor bill – an average of $1,500 according to Transmission Repair Cost Guide. If you know how to do the maintenance on your own you can save some money.
Big Problems from Small Problems
Often preventative maintenance can save you from wracking up the larger vehicle repair bills. If you keep up with oil changes, spark plug replacement and sensors you can avoid the problems inside your engine. Not only are these pieces harder to get to but they are also harder to diagnose. This often means the mechanic must pull apart multiple pieces in order to get to the problem or even figure out what the problem is. This adds up on labor, then parts and you may be without your car longer, costing you a rental car on top of everything else. Check out this oil change coupon list to see if you can save some money on your next oil change.
Sometimes cars end up getting pieces fixed that are not even broken in order to figure out what the problem is. This type of diagnostic information is somewhat easier to assess now that there are computers, but often there is a line of things that are wrong causing the bigger problem. The computer might say one thing is wrong but really the one thing leads to another, leads to another. This makes the estimate go through the roof and slowly causes the time frame of getting your car fixed expand.
It is still shocking when you get a vehicle repair bill and it is tons of money. Often it is too late to consider trading in the car as you have now re-invested in fixing the one you have. Once you have experienced a bill like that, you will likely become much more diligent about keeping up with the service schedule. Staying on top of your tires and other service needs is your first step in not receiving a shocking maintenance bill. The time you will spend and the little bit of money it costs to do the things ahead of time far beats out the alternative. Don’t learn the hard way, keep your car in good repair and avoid ever getting the bill every car owner dreads. If you car is completely broken down, consider looking into new car financing but make sure you’re aware of the ups and downs of financing so you can determine if 0% car financing is a better deal.