It is wonderful to have the sense of freedom that owning your first car can bring, but budgeting for car expenses in an already tight budget can cause stress. While you may be tempted to delay having your car serviced as a way to save money, you could face an expensive repair bill if your car has an issue that could have been diagnosed while at the service centre. There are three main ways, however, you can still have the service done without spending more money than you can afford.
Be Upfront About Your Budget
It may seem like a simple thing to do, but many new car owners are inexperienced when it comes to discussing the price they can afford to pay to get their car serviced. The easiest way to approach this situation is to do the following:
- Ask the mechanic how much the car service will cost.
- Ask what gets done for this price.
- Advise the mechanic what your price limit is. Ask them to stop work when they reach that price limit and not do anything further without discussing it with you prior.
The price of your car's service is going to vary depending on the model of car you own. An imported car, for example, may cost more than an Australian vehicle because of the increased cost of replacement parts.
Source Service Materials Yourself
Part of the cost of the service is the skill of the mechanic who is taking care of your car. The second part of the service cost is the materials they use. Once you have decided on who is going to do your service, discuss with them the options of supplying the materials they need to use.
The reason for doing this is that although a mechanic may receive an industry discount for buying in bulk, they will put a markup on the item so they make a profit. If you have the right resources, you may be able to purchase the item for less than they will charge you.
Perhaps you have a friend or relative who works in the automotive trade that could use their staff discount to purchase the required materials for you. Or perhaps you belong to an automotive club like RACQ that has automotive products available at a discount. Search around and see what you can find if your mechanic is willing to allow you to go down this route.
At the end of the day, you will not save money if you delay your car service long-term, but you can save money by following these two tips before you drop your vehicle off.