You take your car to the repair shop for routine car maintenance and suddenly the mechanic hands you a $600 bill. It’s a situation you may not need to imagine. If you’re like most drivers, it’s already happened to you once or twice.
Surprise car repair bills can be avoided with the right kind of vehicle service contract (also known as extended car warranties) but there are also other things you can do to keep your repair costs in order. Read on for 5 tips to avoid surprise car repair bills.
When you might get a surprise car repair bill
As AAA reports, in 2020 the average yearly cost to own and operate a car was $9,561, including car repair costs.
When it comes to repairs, here are some of the reasons why a surprise repair bill may come your way:
How to avoid a surprise repair bill
When unavoidable car repairs come up, the last thing you need is to get overcharged or pay for extras you don’t need. Here’s how you can protect yourself:
1. Make sure your car mechanic is trustworthy
Word of mouth is the best way to find a good mechanic, so ask around to friends, family and colleagues at work for the person they turn to when they need car repairs.
If no one can point you in the right direction, search online reviews, check the Better Business Bureau. Once you find a shop that has good reviews, contact the mechanic and visit the shop. Use common sense. If the shop doesn’t look presentable or the mechanic is pushy, you will want to look elsewhere.
2. Check car repair estimate prices online
Sites like RepairPal and AutoMD are super helpful for gauging how much a repair will likely cost. Knowing the charges beforehand will also allow you to keep the mechanic in check. Sometimes they don’t charge the standard amount for a repair and you’ll notice it a lot quicker if you do your research.
If you tell the mechanic, “I’ve checked online and I don’t expect to pay more than [x amount],” it’ll also help you negotiate prices.
3. Don’t buy extra services
Some dishonest mechanics will point to dirt on your car and tell you that certain parts need to be flushed just to add on more charges to your bill. You will likely be recommended extra services and you have to be vigilant to avoid overpaying.
|Note: At the repair shop, know your rights. It’s illegal for a repair shop to lie or mislead you into believing that you need extra services. For more information on your rights, or to file a complaint, contact your state’s consumer protection office.|
4. Keep an emergency fund
This tip is not so much about avoiding a surprise car repair bill as a tip on how to deal with one!
Sometimes it turns out that your car really does have a problem that you were unaware of and you’re going to have to get it fixed unexpectedly.
Beside helping you with a surprise repair bill, keeping an emergency fund is recommended for any unexpected expense, like:
- Medical expenses
- Home-appliances repairs
Start small by putting some money away each month into a high-interest rate savings account or into a high-yield savings account.
5. Invest in an extended car warranty
The right kind of vehicle service contract, or extended car warranty, is the most convenient way to avoid a surprise bill.
Shop around and get various extended car warranty quotes. You want to invest in one that provides the best value for your money where you can pay a low-cost amount every month. It should provide you transparent, comprehensive coverage for repairs and give you perks, like cash savings to put toward car maintenance costs and discounts at service providers, which helps reduce your overall costs of ownership.
Avoid surprise repair bills with Vehicle Repair Protection
Vehicle Repair Protection is a low-cost monthly subscription that offers comprehensive coverage and a wide-variety of perks through the Uproar.car membership. Trying to find a trustworthy mechanic or taking your car to several repair shops won’t be necessary to get the best deal. Your VRP subscription pays your bills directly to the shop for worry-free car repairs every time.
Uproar.car has created vehicle breakdown coverage that is simple, trustworthy and affordable. Transforming the extended car warranty marketplace through technology and transparency, Uproar.car offers a full suite of worry-free, no haggle car care plans through low-cost, 100% online, monthly subscriptions that drivers can sign up for in less than five minutes. Get an instant quote today!