Owning a car comes with many costs beyond the purchase price and gas, with one of those costs being maintenance and repair. Although some maintenance and repair tasks are unavoidable, there are ways to save money on these costs, but in the interest of saving money you need to make sure you don't inadvertently make one of the following mistakes.
#1: Skipping basic maintenance
Not paying for basic car maintenance is a false economy. It may seem like you are saving money to push forward an oil change by a thousand miles, but you are instead putting the entire engine system in danger—and it is much more expensive to replace an engine than it is to get an oil change. All routine maintenance tasks, including transmission flushes, tire changes, oil changes, and general tune-ups, cost very little compared to repairing the problem that these tasks help avoid. Check your owner's manual and make a note of when general maintenance tasks are required so you can be sure to get them done right on schedule. Spending a little now can save you hundreds of dollars later.
#2: Not checking out the mechanic
Most people avoid going to the dealership for major repairs due to the costs, but you also don't want to go to just any mechanic. This can cost you big if they make a mistake and don't guarantee their work. First, always get at least three quotes. Then, before settling on a quote, find out about the mechanic. Are they ASE certified, and are they certified to work on your make of car? This is especially important if you drive certain imports, which can be very different from other vehicles. Also, what type of guarantee do they offer? A good mechanic should guarantee their work as well as the parts themselves.
#3: Buying new parts
New isn't always better, but it is almost always more expensive. If you have a major repair that needs to be done, such as installing a new transmission, talk with your mechanic about used or rebuilt parts. Some mechanics offer these as an alternative, while others will allow you to bring in a used part for them to use. (Although, be aware this can affect the guarantees on the work.) If they allow you to bring in your own part, call around to salvage yards or check in with auto recyclers online to find the best part at the best price. Keep in mind that these parts are usually sold as-is, so you may want your mechanic to check them out before finalizing the purchase.
Work with a mechanic and an auto recycler to keep your car on the road at a cost you can afford.