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5 ways to save BIG money on car repairs

Posted at 4:30 PM, Aug 13, 2013
and last updated 2014-11-05 00:26:46-05

Does it feel like every time you get a little bit of extra cash something goes wrong with your vehicle?

I found some simple ways to save on car repairs.

I spoke with customers who say every time they take their car to the mechanic, there is a whole list of things that needs to be fixed, and that "cheap" repair ends up costing thousands of dollars.

But Howard Fleishman, owner of Community Tire Pros, says the problem isn't always the car. “If you come in when a brake job is needed, you pay $100, $130. If you wait till it's too late, you're looking at paying up to $600."

Howard says many of us are doing small things to cause high repair bills including having keys that are too heavy. “The ignition switch is not designed to hold this (referring to heavy keys) and 100,000 miles later all of a sudden you're putting an ignition switch for $500.”

Another thing that needs to be maintained is your timing belt.

Howard says it’s usually $200-$300. But if you put it off, you’ll end up spending much more because you’ll need a new motor.

Also, oil changes don’t necessarily need to be done every 3,000 miles. Look at your owner’s manual. And if you’re late a few times, Howard says it won’t destroy your car, but using the wrong oil will.

Everyone needs to understand they're going to spend $800-$1,200 a year to maintain their vehicle. The alternative is to buy a new car and then you're paying $400-$500 a month in payments. With that option, your maintenance starts down the road says Howard.

He adds, “ You can't decide you're doing to drive your car 200,000 miles when it’s at 180,000 miles. You have to prepare for that at 30, 40, 50,000 miles.”