Being hit with an expensive repair bill is every motorist’s worst nightmare. Depending on the size of the bill, you might find it difficult or even impossible to pay. If your car is currently off the road and facing hefty repair costs, don’t despair. There are a few things you can do to spread and even lower the cost.
#1 Check your warranty
First and foremost, check the details of your warranty! New cars and even some secondhand vehicles come with warranties. Some repairs will be covered, at least up to a certain amount. If the repairs are covered by the warranty, then your troubles might be over before they’ve even begun. You’ll need to get in touch with the dealer and take things from there.
#2 Consider a credit card
Credit cards should always be treated with a degree of caution, and even more so if you’ve never used one before. Nonetheless, they are a useful way to spread the cost of repairs and provide upfront cash if you need your vehicle back on the road fast. They allow you to postpone payment, so they’re the ideal choice if you can afford the repairs but don’t have immediate access to funds. You should pay special attention to APR, look for a good introductory rate, and check for any additional fees.
#3 Apply for an auto repair loan
Auto repair loans function much like any other loan, except they’re designed specifically to finance car repairs. An auto repair loan company like OneMain Financial will provide you with the money to get your vehicle repaired and then a monthly repayment schedule. Crucially, that payment schedule is fixed, so it’s much easier to budget for than the single, lump-sum payment of the repairs. You can pay the loan off in full before the end of the term, but always make sure that there aren’t any prepayment fees.
#4 See if the garage offers payment plans
Not every garage will offer this service, but some will allow you to pay for repairs in increments. Since auto repair shops aren’t credit cards or loan companies, that payment plan will likely be bespoke and require negotiation. Make sure that the payments are within your means, and keep an eye on interest rates (as well as any other additional fees). Securing a fair payment plan from an auto repair shop cuts out middlemen, but the terms can sometimes be tricky if you don’t apply due caution.
#5 Compare mechanics
Amongst the panic of a damaged or faltering car, it’s tempting to go straight to the nearest garage for help, but take a breath. Every garage will quote you a different price for repairs, and there might even be room to haggle. Always get a second and even third opinion. Compare not just the cost but how long the repairs might take and whether the mechanic is charging for additional parts or services. A recent study found that independent mechanics are usually cheaper than chains, which is another factor to bear in mind.
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