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Save on Car Repairs: Auto Experts Reveal the Insider Tricks That Make It Easy

Do your research and use your resources!

Repairing your vehicle has gotten even more expensive, costing you nearly $550 on average for each fix — fortunately, auto pros say there are easy ways you can cut costs and save on car repairs. Pro tip: Before paying for a fix, check if the problem is due to a recall at If it is, the auto manufacturer typically covers the repair. Read on for more expert tricks that can save you a bundle.

Dodge fake fixes and save on car repairs

If your vehicle isn’t behaving normally or you see a warning light on your dashboard, it’s smart to visit an auto repair shop and get it inspected. But watch out: Unfortunately, some unscrupulous repair shops are charging customers for unnecessary work!

In a new survey from, 35% of vehicle owners said they were scammed by an auto mechanic, with most complaints about being tricked into paying for repairs that weren’t needed, costing customers over $800 on average.

So how can you avoid these fake fixes? Always get a second opinion from another repair shop, advises David Long, owner of Omega Auto Clinic in Newton, Kansas and host of the Car Wizard YouTube channel.

“Getting a second opinion on a repair can verify if the first shop’s findings are truly valid and necessary,” explains Long, who adds: “One thing to remember when getting a second opinion is to not provide what the first shop found. Simply share with the second shop the complaint you gave the first shop and see what they find,” he advises.

“If both shops find the exact same problem, then that would be the item that needs to be repaired.”

Related: How to Open a Frozen Car Door: Auto Expert’s Genius Tip Helps You Get on Your Way Fast

Cut costs by going to the right service center

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Sometimes, it’s easy to know what’s wrong with your vehicle, for example, if you hear your brakes squeaking, you likely need new brake pads. However, if you don’t know what’s wrong, diagnostic tests at a repair shop can cost about $100.

And if your problem is unusual or the auto technicians aren’t familiar with it, you could end up paying hundreds more while they try to pinpoint the issue. Luckily, there’s an easy way to save on pricey diagnostic costs: “Head to a repair shop that specializes in your vehicle’s make,” advises Ivan Drury, director of insights for

Many repair shops are certified to work on vehicles from specific manufacturers (such as Chevrolet and Toyota) because they’ve received extra training. “This means that a mechanic that works on a certain make of vehicle on a regular basis won’t have to spend hours and hours diagnosing what’s wrong because they’ve likely seen it before,” notes Drury.

To get a list of nearby repair shops that are certified to fix your brand of vehicle, visit and enter your zip code and vehicle’s make.

Related: The Life-Changing Car-Washing Hack You Need Now — And Why You Should Use *Baby Shampoo* To Do It

Get cash back with rebates

The cost of replacement car parts has spiked by a whopping 23% since this time last year. But you can get some of that cash back by looking for rebates.

Automotive parts manufacturers issue rebate offers all the time. The reason? “They might have a surplus of an item they’d like to sell, have a new product that they’d like to encourage people to buy, want to attract new customers or encourage previous customers to buy their products,” explains Long.

And there are rebates for all sorts of parts, large and small! For example, Autolite recently offered a $48 rebate with the purchase of spark plugs. And Goodyear offered up to $200 back on a set of 4 tires.

To find rebates, visit the offers page of automotive parts store and manufacturer websites (such as and Just be sure to follow the instructions carefully, Long advises. “Rebates have very specific directions and rules that must be followed perfectly or they won’t issue the rebate.”

Consider an extended warranty and save on car repairs

If you have an older vehicle that you want to hold onto for a few more years, you may want to consider purchasing an extended warranty.

With plans that start at about $50 a month, this is a type of protection that pays for certain non-accident repairs that aren’t covered by auto insurance (such as fixing an engine or transmission), saving you thousands in out-of-pocket costs.

Another bonus: Unlike your insurance policy, your extended warranty’s rates won’t increase when you make a claim. To save the  most: “Shop around because extended warranties vary widely in price,” says Drury.

To compare auto warranty options, visit “Or if you use an independent repair shop, ask them which warranty companies are easiest to work with and cover the most,” recommends Drury.

Ask for a discount

When you need a repair, find out its average cost at, then call repair shops asking for their prices…and let them know you did your homework.

A study from Northwestern University shows that folks who make it clear they know the going rates of car repairs are given lower estimates than those who are unaware. And request a price cut! The same study found women are more likely than men to get discounts when they ask.

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