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With the recent economic downturn in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, times are tough. Millions of people all over the country have lost their jobs and don’t know when they will work again. There has been a surge in unemployment claims, and families are left worrying about money and how to keep the lights on. Presently, no one knows for sure when this will end and businesses will be able to open again. Saving money when and where possible is becoming more important as expenses are trimmed from family budgets. The family car is a large and necessary expense. Car repairs are never cheap, so knowing some ways to save money on auto repairs is more important now than ever.

Change Your Own Motor Oil

Any car repairs that you can do yourself will save you time and money. Regular maintenance of your car will help it run well and stay on the road. Changing the oil in your car every three months or 3,000 miles is vital and must be done like clockwork. The oil is the lifeblood of the car, and if it’s not changed, the vehicle will drive poorly and eventually break down.

Hit the Boneyard

When doing your own repairs, look for cheaper parts. Buying brand new OEM parts is expensive. Put your money into other areas instead of paying a massive markup for new parts. Go to a local junkyard and see if you can find what you need. Check online sources, too, like Craigslist or parts sites. The parts you find will be a fraction of the cost and work just as well. Just because something is used doesn’t mean it’s not any good.

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Make Sure It’s Necessary

Before committing to the repairs, ask yourself if it’s necessary. A shady mechanic can talk you into costly repairs that won’t make any difference in the performance of the car or that aren’t necessary at the time. Do the same even if you are making the repairs yourself—don’t commit your time and money to work that doesn’t need to be done. Things like a squeaky door hinge or torn seat cover might be annoying, but they probably aren’t worth spending hundreds of dollars to fix.

Read Reviews on Mechanics

One last way to save money on auto repairs is to check out the reputation of the garage before you take your car to them. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints filed against them. Read the online reviews, too, and see what your community thinks of their services. Never underestimate the power of the referral as well. Ask your friends if they know someone and would recommend them.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.