How Much Should I Pay for Car Repair

One of the most popular toys in history is the Magic 8 Ball. In a typical scenario, the user holds the ball in her hands, asks a question while shaking the ball, then peers through the ball’s circular window and waits for a written answer to magically emerge. As most eight-year-olds eventually discover, the mystical ball is fairly limited in the types of questions it can answer. For example, the ball is completely incapable of telling you how much you should spend on auto repairs. In lieu of this valuable decision-making tool, the following questions will help you think through where and when you should spend money on auto repairs.

Are the estimated charges in line with market norms?

Before you pay anything for a vehicle repair, be sure that the estimated costs are in line with market norms. While it’s difficult to find an exact number for what a specific repair should cost due to multiple variables, there are a number of resources that can give you a general idea of cost. Remember, it’s always possible to get a second opinion to confirm that your estimated cost is in the ballpark.

Is the repair necessary?

Unfortunately, repairs often come in bundles. But, if money is tight, you can always decide to spend less by putting off some of the less crucial repairs until later. While immediately taking care of those problems that prevent function or compromise safety, you might elect to leave the repair of that broken rear power window until later.

Is the service or repair required by your warranty?

You’ll never want to postpone maintenance or repairs that are deemed necessary by your vehicle’s warranty. Failing to adhere to maintenance and repair schedules can sometimes void warranties and service agreements.

Will the problem get worse or cause other problems?

Another type of repair that you’ll want to handle right away is one that will get worse or cause additional problems over time. Saving a little money on a repair today isn’t worth it if you’ll end up paying to fix more problems caused by your neglect.

Knowing where, when, and how much you should spend on car repairs is a difficult question, but you don’t need a magic 8 ball to answer it. Instead, consult this short list of questions. The answers may not be magical, but they should help you find a more systematic approach to spending money on repairs.


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