It is not uncommon for car owners to spend, over the course of several years, almost as much money on car repairs as they spent on purchasing the actual car. Auto service is notoriously expensive in many parts of the country and can be debilitating to one's budget if it comes at an inopportune time. Knowing a little about the auto service industry and why car repair is sometimes so expensive can help you avoid overpaying for car service.
When you pay for a car repair or a car part replacement, a lot of the times what you're paying for is mostly the labor. The parts required for the job might be fairly cheap, but it is the time taken to complete the job that you're being charged for. One of the keys to saving some money on labor costs is simply to shop around. Not all auto shops charge the same for labor. In fact, labor costs differ greatly from shop to shop. There are some that will charge you $80/hr or more on major repairs, but if you look around, you might find others that charge $60/hr or less.
Another thing to be aware of is that, if your car breaks down on the road and you take it to a nearby, roadside shop, you can be almost certain that the labor costs will be overpriced. This is for the same reason that a glass of beer at a ball game will be overpriced: you're paying for convenience.
If you buy your parts directly from the shop, they will likely be marked up for profit. Some auto shops raise the price of car parts as much as 30% or more above the MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price). Additionally, some vehicles, especially older or vintage cars, will require parts that are harder to find, or are no longer made and have to be bought on special order from the manufacturer.
Now, if you want to save money on parts, it might be a good idea to ask your mechanic, after an evaluation of the car is completed, to tell you what parts will be needed for the job. Then order these parts online for a discount and have your mechanic install those instead of the shop's.
Learn Some Basic Auto Maintenance
One of the best ways to avoid expensive car repairs is to take good care of your car and learn to do some basic auto maintenance. Procedures like changing your oil when required are very easy to learn and anyone can do them. There are even simple online guides that teach you how to do many of these so that you can save yourself a trip to the car repair shop.