Consumers who are Careful with Car Care May Find Quick Cash

Finding quick cash may be as easy as looking to the hefty cost of maintaining a vehicle. In today’s market everyone is looking to save money. Most people suffered during the recession due to the hefty unemployment rate and home-value losses. They had to quickly go through their cash reserves to maintain their budgets and keep on track with expenses. The difficult financial time left people with much smaller nest eggs, and now they are trying to build up those accounts. One way is to look at car maintenance. Without knowing it, many consumers are wasting hundreds, even thousands, of dollars a year in costs that could be minimized.

Ways to find money – Consumers have a wide variety of options

Auto repair shops are notorious for costing consumers money. Though a car owner may need service, one thing his or her shop may not tell them is that they are at the wrong location. A consumer can take a vehicle to a dealer, a chain, a service station or independent mechanic for care. Each one will adamantly try to convince a potential customer that they are the perfect solution to the problem. Not every place that works on cars, however, should work on them for every problem. Work that is under warranty should always be brought to the dealership. Dealerships normally work hardest to keep customers coming in. They want family and friend loyalty. For this reason, they employ the best-trained and most knowledgeable mechanics who are well-versed in their models. The problem with the service, however, is that dealer overhead is usually high. Any parts not covered under the warranty will come with a top-dollar price tag.

Additional certificates are not always what they seem

Everyone has seen the independent repair shops with various certifications on their front window. They may boast special seal of approval or training. Recent studies show that these aren’t always what they seem. For example, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, or ASE, certifies technicians in eight different specialties. When studied though, only 33% of ASE-certified shops required that their mechanics have the full eight-specialty training. Most had a few classes, but few had the full-service capability their certification claimed. When looking for money now, consumers need to do some research on what exactly they are getting. It’s always a good idea to ask questions like when certifications are up, when workers have to re-certify, and what the certification actually means.

How mechanics operate when they don’t know

Of course, then there is the age-old tactic of mechanics adding repairs to the original estimate. Recent surveys done by the Bureau of Automotive Repair, BAR, showed that consumer complaints about automobile repair shops are on the rise considerably. In 2008 there were 1,698 complaints listed and in 2009, that number rose to 2,689. The survey also showed that when 43% of mechanics don’t know what the problem is, they begin testing various methods of repair. Of course that adds to the overall cost and the consumer ends up paying for it. The way to avoid this is to get two estimates for repair and then compare them. It’s a good way to make sure a repair shop is honest and to hold them to the original estimate. Shops can be more willing to work with customers fairly if they know up front that the consumer already has a backup plan for service if they don’t work out.

Maintaining financial security

Finding quick cash is difficult in the recession, and vehicles can be huge money drains. It’s important for consumers to be careful where they drop off their cars and who is doing the repairs. Complaints are on the rise and that means that more service shops are pushing the borders in terms of bringing in as much revenue as they can. Without some clear-cut and determined consideration, consumers will continue to lose money on their cars. And in today’s market, losing money anywhere can be critical to a consumer’s financial well-being.

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