How You Can Find Low-cost Auto Repair

If you are wondering how you can find low-cost auto repair, bear in mind that finding low-cost auto repair that also takes good care of your car isn’t always easy. However, we’ve taken our time to outline the most affordable auto repair shop you might want to try.

How You Can Find Low-cost Auto Repair in 2024

When it comes time to service your vehicle, there are a lot of points of confusion.

You wonder if you actually need the service or if you could at least hold out until your next paycheck.

Putting money into vehicle maintenance helps cars last. That’s especially important when the average car on the road is 12.5 years old, according to Automotive News.

But repairs can be expensive, especially with high inflation still increasing costs.

Fortunately, by having the right plan, you can save some money on your next trip to the auto body shop.

7 Tips to Find Low-Cost Auto Repair

Auto body repair can be pricey, especially if you want your car to look pristine.

However, you can cut the cost of repairs by playing it smart and knowing what to ask. With high prices in mind, consider these tips to save money.

1. Get Multiple Estimates

You will have the best opportunity of finding a good deal on a repair by getting multiple estimates.

This can also be helpful if you desire to return for additional maintenance.

You will already know which locations are inexpensive and have the level of service you’re looking for.

To get the best price for maintenance or repair, it is smart to get three to four quotes.

2. Go Local

Word of mouth matters a lot to mechanics. That’s how small-town shops get a lot of their business.

You can call multiple repair shops near you and ask for an estimate (for the repair and the hourly rate for labor). You have the right to know how much a repair costs.

If a shop won’t tell you, if they’re rude, or seem especially expensive, take your business elsewhere.

You can also ask what certifications the shop has. Are the mechanics registered with Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)?

If they are, there is still no guarantee of a solid operation.

However, these associations require mechanics to go through a certain amount of training to receive certification, so they likely know what they’re doing.

3. Check With the Better Business Bureau

On that same note, you can always check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if there have been any complaints about the mechanics or repair shops near you.

A few small complaints shouldn’t make you rule out a business entirely, but a shop that’s received a particularly high number of complaints should be avoided.

Sometimes a higher price really does equal better service.

4. Look for Reviews

Yelp or can be surprisingly helpful in your search for a mechanic.

The internet has provided people with the ability to complain or rave about a business completely anonymously and they do.

At the very least, you’ll know if someone had a bad experience with a certain mechanic or shop. However, not all mechanics are going to have a significant presence online.

In fact, the best ones might not need to have a website or a Facebook page because they already have enough business from word-of-mouth referrals.

So how do you get a word-of-mouth referral if your friends don’t drive the same kind of car? Look to online forums.

There are at least one or two active forums for every make and model of car imaginable.

If you get lucky, you’ll find a thread or two discussing mechanics in your area. If not, you can try posting and asking for a recommendation.

5. Hire Yourself

How You Can Find Low-cost Auto Repair in 2024

While major truck repair problems are going to require a mechanic, you probably don’t even realize how much you can fix on your own.

You can easily change the oil, windshield wipers, headlight bulbs, spark plugs, and more on your own. This route allows you to just pay for parts instead of parts and labor.

Luckily, we live in the age of technology where you can Google most of your problems and you’ll find a quick answer.

YouTube is also filled with helpful tutorials if you prefer to watch videos.

You can also do things like they did in the old days and read a car repair book (yes, they still exist), or even take a cheap shop class.

Community colleges and vocational schools typically offer night classes or weekend courses for under $100 that teach you the basics of car maintenance.

6. Provide Your Own Parts

Body shops have sources for obtaining new parts to repair cars. However, these may cost more because the shops add a profit margin.

Putting in the extra effort and finding your own parts can be worth the work, but it doesn’t come without its risk.

According to experts, purchasing your own parts is best for those with a specialty car or those who can and want to do the work themselves.

By ensuring you have the right parts, you won’t have to deal with returns, or at worse, put yourself and your passengers in danger.

7. See if Your Insurance Offers Discounts

Your insurance company may have a network of auto body shops that it suggests if you need repairs.

You can take your car wherever you see fit. However, using a preferred shop could make the process easier.

Depending on the type of repair and how it is funded, you could obtain a warranty on the parts.

If there are costs not covered by your insurance provider, excluding the deductible, the shops they suggest may present discounted rates to you for being a policyholder.

Organizations Offering Low-Cost Auto Repair

How You Can Find Low-cost Auto Repair in 2024

The under-listed organizations should help you handle your auto repairs at a cheap price.

1. Local Community Action Agency

These agencies are partly funded by the federal government and many operate resources that focus on employment, which will include transportation needs. 

Even if assistance with car repairs is not offered, they may instead provide bus passes or other support.

While each location will offer its own unique type and number of assistance programs, most of them do offer some type of transportation assistance and related programs.

Or if they do not directly offer the service they may have referrals to who may.

Get transportation for a doctor’s appointment, job interview, or other emergency needs in a local town or county.

Or apply for a grant or loan that can in effect pay for the repair or maintenance of your automobile.

2. Working Cars for Working Families

This organization focuses on providing used cars or financing to low-income individuals, but that may be a good place to call to learn about free auto repairs

Many organizations that focus on getting free cars to those in need have formed a coalition at

Use their nifty Find a Program tool to find agencies that provide free cars, low-cost auto repair, or low-income auto loans in your area.

A search in the Portland, Oregon, area directs users to contact Ways to Work Inc. at (503) 688-1785 for help obtaining a reliable vehicle.

According to the Ways to the Work website, “The ability to access affordable loans to purchase, repair, or refinance a car can be life-changing for working parents. 

As part of the national Ways to Work program, we’re getting parents on the road when they need it most.”

3. Lutheran Services

This is a nationwide network of human service organizations.

While the exact types of programs will vary by town, county, and state, some of the locations may be able to help with car repairs or offer referrals.

These non-profits and charities also help the less fortunate, and one service may be coordinating assistance for repairs to your automobile.

They may also offer advice on where to get a donated car from.

4. Ways to Work

Ways to Work

Ways to Work doesn’t provide free cars but they do provide small, low-interest loans to qualifying low-income applicants.

Loans will be for no longer than 30 months and no more than 8% interest.

5. 1-800-Charity-Cars

You can donate your old automobile to them, and they will then screen individuals to find the best match for your car.

While they do not directly provide for repairs, they may be able to refer the needy to local repair shops that offer assistance. They also provide low-cost cars to those who need them.

6. Non-Profit Auto Repair Shops

Depending on where you’re located, you may be able to find a non-profit auto repair shop in your area. These shops provide cheap auto repair by reducing labor costs.

Portland, Oregon, residents can find a non-profit auto repair shop across Columbia in Vancouver.

The Carpenter’s Garage has given back over $1 million to Portland and Vancouver residents in scholarships and discounted labor services.

7. Community Action Agencies

Local community action agencies provide assistance with rent, energy bills, weatherization assistance, and sometimes even help with car repairs.

Funds vary depending on your location, donation levels, and fund availability.

You can find a CAC in your area by searching your city or county name followed by “Community Action Agency.”

8. Churches & Charities

Depending on funds availability and local programs, you may be able to receive assistance from a local charity or Church.

These programs are widely varied and cannot be fully researched on this blog.

You may be able to receive assistance from St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Community Services, Salvation Army, and/or United Methodist Church Car Ministry.

These programs are not available in all areas and funding varies. In some cases, bus vouchers or other alternative assistance methods may be provided.

In summary, finding the right mechanic can take some effort, you want to know they’ll fix your car and not cheat you out of a ton of money you don’t have.

Ask your friends, family, and the internet which places are the best around you. You’ll probably get some helpful advice on a decent mechanic in your price range.

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