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Let’s face it … if you own a car, then you will need to spend some money on maintenance. There is just no getting around it.
Oil changes, new tires, brakes … the list can go on and on. And those are just the small things that need to be replaced or fixed on an automobile.
All of these small expenses can really add up. That is one of the reasons why my wife and I would like to own only one car – which isn’t an option right now.
Then there are those other expenses that can crop up with a vehicle, that are even higher than your normal maintenance.
I went through a scenario like this recently where I thought I may need a new car!
The Cost of Maintaining a Car
Earlier this week, I went to get into my car to run some errands. Before I got out of my driveway, I noticed a huge puddle of transmission fluid under my car and immediately thought the worst.
It was time for a new car!
I have been driving my car for over 16 years now. It gets great gas mileage and has been paid off for about 10 years now.
So while I would love to have a new car to drive to work, it just hasn’t made sense to take on a new car payment.
But lately I have been thinking …
No car payments have been great! But … the cost of maintaining a 16+ year old car with 160,000 miles on it is starting to add up.
It seems that every couple of months, I am spending money fixing something. At some point, the maintenance costs will no longer be worth the trade off of not having a car payment.
Fortunately, the repairs on my car this time ran under $200. I was expecting it to cost over $1,000.
Why was it so much less than what I expected? Because I finally found a local mechanic who was fair and reasonable.
Finding a Good Local Mechanic
If I needed a new transmission, then it would not have mattered what mechanic I used to look at my car. However, since it was actually a busted hose instead … I felt it was worth the cost to fix it and keep driving my car.
In the past, I would have probably went to a chain auto shop that would have charged me over $500 to repair my car.
I know this because I have blown a bunch of money at these types of places … only to find out I overspent.
The markup these types of places charge is unreal.
Fortunately, I decided to do some research and ask around for recommendations on mechanics. I found one that was well respected, did great work, and charged a fair price.
I figured I saved $500 to $1,000 just by going to a new mechanic!
All this got me thinking … it would have been nice to have taken my vehicle to this mechanic in the past. I probably would have saved thousands and thousands of dollars.
Then I thought … what other types of services around my home could I look for local and reputable workers to hire? Instead of panicking and calling the first company I could find.
Hiring Local Workers
I wanted to put together a list of potential services that I may need to do work in and around my home. These services are anything outside of the normal day to day items.
For example, I will cut my own grass and don’t really need to hire that work out. But on the other hand, I don’t know much about heating and air conditioning … so I would likely need to hire out any work that needed to be done.
Over the next couple of weeks, I plan to do some research and put together a contact list for the following types of services.
While I may not need this type of work done anytime soon around my home … I would rather be prepared to save money and stress.
- Mechanic – for all your automobile maintenance costs
- Plumber – never had the need for a plumber … yet
- HVAC – we ended up having our furnace go out earlier this fall and paid $600+ for service
- Electrician – have not needed an electrician but you never know when you might
- Handy Man – for miscellaneous tasks (ie. drywall) that I can’t do around the home
I am sure this list will grow as I sit down and think about it. I already realized I need someone to do some siding and gutter work on the outside of our home soon.
Eventually, I am going to need to buy another car. The cost of continuing maintenance on a 160,000+ mile car will not be worth it one day in the future.
For now, I will take advantage of my new local mechanic to help fix and repair my vehicle when it needs it. I only wish I would have found him sooner.
Now that I have a mechanic I know charges a fair price for good service, we began thinking of other work around the house we eventually need to hire out.
I have started to compile a list of service professionals that I can count on in a time of need for home and car emergencies. Plumbers, electricians, HVAC, and a general handy man are all on this list.
Do you have a local mechanic, plumber, carpenter, etc. that you go to when you need repairs? What other services can you think of to add to the list?