Accidents and mistakes happen every day, and sometimes a few seemingly small problems can end up costing you a lot of time and money. Leaving the lights on in your car can lead to a dead battery and an unexpected call to your mechanic, and stretching that oil change a few thousands more miles can do some serious damage to your car. There’s nothing more costly and stressful than dealing with an accident or other serious and unexpected auto problem.

Ideally, we’d all have a few thousand dollars saved up to use in case of an emergency, but the majority of average people would be in serious financial trouble if they had to pay for a major auto repair. Sometimes you can’t prevent these problems from happening, but you can prevent going broke from fixing them. If you want to be able to save money when you find your vehicle in need of repairs, make sure to follow these tips:

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(Caption: Image courtesy of ponsulak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Know what to look for in garages and mechanics

If you’re going to need repair work, you’ll want to get your money’s worth. Sometimes it can be tough to find a trustworthy mechanic, but if you know what to look for, you can find someone both affordable and qualified. Whether or not you’re a member, look for an AAA approved garage. They have strict standards for who they endorse, and they make finding a recommended business easy. Also, look for a shop that is ASE Certified. The national Institute for Automotive Service Excellence is an important certifying body for auto mechanics across the country.

Get a code reader to see what could be wrong with your car

When you’re trying to save money, it may seem ridiculous to consider buying anything, but a code reader can help save you hundreds on car repairs. On Board Diagnostic (OBD) scanners are used to read the built-in diagnostics you have in your car. In simpler terms, when a repair light starts to blink on your dashboard, there is usually an OBD code associated with it. The right scanner can decode these lights and often give you a clearer understanding of the problem. If you know exactly what is wrong with your car before you see a mechanic, you can avoid having to pay for unnecessary repairs.

Buy used parts

If you’re lucky enough to find a trustworthy and flexible mechanic to work on your car, make sure to get all of your repairs done with used auto parts. When you look at your mechanic’s bill, it may seem like you got charged the most for labor, but parts can make up a significant chunk of your final bill. Used parts can work just as well as newer ones, and the right used and refurbished pieces can make your car feel and work more smoothly.

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