Has someone asked you what it costs to own a car? If so, the first thing you must have thought of is the amount you recently spent to fill up your car at the gas station. It’s also easy to picture the price of your monthly car payments as well as the accompanying insurance bills. Yet did you know that you can also take a big chunk of your budget for vehicle maintenance and breakdown costs? Recent surveys show that most people don’t set aside money for unexpected auto repairs every month.
Keeping your car in tip-top shape is no longer optional in these challenging times. It’s now a necessity and often an expensive one. Unless you have an extra car at home or have easy access to public transportation, it would be best to check out Protect My Car reviews online to learn about the options available for you. If you’re not diligent enough, you’ll fall behind your scheduled maintenance.
Are you wondering how you can fund unavoidable expenses associated with owning and operating a car? Here are some options to help you pay for unexpected car repairs if your cash is running low:
#1 Take out a personal loan
Personal loans can come in handy for almost anything, including car repair costs. Using a personal loan for this purpose lets you pay your mechanic immediately and spread the payments out over a certain period. If you’re thinking of applying for this type of loan, pick the lender that can get you the money fast with reasonable terms. This way, you can get back on the road on the same day, if possible.
Creditworthy customers often get the lowest interest rates. However, it’s still possible to secure a personal loan with fair or even no credit at all.
#2 Mechanic financing
Some car mechanics partner with lenders to directly offer financing options. An example is a store credit card with special discounts. It could be a good way to build one if you don’t have much credit history because it’s easy to qualify for.
They may also offer a personal loan from their lending partner. This type of financing could be available for you with no interest for a few months. If you still have a remaining balance after the grace period is over, though, you will have to pay high interest starting from the purchase date. If you’re interested in funding your unexpected car repair with this, talk to your mechanic to see if you qualify for the payment plan. Ensure that you read the fine print on the contract and fully understand the terms.
#3 Use a credit card
Many car repair shops accept credit card payments for car repairs. If you already own a credit card, check with your bank if it’s possible to get a higher credit limit to cover your car repair expenses. If you don’t have a credit card yet but can qualify, consider applying for one that offers rewards, cashbacks, or mileage points. This way, you can get a little bit of benefit back from your credit card usage.
Moreover, consider those with a lower or 0% annual percentage rate. With this, you don’t have to pay interest as long as you pay off the card before the end of the introductory period. However, ensure that you will not max out your credit cards without the means to pay the balance off on time. Avoid the temptation of using your cards other than for unavoidable expenses like an unexpected auto breakdown.
#4 Consider going to pawnshops
Another way to get money as quickly as possible is through pawnshops. Having good credit is not necessary for this option. Frankly, credit checks are completely irrelevant as they’re not involved in the process at all. However, pawn shop loans will require collateral. Thus, if you can’t pay off the loan, the collateral stays in the pawn shop’s possession. This means you would have to leave valuable possessions behind, like your vehicle title.
#5 Save up an emergency fund
An emergency fund serves like an airbag in unexpected circumstances, whether to your car or anything else. Yet instead of preventing your face from hitting the dashboard, it keeps your finances from getting smashed in.
A major car breakdown qualifies as one of those times when it would be necessary to dip into your savings. Even if you don’t have much to pay the mechanic’s repair bill in full, you can still cut the cost by paying a fraction of the total amount in cash. When it comes to unexpected auto repairs, every little bit helps.
The Name of the Game
It’s easy to zero in on other important things because you’re focused on the here and now. After all, your car is not giving you any trouble, so why worry? However, your priorities can quickly change once you get stuck in the middle of nowhere or can’t get to work because of an unexpected breakdown.
The key lies in accepting that cars are not only expensive to buy, but they’re also expensive to own. So, preparation would be best to prevent costly trips to the mechanic. Keep up with your routine checks and maintenance services. Change your oil and get car tune-ups regularly. These may sound inconsequential, but they are crucial ways to detect small problems to keep them from turning into much bigger ones. Furthermore, find time to check your tire pressure and tread, and never forget to keep the air filter clean. You would be surprised at how much time and money you’ll save in the long run by keeping up with periodic car checks and maintenance.