Photo Credit: Kevitivity


It’s been a bit since we had to dip into the emergency fund, but this week we’re going to have to use it. We have two used cars that have been pretty reliable, a 2000 VW Jetta and a 1994 Acura Integra. It’s about time to replace the timing belt on my Jetta. 

I scheduled the repair with my mechanic for Thursday.It should be done by 6:00pm. I wish I could postpone it a bit more, but the worst case is the engine is ruined when the timing belt goes out. In case you will have some huge car repair due down the road, here are some tips to help reduce the price of your car repair and increase the value of the service.

DIY Car Repir Tips

  • Check the tire pressure on all four tires and, if necessary, put air in them to the recommended amount in your owner’s manual.
  • Check the fluid levels (oil, wash fluid ,transmission fluid, etc) in your car and adjust as needed. When I had a longer commute, this became even more important.
  • Check, clean, and perhaps replace the air filter your car.
  • Replace your windshield wipers if they are worn. This is a relatively easy task . I’d also apply some Rain-X while I’m doing that.
  • How to Find a Reliable and Affordable Mechanic

    • Look for a quality mechanic before you need a big job done. Make sure the shop has ASE certified mechanics and experience dealing with your car’s make and model.
    • Start small and build a relationship with a shop. How was the customer service? How well did they do the job. Did they go the extra miles? If they do well with smaller repairs, it gives you a bit more peace of mind.
    • Consult your owners manual for the schedule of replacement. You want to check the recommended miles and time for replacements.
    • Price shop to double check that your price is reasonable. I still called around to see what the price range is for the repair to make sure I’m getting a good deal. Cheapest doesn’t mean quality, but I don’t want to be at the top end either.

    We’ve anticipated the car repair, but it’s still hate to see the amount decrease. I just remind myself that this repair will keep the car in good condition for years to come. Once we knock off the car loan, I’ll switch the car payment money into savings which will speed up its growth.