After finishing up my delicious roast beef sandwich with my daughter, we get up, go to the car to head back home. I slide and turn the key in the ignition and instead of hearing the flow of exhaust from a running engine it stops cold with a single click. Attempting to turn the key again, I am met with another click.
Someone else recognized my plight and politely attempted to assist me by jumping the car. However, I was already doubtful that this would even work since I had just replaced the battery last month. The guy who was helping me out hooked up the jumper cables to my battery terminals and asked me to crank the engine again. Still, I was met with just a click. By now I had accepted my fate that after 9 years of faithful service, the starter was dead and that my car was going home on the back of a flat bed tow truck.
There we were, my daughter and I rode shotgun in the front of Rodney’s truck being chased by my car which could be seen out of the back window of the truck. We arrived at my house, and my car was gently rolled off the back of the flat bed into my garage where she waited for me to get her back on the road.
In the morning, I woke up early and headed down to the discount auto parts store to pick up a new starter for the car. I came home, jacked up the car and replaced the old starter with the new. I slid the key into the ignition, to my delight I hear the car purring away like a kitten. My car started instantaneously with absolutely no delay! I returned the old part to auto parts store for my core charge and off to work I went. I pretty much had all this done before people get their first cup of coffee finished.
By doing this maintenance myself, I had saved at least in the neighborhood of $140+ in labor and the extra time of dealing with someone else to perform this labor while probing for a ride to get back to the shop once it was done to pick my car up. On top of that, shops like to put an extra charge on the part so a starter that cost me $130 probably would have ended up full retail at $250.
Once you buy a car, learn it well enough to be able to inspect the important items, change the oil and do minor repairs. The more stuff that you can fix on a car, the more you will save. Just about every car on the internet has a forum or enthusiast website dedicated to it that is stocked full of freely available information on how to work on your car. Rather it be changing out a headlight to doing an engine rebuild, someone has done it and put it on the internet. If you are lucky enough, you might even be able to find yourself a service manual freely available on these websites which enhance the definition of the scope of work you want to perform. I have had my car for almost 9 years now and have never had to take it in to get repaired. I have learned how to pretty much do anything I need to do on my car including engine rebuilds off of the wealth of resources on the internet. If you are not comfortable with using the internet, go take a course at your local community college.
The cars with less bells and whistles on it even add to the simplicity of the car repairs since it will have less points of failure. Some of the worst cars you can buy are luxury cars which tend to use bleeding edge technology and bunch of electronics. The more of a base model car that you can get, the better! The point of a car is to get you from point A to point B. For those who think that the car is the point, then they should be willing to invest the time to learn how to work on something they are so passionate about.
If you depend on a car, it is undoubtedly one of the most cost consuming item in your budget. Paying off a car is the greatest way to save money and the next would be maintaining the vehicle yourself. Although, I will add that no matter what even if you are paying the mechanic, it is still cheaper to maintain a car than it is to keep buying new ones. It is worth the investment of your time and patience to learn how to do so.