Best Times to Save on Auto Care Services
Time and money are both key influencers when choosing a time to get your car serviced for routine maintenance and pesky repairs. No one enjoys waiting in a mechanic’s shop for hours, only to be shocked by the price of an oil change. When is the best time of the year to save money and avoid long waits?
Warm weather and slow days in the office mean more vacationers and drivers on the road. Because of this increased traffic, car repairs are more frequent, especially at repair shops near highways.
Back-to-school season is also a time to avoid. Many parents buy new cars or get their current cars in shape for the school year. Dealerships know this and increase prices for new cars and maintenance. Expect long wait lines at national chains during the weekends leading up to the start of the school year.
Instead of following the rush to the mechanic, schedule most of your repairs during the late fall and early winter, before the first snow. Many dealers offer deep discounts during this time to get people in their stores for new tires and car service. Rarely, anyone does. Most people wait until the dead of winter when their car needs a new battery or other repair.
This also tends to be a slow period for most mechanics. Families are consumed with holiday planning and hold off on car repairs until the new year. Although oil needs to be changed throughout the year, this is the best time for tune-ups, alignments and general repair. Don’t forget to haggle over price during this relatively slow period.
Other Car Tune Up Tricks To Consider
Do It Yourself
You can save up to $15 per oil change if you do the service yourself. Beginners should have no problem learning how to change their own oil. Once you get the hang of the process, it can be completed in about 15 minutes.
Once you have experience changing your own oil, you will be able to replace many of the fluids in your car. You may even consider doing routine maintenance like replacing spark plugs and oil filters. Don’t get too confident, though. You should have a professional replace your car’s breaks and complete the major engine work. Doing these services incorrectly can lead to an accident on the road.
Oil Types Have Changed
Most oils have changed to synthetic blends with extended mileage life. Traditional thinking is that a car’s oil should be changed every 3,000 miles, but modern oils can last for 7,000-10,000 miles. Check your car’s recommended schedule before you take your car to a dealer or mechanic. Many of these places still preach changing oil earlier than it needs to be done.
Use Multiple National-Chain Mechanics
If you take your car to be serviced at a national chain (Pennzoil, Jiffy Lube, and so on), be sure to have at least two different mechanics that you use and alternate between them. Many of the national chains send out money-saving coupons if an oil change is missed to get you back into their shop.
Sign Up for Rewards Programs
Many of the national chains have rewards programs that give points for routine maintenance and oil changes. These points can add up to a free oil change or alignment once enough credits are earned.
Consider a Local Mechanic
Time is a major deciding factor when people choose to take their car to a national mechanic chain. These types of shops often have more employees and can service more people per day. If you don’t mind a little bit of a wait, contact a local mechanic shop and mention that you are looking for a trustworthy mechanic for all of your auto repair and maintenance needs. If you are happy with the work, offer an occasional $10 tip, and you may just find yourself receiving some great deals and preferential treatment. Mechanics love loyal customers.
As you can see, there are a number of ways to save on routine car maintenance. Choosing the time and place carefully can make the difference between a costly oil change and a fruitful relationship with a good mechanic.
Sources (Included in hyperlinks – not meant for publication Reference*)
“Best Time To Bring My Car In For Repair” – Ward Automotive
“How To Change Your Oil” – Edmunds.com
“Stop Changing Your Oil” – Edmunds.com
“Valvoline Rewards Example” VIOC.com
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