Owning a car can make life easier in many ways, but vehicle ownership also comes with responsibility and the need for financial investments. But taking care of your car and making repairs doesn’t have to cost a fortune. A little bit of foresight and automotive savvy can ensure that you’re not emptying your bank account when auto repairs are needed. Use the following tips to help you save money on auto repairs:

Keep Up with Maintenance

One of the simplest ways to save money on auto repairs is to keep your car properly maintained. When you have all recommended services performed, parts are less likely to wear out as quickly, and small issues can be taken care of before they turn into big problems. Regular maintenance involves more than just getting an oil change– you also need to remember to do things like have the transmission serviced, the cooling system flushed, and the timing belt and spark plugs replaced. The easiest way to keep track of what maintenance your car needs is by following the service schedule in your owners manual.

Avoid the Dealership

The service center at an auto dealership can be a great place to visit while you’re car is under warranty and all repairs are covered, but after the warranty period expires it is best to avoid the dealership. It is not uncommon for dealership service centers to have higher hourly labor charges and use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, which are often more expensive than other auto part options. If your car is no longer under warranty, it is in your best interest to find an experienced local mechanic that has fair prices.

Utilize Used Auto Parts

When you’re on a budget, used auto parts can be a big money saver. If you are mechanically inclined, you may be able to visit an auto salvage yard to select and remove the part that you need. If you don’t have any automotive experience, let your mechanic know that you are interested in used auto parts; there is a good chance that he or she can source these for your repairs. Used auto parts can be an excellent value– in many cases it is possible to find used auto parts that have low miles on them and can last for a long time. Purchasing used auto parts can be an excellent cost saving measure when you need a very expensive part, such as a transmission or engine.