How to fix your car if you can’t pay for it at the moment
Accidents happen, “check engine” light goes on, there’s a weird noise coming from the bottom of the car. Or you just need new brakes and it’s not safe to keep driving with the old ones. There are many things that might go wrong with your car and, according to Murphy’s law, this wrong thing will happen at the wrong time. Like when you are short of cash and you have to think about how to pay for car repairs with no money.
The national average for car repair costs in 2020 was roughly $377 ranging from $342 in Ohio to $411 in California. And even without any accidents, the cost of the average car maintenance is about $1200 per year, according to the 2017 AAA survey.
Where to get the money, the mechanical labor, or the parts if you can’t pay for any of it?
Before you get all anxious about your car repair costs, you should check your car insurance policy. If you were paying for “mechanical breakdown insurance” you are entitled to up to 75% coverage from your insurance company. While this insurance does cover mechanical and electrical issues, it won’t pay for any damage from a crash or poor maintenance.
Another thing to watch out for is a referral to an auto parts shop from your insurance company. If the company insists they have approved and trusted auto parts, you must consider taking your car to any other shop. Because it literally means the service will have your insurance company’s best interest at heart and not yours.
Friends and family
In times of hardship, it’s nice to know you can rely on your loved ones. Perhaps your friends are good with car mechanics and they can lend you a hand. Or they know someone else who can help you out. It’s sometimes possible to make arrangements that won’t include actual money and it’s ok to ask for favors granted you are prepared to return them.
Maybe your local body shop needs your services or your professional help and you can agree to exchange your services with no money involved.
If there are no options to cut the cost through insurance or friendly help, there is still an option of borrowing the sum you are missing to cover the repair costs. To apply for a personal loan you have to be 18 and older, permanently residing in the states, and have a permanent address. For the loan, you might ask from traditional institutions you’ll need at least a good credit score. In case your credit is less than good, you can still apply for an online payday loan. This way you can repair your car when you have to, and pay for it from your next paycheck. Unlike a personal loan, this option is available to those with poor credit history, you just need to prove you have a stable income.
Auto title loan
There is a chance you can get the auto title loan if you are sure you can pay it back within the period in the contract. In this case, your car title is the collateral and you can lose ownership over your car if you don’t follow through. On the bright side, you can fix your car immediately and pay for it within a month.
The credit card system is nothing new. Now, there are credit cards specifically for car service and maintenance purposes. With that kind of card you can pay for gas and other car-related expenses and it’s easy to apply for it online. There is no hard credit check of the prequalification stage, but you do need a good credit score to move from thereon. The APR is usually around 30% and there are some additional fees.
Predatory lending practices and other concerns
You already know better than using your insurance company’s trusted auto parts shop. And you don’t expect any predatory behavior from your friends and family members. So what are those predatory lending practices you need to be aware of?
First of all, read the agreement and don’t rush into deals you’re not feeling comfortable with. Also, it’s important to remember your car title might be on the line and you can lose the car altogether. There’s a risk of rolling over your payments which will make the loan more expensive.
In order to repair your car at normal costs, you have to actively participate in the process. Look for necessary auto parts at lower prices, negotiate with your mechanic or take your time to find an even more understanding mechanic.
It’s important to know you have options and be cautious of any solution you are about to choose for fixing your car with no money.