How to Borrow Funds for a Car Repair
It’s Monday morning, and you’ve just stepped out into the morning sun. As much as you’d like to take a moment to breathe in the fresh air and sip a warm cup of coffee, you don’t have time today because you’re late. You have a million things to do on top of a work shift that you might be on time for if everything goes your way. Jumping in the car, you’re hopeful that the day will turn around because missing your first, second, and third alarm wasn’t a great start to the week. Dead silence, or worse, a creaky, cranky yelp is all you hear as you turn the key or press the start button. You don’t have time for this; your car won’t start.
Your mind races as you think through the possible scenarios: gas tank is full, battery can’t be dead it’s not that old and you double checked your lights before calling it a night, did you check the oil? That’s right, last week you had an oil change. Having your car towed to the auto repair shop is a tummy tumbling experience, and there is never a good time to face a mechanic’s bill. When you need your vehicle to earn your living, particularly if you’re a ride share or delivery driver, having an issue with your car means losing income. Even if your work doesn’t include driving, getting to work on time is a must and with rising rent prices more and more people aren’t able to live as close to their work as they’d ideally prefer. If you don’t have the cash to cover the cost of an auto repair bill, there are options available including borrowing funds from Speedy Cash.
Auto repairs can be expensive ranging from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, and unfortunately (unless you’re a mechanic) it’s hard to know exactly how much your repair will be. It’s common for a car to go into the shop and the initial estimate to increase after work begins when new problems are discovered. If you’ve ever been strapped for cash and faced with a car repair bill, you know how upsetting that situation can feel. Luckily, Installment loans or a Line of Credit from Speedy Cash can provide fantastic lending options for qualified applicants. When considering whether taking out a loan is the best fit for your circumstances, you may want to consider the cost of the car repair, the value of your vehicle3 verses the repairs, and possible options for funding auto repairs.
How much does a car repair cost?
It’s important to find a mechanic that has a good reputation to quote all repairs. DIY jobs are possible for some repairs, but make sure that you or the person you ask to help you has experience, knowledge, and knows when to call in an expert. Taking on a bigger repair than you can feasibly complete successfully could turn out badly. However, DIY jobs can also save you a lot of money! Low-cost car repair is the best kind of car repair after all. Although it’s pushing it to call any car repair costs good.
Not into the DIY idea? I don’t blame you. Getting back on the road quickly, particularly when driving is paramount to your income, is important. You want the job done efficiently, quickly, and you want to avoid additional problems in the near future that could be the result of a botched job. Researching mechanics is a good idea before agreeing to any repairs. Sometimes larger shops will offer a car repair payment plan which can be very helpful. Smaller shops will sometimes work with you on pricing if you explain your situation (not always, but it’s definitely something I’ve personally experienced and worth a shot).
You can use a repair estimator5 like the one found on the AAA website to help you get a ballpark idea about repair costs after you find out what’s wrong with your vehicle. Most mechanics charge a diagnostic fee, but some issues can be discovered for free at an auto supply store by using their diagnostic tool. Once you know what the problem is, research repair costs and don’t be afraid to price shop! When you’re on a budget, it’s important to find a mechanic that can get your work done quickly and at a price point that won’t break the bank.
Hindsight is 20/20. Vehicle maintenance can help you avoid major repair bills along the way. Investing in routine maintenance6 can save you big bucks in the future by keeping your vehicle running like new for much longer. As your car ages, naturally certain components will need to be repaired or replaced. It’s a great idea to start a maintenance fund and save money for larger repairs like tire replacement or brake maintenance. As your car rolls down the highway, particularly when you have a job that requires putting a lot of miles on your car, wear and tear is natural. You can follow our guide to money-saving car maintenance7 and save yourself the headache of facing repairs that you weren’t expecting. Of course, things break, but keeping your car in tip-top shape starts with regular maintenance and periodic checkups at a mechanic—as your odometer hits certain milestones a checkup is recommended.
Assessing Car Value VS Car Repair Cost
It’s important to consider the price of repairs quoted in relation to the value of your car. In some situations, it may make sense to purchase a new—or used, just new to you—vehicle instead of agreeing to repairs. Finding the fair value of your vehicle can be a little bit tricky, but luckily there are resources such as Kelly Blue Book3 readily available. Prior to selling your car or getting a quote for purchase from an online or in person dealership or retailer, it’s a good idea to know what the expected value range is. You can also do research in your area by looking at the prices being asked by private sellers versus dealerships for cars that are like yours.
Keep in mind that a dealer, whether online or in person, will offer you less2 than you can potentially earn if you sell your vehicle outright. When selling a vehicle privately, there is a lot more work involved—including paperwork. It’s also important to remember that your vehicle will likely need to be inspected prior to a dealership or private buyer finalizing the purchase. Be upfront about the repairs needed to get an accurate quote from a dealership; otherwise, you might be disappointed when the final sales price is less than you originally expected.
If you choose to purchase a new car, consider the cost of the monthly payment if you do not have the ability to pay for the vehicle with cash. Your monthly budget will change if you are not currently making a car payment. Even though it may be tempting to ditch your problem car and buy a new one, that’s not always the most feasible option. As frustrating as paying for repairs on a vehicle may feel—especially if you have made multiple repairs in a short amount of time—your long-term financial goals should be kept in mind as you determine your best plan of action. A one-time car repair cost can actually be lower than a car purchase in the long run, so spend time weighing your options.
Keep in mind that purchasing a new car due to needed repairs can add extra pressure and could result in making a purchase that you will later regret. If possible, it may be best to find a way to finance or pay for the car repairs needed on your current vehicle and then save money for a car4 with less issues. After determining your vehicle’s worth, you may decide that keeping your car and financing repairs is more economical than purchasing a new car. If that’s the case, you’ll need to prepare to pay for the car repairs.
How easy is it to pay for car repair?
Once you’ve determined the cost of the needed vehicle repair and decided that repair is a better option than purchasing a new vehicle, the question remains: How do you pay for car repair when you’re short on cash? When you don’t have the funds readily available to pay for a car repair, borrowing the money may be your only option. If you’re able to borrow from friends or family and pay little to no interest, that’s going to be the best-case scenario. However, borrowing from someone isn’t always possible. In that case, you may be wondering if you can pay for car repairs in installments.
Auto repair financing is available at some repair shops as mentioned earlier. However, not all mechanics offer a car repair payment plan. A personal loan offers the freedom to pay for the repairs you need. An installment loan may be an option, offered by lenders like Speedy Cash, that can help you finance your auto repairs and pay the cost over time. A line of credit, from a lender such as Speedy Cash, is another option if you are facing an open-ended repair cost. For example, you may know that your car has an issue with the brakes but also anticipate additional issues being discovered while at the mechanic. A line of credit offers the flexibility to borrow only what you need a little at a time as the repair bills roll in. Unlike auto repair loans, a personal loan for car repair allows you the freedom to also handle deferred maintenance at the same time to avoid larger issues in the future. While your car is at the shop, handling some of your deferred to-do items might be a good idea.
No matter the avenue you choose, repairing your car is a must when driving to work or when driving your car is a necessity for your occupation. Luckily, there are options to help you when you need it most. Take a deep breath if you’re facing an unknown car repair bill and take your time doing your research. Speedy Cash is an excellent option to consider, and our team is always available to answer all of your questions.
1Yale, Aly (2022, Oct 12). When to pay for car repairs with a personal loan (and when not to) Retrieved from: https://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/when-to-get-auto-repair-loan
2Vandiver, Whitney (2022, Dec 5). Should I Sell My Car or Repair It? Retrieved from: https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/loans/auto-loans/fix-sell-car
3Kelly Blue Book Retrieved from: https://www.kbb.com/
4Frazier, Lacey (2019, Mar 1). How to Save Money for a Car in 6 Magical Steps Retrieved from: https://www.speedycash.com/resources/financial-fitness/how-to-save-money-for-a-car/
5AAA Website AAA Car Repair Estimate Retrieved from: https://www.aaa.com/autorepair/estimate
6Vandiver, Whitney (2022, Dec 15). How Much Routine Car Maintenance Costs Retrieved from: https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/loans/auto-loans/routine-car-maintenance-cost
7Sumner, Sarah (2021, May 27). 5 Money Saving Vehicle Maintenance Ideas Retrieved from: https://www.speedycash.com/resources/saving-money-tips/money-saving-vehicle-maintenance-ideas/