The best way to avoid expensive labour costs is to carry out some jobs yourself. Refer to your owners manual that came with your car. This will assist you with the basic jobs such as topping up your coolants, inflating your tyres correctly, adjusting your lights, changing bulbs or your windscreen wiper blades and choosing your motor oil. The last point is an important one as the correct oil can improve performance and reduce engine wear thus saving you more money in the long run.
For the more mechanically minded you might want to tackle some harder jobs yourself. Haynes manuals give you a step by step guide to carry out various jobs giving each task its own difficulty rating.
Whether you are technically minded or not, at some point it's likely your car will need to visit a garage. As with servicing your car, main dealers are expensive as the labour rate they charge per hour is higher than your local or specialist independent garage and they are more likely to want to fit their own original parts, rather than non branded equivalents. While it still probably makes sense to use a main dealer inside the warranty period, changes in European law mean that you are much more able to get their vehicles maintained where they like without voiding your warranty.
Halfords carry parts such as wiper blades and bulbs in stock. They also have service kits which will allow you to buy your fuel filters, spark plugs, air filters and motor oil which you may need for you service.
Parts can also be sourced online with almost every part available to you. The sites listed below give you a choice of genuine and alternative brand parts. Find out the cost of any parts needed at the garage beforehand, and to try and keep the cost down, ask the garage about the possibility of getting the parts yourself as the dealer will want to add their margin onto the parts.
Accident repair can be expensive. Most insurance policies have high excess payment in the event of a claim, and if you have any a don't have your no claims bonus bonus protected, it might not be worth while claiming as your policy will be more expensive upon renewal in subsequent years.
Most modern car now have body coloured bumpers and mirrors, expensive light clusters and large alloy wheels. Replacement parts can be expensive and the repair price is further pushed up by the labour costs of having to have the parts painted and then fitted.
It may be cheaper to source your own parts, as discussed above but this still leave the expensive labour costs and paint costs and there are few short cuts to get this down. There are now however dedicated free to use websites (listed below) to help put you in contact with car breakers. Although the parts they supply are used, they are original, will cost you a fraction of the new price (save you 40% to 80%) and more often than not, they can supply you with the correct colour required.
Here some example below of friends and family:
New car parts & maintenance
New & Used car parts
Cut Price Motoring user Feedback
Michael from Leeds comments: Halfords are extending their offer of 5% off online orders by inputting the code AFF5OFF for online orders.
Kevin from Ilford comments: I lost my car key for my VW Bora. VW wanted £110 + VAT for the key and £30 to program it. I found the key on ebay for £25. I was told I could program it myself but in the end took it to the dealer to do. Saved £105!!!!!
Kevin from Ilford comments: My last service at a VW main dealer found a leak in my radiator. They quoted me £460 total. £210+VAT for the radiator and 2 hours labour at only £110/hour!!! A bit of a shock considering it only went in for an oil service. Anyway asked them only to complete the service and then took the car to my local VW specialist as its 3 and a half years old so outside of warranty. They ordered an original radiator at cost from Eurocarparts for £110+VAT and charged me £50/hour labour. £250 total so nearly half price! It's worth shopping around!
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