How To Pay for Car Repairs

Car Repairs

Car repairs can be unexpected and expensive, but they are also essential. One survey found that 76% of American commuters rely on their personal vehicles to get to work each day. Having an operational car allows you to earn money, pick up your kids from school, and run errands. 

Covering the cost of car repairs can be stressful for some people; fortunately, you have options to save money and pay for these repairs in a timely manner. 

How Much Do Car Repairs Cost?

As of 2023, the average consumer spends $548.32 on car repair when something goes wrong with their vehicle. Cars are complex machines which means they can experience a variety of problems. Your car repair bill could be much higher or lower than this average amount depending on the source of the issue. Replacing your brakes could cost around $500 but a new timing belt could cost up to $900

The source of the issue isn’t the only determinant of repair cost. Certain automobile makes and models cost more to repair. The issue could be more complex for more advanced vehicles, or the parts could cost more. This is why it’s important to have a trusted mechanic to repair your car — no one wants to pay more than they have to.  

Using Credit To Pay for Car Repairs 

One of the easiest ways to pay for car repairs is with a credit card. Most auto repair shops accept credit cards because it allows them to get paid immediately for the work. If you have a credit card that allows you to earn cash back or rewards points, you can use these credit card incentives to cover part of your bill.

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Despite their ease of use, credit cards come with their own set of risks. If you are not able to pay off the balance on your credit card quickly, you will accrue interest on the debt. Your car repair could get more expensive the longer it takes you to pay it off. Try to have a payment plan in place for yourself when you swipe your credit card to cover the car repair cost. 

Talking To Your Mechanic About Financing  

Another option is to speak to your mechanic about paying for the repairs in installments. Some repair shops offer their own financing options if you’re unable to pay your bill at once. 

The main benefit of this option is that you get your car repaired and don’t have to worry about securing financing from a credit card company or lender. However, you also need to trust that your mechanic is offering you a fair financing rate. You could end up paying more than you would if the interest offered by the repair shop is higher than other lenders.

Taking out financing through the mechanic also creates another stream of debt for you. You don’t want to forget about these payments. If you were to pay for the repairs through your credit card, a larger portion of your debt would be in one place

Nonprofit Assistance for Car Repairs

If you are unable to pay for your car repairs but a vehicle is essential where you live, ask your community for help. There might be nonprofit organizations in your region that help families in tight financial binds. These organizations know that having access to a vehicle is essential to get to work, feed one’s family, cover housing costs, and avoid falling into deeper debt. 

If you can’t find assistance to cover the repair costs or your car is broken beyond repair, look into Free Charity Cars. This organization, amongst others, helps families in need get reliable transportation. 

Using a Loan To Pay for Car Repairs

You also could take out a loan to cover your car repairs. Several loan types can give you the funds you need, but each loan comes with its pros and cons. Learn about your different loan options to discover which ones are best for you. 

Title Loans 

When you take out a title loan, you give your car’s title to the lender. The lender holds on to the title and essentially owns your car until you’re able to pay back the loan. These are usually small, short-term loans so the lender doesn’t have to hold on to the car very long. 

One of the potential drawbacks of these loans is that your car might not be valuable enough to cover the cost of repairs. If your car is older or damaged, it might not be enough for the lender to approve the financing. 

Secured Loans

A secured loan is backed by your collateral, which are assets that the lender claims if you can’t pay back the money. For example, if your family has two cars, you might be able to use one car as collateral to secure a loan to repair the other. Secured loans are often perceived as safer for lenders because they will get something back if you default on your payments. 

If you have invested in the stock market, or own shares within a company you might be able to take out a stock loan. Stock loans are secured loans against your shares. Instead of selling your shares, you can borrow against them. Use the stock loan calculator to see what size loan you can take out. 

Unsecured Loans 

Unsecured loans do not rely on any form of collateral but rather use your credit score to determine your borrowing power. The lender needs to trust that you will pay back the loan because they get nothing if you default on your payments. Some examples of unsecured loans include credit cards and student loans

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While these loans are less risky for borrowers, they could be more expensive to take out. Lenders might charge more for unsecured loans to ensure they recoup more of the funds. Additionally, it could be harder to take out an unsecured loan if you have poor credit. 

Payday Loans  

Payday loans, also known as cash advance loans, allow you to access the money from your paycheck as soon as you receive it. It can sometimes take a few days for money to clear your account, and some people can’t wait that long. Instead of bringing your check to the bank, you will bring it to a cash advance center. 

While payday loans allow you to pay for your car repairs immediately, they are also one of the most expensive financing options. The high fees and interest rates could cause you to spend more than you expect. 

No one looks forward to paying off an unexpected car repair; however, these bills are a part of life. By understanding your financing options, you can make smart choices to save money and get your car running again.


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