Owning and driving a European imported automobile such as a Mini Cooper, Audi or BMW is an expensive luxury. With today’s public transportation in the USit’s still a lot easier to commute to work with a dependable automobile— doesn’t hurt to have a little fun – and many drivers prefer the look and feel of European brands!
But even European cars are not 100% reliable and certainly not immune to wear and tear. Not only do you need to budget for routine maintenance, but occasionally bad luck strikes.If your clutch part fails or the exhaust’s muffler takes a hit on the freeway, you could end up unexpectedly forking out hundreds of dollars.
Luckily, there are some great ways to save money on the cost of repairs. Unfortunately, some European brands are unavoidably expensive, such as BMW, Audi, and Mercedes, but a few can be considered in the affordable range such as Mini Coopers and Volvos.
Both Volvo and Mini Cooper have their own advantages and appeal to their own markets. Mini Coopers tend to be a little more ‘fun’ and sporty, great for a commuter who doesn’t also have to drive around family or large equipment.
1. Buy an Extended Warranty for Your Car if Possible
Just because the dealer did not mention a warranty, it doesn’t mean that your vehicle has no warranty. Many pre-owned cars still have an automatic warranty, so check before you panic.
If you buy your car from a dealer, they may offer you an extended warranty. At first glance, this may seem like an unnecessary expense, but try to look beyond the out of pocket expense.
Think about whether you can afford repairs if something major goes wrong while also still making the payments on your loan – would you be up to the financial creek without a proverbial paddle if your car’s transmission broke down?
Parts involved in that kind of repair could cost you upwards of $3000. So invest in an extended warranty for extra peace of mind.
2. Buy Parts Online or Even Used Parts
Even that extended warranty will only last so long and is probably restricted to cover certain parts and not others. When it’s your turn to foot the bill, you should do a little research like any responsible car owner.
Usually, parts bought even similar quality OEM Marts bought from an online retailer will cost a fraction of the parts bought directly from the dealer.
So, whether looking for aftermarket or genuine quality, save your hard-earned cash and buy your parts online. If you stick to reputable stores like eEuroparts, you’ll get the quality you were expecting when you bought.
There’s also a market for second-hand auto parts. If you know what specific parts you need, hunt around in your local junkyard or even on Craigslist.
For an older vehicle, this especially is a viable option because so many totaled cars have been chopped up for their spare parts that are still in good shape.
3. DIY Repairs and Call in a Favor
Instead of taking your Car to a mechanic, see if you can fix the broken car parts yourself. There are routine maintenance jobs a competent person can feasibly do at home that would otherwise cost a lot more.
For example, changing the oil filter and fluids or air filter, or even more so replacing worn out brake parts at a repair shop will cost you.
If you do the work yourself, your only cost is the replacement parts themselves.
There are bountiful helpful YouTube videos available for guidance on tons of makes and models, and performing all sorts of repairs.
Also available online are DIY guides and videos about upgrading your car’s parts and systems, such as adding performance engine parts like a turbo or improving brake parts made out of RCC materials.
Do you have a friend or relative who is good with cars?
If so, call in a favor and ask them to fix or upgrade your car. A genuine car enthusiast might actually be eager to help out if you have an exciting project planned, like upgrading to a cat back exhaust system or installing bigger intercooler parts in the cooling system.
You’d be surprised by how much you can accomplish on your own or with a friend’s help! Do you have any more money-saving tips on commuting with and owning an import car? Let us know in the comments!