My Story: Car Repairs

contributed by Mama D

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I drive an 18-year-old auto. To fix my car, they want to charge me more than the car is worth on the market. We are talking over $1000. I discovered cheap auto repairs. Go by your local high school or junior college auto shop and see if they will do your repairs.

I took mine to the high school. They fixed the brakes (shoes, pads, and rotors), rotated the tires, tuned it up, flushed the radiator, and changed the oil for the cost of the parts and oil (approx. $200) plus four large pizzas and sodas for the auto shop kids as a "thank you." The instructor checked their work to make sure the job was done well.

My roommate, when I told him about this service, took his car to the local junior college after an accident. They replaced the radiator, replaced the hood, repaired the front end, and painted the front end to match. The total cost was $300 in parts and paint.

These kids need autos to work on, and if you don't mind renting a car for a week while your car is at the school, it can be a cheap way to get repairs. They also appreciated the pizzas and sodas.

For the cheapest car rental, find a car rental place close to a big airport. I found renting in the next county at their airport (20 miles away) saved me $50 for a week. And don't forget to ask for auto club discounts, etc. The rental was $89 for the week with unlimited gas mileage. They also have Rent-A-Wreck or as they are now called Rent-4-Less.

I also have found that the cost of auto repairs on the poorer side of town is lower. I needed a clutch repaired (school auto shop was closed for the summer). It was the difference of $175 and it was at a muffler shop. I had them do my muffler and water pump in the past. These men have shops near their home, the locals can't afford high repairs, and they don't rip the consumer off. I do let them know I appreciate them and return when needed.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it by

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