Bundling Auto Services

Auto repairs can feel like a traffic jam. Just when you think your car is in the clear, another repair might pop up to slow you down. Fortunately, you can bundle some of your auto repairs to drive down the cost of keeping your ride on the road.

Here are some bundling ideas to discuss with your auto repair service provider.

Human Labor vs. Auto Part Cost

When does it make sense to fix a part before it's broken? There's a simple equation to address this conundrum: if the human labor vastly exceeds the actual cost of the auto part, you should strongly consider bundling repairs to fix parts that aren't broken but will eventually need to be serviced or replaced. This is particularly true when the part in question is over 50% of the way toward needing to be replaced.

For instance, if your brake pads are designed to last for 50k miles and your auto service pro is working on your rotors, replacing the brake pads preemptively might save you money on labor.

The Art of Bundling

Broaching the subject of bundling with your auto service repair professional can be difficult. Although you might want to save money and be proactive to keep your car running optimally, you also don't want to throw your money at non-existent maintenance issues. You should always consult your owner's manual, which stipulates the maintenance schedule for your vehicle, and be sure to ask your auto service provider for a variety of quote options.

Timing Belt

Most modern engines have a timing belt or timing chain. These mechanisms help stabilize the performance of your pistons for optimal performance. If you car has a timing belt, it will stretch, crack, and potentially fray over time. Thus, every 60k to 100k miles, it's recommended that you replace your timing belt. However, you might not want to wait for this service.

The vast majority of the cost for a timing belt replacement is the manual labor required to access it. Thus, if your auto service provider needs to replace any of the mechanical parts adjacent to the timing belt, you might want to preemptively replace it to avoid the substantial labor costs down the road. For instance, if your overhead cam or head gasket need to be replaced, your auto service pro will need to replace components connected to the timing belt. Although adding extra charges to fix a part that doesn't even need to be replaced might sound wasteful, replacing your timing belt early might lead to much larger total savings.