By Nkem Ndem
Owning a car is one of the most expensive aspects of many Nigerians’ yearly spending. A car is the 2nd largest purchase that most consumers in Nigeria make, after a home. But, it’s a fact that costs never stop when you own a vehicle. Aside from insurance and fuel costs which are certainly a big part of the total cost of owning a car each year, car repairs can be extremely costly for car owners. No matter where you live, you can expect to pay some money on necessary car repairs. Preventative maintenance is very important, but it can still be pricey.
Generally, car repairs can be particularly detrimental to a budget when they are unexpected; it can help to budget ahead of time and plan for common repairs. Jumia Travel lists some smart moves to save serious money on car repairs.
If your car is still under warranty, take it back to the dealer for free repairs
Most new vehicles and even some Tokunbo cars sold in Nigeria come with 1-3 years warranty that covers most almost everything. Ensure you know the specifics of your warranty and take advantage of it as most time, they cover free repairs at your dealership.
Fix it yourself if you can
Car repairs may seem complicated but many of the maintenance and auto repair jobs are still simple enough that you can do them yourself. Almost anyone should be able to change their own wiper blades, replace their air filter, change their oil, replace a headlight, change a battery, or even replace belts as long as they have the required tools. Even more, YouTube is a great resource for finding videos that explain how to repair many car issues. In a case where the problem is beyond your capabilities, though, take it to a shop as fixing it blindingly can cause more damage and eventually incur more costs.
Have a mechanic you trust
A major reason why many Nigerians spend a lot of money on repairs is because they patronize a mechanic who is either fraudulent or does not know the intricacies of the job. Ensure you do not patronize random mechanics at different times, entrust your vehicle to a mechanic or repair shop you can trust and try to go to the particular garage or mechanic each time you need something fixed that you can’t fix yourself. Becoming a regular customer endears you to them and they would even do some free jobs for you at times. If you don’t know of a good mechanic, try asking friends or family for a recommendation.
Skip maintenance that you don’t actually need
When you buy a car, the vendor (especially if he has given you warranty) will inform you that there are basic car maintenance procedures you have to complete at intervals, but the truth is, while regular preventative maintenance on your car will actually save you money, not all maintenance needs to be done as often as the service centers suggest. For instance, spark plugs also don’t need to be changed very often and the car oil doesn’t need to be changed every 3,000 miles.
Use local shops instead of brand chains
Most people believe that going to the car brand’s repair would ensure they get their car properly repaired. But while these places might be ok, they can be quite expensive when it comes to the small mechanical jobs and services. Also, they tend to not provide the level of service that many local shops will provide. Local shops tend to provide a better service, get the job done right in shorter time, and are economical on price.
Nkem Ndem is a PR Associate at Jumia Travel.
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