How to Pay for Car Repairs if You’re Broke

Will I Be Able to Pay for Car Repairs if I’m Broke?

Every car owner knows that necessary expenses can arise with a vehicle, sometimes unexpectedly. And if your budget is already tight and you are barely getting by, then you find yourself in a difficult financial situation. 

The good news is that there may be options to pay for those needed car repairs, even if you are broke. Here are some potential solutions:

Look Into Your Car Insurance 

If you need a repair because of a car accident, and you have car insurance coverage, it will be worthwhile to contact your insurance company. Depending on the coverage you have and the circumstances, insurance may cover your repairs partially or completely. And although your monthly premium may go up, this option can help you get the lump sum you need to repair your car. 

Review Any Warranties you May Have

Warranties may replace any parts along with the cost of the repair, which can come in handy when you don’t have funds at hand.

Even for older vehicles, it may be helpful to explore warranty options; here are a few examples:

  • Federal Emissions Warranty — This warranty’s coverage varies by state but could potentially offset the entire repair bill. 
  • Dealer Adjustment Warranties — Offered by car dealers, these are valid for the initial weeks after purchase.
  • A Manufacturer’s Warranty — This warranty, provided by the manufacturer, generally covers a car’s major components up to a specified mileage or year, depending on which limit is reached first.

Set up a Payment Plan with Your Car Servicer

This is another option that may work if you need to complete a car repair but don’t have the money you need upfront. Many mechanics and car services may be flexible with their clients, especially if you are someone who has shown loyalty. 

So, it may be beneficial to ask about a short-term or long-term payment plan, depending on what works for your budget. Of course, you will want to come to this agreement before any parts are bought or repairs are made! An installment plan can be a great way to fit car repairs into a tight financial situation. 

Do It Yourself or Ask an Experienced Friend or Family Member 

You’d be surprised by the kinds of resources you will find online about car repair—videos, articles, guides, and more. Your car’s manual (also called an owner’s manual) can also be an extremely helpful resource! Most manuals include things like basic troubleshooting, fluid types and guidance on replenishment, battery care, tire care, and more. 

So, if your car repair is minor to moderate, you may be able to tackle it yourself; of course, it is important to be safe! If you don’t feel comfortable, you can always ask a car-savvy friend or family member to help you with the repair. Although this may not eliminate the cost of purchasing a part, it will take away the cost of labor, which can be a huge expense!  

Use a Credit Card or Loan Option

You may also be able to consider a credit card or loan option if you need fast cash. There are many fast loans or credit card products that can make it possible to get the funds you need to fix your car. 

Keep in mind if you have bad credit and low income, it can make it challenging to qualify for these credit options, but a cosigner or co-borrower can improve your chances of approval. 

Here are some borrowing options:

  • Personal loans:  Personal loans are typically unsecured loan options that can be used for a variety of expenses, including car repairs. Personal loans are some of the most versatile options out there and may be available for a few hundred dollars up to a few thousand. And so, if you need a larger loan, these options may work. With the right lender, you may not need to have excellent credit. 
  • Payday loans: Payday loans are short-term, high-interest loans meant to be repaid by your next paycheck. Although these loans may provide flexibility if you don’t have a lot of income or high credit, they can quickly lead to a cycle of debt. And they are usually for a few hundred dollars. 
  • Credit cards: Credit cards are revolving accounts you can borrow from until you reach your credit limit. If you already have a credit card you can use, it may be extra convenient to do so. However, it’s important to consider the high compounding interest rates that can come with them.
  • Title loans: If you have another car that is not in the shop, you can use it as collateral and borrow against its value through a title loan

And so, as you can see, even if you are broke, there may be options to help you pay for car repairs and get you back on the road. 

Interesting Related Article: “Should You Invest Money in the Extended Car Warranty Industry?