Since starting Girls Auto Clinic, about 1/3 of customers ask for help purchasing a vehicle. Getting a mechanic involved when purchasing a new vehicle is not necessary. A used vehicle? Absolutely! I have found most women don’t know one of the most important details when it comes to buying a new car, which leads to buyer’s remorse some years later.
One MAJOR issue many have with their cars could have been prevented at purchase. I decided to write a blog about it.
Last month, a member of our #sheCANic Facebook community posted this question:
Ugh, I feel her pain. The scary high bill that comes with car repairs is what made me avoid the mechanic when something went wrong with my car. Nobody wants to hear it’s going to cost over $1000 to fix their car. That’s an entire trip to the Caribbean – for a week! Being an adult is hard, y’all.
Many in the #sheCANic community tried to console Courtney as they felt her pain too. One thing I say in my workshops, all parts on cars are going to fail eventually. Everything on your car can break, wear, rust, malfunction, etc. Nothing in Courtney’s list of repairs is unusual or uncommon.
The $5K quote for her 6 year old car is heartbreaking. Courtney’s misfortune started when she purchased her car – a mini cooper, while super cute, is unique foreign car. Unique, luxury, and/or foreign cars come with a higher price tag for repair, and maintenance because they have more bells and whistles (think accessories and amenities) and it is difficult to find cheaper prices or qualified technicians/mechanics outside of the dealership.
The cost to repair and maintain our cars should be one of the most important details to consider when purchasing a car. We see a brand new BMW X3, love the look, love the drive, and love the sense of accomplishment it gives us. Guess what? We can afford the monthly payments! “Oh yes, I’m getting this car!” That’s how I thought. My car was new and I didn’t have to worry about repairs for years. “I’ll deal with it then.”
If you are looking to buy a luxury, unique, and foreign car, compare the cost of repair vs the non-luxury brands. Don’t automatically assume the 3-year free maintenance saves you money. Even with those options, luxury brands can still be more expensive over the long term. When I say luxury brands think Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac. When I say non-luxury think mainstream models like Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Ford Explorer, and Kia Sorento.
Courtney’s dilemma is an example of how repair costs can overwhelm you several years into a car. This is why it is important to understand what the repair costs will be like before owning a car. I found a great website that calculates the True Cost To Own (TCTO) of a car and includes factors like gas, maintenance, repairs, and even depreciation. Very useful tool #sheCANics if you are looking to purchase a car, new or used (within 5 years)!!
—- Patrice Banks, Founder of Girls Auto ClinicThe automotive experience for women is often one of STRESS, ANXIETY, and inconvenience. It’s no secret many women are not educated about car operation and how to care for our cars; and we frequently make pessimistic and poor car buying and repair decisions because we aren’t educated. Girls Auto Clinic is here to help!