People like to say that buying a car is like having another family member. As shabby as this old trope may sound, the level of commitment, time, and money you need to put into your car to keep it safe and functioning does compare to having a kid. So, starting the emergency fund for your future maintenance projects seems like a good idea, right?

Well, it would if we hadn’t had dozens of other emergency funds to worry about. So, let’s see if we can find some shortcuts through this maze and pay for the car repairs even without saving money for the times when things go south.

Raise a favorable loan

One of the main issues we have with emergency funds is that they represent a long-term commitment and a lot of uncertainties. For instance, you may pull too much money out of your family budget and cripple personal finances. When something breaks, you at least know what you are dealing with and how much money you need. All you need to do then is to find the most favorable loan that suits your current needs. Don’t worry, these days, you can find the lender even with bad credit. You just need to look hard enough.

Use the credit cards and discounts

Over the last couple of years, the credit card landscape has become very diverse and highly specialized. What we mean by that is that every purchase or transaction option has its dedicated card type that does the job better than competitors. Major nation-wide car repair shops may even give you a discount based on the type of the card brand you are using. But, even the most basic credit cards will usually give you a good 20 days to repay the debt before the interests start kicking in. That’s more than enough time, especially in the case of smaller repairs.

Find an affordable mechanic

The internet made this quite easy and effectively eliminated the need for trial and error. What’s even more important, do your best to find the shop that will warrant the price. Let’s take Australia, for example. Driving across the continent causes frequent windshield cracks caused by rocks and debris. So if you are looking for a shop offering quality windscreen replacement in Sydney or some other metropolitan area, try to get mobile service, lifetime warranty, or some other perk that creates a better value proposition. Saving money is a long-term game.

Do it yourself

Ok, this could be considered cheating, but, as intimidating as they look, cars operate on often complex but always logical principles that can be mastered with enough effort. You can save yourself a lot of money by learning to tackle even the most basic maintenance duties like replacing the tires, battery service, fixing the windshield wipers, changing the headlight bulbs, and so on. Sure, you will still need to buy the replacement parts, and this is the point where the loans we mentioned above factor into the story, but at least you won’t have to pay for the mechanic.

Know your parts

When a car is broken, it usually isn’t the entire vehicle that has stopped working. In most cases, we are talking about one or more parts. Depending on the year of manufacture and purchase, some of the parts may have a limited, and others even a lifetime warranty. Filing this type of information can help for future interventions, as well. Also, if you are forced to buy a new part because of the repair or because you want some useful upgrades for your car, you should spend some extra cash on the warranty. If you are short on cash, opting for used parts can save you hundreds of dollars. If you have some basic understanding of the “organism” of your car, you can even buy the part independently of the mechanic and save some money. This is a good thing if you do not have faith in your mechanic to give you the best possible price.

Owning a car is not a cheap affair. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to declare bankruptcy when a minor incident happens. Hopefully, the tips we gave you above will help you keep your car in top shape, without spending all your cash.