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Auto expenses we often pay for that many don’t need

In this Nov. 30, 2007 file photo, mechanic Ed Wuerth of Wuerth Automotive in Brownstown Township, Mich., works on a Volvo at his shop. While new car owners may worry about making monthly payments in the event of a job loss, those that have had their cars for a few years may face concerns about paying for a hefty repair, especially as a vehicle nears the end of its original warranty period.
AP Photo | Carlos Osorio

How often do you feel you’re paying too much to keep your car running?

If you’ve had any car work done in the past year or so, you know repair costs are up, just like everything else.

That’s why Dwayne Crutchfield tries to work on his own truck these days, saying he’s had to fight over overpriced repairs too many times, as well as extended warranties that wouldn’t cover a breakdown.

“Any insurance company or warranty won’t give you what you’re asking for the first time you ask for it,” he said. “That’s not their job. Their job is to keep their money.”

MORE: When buying a car, say no to extras that aren’t worth the price

For the past three weeks, we’ve been reporting on the “65 Things You Probably Shouldn’t Pay For,” according to Consumers’ Checkbook.

They looked at places we typically overpay when it comes to your home, bank fees, and now your car or truck.

The first thing not to spend money on, according to Executive Editor Kevin Brasler of Consumers’ Checkbook:

  • Expensive repairs at the dealership.

The only exception to that rule is if you have a new car warranty.
“Dealerships tend to charge a lot more for repairs than do independent shops,” Brasler said, with higher hourly rates and often higher prices for original equipment (OEM) parts.

Speaking of warranties, Brasler recommends you skip:

  • Auto repair warranties, or extended warranties.

He says their research shows that many drivers who buy these plans find their claims are denied.
“They often try to get out of having to pay for repairs,” he said. “Often common repairs that you would think would be covered under these plans.”

For your tires, Brasler suggests you stop paying for the following:

  • Nitrogen fill-ups: He says the benefits are small, unless it is free.
  • Tire protection plans: Not all flats are covered, and you may have to provide receipts showing regular tire rotation.
  • Paying a fee for tire rotations: Yes, your car need tire rotations to make them last longer, but it is silly to pay $25 or more for this. Many shops will do it for free with another service.

MORE: Why are most used cars now selling for over $20,000?

As for Crutchfield, he watches out for auto add-ons he doesn’t need.
“They will sell you anything,” he said, “instead of selling nothing.” Often, these are things your car really don’t require.

And that way you don’t waste your money.

About the Author

John Matarese

John's goal is to help as many TV viewers as possible save money, avoid bad deals, know a rip-off when one comes their way, and be educated consumers. His informative weekly consumer segment "Don't Waste Your Money" now airs on 45 TV stations from San Diego to Tampa to Houston and Cincinnati. More.

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