You’re on the way to work, and your check engine light illuminates. What do you do?

If you’re like most drivers, you don’t do anything. You continue to work, and you keep driving despite the warning that something is wrong. 

The reason? Cost. Unexpected repairs are simply too expensive to deal with, so you avoid the auto shop to save some money. 

Unfortunately, playing the waiting game can cost you even more money in the long run. 

Keep reading to find out why that is. Below, you can learn about your options for handling an unexpected auto repair if you don’t have savings. 

Why Delaying Maintenance Only Exacerbates Your Bills

Ignoring mechanical or electrical issues puts your car under extra pressure on the road. Additional wear and tear can worsen these issues until they evolve into larger, more expensive problems. 

Don’t believe it? Let’s compare the little things you may ignore with the repairs they might become.

  • Check Engine: The check engine light can turn on for a variety of reasons. Let’s assume it’s because of a faulty oxygen sensor, getting this fixed right away can cost $350. Yikes! But driving with a faulty oxygen sensor can ruin your catalytic converter , which costs more than $2,000 to replace.
  • Cracked Windshield: Taking your car in when you notice a small chip in your windshield may only cost $60. Without these repairs, this chip can turn into a spiderweb of cracks, requiring a $500 replacement. 
  • Leaking Tire: Do you notice your tires leak a bit of air every few days? A mechanic can plug a small puncture for less than $25 if you catch it quickly. Without this patch, you’ll eventually have to drop as much as $250 for a new tire — plus more to replace any damage caused by driving on a bad tire.
  • Wheel Alignment: Plenty of people drive with their wheels out of alignment to save about $100. Unfortunately, driving with poor alignment can cause damages to your tires and suspension, which will cost ten times that of the initial repair. 

How to Handle an Unexpected Auto Repair

Logically knowing prompt maintenance can save you a lot of money doesn’t change the fact that you don’t have enough cash to deal with these quick repairs. 

So, what can you do? You have a couple of options.

If you’re just shy of what you need, consider getting a line of credit or installment loan online. You can apply for an online loan quickly through a completely digital application. If approved, you can receive the funds as a direct deposit loan so that you can make prompt repairs. 

In terms of repayment, online direct loans give you some breathing room. Unlike cash advances, due by your next paycheck, they allow you to carve away at your balance over time. How long you get depends on your loan type and lender, but generally, you can pay off your fast cash in more than one payment. 

If you need more than an online line of credit or installment loan can give, the government may be another resource for you. Check out this list of financial assistance for low-income households. Many organizations on this list offer free car repair aid; however, it may be harder to qualify for this aid than the average installment loan.

Know Your Options

A lack of funds can convince you to skip necessary repairs, but driving through mechanical issues can do far more damage to your budget than the original fix. 

If the choice is between ignoring an urgent check engine light and having to replace your catalytic converter, prompt repairs is the better option for your budget.


This is a Sponsored post – the author has requested this post be shared on WE Magazine for Women and we were compensated for sharing.

Photo source: freepik