How to Pay for Car Repairs With No Money – 7 Tips

how to pay for car repairs with no money

Apply for a Payday Loan

Every day, we rely on our cars for so much more than just transportation. They are our faithful companions in the hustle of daily life, taking us to work, to school, and on many little journeys in between. Yet, we seldom think about their reliability until the moment they fail us. It’s in these unexpected situations, when our car unexpectedly breaks down, that we’re reminded of how integral they are to our daily routine. And when finances are tight, this inconvenience can quickly escalate into a crisis.

This guide is here to help. It’s about finding practical, achievable solutions to get your car, and life, back on track without the stress of a hefty repair bill. We’re not just talking about fixing a car; we’re addressing the challenge of keeping your daily life running smoothly, even when money is an issue.

7 Possible Ways to Pay for Car Repairs With No Money

Imagine a lifeline that pulls your car and your spirit out of the breakdown lane, even when your wallet is running on empty. That’s what we’re offering: warm, wise, and workable strategies to cover those car repairs without the cold hard cash upfront. Let’s steer into this together.

Seek Financial Assistance

financial assistance for car repair

When the cash flow is more of a trickle than a stream, finding the funds for car repairs can be as stressful as the breakdown itself. However, there is a positive aspect as numerous financial support alternatives are available. Here’s how to navigate these financial fixes:

Apply for a Personal Loan

Obtaining a personal loan may offer a swift route to finance your car repairs. Many lenders offer loan options tailored to your needs, and with competitive interest rates, you could find a deal that doesn’t break the bank. Exercise thorough research, evaluate different proposals, and select a strategy that boosts your confidence in repayment.

Look into Auto Repair Loans or Auto Lenders

Specialized auto repair financing or auto insurance might be your ticket to a smoother ride. Some auto lenders are in the business of keeping you on the road, offering loans specifically for those hefty repair bills. They recognize that a car represents more than just a mode of transportation—it symbolizes your liberty on four wheels.

Auto Repair Loans

Request Money from a Family Member or a Friend

Sometimes, the help you need is closer than you think. A personal loan from a trusted family member or friend can come with the added benefits of flexibility and possibly lower (or no) interest rates. Just be sure to treat it as formally as a bank loan to avoid any road bumps in your relationship.

Crowdfunding and Fundraising

In today’s digitally connected world, where social media bridges communities, crowdfunding and online fundraising emerge as innovative ways to gather funds for car repairs. These platforms offer a unique opportunity to reach out to a wider community for financial support in times of need.

Some platforms allow you to share your story and solicit support from friends, family, and even kind strangers. It’s not just the funds, but the solidarity of a community rallying to get you back on the road that can turn a breakdown into a breakthrough.

Apply for a Payday Loan

Lastly, and perhaps most feasibly, consider payday loans. They’re quick, they often require less paperwork, and they can be a bridge to your next paycheck when used responsibly. It’s the kind of financial jumpstart that can get your car fixed in no time.

Ready for a fix that doesn’t flush your finances? With Loan For Success, you can get a payday loan that works for you. We connect you with a network of approved lenders so you can find options with the best APRs or annual percentage rates.

Negotiate with Repair Shops

Negotiate with Repair Shops

The art of negotiation can be your greatest ally when it comes to car repairs. More than just cutting costs, it’s also about forging a path forward that respects both your budget and the mechanic’s expertise. Here’s how to engage with repair shops to soften the financial impact:

Requesting Payment Plans

Don’t hesitate to ask about payment plans. Many auto repair shops are open to working out a schedule that breaks down the bill into manageable chunks. This approach keeps your car on the road while aligning with your fiscal limits.

It’s a mutual agreement where both sides win – you keep up with necessary maintenance, and the shop secures a loyal customer.

Seeking Discounts and Promotions

Smart savings often lie in discounts and promotions. Whether it’s a special offer for the season or a reduced price for first-time customers, inquiring is always beneficial.

Some shops also offer discounted services for certain groups like low-income families or single moms, recognizing the importance of reliable transportation. Keep an eye out for coupons, and don’t be shy about inquiring directly. Repair shops understand that a small gesture of goodwill today can lead to a long-term customer relationship tomorrow.

Explore Government Assistance Programs

Government Assistance Programs

Building on our earlier discussion about prioritizing repairs and negotiating effectively with mechanics, it’s important to highlight an often-overlooked resource: assistance programs offered by government and nonprofit organizations.

These programs are tailored to help during times when financial limitations hinder essential car repairs. Exploring this option can be a lifesaver for those in need of support during financially tight situations.

Local and State Aid Programs

Your journey to covering car repair costs may be reduced with a little help from local and state assistance programs. These programs are often underutilized treasures, waiting like hidden shortcuts to ease your journey. They can range from subsidies for auto repairs for those who qualify, to emergency funds for critical workers in need of car repair assistance to continue their essential duties.

Check with your local Department of Human Services or similar agencies to see what aid you may be eligible for.

Nonprofit Organizations and Charities

There’s a world of kindness on the road, often found in nonprofit organizations and charities that offer car repair assistance. These entities may have funds specifically set aside to help keep your life in motion. They recognize that a functioning car is more than a luxury, it’s a lifeline to work, medical appointments, and the everyday essentials.

Organizations may provide free car repairs or services at a reduced cost, especially for low income families, the elderly, veterans, or single moms. They understand that the journey isn’t just about the destination—it’s about ensuring you have a reliable way to get there.

Tap into Community Resources

local repair shops offers car repair assistance

There’s an often overlooked resource that lies right in our neighborhoods: community resources. These can offer a sense of solidarity and practical support when car troubles coincide with cash flow concerns.

Local Repair Clinics and Workshops

Local repair clinics and automotive workshops are community gems that can offer affordable or even free services. Organized by community centers, vocational schools, or local mechanics looking to give back, these clinics provide a range of services from basic maintenance to more complex repairs. Attending a workshop can also empower you with DIY skills for auto repair, potentially reducing future repair costs.

Bartering and Skills Exchange

Consider bartering as a currency. If you have a skill or service to offer, a local mechanic might be willing to trade for their expertise. Perhaps you’re a whiz at web design and the auto repair shop needs a website overhaul, or maybe you can offer landscaping services in exchange for getting your vehicle back in shape. It’s an old-school approach, but one that can build strong community ties and mutual support.

Explore Insurance and Coverage Options

Car Repair Insurance

It’s essential to spotlight the safety nets that could be at your disposal. Insurance policies and various coverage options can serve as your financial safeguard, mitigating the burden of repair expenses. These resources can act as a buffer, softening the blow of those unforeseen repair costs, and offering much-needed peace of mind during such stressful times. Remember, understanding and utilizing these options can make a significant difference in managing the financial aspect of car repairs.

Check out Car Repair Insurance Options

Many drivers are unaware that car repair insurance, also known as mechanical breakdown insurance, exists. This specialized insurance goes beyond the collision and comprehensive policies, covering the cost of repairs not related to accidents.

If you’re holding a policy, now’s the time to delve into the fine print or have a conversation with your provider. You might find that your car repair costs could be significantly reduced or even covered, giving you one less worry on your financial journey.

Credit Card Coverage

In the toolbox of payment options, your credit card might possess more than just a credit line. Some credit cards come with the added perk of auto repair coverage or extended warranties that could contribute towards repairs. Others offer rewards or cash back for automotive services which can indirectly alleviate some of the financial burdens.

Remember, though, this is only a viable route if you can manage the repayment without sliding into unmanageable credit card debt.

Learn Low-Cost DIY Solutions


Being proactive is half the battle won. And for those moments when the cash flow is more of a cash trickle, rolling up your sleeves and diving into the world of do-it-yourself can be a wallet-saving move.

DIY Repairs and Maintenance

It’s empowering to realize that not all car repairs require a mechanic’s expert touch. With a bit of know-how, you can tackle basic maintenance and simple repairs yourself.

Changing your oil, replacing air filters, or installing new windshield wipers are all tasks that can be done at home with minimal tools and investment. DIY repairs not only save money but also imbue you with a greater understanding of your vehicle, which pays off in the long term.

Utilizing Online Tutorials and Guides

The internet is a rich source of information, and this holds for car repair knowledge as well. Countless online tutorials, forums, and video guides exist to walk you through almost any repair or maintenance task.

These resources range from professional mechanics demonstrating techniques to everyday car owners sharing their tips and tricks. With these guides, even those new to the world of auto maintenance can learn to perform repairs with no money upfront, saving repair costs while gaining a valuable new skill set.

Utilize Personal Financial Resources

piggy bank

It’s important to take stock of your own financial resources. Often, the answer to a sudden vehicle problem can be found within your personal financial landscape. This exploration might reveal untapped funds or budget adjustments that can help manage these unexpected expenses.

Use Emergency Savings

The term “rainy day fund” takes on a literal meaning when the storm clouds roll in with an unwelcome car repair. If you have an emergency savings account, it might be time to assess its contents. While it can be hard to part with this safety net, remember, it’s precisely for moments like these that you’ve been tucking away those funds.

Using your savings can prevent you from falling into high-interest debt from loans or racking up credit card balances, keeping future-you grateful for present-you’s foresight.

Take on Extra Work to Cover Repair Costs

Gigs are everywhere, opportunities for extra work can often be just a few clicks away. Freelancing, ride-sharing, or part-time jobs could provide the additional income needed to handle those repair costs without the need to borrow money. This approach not only covers the immediate expense but also adds an extra layer of padding to your finances for the next time you find yourself in a tight spot.

Car Repair Expenses Breakdown

Facing car troubles is akin to navigating a complex labyrinth – understanding the expenses involved is your map to finding the best path forward. A detailed breakdown of common car repair costs can illuminate the path and prevent overpaying.

  • Brakes: Your car’s brakes are its most essential safety feature. The price for new brake pads can average between $263 and $294, while brake shoes might land in the ballpark of $259 to $298. If it’s the brake rotors that need attention, anticipate a higher range of $406 to $559.
  • Engine: An engine tune-up’s cost spectrum is broad due to the varying nature of the service required; it can start at a modest $150 and soar to well over $1,000. This cost fluctuation underscores the importance of understanding what services your vehicle needs and comparing rates among different mechanics.
  • Battery: This quintessential component’s replacement is pretty straightforward, averaging between $299 and $311. Given its pivotal role, it’s a cost that’s often non-negotiable when the need arises.
  • Tires: Your contact point with the road, new tires are a purchase that can range from $100 to $300 each, emphasizing the need for regular maintenance to extend their life and push off this expense.
  • Oil Change/Filter Change: Regular oil changes keep your engine running smoothly, usually costing between $35 and $75. The filter change, an often concurrent service, is a minimal cost addition of $5 to $15.
  • Air Filter: Swapping out a clogged air filter for a clean one, which ensures optimal engine performance, costs between $57 and $90 – a small price to pay for maintenance that boosts efficiency and extends engine life.
  • Wheels: Proper alignment is key to vehicle safety and tire longevity, costing between $116 and $145, while wheel balancing, which ensures a smooth ride, is a lower cost at $26 to $34.


In the face of car repairs that arrive unannounced and unfunded, remember: that solutions exist even when funds do not. Personal loans, community resources, and negotiation can bridge the financial gap. Proactive measures like regular maintenance can mitigate hefty costs down the line. Approach payday loans with caution, given their steep interest rates.

Treat these strategies as a toolkit for financial resilience. Stay informed, take preventative steps, and maintain a sharp focus on your vehicle’s health. In doing this, you arm yourself with the understanding needed to manage car maintenance cost-effectively and efficiently. Take charge now, and make those unexpected car troubles merely a bump in the road.


What to do with a car that doesn’t run but still owes money?

If you have a car that doesn’t run but you still owe money on it, you can consider selling it for parts or as is, then use that cash to pay off the loan. Another option is to contact your lender to discuss potential solutions, like refinancing or a payment pause.

Is it better to pay cash for a car or finance?

Opting to pay cash for a vehicle can eliminate interest payments and grant you instant ownership. On the other hand, financing may aid in building your credit and keeping cash available for urgent needs. The optimal decision is contingent on your financial status, prevailing interest rates, and investment objectives.

What if my car breaks and I have no money?

When your car breaks and you have no money, explore emergency funding options like community programs, car repair assistance, or personal loans. Negotiate payment plans with the repair shop, or consider short-term solutions like payday loans with caution due to high-interest rates.