Dealing with unexpected repair bills

penske rental truck

Repairs are a fact of trucking life, but with regular maintenance, you can limit your chances of those unexpected mishaps that empty your rainy day fund.

However, every now and then something happens that hits you for six. If you’re lucky, and we use that term loosely, your unexpected misfortune is either covered by your warranty or down to an issue relating to recall such as the massive Takata/Hino recall.

But if it’s just dumb bad luck then there’s no option but to dig deep and pay for those repairs. Here are a few tips for dealing with those unexpected bills.

Take out an extended warranty

Not everyone can afford a new truck as it’s a pretty big investment. So if you buy used then try your best to buy a truck that has some time left on its warranty.

You’ll pay a little more, but it’s worth it if you can afford it.

As the end of the warranty approaches, talk to a dealer and ask about an extension. In many cases, this will only be available if the previous owner didn’t take up the option when they bought it new.

This option is definitely worth considering, and there’s no harm in asking.

Plan ahead

You may not think that anything will happen to your uber-reliable truck, but you should always plan for that eventuality.

Put a small amount into a repairs fund every month and never touch it for anything other than essential repairs. If your truck is a trusty old workhorse that goes forever, then all the better.

Your repair fund will continue to grow, and you’ll never worry about repairs again.

A short-term loan

No matter how much you plan ahead, there are always times when disaster strikes, and you’re not in a position to pay. Perhaps your mechanic requires payment up front, or the parts supplier refuses to give you a line of credit.

Or maybe that emergency repair fund just isn’t enough. Whatever the reason, all is not lost.

Rather than borrowing from friends or family, you can consider a short-term loan to cover the costs.

Most of these loans are approved on the spot, and it doesn’t matter if your credit rating has taken a hit in the past. The added benefit of a short-term loan is that you’ll be done with it pretty soon.

This means that you can get back to normality and start saving money again.

Shop around

Your dealer might want to use genuine parts from the manufacturer, and this can mean much higher bills. Ask if they can source other parts for you, but in many cases, they’ll refuse. If this happens, it’s time to shop around.

Talk to other mechanics and tell them what your problem is.

They should be able to source OEM, or even quality used parts and save you quite a lot on your repairs bill.

People will warn you that this may void a warranty, but if you had an extended warranty you probably wouldn’t need to do this, right?

Talk to your dealer

If all else fails, then talk to your dealer or mechanic and explain the situation. Be straight up and honest about the fact that you can’t afford to pay the repair bill in one lump.

They may be willing to offer payment terms and allow you to pay the bill off over a period of a few weeks or months. However, make sure that you mention this before they start to work on your vehicle.

Whatever approach you take, you always need to plan for the unexpected. As a truck owner, you know all too well that disaster can strike at the most inopportune of moments.

So be prepared for anything, and you won’t be off the road for too long.



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