How to pay for car repairs with no money

How to Pay for Car Repairs with No Money

Many people without the necessary funds will pay for car repairs by borrowing money. You could borrow from a friend or family member, or look for a safe and affordable personal loan. 

Auto repair can be one of the most frustrating expenses to pop up in our daily lives. After all, many of us rely on our vehicles for necessary daily tasks, including getting to work or school. And an unexpected expense like this can throw off our entire budget. According to Kelley Blue Book, consumers now spend an average of $548.32 fixing their cars.1

Car repairs are frustrating enough on their own, but what if you don’t have the cash on hand to deal with it? Unfortunately, many people end up stuck without a car because they can’t afford to repair it. But there are solutions out there to deal with a problem like this. And CreditNinja wants to help you find the solution that’s right for you. 

Read on to learn more about what to do if your car breaks down and you don’t have enough money to repair it.

My Car Broke Down. What Do I Do?

Everyone will face unexpected expenses at some point in their lives. Most of us will face several. Unfortunately, many Americans are facing a debt crisis. So it’s essential to know how to handle these things when they pop up.

There are so many things that can go wrong with a vehicle. After all, they can’t stay in great condition forever, especially if you’re using them daily. And even a minor repair like a new tire can be frustratingly costly. Once you factor in the cost of labor, taxes, and the part itself, you may be left wondering how it’s possible that something small could cost so much.

No matter what happened to your car, truck, SUV, or van, the first step is to assess the situation and determine what went wrong. Then, take your vehicle to an auto repair shop. But this is a crucial step, and you want to make sure that you go to a trustworthy shop.

It would help if you did plenty of research on body shops before choosing the right one for you. Look them up online, read reviews, call and chat with them. These things should help to give you a sense of how they do business and the experiences that other customers have had with them.

Once you thoroughly vet them and pick the one you believe to be trustworthy, it’s time to schedule an appointment and take your vehicle in to be checked out.

Car Repair Costs: What To Expect

The vetting process for auto repair shops is vital for getting a good deal and getting your car back on the road quickly. It will take a decent amount of research on your part to know whether you can trust the body shop. It would help if you also looked into the average cost of whatever the issue is with your vehicle before you agree to let the shop repair your car.

Below are a few of the most common repairs you may encounter and their average price range:

CategoryServicePrice Range
BrakesBrake pad replacement$263–$294
Brake shoe replacement$259–$298
Brake rotor replacement$406–$559
EngineEngine tune-up$150 to over $1,000
BatteryBattery replacement$299–$311
TiresNew tires$100–$300 per tire
Oil Change/Filter ChangeOil change$35–$75
Filter replacement$5–$15
Air FilterAir filter replacement$57–$90
WheelsWheel alignment$116–$145
Wheel balancing$26–$34

Just remember, these are the average ranges for repairs and services. If you have a very expensive vehicle that needs special parts, then you may be paying a lot more than this.

Paying for Car Repairs

So how do you pay for these repairs if you’re short on cash? Well, unfortunately, it won’t be easy or cheap. If you don’t have money to pay for your car repairs, you’ll likely need to borrow money even if you have bad credit. And while there may be a lot of different options for you to borrow money, such as with quick cash loans, you’ll want to make sure to use a safe and affordable option.

There are plenty of unsecured loans out there that can provide the money you need for car repairs. However, they all have different terms, conditions, and interest rates. This is another area that will require much research, time, and effort on your part. But it’s worth it, in the long run, to make sure you get a good deal on a personal loan.

Below are a handful of the most common quick cash options for getting the money you need to pay your repair costs:

Personal Installment Loans

A personal installment loan is common for borrowers who need fast cash for emergencies like car repairs. For example, if you don’t have an emergency fund or savings account and you aren’t sure where to turn to pay for car repairs, then a personal installment loan might be a good fit for you.

The appeal with a personal installment loan is that you don’t have to have an excellent credit score to get one. Many of the borrowers who choose these loans cannot get a bank loan or even a credit card. Luckily, these quick-cash solutions can provide the money you need to pay for car repairs, even if you have a poor borrowing history.

The way they work is simple. You can apply for one online or even at specific storefront locations. You’ll fill out an application and await the decision of the lender. They’ll likely need a decent amount of personal information. They may also look into your borrowing or credit history, but just because you have a lower-than-average credit score doesn’t mean you won’t qualify.

If you’re approved, many personal installment lenders will deposit your cash directly into your bank account. Then you can use that money to pay for car repairs.

If your credit is less-than-perfect and your auto insurance won’t cover the cost of car repairs, then a personal installment loan may be right for you. Another one of the benefits of these loans is that you can pay them off over several months. This will allow you to spread your payments out and make smaller payments over time.

Credit Card

Some customers who need to pay a car repair shop choose to use a credit card. But, unfortunately, some borrowers aren’t able to get credit cards if they have a low credit score.

If your car is in the shop for auto repairs and you have a credit card available to you, it may be tempting to use it to pay for car repairs. Just keep in mind that some credit cards carry high interest rates. And if you already have a large balance on your credit card, it may not be wise to use it for car repairs.

Credit card debt is a big problem for many adults in America. So it’s essential to be careful about what you’re charging to your credit card. In addition, some credit cards may have a limit on them which wouldn’t allow you to pay for the high cost of some car repairs.

So if you aren’t able to get a credit card due to a low credit score, or you can’t use yours for a car repair because it’s maxed out, then a personal loan may still be the best choice.

Loans To Avoid

Unfortunately, a few types of loans out there may only get you into more financial trouble. They may pitch themselves as a fast-cash solution for things like car repairs, but they’re very costly and sometimes predatory.

Common predatory loans to steer clear of include:

  • Payday loans
  • Title loans
  • Pawn shop loans

These options can sometimes be dangerous and do more harm than good, even if they can pay for a car repair. The most common of these is the payday loan.

Payday loans are bad credit loans that borrowers use to make it to their next payday. Payday loans come with very high interest rates. They also are usually very small and may not even be enough to pay for car repairs.

Title loans are another example of a predatory, short-term loan. These are loans that you get when you offer your car title to the lender as collateral. This means that if you don’t repay the loan, the lender can take your car and sell it to recover their money. You may wonder how many car payments you can miss before repo, but this varies depending on the lender. 

Title loans also tend to carry very high interest rates. And they may be challenging to pay off in such a short amount of time. Unfortunately, this means many title loan borrowers end up losing their car and may not have any other mode of transportation.

Pawn shop loans are similar to title loans in that they also require collateral. But the collateral for a pawnshop loan could be anything of value that the lender is interested in. For example, it may be jewelry, electronics, or musical instruments. But just like with title loans, if you don’t repay on time, you’ll lose your valuable item.

Even if you’re desperate to pay for car repairs, these loans may not be the right choice for you.

Build Up Your Emergency Fund

The best thing you can do for your future self is to start an emergency fund. Unexpected expenses like car repairs will arise. And if you have a savings account ready to go when they do, then you can avoid the costs associated with a personal loan or credit card.

At CreditNinja, we recommend opening a savings account with your bank and putting a little bit of cash away every month. Eventually, you’ll have a decent savings account, and you’ll be able to handle a car repair with no issues.

Experts recommend having three months’ worth of expenses saved and ready to go for emergencies like job loss or car repairs. This may take a long time, but anything in your savings account is better than nothing.

CreditNinja: The Bottom Line on Auto Repair Financing With No Money

When it comes to car repair and maintenance, the name of the game is research. If you do plenty of research on the body shop and the payment options, you can save money and avoid a lot of heartache in the future.

Finding a loan to pay for an unexpected car repair is easy. But finding an affordable and safe loan will take more time and effort. One option to consider is working with CreditNinja. We offer personal installment loans with flexible payment schedules and competitive interest rates. Inquire today to see how much you may qualify to get!


  1. Here’s How Much the Average Car Repair Now Costs │ KBB
  2. How Much the 10 Most Common Car Repairs Cost │ Yahoo
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