Cars are tricky machines, so as a luxury car driver you have to be prepared to handle luxury car repair.
If you’re researching luxury car repair, some of the headlines you might find will suggest that it’s an entirely different thing than “regular” car repair. For the most part, this is pure bunk. A car is a car, and the things that go wrong with a 1999 Chevrolet Geo can also go wrong with a brand-new luxury model. However, a well maintained 1999 Geo might run more reliably than a luxury car that’s been ignored. All machines require maintenance, and luxury car repair is no different.
Of course, there are more than a few subtle distinctions between driving a luxury car compared to other options. That’s part of what makes luxury cars so appealing. So, that means that when it comes to luxury car repair, there are some things you should know. But fear not, because we’re about to cut through the hype and the marketing to break down the truth.
Why Get a Luxury Car?
If you’re wondering why someone might buy a luxury car, first we suggest you look at one. From Bentleys and Rolls Royce to more sporty cars like Lamborghinis or Ferraris, luxury cars are pinnacles of design. They are like mobile sculptures. Add in the amenities of the cab and under-the-hood, the question almost seems to be why not buy a luxury car?
Answer: the price, of course. These cars are costlier than most others, and it’s not just the sticker price. Maintaining these cars can cost much more, too. While you may be prepared to pay handsomely for a luxury car, you might be more hesitant to pay for luxury car repair.
Most people who can afford it purchase their “dream car.” It’s the fulfillment of a difficult goal, one that they may have believed was impossible. However, if you don’t do the proper research, you could end up sinking far more than the sticker price into the car. Hopefully, our list of luxury car repair tips can help you avoid some of those pitfalls.
What Makes Luxury Car Repair Different?
As mentioned above, luxury car repair isn’t entirely different from the sorts of maintenance needed by other cars. The oil needs to be changed. Tires need rotating, brakes need to be replaced, and so on. Similarly, the “big” repairs are the same, too. If a cylinder punches through the engine block in a $2,000 used car or $200,000 luxury ride, it’s not going anywhere until it gets a new engine. But here’s where things get tricky.
If you drive a Toyota Camry, you could likely replace the car for less than the cost of replacing the engine. If you really wanted to, you could probably pull an engine from one in junkyard or something like that. Even if you pay for a new one, finding a replacement engine would be relatively easy. However, if you drive a rare or luxury car, finding replacement parts can be more difficult. With that increased difficulty comes increased cost. Luxury car repair is different only in that there are fewer models on the road, mechanics tend to be less familiar with these cars, and specialized replacement parts are expensive.
So, What’s the Most Important Tip for Luxury Car Repair?
Well, there’s not just one luxury car repair tip that will answer all questions and concerns. That’s why we published this list of them. However, the most important thing you can do for luxury car repair is find a knowledgeable professional you trust. We discuss below why buying a luxury car is rarely an investment, but you’ll still want to treat it as one. Just as you consult experts before you invest in a company, you should have an expert you trust who knows about cars.
Some disreputable mechanics have stories about how they charged some rube $500 to replace the “turning signal fluid” or “the giggling pins” or some other hustle. Unless you happen to be an expert in luxury car repair yourself, find a professional whose opinion you trust. In most cases, the car dealership will be as far as you have to look, if you don’t already have a trusted mechanic. Both the dealership or an outside mechanic wants to win your business. Treat it like any other business partnership, and you'll find that your luxury car repair questions will be met with reliable answers.
7 Luxury Car Repair Tips to Keep Ahead of Problems
No matter what car you purchase, it’s going to have some kind of trouble one day. Stay vigilant and mind these tips below. If you do, when trouble happens, you’re not blindsided. Luxury car repair can be an annoyance, but hopefully these tips will help soften the negative impact.
1. Get a Good Warranty
There is nothing worse than driving your dream car off the lot, only to have it break down days or weeks later. The need for luxury car repair will be inevitable, but the vehicle should function properly in the first few years of owning it. To that end, make sure when you purchase a luxury car you don’t skimp out on the warranty. Short of regular maintenance and you wrecking the car, the manufacturer or warranty provider should cover the cost of repair. If your dream luxury car happens to be an older or antique model, you can usually buy a third-party limited warranty that will cover major repairs.
Along with a warranty for luxury car repair, you’re also not going to want to skimp on insurance. Naturally, since luxury cars cost more, they are costlier to insure. If you’re not prepared for this, you might be tempted to limit your coverage. Yet, if anything were to happen to your car, you’d likely end up getting nothing. You will almost always put more money into a car than you’d ever get back from selling it or filing an insurance claim. But, when it comes to luxury cars, every little bit helps.
2. Get a Second Opinion
Above we discussed how having a trusted expert for advice is a necessity. However, at least in the beginning, don’t be afraid to shop around. Stop by garages for something simple, like a tune-up or an oil change, and see what else they try to sell you. If something seems to be wrong, take it to multiple mechanics and see how their estimates match and differ. Shopping around is always smart, but mostly because it can help motivate these mechanics to try to win your business.
Once you have a trusted mechanic, getting a second opinion can still be advisable, especially if faced with an expensive repair. For example, if your garage is having difficulty getting parts at good prices, see if you can find a place that can do better. You can always purchase the part from the cheapest place and still have your preferred mechanic do the luxury car repair. If you’re lucky, you will eventually be able to skip this step if you find the right garage.
3. Be Aware of the Special Parts You Need
No matter who you choose as your go-to mechanic, they can only do so much when it comes to the cost and trouble of obtaining spare parts. What makes this more difficult when dealing with luxury car repair is that some of these parts are highly specialized. Especially when it comes to parts for hybrid and electric cars, these parts can sometimes only be obtained from the manufacturer. This limits any independently made spare parts and the opportunities to find lightly used options at a lower rate.
Of course, if you’re like most luxury car drivers, your vehicle is your “baby,” and you only want what’s best for it. So, it’s best to do the research before buying the car to know which parts tend to need replacing, their cost, and where you can obtain them. This way, if you ever need to replace them, the luxury car repair happens quickly and with minimal headaches.
4. The Best Machines Deserve the Best Fuel
Many people think that if you have a luxury car, you should also use premium gasoline. Premium gas, with an octane rating of 92 or 93, isn’t inherently “better” than regular octane gas, with a rating of 87. However, if you have a high-performance car or one with a high compression ratio, you might want to consider this option. Lower octane gas can ignite earlier, causing cylinders to knock around in the engine. Too much of this, and you could have serious engine trouble.
Similarly, if you have a hybrid or electric car, you might be tempted to skimp on replacement batteries. As this technology becomes more and more mainstream, after-market batteries could be an option. But for right now, it’s best to stick with the manufacturers’ offerings to ensure that you get the most mileage per charge. Being mindful of the fuel you use can help stave off the need for luxury car repair.
5. Only Rarely is a Luxury Car Ever an Investment
Almost any car you purchase begins to depreciate the second you drive it off of the lot. Unless the car is very rare or prized by collectors, chances are, your luxury car is just a gilded wastebasket for you to dump money into until the chassis rattles into pieces. Like a video game system or a top-of-the-line television, the purpose of a luxury car is to make you feel good while you can use it. So, treat luxury car repair like you would any other technology that will eventually grow obsolete with time.
What we mean by this is, make sure you put into your luxury car exactly what you want out of it. If you have a car that is costly to repair and breaks down often, don’t keep dumping money into your luxury lemon, especially if the car is replaceable. If it’s more of a headache or a nightmare than a dream car, dump it.
6. Make Sure the Car Can Handle Your Demands
Your dream car might be a Lamborghini, but in certain areas, driving such a low-to-the-ground car increases your need for luxury car repair. You wouldn’t take a Rolls Royce off-roading. So, when choosing your luxury car, make sure it is a car that will meet your needs. If you get a Lamborghini or a Ferarri or other such sports car, know it won’t be an everyday car and you’ll need another vehicle to pick the kids up from soccer practice. Similarly, a stretch Rolls won’t work in city with small streets or narrow passageways. Not paying attention to these things will mean that you will need luxury car repair more than you would otherwise.
7. Leave It to the Experts
Pretty much everyone has that one family member who was always offering to change your oil, brake pads, or work on the car. “Better than paying some mechanic to do it, right?” they argue. Yet, when it comes to luxury car repair, especially with the latest models, these aren’t your average cars. They are precise machines that run as much on the power of computers as they do gasoline or the battery. You don’t want to leave these repairs to your family’s resident grease monkey.
When it comes to luxury car repair, stick with the experts for a number of reasons. First, attempting to repair these things on your own can void your warranty. If you are unable to fix the problem, something that was a manufacturer problem is now your fault. Second, you want to make sure that your luxury car is getting professional care by a mechanic or company you can hold accountable if the work isn’t done correctly. Don’t take any chances.
Luxury car repair isn’t much different than regular maintenance, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to do your homework.
Naturally, when it comes to luxury car repair, you'll want to do your homework like it’s the final exam and your whole grade depends on it. Otherwise, you will find that owning a luxury car is a huge headache instead of the fun it’s supposed to be. Hopefully you enjoyed our list and are at least armed with the right questions for the car expert in your life.
What do you think? Is there anything we’ve left off of the list? Share your thoughts, reactions, and stories in the comments below. Remember to share the article online, so your friends can get in on the conversation.