What to Do When You Need Help Paying for Auto Repairs

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When you need help paying for car repairs, your insurance policy should be the first thing you check. Typically, car insurance costs drivers $92 per month on average. For many people, that’s a hefty bill by itself, but sadly most people’s insurance doesn’t cover everything. For small repairs and routine maintenance, you’re most likely going to be on your own. And sometimes simply finding a trustworthy mechanic in your area can feel as daunting as seeking out an estate planning attorney — never mind the hefty fees involved. So what can you do when you need help paying for car repairs?

Whether you regularly hunt down repairable salvage Jeeps for sale, or you don’t know the first thing about cars, paying for repairs can be costly. Fortunately, there are dozens of ways to save money on repairs, apply for grants or small loans, and make some extra cash. For our best advice and ideas on getting help paying for car repairs, keep reading.

Get Free Car Repairs

Did you know that there are organizations and groups that provide auto repairs free of charge? Multiple churches, ministries, and even secular nonprofits often provide basic car repairs to the needy and those with low income. Most of the time, these repairs are offered to people who require transportation to get to work or medical appointments. Here we’ll talk about this method to get help paying for car repairs.

Try Your Local Community Action Center

Local community action centers are local agencies that are partially funded by the federal government. Many of these agencies focus on helping people get employed, which can include providing transportation solutions. Not all centers provide help paying for car repairs, but they might be able to give you bus passes or other forms of support.

Check Out Working Cars for Working Families

Similar to local community action centers, Working Cars for Working Families is a nationwide agency the provides used cars or auto financing to low-income families and individuals. This organization partners with locations in all 50 states, and if you’re lucky there might be one near your area. Even they don’t have a sponsored center in your area, don’t worry: there are more options to come.

Call 1-800-Charity-Cars

This option is a little different from the other ways to get help paying for auto repairs, but it might be right for you. 1-800-Charity-Cars provides low-cost cars to people who need them. They allow people with old automobiles to donate their cars, which can then be sold at very affordable prices to the needy. When someone donates a car, the organization will screen individuals to search for the best match for their vehicle. Although they do not provide auto repairs directly, they might be able to refer you to a local repair shop that will offer assistance.

Reach Out to Lutheran Services

Lutheran Services is a national network of organizations in the Lutheran church. The exact types of organizations and programs offered vary from one city and state to another, but many of them offer help paying for car repairs. The organizations also work with local charities and agencies to help the less fortunate in many ways. Because they’re a very flexible organization focused on meeting people’s needs, there are many ways they might be able to coordinate help on your behalf, whatever your needs may be.

Find Catholic Charities

There are many organizations and charities run by the Catholic Church which operate similarly to Lutheran Services. From car repairs to gasoline programs, a wide variety of services may be offered, but you will need to find and get in touch with one to discover exactly what they can do for you.

Apply for Auto Repair Grants

People rely on grants for many things, from hiring an accident lawyer to building a farm. Low-income individuals and families and welfare recipients may qualify for special grants to help them get the transportation they need. Grants can come from both the federal government and local nonprofits. These grants can pay for repairs like new tires and transmissions, although some might even help you purchase a new car outright. Continue reading to learn about what your options might be.

Apply for a Grant From JARC

A significant public service program for helping people with transportation needs is JARC, or Job Access and Reverse Commute. Not all cities or counties offer repair assistance from JARC, and funding is limited, which means individuals who are especially in need will be given priority. Their focus is usually on helping individuals who require transportation for work, education, and job training. These people are often single mothers, veterans, people on cash welfare programs, and veterans.

Besides being somewhat limited in its scope and available funding, JARC is spread across multiple nonprofit organizations that exist across the country. They may also be able to offer welfare car vouchers from the government or DHS, as well as direct you to other nonprofit resources.

This government program has the goal of addressing the transportation needs of the low income, minorities, working poor, and people who require a car to get to work. It also provides assistance to single parents with children. Ultimately, recipients of JARC grants should have the goal of either obtaining or keeping a job. Even if you aren’t eligible for any of the programs or vouchers offered, there should be other nonprofits in your area that can help you with any critical auto work you need done.

How to Apply for a JARC Grant

As we mentioned, the program has very limited funding, and only a few nonprofits might have cash assistance through JARC to help low-income individuals. Some agencies provide JARC assistance through the program known as Ways to Work.

Most of the time, the best way to find out if JARC grants are offered in your area is to call the United Way hotline, which you can do by dialing 211. Besides making information available about government grants in your city, they might be able to offer additional suggestions for people needing to get their cars fixed. If grants are available and you’re eligible for one, the hotline will tell you how to submit an application for available resources.

Try Fundraising

When you get to the end of your rope and you’re having trouble finding any grants or benefits that you’re eligible for, fundraising can be a lifeline. From putting a donation box next to a sidewalk to running a bake sale, people find countless creative ways to raise funds for important causes. With the right strategy, you might be able to use a fundraiser to get the money you need to pay for your car repairs.

Create a Campaign With GoFundMe

People use GoFundMe to raise money for personal challenges and financial burdens that they aren’t equipped to handle on their own. The things people use this platform to fund are highly varied, from being able to hire a disability claims attorney to fund a vacation for a deserving local hero. People can also use it to get help paying for car repairs.

Crowdfunding campaigns can help you raise the money you need quickly, without dealing with lengthy application processing or eligibility requirements. To ensure your car fundraising venture is a success, you’ll want to employ some best practices that crowdfunding experts have fine-tuned over the years.

First of all, any time you start a fundraiser using crowdfunding, you will need to write your fundraising story. The purpose of your story is to give context to your request for donations and to show people why it’s important that you get the money you need. But instead of begging or listing off reasons why you need the money, approach writing your story from the perspective of a real storyteller. Your first goal should be to connect with potential donors’ emotions, and the way to do that is to make yourself seem relatable. Tell your audience just what you’re going through, and what happened to lead you to take your fundraiser online.

Rather than emphasize how badly you need the money, try to let your need be implied through the story. Finish by sharing exactly how people’s donations will be used — show them what good thing they will be helping to accomplish by donating.

If you have the nerve to appear on camera, making a video version of your crowdfunding story is a great idea. It allows people to see that there’s a real person on the other side of the campaign, giving you a chance to connect more deeply with potential donors. It also makes it easy for donors to share your campaign on social media.

Once your crowdfunding campaign is started, you should keep current donors in the loop by sharing regular fundraiser updates. Talk about it whenever you reach significant fundraising milestones. Let your audience know when you start using the funds to repair your car, and be sure and share pictures of the finished result when it’s all done.

Hustle for Cash and Loans

One of the simplest ways to get help paying for car parts is to get a temporary side hustle. Or you could host a garage sale, or sell clothes and other items you no longer need at a resale shop. And of course, there are always small and low-interest loans available if you know where to look, even for people with poor credit. We’ll detail a few of your best options next.

Try Freelancing or Teaching Online

You may not see yourself as the work from home type, but if you have skills or knowledge to share and are willing to hustle, taking your work online might be the best way to earn extra money.

With a platform like Teachable or Preply, you can create simple but valuable courses or tutor people who are trying to learn something you understand pretty well. This can be a great opportunity if you’re naturally organized, you have a knack for writing and communicating, and you’ve got a unique skill that people want to learn. And you probably have at least one or two skills that you could monetize. Simply being fluent in English can make you a valuable resource to people who want to learn it.

With platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, you can get paid for doing small tasks for people and businesses. This is a great option for people with basic knowledge of graphic design or copywriting.

Reach Out to Ways to Work

If you need transportation to a job or a job interview, Ways to Work might be able to help you. They’re an organization that providers low-interest loans to help individuals buy cars of their own, so they can get to work. However, these loans can usually be used to pay for employment-related car repairs as well.

Pawn Unneeded Items or Get a Small Loan

Your local pawn shop is a great place to go for small cash loans. Even if your credit is bad and your credit cards are all maxed out, you can still get cash loans for small amounts of money from pawn shops. This is because these small loans are always secured with a valuable item as collateral, which you’ll leave at the shop until you pay back your loan.

You can also get cash for jewelry and other items you might have lying around at the pawn shop. This is a great option for people with jewelry, antiques, or other items lying around that you don’t have any use for.

Get Cash Back From Your Credit Card

If going to a pawn shop isn’t really your thing, you might be able to get some quick cash with your credit card at a local store. Depending on the credit cards you have and the store you visit, some credit card processing services allow you to get cashback when you check out your grocery purchase. This is reflected on your credit card bill the next month, and works kind of like a small cash loan.

Of course, this strategy wouldn’t make sense unless you specifically need cash for help paying for car repairs. This can be the case if you’re hiring someone to make your repairs for you instead of going to a mechanic shop, which can save you money. You may not know the first thing about cars, such as the different types of automotive hose clamps. But lots of individuals have intricate auto repair knowledge, and you may even have a neighbor who can make small repairs for you. Just make sure it’s someone you trust.

You would be surprised how many people are skilled mechanics and craftsmen in their spare time. You might even know someone who runs a small welding service out of their garage. Either way, it’s a good idea to ask around and see if anyone you know has a recommendation for an independent or amateur mechanic. This can be a great way to get help paying for car repairs.

Finding the right mechanic for you can be as tough as finding the best accident injury attorney, especially when you need help paying for car repairs. Hopefully, with the ideas we’ve presented in this article, you’ll soon be back on the road, having found the help paying for car repairs that you need.

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