Car Repairs On The Cheap

Back in September I reported that I had a minor accident. My years of faithful MacGyver watching paid off and with every handy man’s tool (duct tape) I was able to return my busted headlight to a working position until i was able to figure out the best (and most inexpensive way) to repair my car.

Since my car is my primary mode of transportation (and not my status symbol) I needed to get it fixed, but I wasn't too concerned about the cosmetics. To me, it isn't worth the several hundred dollars it would take to remove the dents and scratches. I'd rather invest that money and buy a BMW when I retire in a few years ;-).

I first called the local junkyards looking to buy a replacement headlight and turn light. Since my car is pretty common I was easily able to find a used headlight, but the turn light turned out to be a problem (apparently everyone need a new Nissan turn light).

I then searched online as well. In the end I ordered a new headlight and turn light from Partstrain. The new headlight was only $1 more than the used headlight and by purchasing both parts I was able to take advantage of a $5 coupon (Partstrain coupon: QPT1S). After ordering, I received the parts 5 days later.

Repairing the Car
If there is one thing I don't know much about its cars. I have never been a car guy. Luckily this seemed like a job I could handle. All I had to do was bang out the hood, the side, and the area the headlight and turn lights went so I could attached them to the car.

It was a little harder than I thought. Part of that was because I only had a few tools available to me at the time. However, after a couple hours of effort, I was able to bang out enough space to securely attach the headlight and turn light to the car.

Total Repair Costs



Duct tape


Headlight bulb




Partstrain (headlight, turnlight)




Not too shabby. While I didn't get a repair estimate, I know that if I got this fully repair at a body shop this would have run 4-7 times my repair costs (or more).

Related in Money Saving Tips:

Free Museum Day 2014 (Sep 27, 2014) The Smithsonian Magazine is holding Museum Day on 9/27/2014 (today!) which is a great opportunity to get 2 free tickets to any participating museum. You can sign up for free museum tickets here. Also, it is National Public Lands Day...

Buy The Cheapest Baby Crib (Sep 20, 2013) My wife and I have learned and experienced a lot in the past four wonderful years of parenthood. My advice to future parents out there - buy the cheapest baby crib you can find. I believe when you are...

Free Museum Day 2013 (Sep 08, 2013) The Smithsonian Magazine is holding Museum Day on 9/28/2013 which is a great opportunity to get 2 free tickets to any participating museum. You can sign up for free museum tickets here. For folks with young children this is a...

Comments (5)

YES! That's what I'm talking about. I hate throwing money at my crappy car. It doesn't have to look nice, it just needs to take me places.

Nice! I find it really rewarding when I fix things myself, and the savings doesn't hurt either. :)

You should shift your concern to the rust which will begin forming at the parts not properly covered by paint.

Fixing your car by yourself is definitely a great way to save money. With sone of my previous cars I ended up at the junk yard getting parts for a fraction of what they would normally cost. The only drawback to this is that you have to be somewhat mechanically inclined or know someone who is to trully benefit from this.

Great job on the car!

Good point about the paint. I was planning on purchasing some touch up paint at the local car parts shop, but I haven't rushed into it.

Post a comment

(Comment moderation enabled.)


A personal finance weblog of my journey to reach my goal of $2 million + the value of my primary residence.
Current Net Worth: $1,938,393


New Personal Finance Articles

PF Blogs