I have a relative who found a used car from the 1990s that had low mileage because it was owned by an elderly woman. However, the car is still 15+ years old, so it needs some major replacements.
Luckily, while perusing the newspaper one night, she found that the local community college was looking for people to bring in their cars so the automotive students could practice on them. Each month the automotive students study a different part of the car: January—engine mechanical, February—manual/automatic transmissions, etc. My relative just makes an appointment and brings her car in.
This has been a tremendous cost savings to her. For instance, many times when she used the brakes, she heard a loud clunk. During the unit on brakes, she brought the car in. It turned out the brakes were not bad but that some component needed to be tightened. They tightened it and gave the car a full oil change, and she was only charged $25.
Another time she needed several repairs—the water pump bearing was worn, the power steering belt was loose and the hose to the coolant overflow was loose and the clamp holding the hose was worn out. They tightened what needed to be tightened and replaced the pump bearing and clamp for a total cost of $249.59. After calling around to other locations, she found this service would have cost her $500.
Perhaps try checking in your area to see if a similar program is available. The cost savings is well worth it. Just keep in mind that the students who are making the repairs are students, learning, so there may sometimes be errors. But in general, the cost can’t be beat. Works for me!