A car is a money pit… On average, a car costs a French person €4,732 per year according to Adetec, which represents 11% of a household’s budget! Many costs are true to be expected on a car, not to mention the loss of value of the vehicle: insurance, parking, fuel… and of course maintenance, which alone represents 28% of the car budget. Maintenance, repairs, and spare parts thus represent an average cost of €1,346 per year for a French person. Fortunately, there are solutions to lower the note! One of them is none other than having your car repaired in an associative garage. In this sense, we will see in this guide what an associative garage is, what prices are charged there, who can benefit from it and where you can find it.
What is a community garage?
An associative garage, also called solidarity garage, self garage, community garage, cooperative garage, or participatory garage is a garage where you will have the possibility of carrying out repairs and maintenance of your vehicle yourself, which gives you will save on labor. Indeed, an associative garage provides you with its premises and the equipment present to carry out the repairs, in exchange for a small participation.
Of course, even if you are not a mechanic and have no mechanical skills, professionals will be available to you in this associative garage to train you in car repair or to carry out the repairs for you. Thanks to associative garages, you save money while learning mechanics!
The associative garages are, as their name suggests, associations governed by the 1901 law which benefit from subsidies from the State and/or communities. It is thanks to this that garages of this type can offer much more attractive prices than a classic garage.
In some community garages, vehicles are repaired with a view to resale or be rented out at low prices to people in financial difficulty. Some also train people as mechanics.
What are the services offered by an associative garage?
An associative garage allows you to carry out repair work on your vehicle. Here are the interventions that you can carry out in an associative garage:
- vehicle overhaul;
- changing discs and brake pads;
- replacement of suspensions;
- change of the clutch;
- tire change;
- repair or replacement of the exhaust;
- replacement of various parts…
As you can see, an associative garage works like a classic garage with many possible jobs on your car. Depending on the complexity of the intervention, we recommend that you be accompanied by a professional or even delegate the repair entirely to a mechanic.
In addition to the many interventions they offer, participatory garages also offer many services.
Here are the services that associative garages can offer:
- hiring people in precarious situations towards professional integration;
- mechanical training;
- technical pre-control;
- travel on demand for members;
- vehicle rental at preferential prices;
- sale of vehicles at preferential prices;
- purchase of spare parts.
What are the prices for a community garage?
To benefit from the associative garage and its advantageous prices, you must pay an annual subscription to the garage, including the cost of between 10 and 150€ year-round depending on the garage. In addition to this base cost, here are the various additional costs:
- the hourly cost of workshop rental and tools: between 10 and 40€ per hour ;
- cost of mechanical parts: the garage can order them for you;
- cost of labor when the work is carried out by a mechanic: between 10 and 20€ per hour in addition to the hourly rental cost of the workshop;
- cost of practical and/or theoretical training in automobile repair.
The prices vary according to the resources of each person, people with low incomes (social minima, people with no income, single mothers, etc.) will thus have preferential prices.
Who can benefit from an associative garage?
Each garage has its own rules. Some are only accessible to precarious people, while others are open to everyone but offer preferential prices to low-income people. On the whole, associative garages do not compete with traditional garages because they are aimed at low incomes. To be able to join and benefit from community garages dedicated to people in precarious situations, you must be prescribed by social workers, integration structures, or any other social structure.
Where to find an associative garage?
There are more than 200 solidarity garages in France! The Self Garage site lists a large part of it. You can find a garage thereby sorting by region and department. The prices of the services are sometimes indicated. You can also contact your town hall as well as your department to find out where the nearest solidarity garage is located. Most departments have at least one solidarity garage within them.
Other ways to save on your car
Here are some other ways to save money on your car:
The associative garage is a good plan to save on costs related to car repairs. Indeed, by carrying out the work yourself, you save labor – which is increasingly expensive! – and you train in mechanics. However, by doing the work yourself, you spend more time on it than a seasoned mechanic and you run the risk of doing it wrong. This is why it is advisable, when there are major repairs, to have the work carried out by a mechanic from the associative garage: it will be a little more expensive, but the repair will be well done! With an associative garage, depending on your income, you can save 2 to 3 times the amount requested by a traditional garage, it’s really worth the cost! Thanks to the low cost of repairs, you will be able to maintain your car in time and will not put off repairs any longer. You should also know that a well-maintained car generates fewer repair costs!
Have you ever used a community garage? What did you think of it? Share your experience in the comments.