Aug 242009

carrepairWhen the mechanic comes out with the estimate of how much it will cost to fix my car, I am nearly always stunned. Can it really cost that much?

If you want a second opinion, check RepairPal, which provides free estimates on repairs to most cars, customized by ZIP code. You can access RepairPal on your computer or get the freeiPhone app.

RepairPal joins several similar services: DriverSide, which is also free, and FairRepair, which charges $9.99 for an estimate once you enter your VIN number but gives you that cost back as a rebate if you use one of their participating mechanics, who have promised to honor the estimates.

RepairPal launched last year. In addition to providing repair estimates, it explains the purpose of the repairs, outlines problems specific to your car’s make and model and has a forum where you can get answers to questions. You can even keep your service records online.

Some local repair shops are listed with reviews, but that part of the website isn’t yet complete.

May 202009

We have a new Cheap correspondent looking for deals in Palm Beach County.

Katherine Lynch, a resident of West Palm Beach, is the new voice of Palm Beach on the Cheap. Katy is a lover of delicious food, good wine and discovering new gems in her community. In addition to writing for Palm Beach on the Cheap, she is the editor of Dine Magazine and blogs about her travel experiences at The South Florida Traveler. Send your cheap Palm Beach County news to Follow her on Twitter @pbcheap.

Patti Roth, a veteran Broward freelance writer, is the new voice of Fort Lauderdale on the Cheap. Patti, who has lived in Florida since her teenage years, was a staffer at the Sun-Sentinel pattiroth2newspaper in Fort Lauderdale for about 14 years. As a freelancer, she’s written for various publications, including The Miami Herald, Florida Travel and Life, New Times, E Environmental Magazine, Dog Fancy, Cat Fancy, US Architecture and Send your cheap Broward tips to her at

They join me, Teresa Mears, your publisher and editor for Miami Fl on the Cheap, Florida Keys on the Cheap and Florida on the Cheap. You can follow me on Twitter @miamicheap.