Should You Do Your Own Car Repairs?

Perhaps nothing is as frustrating as paying $200 to have a mechanic replace a $10 part, but this scenario happens daily. The parts are often not the real expense: the labor charges are. This expense often does not seem reasonable to vehicle owners, so they may decide to take matters into their own hands and make the repairs themselves. Is this practice a good idea?

Brake Pads

The average cost of brake pad replacement per axle is approximately $150, though on some model cars the price may be closer to $300. The price of the pads themselves is pretty reasonable. Most of the cost is for labor. As repairs go, this one is pretty simple, but it does require that you essentially take the brakes apart, replace the pads, and reassemble them. If you are a newbie to repair, you may be better off paying for your mechanic to do the job. However, if you have some experience and basic tools, you can probably manage this task yourself. Have the service manual handy and a good internet video running on your phone to provide help if you get stuck. If you do the job yourself, you can expect to save a minimum of $100.

Shock Absorbers

Unless you are a mechanic or used to be one, you should probably not try to replace your shocks yourself. Experts say that this job can be particularly dangerous, putting you at risk of suffering a crushed hand or another body part. They also note that installing the shocks incorrectly can make your vehicle dangerous or even impossible to drive. The cost of having new shocks installed at the shop costs around $750, a significant amount of money. However, in this case, you probably want to bite the bullet and pay for the professionals to make the repair.

Computer Issues

If your vehicle is throwing out a code that indicates the computer system or electronics are faulty, take your car immediately to the dealership or your personal mechanic. Anything you do in this circumstance is almost guaranteed to make matters worse. These problems require sophisticated diagnosis and an expert hand to fix.

You can safely make some repairs on your vehicle if you have some basic car knowledge and a few tools. Be aware that some fixes are delicate, and you can make matters worse if you do not know what you are doing. If you don't feel confident in your DIY ability, take your vehicle to the professionals.