Yes! You can fix your car.

Yes! You can fix your car.

You can fix your car

It seems with the rising cost of car repairs people are questioning can you fix your car yourself these days. The complex answer is, as always it depends.  The simple answer is YES.  There is three things it takes to fixing a car. You need time, tools, and ability.  A place to do the work is a serious consideration, but not a necessity.  Before anyone gets upset.  You can fix a car anywhere as long as you have enough time in that location.  There are people who have done complete engine swaps on the side of the road.  Granted it takes ability, tools, and time.  It can be done.  If you are really concerned about having a place you can see if there are any garages in your area that will rent you space.  The DIYgarage does this in Omaha, Nebraska.

Time

TimeNo matter what your skill level it takes time to fix your car.  This time is why so many people just take their car to a mechanic even for oil changes and tire rotations.  If you are new to fixing your car, you can go to NAPA and get an estimate of the cost of your repair.  Unfortunately, you will given a dollar cost on labor.  Take this dollar amount and divide it by the average hourly shop rate in your area.  If don’t know that amount $100 will most likely work.

Now that you have a rough estimate of what book time is on the repair you want to do.  Take that time and double or triple it.  Unless you are a mechanic you won’t make book time on a repair.  There’s also that oops I forgot something trip to the parts store you never plan for.  This is just an estimate.  The time it takes you to fix your car also depends on the tools you have, and your ability.

Tools

socketsThe most important thing you’ll need to fix your car is tools.  You will need at least a Basic Set of Automotive Tools.  If you have no tools fixing you car isn’t cost effective.  The biggest problem is many repairs will take specialty tools also.  This is where having a friend who works on cars comes in handy.  There are also places you can rent some of these specialty tools.  Many parts stores have a tool rental program.  Otherwise you may have a local peer-to-peer tool rental place like T’Work.  If you have to buy a special tool consider Harbor Freight.   With Harbor Freight you will always get what you pay for.  If you only need a tool for one job there is no need to pay huge amounts for it.  For the common tools pay extra for quality.  More bloody knuckles have been caused by a cheap ratchet breaking.

Ability

abilityYour abilities really determine if you can fix your car.  Most people think it is knowledge, but it’s not.  If you are good with using tools you can fix your car. With the internet you can get the knowledge you need to fix a car anywhere.  YouTube has plenty of good videos on how to fix anything that is wrong with your car.  Be careful with YouTube there are a few bad videos also.  Make sure you watch a few videos before you try a repair to make sure the first one you watch isn’t a bad advice.   There are also websites like AllData where you can pay for a subscription and get all the information you need.  If you want something for free AutoZone has a repair help section on their website.

There is an understood feeling in the mechanic world that ASE certification is proof they can take a test.  If those certified mechanics have no ability they can’t fix cars.  This is where you must be honest with yourself if you have no ability, get help or let the professionals fix your car.  If you are good with your hands and tools, don’t be afraid to learn new things.  You will be able to fix your car.

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