One thing that all drivers have felt lately is a tremendous strain on their pockets. Between gas costs, insurance rates, repairs and maintenance, there doesn’t seem to be much opportunity to save on vehicle expenses. In fact, many drivers have already started putting off common repairs and maintenance due to inflated invoices and car part shortages. Unfortunately, delaying any type of maintenance, even just an oil change, has the potential to bring about long-term repercussions, and in some cases, significant damage to your engine. Now might be the time you’re wondering, “Is it cheaper to just do the repairs myself?
In this guide, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of DIY maintenance for those who are looking for ways to save money.
Is it cheaper to DIY? Let’s find out
Not every driver has enough disposable income to cover high-cost repairs when a problem comes about. Depending on the type of car you drive, it could be easier to just do the work yourself from home, possibly right from your garage. While some jobs do require the expertise of a licensed mechanic, the DIY approach is totally doable if you have the right tools and knowledge.
Here are the main pros of DIY car maintenance:
- Save on labor costs. If you’ve got the time and the patience, you can save substantially by performing the work yourself. On average, labor costs can range from $75 to $130 per hour. You can expect even higher hourly rates if you bring your vehicle to the dealership.
- Option to shop for car part. When you take your car to the mechanic, you rely on them to find the right replacement auto parts for your car. However, the DIY method gives you a greater opportunity to shop around and find the best deal.
- Flexibility with your time. Instead of working around a mechanic’s time table, you have the ability to get the job done in your own time. Because some mechanics have a packed schedule, it could a week or more before you can get an appointment for your maintenance need.
- It can be fun! This pro is more beneficial to car enthusiasts, although, there is something to be said about learning to fix a car yourself. Whether you have an interest in mechanics or not, you’ll gain self-confidence and new skills by tackling a DIY maintenance or repair.
While we have plenty of good things to say about getting your hands dirty with a DIY repair, there are some drawbacks to the job. In large part, one of the biggest factors to consider is safety. If you don’t trust yourself to complete the maintenance or repair correctly, it could worsen the health of your vehicle or lead to other problems that require the assistance of an automotive expert.
Here are the biggest cons to DIY car maintenance:
- It takes time. Unlike dropping your car off at the mechanic, a DIY repair requires significant use of your time. Particularly, if it’s a job that can’t be completed in one sitting. Mechanics usually have the tools and equipment to get the job done faster, whereas car owners might not.
- There’s dangers involved. Vehicles are essentially heavy machinery and many come equipped with complex electric control units. By chance you don’t know what you’re doing, there’s some potential to get exposed to dangerous chemicals or hazards that could result from an incorrect repair.
- Could impact your vehicle’s warranty. Many times, a DIY solution could actually void your car’s manufacturer warranty or extended warranty terms. It’s important to read the small print before you start taking apart any components.
- It could cost you more money. In a worst case scenario situation, one wrong move could put you in a position of buying more parts and fixing an entirely different problem. Because vehicles are complex, it’s best to stick to the simpler maintenance and repairs if you’re a first-timer.
Weighing your options
So, Is it cheaper to DIY car maintenance and repairs? The answer really comes down to your own skill level. Tasks like oil changes, fluid checks, and replacing car batteries are definitely within reach for the average driver. Then again, repairs that require more knowledge may be best left to the professionals.
Whatever route you choose, we recommend spending some time online reading through manuals or watching how-to videos from professionals like, EricTheCarGuy. All in all, the more informed you become, the more transparent your decision will be.
Have you tried DIY car maintenance? Do you think it is cheaper to tackle the project yourself? Share your thoughts below.