If you have a warranty, I'd advise not even touching your own car. You'll likely void the warranty and cause yourself a bigger headache than whatever was wrong with the car in the first place.
If your warranty has expired, and you're on the hook for any parts and repairs, then you could save a lot of time and learn some new things by diagnosing and doing the work yourself.
According to Mark Gittelman, author of 'Diy Car Repair and Troubleshooting Car Problems', most people make the mistake of skipping stages in the diagnostic process. Here are the steps he advises when taking on DIY car repair:
- Get a good auto repair manual.
- Follow all the steps for diagnosing the problem.
- When you think you have found the problem, test the individual component.
- Replace the part only once you know that it is causing the problem.
You will save yourself high labor charges and marked-up parts by taking on some of your own car repair. Remember to focus on the diagnostics and not jump right into repair. Testing the suspect part first could save you a lot of time and money.
Here is another great list of How-to articles for diagnosing various car problems. Become your own best resource and know where to find the information you need. Even if you still end up at the mechanic, at least you'll be confident that you know what the problem is and you'll know what questions to ask.
What aspects of auto repair do you take on yourself and what do you turn over to a professional?