DIY Car Repair: Is It Better Left to the Pros?

Natalie Josef
July 30, 2012

These days, it seems like Do It Yourself (DIY) is everywhere, mostly because people are trying to save money any way they can. But while doing some things on your own makes sense (like painting your hallway), attempting to repair a car problem yourself can often end up costing more instead of less.

Cars are more complicated than ever, and many repairs are best left to the pros. But how can we know the difference between a simple DIY repair or one that should never be attempted at home?

In this article just published in our Auto Care Advice section, we are going to explore the pros and cons of DIY car repair, figure out what is safe (and what isn’t) to do on our own, and whether or not going the DIY route is less expensive than taking our car into the shop.

Check out DIY Car Repair - A Way to Save Money or Better Left to the Pros? »

Natalie Josef

About the Author

Natalie Josef is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

4 User Comments

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By , August 30, 2012
With newer cars it's a bit harder to do repairs myself. That's why it's important to find a good local honest mechanic who knows what he's doing.
By , July 04, 2014
It all depends on you problem and your skill level. First, I'd say a factory service manual is a must. Some diy shops rent access, but really, you need access to one first so you can pre read it and study it carefully, and therefore not pay money to sit there reading instead of fixing. The factory manual is a must, not a Haynes. Second, it depends on whether you know what the faulty part is. Be aware, symptoms may look similar or the same for many different parts.The service manual has a troubleshooting guide. But it can't cover 100% of the problems you might encounter. When the dealer techs hit this wall,they are simply referred to an engineer with detailed theoretical and practical knowledge of the systems. If it happens to you, the best you can do is usually a Google search. If that does not work, your choices are limited
By , July 04, 2014
On other thing to remember is,for most jobs it will take longer than a pro,especially if your very carfull about breaking things. For instance, break I little plastic part that holds something important and the whole projectcan halt while you order parts. If you lucky it drives home, if not, you have to weigh tow coats vs extended atorahevor bay fees. The reason it takes longer is not you competance.Its experience. Even an experience. How does the rear wheel cylinder come out of the caliper? Dies itcscrew in or come right you proceed cautiously and slowly. The pro has access to an engeers advice whenever needs it. You certainly CAN do it righ
By , August 26, 2015
I won't even try to change the oil on my own. I don't know enough to know what I'm doing, and even then I don't have the tools to do it fast and efficiently. I like what one of the comments says about it taking longer, and how if you break a little part, it can be twice as long. My brother did that on his car once, and he was without a car for about a week.