Even if you want to be more self-reliant ad thrifty, there are certain auto repairs you should never try yourself. Sure, you can change a tire, put in a new air filter, and maybe even install your own battery, but for the majority of Americans, attempting certain major repairs is a bad idea.
Although changing the brake pads and other brake-related tasks may seem simpler than some other automotive repairs, unless you are an expert you should leave brake replacement to the professionals. If you do not install all the components correctly, you could easily end up injured in an accident if your brakes malfunction. Trained mechanics will test your new brakes before you ever drive your car, ensuring that your vehicle is safe.
You might be tempted to try this one simply because the job is so labor intensive that your mechanic's bill will probably be a large one. So, you buy a new transmission and get a buddy to help. What could go wrong? Well, for starters, you could drop your new transmission because it is so heavy that you need special equipment to get it into position. By the time you rent all of those pieces of machinery, you will have spent a great deal of money. Add in six hours of labor and the very real chance of installing it wrong and you could easily have a financial disaster on your hands.
Contemporary cars have complex electronic/computer systems that can easily be damaged by a well-meaning but novice do-it-yourselfer. What may seem like a simple repair, like replacing a faulty power-window switch, is actually complicated because the car's computer system will need to "recognize" the new part before it can work. Also, simply taking apart your door enough to get to the part can potentially cause other problems. What might originally cost several hundred dollars at the dealer suddenly becomes a more expensive task after your effort to fix it.
Even if you are a mechanic yourself, you shouldn't attempt repairs on any vehicles that you haven't been specifically trained on. Today's cars and trucks have intricate systems that can easily be harmed by someone who lacks the necessary knowledge to properly repair them. If you have doubts about your ability, do not attempt the repair job. Sure, your dad may have done all your family's car repairs decades ago, but cars were much simpler then. In most cases, you will be better off consulting with a professional.
Contact a professional, such as Automotive Specialties, for more information.