Does DIY car repair and service actually save you anything? Opinions welcome.

Discussion in 'The Guru's Pub' started by AsiJu, Nov 28, 2020.

  1. AsiJu

    AsiJu Ancient Guru

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    Hullo,

    so long story short, I bought brake shoes for rear (handbrake), brake assembly kit, engine oil filter, a few tools, brake cleaner etc. fluids and 5 litres of engine oil (fully synthetic 5W-40).

    Total even with round-offs was 160 EUR. Granted that contains a brake cylinder tool worth 45 EUR for pushing or twisting the cylinder back in.
    (Thought I'd finally buy the proper tool having used circlip pliers or a vice so far.)

    I recently got an ad for local KIA dealership for maintenance including oil change and whatnot for 199 EUR.

    While I like tinkering with cars to an extent, main reason I do everything I can myself is I've thought it saves you money but I'm not too convinced anymore whether you practically save that much in the end.

    DIY Gurus of 3D, have your say!
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
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  2. anticupidon

    anticupidon Ancient Guru

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    This is more a multi layered response.
    Although some repair auto techies frown upon every guy going bezerk with a tool wanting to fix their car, which results in damaging the car and worsen the issue, I think DIY does save you money.
    But not as much as you expected. Vast majority of car owners will want to carry themselves some maintenance services and car manufacturers oblige to release manuals and providing tools, tutorials.
    When you turn your back at DIY and let manufacturers to take full control, the you are screwed. No tutorials, no longer allowing to learn how to maintain and service your car.
    You basically rent the car from the manufacturer and you will be squeezed by it until your tits turn purple and bleed money.
    Sorry to put it so bluntly, let's enjoy DIY cars service while are still the norm and allowed.
    Next thing you know, it's illegal to change the oil or a tyre and only terrorists are doing that, normal people always pay for every service and call it a day.
     
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  3. k3vst3r

    k3vst3r Ancient Guru

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    Does dealership mention replacing brakes in that 199 EUR? could cost additional extra, most likely is. Flat fee you pay just usually just changing oil filters an oil an labour costs. Far as I'm aware they don't replace brakes, like pads an discs usually cost extra. Buying tools to do the job adds to the overall cost too, but usually is one off long as you look after said tool. Overtime DIY is cheaper option.

    Once we all have electric cars, it's going be far cheaper to DIY cause barely anything to replace except brakes, wheels an suspension parts.
     
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  4. jeffmorris

    jeffmorris Ancient Guru

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    I remembered working on cars up to mid-1980s. Open the hood/bonnet on a brand new car and you don't want to touch that computer-controlled engine. Checking and changing the fluids, changing the filters, and making sure that tire air pressures are OK but just DON'T anything on the engine's computer-controlled systems.
     
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  5. DannyD

    DannyD Maha Guru

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    Got x2 front calipers, x2 flexi-hoses, new pads and discs, basically a front brake overhaul, just yesterday from local mechanic for £280.
    Not bad eh?
    Knowing a local mechanic you can't beat imo. I used to work on and upgrade my cars but screw that i've no drive-way now, nor garage.
     
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  6. jbscotchman

    jbscotchman Ancient Guru

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    General and preventative maintenance is always better and cheaper to do yourself. But like @jeffmorris said, don't mess with the computer controlled stuff.
     
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  7. 386SX

    386SX Maha Guru

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    Change clutch: about 500 Euros if you do it yourself / 1390 Euros (I still have the invoice) if done by a car mechanic in a garage / shop.
    Change brakes (completely with disks, refill and everything): yourself = 500 Euros / shop = 800 - 1100 Euros

    Peugeot 106 1.4
    Change fuel pump: yourself = 100 Euros / shop = 350 Euros
    Connecting a loose cable: yourself = 0.50 for a cable shoe / shop = 92 Euros for "time and material"

    I would have more to write down, but you get the picture. ;)
     
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  8. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    For basic servicing, absolutely it will save you money.
    For anything further it depends on your diagnosis skill, competence and whether you have the tools (or cost of purchase/hire) and a garage/area to work & store tools + parts.
    Also the vehicle may require some disassembly to do relatively normal work, there are some awkward ones.
    Investigate the job thoroughly online and with a Haynes manual before attempting.
     
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  9. circeseye

    circeseye Master Guru

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    dyi really depends
    do you already have the tools (this is the biggie, some tools cost and amount needed also)
    can you get the parts cheaper (you usually can and better quality)
    just these 2 things will save you money. if you have to buy the tools, sometime isnt worth it.
    heres an example
    i have all tools
    father in laws van needed front brakes and rotors. i got higher end slotted rotors and brakes saved over 100 dollars
    did his struts and stabilizer bars and on my pathfinder. saved over 200 on each car
    i replaced a timing belt, water pump on a vw beetle, big savings of 600 if independent mechanic did it, over 1000 if dealer did it.

    and youtube is king with step by step instructions on repairing most cars.
     
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  10. AsiJu

    AsiJu Ancient Guru

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    In other words the answer to the question is a definite maybe :D

    Nice to hear some examples from you guys, some jobs I have done myself previously and some I haven't so good to have a bit of reference frame for future.
    I've never even bothered asking shops for what they'd charge for the things I can do myself.

    The thing is the car is relatively modern (2012) with eg. a turbo-charged, common rail diesel engine so I'll likely have it maintenanced at a shop every now and then as well.
    However I would love to know what jobs exactly are done per maintenance interval, information is skimp.

    On the other hand if I'm going to have maintenance done at a shop, am I wasting money by performing certain tasks myself?
    As in the shop would do it anyway.

    I doubt brake replacements are covered by any maintenance though, for example.

    Btw Kia seems to have an aggressive marketing campaign for service, I've actually received 3 ads for service already and I bought the car used just recently.

    (The car in question is 2012 Kia Cee'd wagon with 1.6 CRDi engine, front wheel drive, manual transmission).
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2020

  11. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Time is money, you are probably paying at least $60/hr for a mech to study and fix a problem. Parts on top, which may have an extra profit margin added.
    And if they are busy, will they cut corners yet still charge you? You want neither.
    Even the best places have engineers that need to save time somehow, others can be far worse.
    The number of occasions I had cause to wonder if things were done well.
    Its good to find a place you can trust for those jobs you cant handle.

    One Toyota dealership in the UK tried to scam me so badly while supposedly diagnosing a problem.
    They lied a lot and were extremely abusive when it was uncovered. They overcharged for a pre-agreed diagnosis cost and wanted to hugely overcharge for the repair which I also couldnt trust was right. They had no idea what they were doing to my car but certainly knew how to extract money!
    I wont get another Toyota in case I have to deal with them again.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2020
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  12. AsiJu

    AsiJu Ancient Guru

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    Yeah that's another concern for sure, will these "professionals" do a proper job.

    I spent 8 hours last Sunday disassembling, cleaning, lubricating, replacing parts, adjusting and reassembling the rear brakes.
    I sanded or filed all contact surfaces, grinded / deburred brake disc edges, grinded clean the actuation mechanism lever and lubricated it with copper paste etc.

    Lo and behold handbrake works like a charm now.
    Though I did my usual mistake and left the cable too loose, I'm always afraid of tightening it much to make sure the brake releases effortlessly.

    I think I'll try to dig up the actual service schedule to see what jobs should be done per each interval, do all I can myself and what I can't, I'll have a non-dealer workshop do in particular.

    And give me a fixed price in advance. If I am able to tell them exactly what to do, they should be able to tell me exactly what it'll cost.
     
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  13. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    Ugh.... I really dislike threads like this.... There's always someone accusing "mechanics" of being crooks or incompetent....

    Yes, DIY has the potential to save money compared to dealing with a shop. Whether it will actually save you money depends on how mechanically inclined you actually are.
    If you're in the US, don't waste your time with a Haynes manual. Instead, go to alldata.com and buy a subscription. Current pricing is $30 per year or $50 for 5 years, per vehicle, for US residents. (Sorry, I'm in the US and can't see pricing or availability elsewhere) You will get vastly more information than a Haynes manual will ever provide.

    If you go to a shop, shortcuts WILL be taken. This does not mean that the job is done improperly. Service manuals and procedures are written by engineers. They regularly include operations that are unnecessary. These unnecessary operations are typically avoided in the interest of saving time.

    "Maintenance" generally covers oil changes, tire rotations, tire balance, engine air filter, wiper blades, cabin air filter, coolant and transmission fluid changes. Generally in some combination. Do your own oil changes, wiper blades, filters and coolant. For the rest, find a shop you trust. If they try to sell you a "transmission flush", tell them you only want a fluid and filter change.

    If you're going to own a vehicle....RTFM..... Everything you NEED to know about your vehicle is covered in the owner's manuals, including the maintenance schedule. So, RTFM.....
    Automotive forums and YT are your friends.... There is an automotive forum for every popular vehicle model. They provide nearly all of the information that is missing from the service manuals. Some vehicle manufacturers even actively participate in these automotive forums. A lot of common procedures have YT videos showing how to accomplish them. Search for them. They usually aren't hard to find.
     
  14. Coolerking

    Coolerking Master Guru

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    Water pump, batteries, fuel filter bowl orings, tire rotation, oil changes (14.5 quarts each)
    Fuel tank , fuel pump, install marine grade fuel water separator, filters oil and air...I do it all.
    But I am a marine mechanic, boat builder, Honda off road team mechanic, race car driver, so I'm good at screwing up things I have no business working on
     
  15. AsiJu

    AsiJu Ancient Guru

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    Schedule yes but not description of what is actually done per interval (at least not with Kia) in detail.

    Car is due for next service in about 5000 km so I'll see how it goes. Until then I'll maintenance myself.
    Already did the brakes, still gonna change oil and filter (and tighten that damn cable).

    According to service log last oil change was Feb 2019 so it is very due and I want to do it before winter gets cold here (Finland).

    PS: I read your entire post and appreciate the input, even if I quoted just a fraction.
     

  16. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    What kind of description do you need?

    Here is Kia's maintenance schedule....
    I = inspect
    R = replace
    http://www.kceed.com/normal_maintenance_schedule_for_europe-638.html
     
  17. AsiJu

    AsiJu Ancient Guru

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  18. scoter man1

    scoter man1 Ancient Guru

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    Wat? I installed a cam, long tube headers and whole new valvetrain in a LS3. That's all computer controlled. Nothing to it other than making sure you aren't careless with what you do. Hardest part is getting to it.

    Anways, to the OP's question I think it's pretty undeniable it saves you money, possibly time depending on what you do. I hate going to dealers for oil changes and tire rotations, basic things like that. Not only do you get to pay a bunch for the service, you have to either wait in the waiting room or go through the hassle of having someone take you there, drop the car off, and go pick it up later. The only thing I've had a dealer/mechanic do is warranty repairs, recall repairs, and ECU tuning.
     

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