While some people are willing to change their own oil, or even change their brake pads, most car owners turn to professionals when their vehicles need something more complex. Whether you’re scared, or just don’t know where to start, today there is an abundance of resources to help you repair your own car, and save hundreds of dollars in the process. Auto forums and video tutorial hubs like YouTube provide step-by-step instructions on how to perform almost any Do-It-Yourself auto repair you can think of. Also on that list are eBay, PartsMarket, and Craigslist – all of which can help you find used original parts at a fraction of the dealer price.
To get your mind thinking about your next project, here are five relatively simple repairs that most people can do with basic tools, and a little bit of research:
1. Brake Rotor Replacement
While changing brake pads is a common Do-It-Yourself fix, some people get nervous changing the metal rotors or drums that the brakes latch on to. Having a dealer or mechanic change the rotors usually costs hundreds, and it’s a relatively straightforward process requiring few tools. New drums and rotors can be found in various online stores, or on eBay, and simply searching “Replace Brake Pads and Rotors on (your car)” will return numerous instructional websites and videos like
2. Side View Mirror Replacement
Whether you’re pulling out of your garage and your mirror hits a garbage can, or you leave your car parked on the street overnight to find your mirror hanging by the wiring, you might be in for an expensive fix if you visit your dealer. Alternatively, you can find a used mirror on PartsMarket, get detailed replacement instructions on Youtube, and spend 30 minutes changing that mirror yourself.
3. Stereo Replacement
Whether your CD player stopped working or you just want a new car stereo with USB or bluetooth, swapping out the stereo is a fun and fast project requiring few tools. If you’re concerned about the appearance of your center console and you want a used replacement unit, you can find a used one on eBay or PartsMarket. If you want an aftermarket unit, try Amazon or a local electronics store. Before you do anything, search “Stereo replacement on (your car)” to learn how to properly remove your old unit. You may need special tools, which can usually be purchased cheaply on eBay. Installing a used factory replacement stereo is plug-and-play. If you are going with an aftermarket, you might need a special adapter to avoid damaging your car’s original wire harness. Again, don’t be afraid! The internet and the instruction manual of your stereo will guide you with specific step-by-step instructions.
4. Bumper Cover Replacement
While replacing a front or rear bumper cover might seem overwhelming to most people, it’s actually pretty simple on most cars, and can be done in a few hours from start to finish. The first step is to find the part – since bumpers are big and expensive to ship, it’s best to find a local seller on Craigslist or PartsMarket. Once you’ve found the part, an instructional YouTube video and some basic tools are all you need. Of course, it’s always preferable to find body parts in the original color to save on paint.