Thursday, February 07, 2008

How Doing My Own Simple Car Repair Saved Me $115.00

Would you do your own simple car repair to save some money?
The week before last, I got a ticket right in front of my driveway. The trooper was driving on the opposite side of the road and noticed that my sticker was damaged (it was a little torn.) He had excellent sight which was unfortunate for me. See, my 12yr old had broken the lock on the trunk door and I didn't have the funds to repair it. My inspection had to be done, but I didn't think I would pass. Instead of trying to test my theory, I decided to wait until I had the funds. Yes, I know...wrong choice.

The trooper gave me a ticket for an expired NYS inspection. That put me in a position where I had to take it to the mechanic. Instead of failing me for the door, the mechanic failed me for a cracked headlight (thank you deers). He charged me $21.00 anyway and told me I had 10 days to remedy the situation. I also had to pay him an additional $10.00 for another inspection before he would give me the sticker. I asked how much the headlight would cost me. The answer? A used headlight would cost $75.00, labor is extra plus tax. A new one would cost me over $200.00.

Two things I did to decrease the cost of the car repairs:
1. I called the local salvage yard. They gave me a better price: $45.00.
2. I made the decision to replace the headlight myself.

When I went to pick up the headlight, the salvage yard realized it was slightly cracked on the bottom. It wouldn't alter it's performance in any way. They made some phone calls and told me the other salvage yards had them in stock. The problem was they were also scratched or cracked. They were also asking for $150.00, even though it was slightly damaged. A new one would cost me $150.00 in the Bronx and upwards of $200.00 locally. I decided to take the first one. Surprisingly, the owner gave it to me for $20.00!

Did I dare to install the headlight?
Of course! How difficult could it be? All I had to do was lift up the hood and unscrew the boltsand the lights to replace the old one with the new one. Guess how much he wanted to charge me...(because I did ask)? He was going to charge me $60.00 for such a simple task.

What was the outcome?
If I had purchased the headlight through him, the total cost would have been $75.00 + $60.00 which totals $135.00. I spent $20.00!

I took the receipt for the inspection and the ticket to the court today. They told me I would get a reply in the mail.

The next time you have a similar car repair needed, try to do it yourslef. You'll be sure to save some money! I saved at least $115.00!

Here are two great sites that provide FREE instructional videos for car repairs and maintenance.
DIYNetwork: Auto and Boat
ExpertVillage: DIY Auto Repair & Maintenance Tips


Syd said...

Good on you ! Doesn't it feel good ?

In the last year I had to replace ignition coils and an electric window motor. To replace the coils local dealership wanted £250 inc parts and labour so that would be $500 ish. Thanks to the wonders of the internet I found the parts for £40 and information how to fit them for free ! The electric window I bought the parts and friendly mechanic fitted for £10.

I'd love to take a mid level vehicle maintenance course.


Syd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Oklahoma stopped doing inspection stickers a few years ago, thank goodness. I am glad to see that you have found yet another way to save money.

Louis said...

I think that's great. Repairing your own car can definitely help you save money.

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Repairing your car is like repairing your house. Your car is a precious thing just like your house as well. The way you provide security for your car must also be done to your house. So it is a must to make your house secured all the time.

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I simply agree with the last comment. A house is like any other things that needs security. Therefore it is essential for the family living in the house to make the place safe for all.