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DIY car repairs save big bucks

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Posted: 6 am ET

Consumers who do their own auto repairs are saving big, according to a new study by

How big?

© kurhan/

A full third of the respondents to the 2014 DIY Auto Repair Survey said they save more than $1,000 a year with their do-it-yourself car repairs. Another 29% report savings of at least $500.

In general, nearly everyone who took the survey said they save some money, with just 4 percent saying they achieve an annual savings of $100 or less.

Indeed, "saving money" is the main reason (79 percent) survey respondents cited for doing DIY car repairs, though fewer respondents cited this as a reason than when this online survey was last conducted.

In 2012, 84 percent said saving money was the main reason they repaired their own car.

One of the key reasons car owners say they can do their own auto repairs is that it is easier thanks to the Internet. Thirty-three percent of those surveyed said the amount of how-to-repair information influenced their decision, while 80 percent said easy access to auto parts and accessories online made their more likely to do their own repairs.

Enjoy the work

Savings, of course, isn't the only reason why DIYers tinker under the hood. Here are other reasons why people say they prefer to fix their vehicles rather than take them to an auto repair shop:

  • I enjoy it -- 66% of respondents
  • I have the expertise -- 39%
  • I trust myself more than a mechanic -- 41%
  • I have a classic or exotic car, and it's a hobby -- 13%

To learn what you should pay if you take your car to a mechanic for a repair, read How much should your car repair cost?

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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October 17, 2014 at 7:02 pm

I'm a firm believer in "If you want something done right, do it yourself". But that was a lot easier 50 years ago (I'm in my 70's now) when everything under the hood used analog technology and things were readily accessible. As the years went by and the automotive industry gradually embraced the digital age, I found it more and more difficult, and eventually impossible, to diagnose and fix stuff I didn't understand.

I was born and raised in an analog world. I understood it and functioned in it very well. But I'm afraid the new digital era has left this backyard mechanic wallowing in the dust. I can still replace fuses and wiper blades, but when something serious goes wrong, I now take my car to a "professional" mechanic and hope for the best.

I miss those days of yore when I could do my own repair work.

October 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm

A lot of simple repairs can be done by googling how to.....
I couldn't figure out how to get to the map lightbulb in my Honda Pilot. Googled and watched a 3 minute video. It was a little tricky but, it opened right up and guess what the bulb wasn't burned out, just wasn't making contacts. Honda dealer wanted $10 to fix it.

October 17, 2014 at 2:10 pm

I'll have to agree with your article on behalf of my three sons; one of whom built his own car from age 14-15 (he couldn't legally drive it for a few months). All three do their own repairs and use "after market" parts(whatever that means) when possible and have saved considerable amounts during these hard economic times. However, my story is somewhat different. At 80-y-o, they aren't always available, so I have to pay to get my maintenance and repairs done. Such is life! I don't mind, though, since the professionals have to make a living also.

October 17, 2014 at 1:37 pm

The reality of modern car maintenance is this. Most people take it to somebody. We are lucky if we can monitor/add fluids. The overall quality and reliability is very good. But when it stops working, good luck! Personally, I miss the old cars that were "back yard mechanic" friendly.

October 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm

What a pointless article. Only purpose is to drive traffic to and

October 17, 2014 at 10:27 am

Nathan Smith.

Put black tape over the light. :)