Ka-thunk is a much different sound than chatter chatter, but each has it’s impact on your wallet. The question is, when do you go to a mechanic? When is a problem just beyond the average weekend wrench turner? Let’s start with the obvious.
You Have No Idea What You’re Looking At
Your transmission is in 137 pieces around you on an oil stained floor. You aren’t sure which way is up anymore and you may smell hair burning.
This is when you give up. Looking up procedures on Youtube or other video sites is a great way to save some cash on simple fixes like replacing a radiator or putting in a new alternator. These are easy fixes for people who have some general car knowledge and they’ll save you lots.
Inevitably you will run into something that is beyond your ability, beyond your tools or beyond your knowledge. There isn’t anything wrong with admitting defeat. You’ll save more money by not installing something backwards and letting a professional take care of you.
The Tool Costs More Than The Procedure
Flashing the computer in your vehicle is a pretty basic procedure, but for late model vehicles it can be impossible to get the programs to do it. Even if you can, the cost may make you faint.
Shops can afford to buy these special tools because they’ll use them more than once or twice in their business’s life. It is very unlikely that you will need to flash your computer more than a few times in the length of time you’ll own your vehicle.
It isn’t all electronics, either. There are very specialized tools for some simple procedures, like replacing a timing belt. Get your timing wrong and your vehicle will run like it’s drunk if it runs at all. You may even ruin your engine if you get it really far off, though this takes a lot of stubborn behavior on the part of the car owner.
When dealing with the intimate details of your car, let a professional take a crack at it if you aren’t positive what you’re doing. It will save them, and you, a headache.
So now it’s time to go to the mechanic. Where do you find discounts? Online sites such as Groupon may have tune up discounts and coupons available for your local area, but we suggest just talking to your mechanic at the shop. Explain that you don’t know what’s going on and that you have a specific budget. Most mechanics are willing to work within the means you outline for them if it is possible.
You won’t walk away from any mechanic with a brand new engine for $50, but it’s very likely that they know a junkyard dealer who has one that has been tested and works for $400 instead of $4000. If they know that your budget is less than $1000, they will save you ten times your money by getting you the second hand motor instead.