One of the DIY projects I’ve done several times over the years is fixing the brakes on my vehicles. It’s fairly simple and inexpensive to fix your own brakes, which is why I actually enjoy doing it, unlike other DIY auto repair projects. Disc brakes are the easiest to replace, but drum brakes aren’t all that difficult either. I’m not exactly a mechanic but I usually manage to get the job done. When I get stuck I can usually find enough info on YouTube to get me through the project.
It’s important to know what you’re looking for when deciding how much work you need to do. Sometimes you just need new brake pads, while other times you need to replace the whole works. I usually choose to replace the rotors and pads. It’s relatively inexpensive and simple to do. I am positive there have been times when I didn’t need to replace everything but I did it anyway just because.
That’s not exactly a frugalist’s approach but I’d rather be safe than sorry. And by the time I take it to a garage to get it inspected and/or repaired, it will cost me about the same as if I just replace everything myself. But to me, it’s pretty much what I know how to do and I like to do it. So that’s what I did.
If you don’t have the tools for the job, there’s a definite up front cost in buying the right stuff. On my most recent brake job a few weekends ago I already had a jack, jack stands, sockets and wrenches on hand. What I didn’t have was a powerful enough air compressor and impact wrench to break loose the tight and/or rusted bolts I encountered. I could have rationalized my way into buying extra tools but I decided against it. Even if I had those tools, I don’t know if I would have finished the job any sooner because of the tight spaces between parts on my truck.
So I did things the old fashioned way with wrenches, elbow grease, and time. It took me a lot longer than it should have but I managed to get the project done in a day. It gave me some therapeutic time by myself to “relax” over the weekend. Ok, it wasn’t all that rosy. But it did give me a sense of accomplishment to fix the brakes on my most difficult vehicle yet.
Plus, I saved the time and hassle of scheduling an appointment at the repair shop. I really enjoy making repairs on my own time rather than having to adjust things around my work schedule and the kids’ school schedule. It may not save me as much time as I think it does, but it sure feels like I’m more in control of the situation.
Readers, do you do your own auto repair work? Is it worth the hassle? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!