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Do it Yourself or NOT?????

Old 08-22-2011, 08:33 PM
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Do it Yourself or NOT?????

Ok so I very often get the question from customers "Can I install that Myself?" Ok let me tell you that is a horrible question to ask someone your buying from, most sales people will say yes just so you will buy. We don't know you and we don't know if you can even tie your own shoes let alone install a part on your car. History shows that if we say something is easy the person calls back to tell us how difficult it was, but if we say it is pretty hard they call back and tell us it was so easy they can't believe we said it was hard. Then we get the guy that says "I've done engine swaps on my other cars", but he then can't install something as simple as an intake. So here is some a little thought process I thought I would post that may help people decide if they should try to do something themselves, or have someone do it for them.

1. Do you have the tools for the job?
Does this require special tools?
If not how much will they cost?
2. How long will it take you?
The best way to figure that is find out what the warranty or book time that the manual calls for the job, THEN DOUBLE THAT TIME. The book time is for an experienced MINI tech, so it will take a first timer longer.
3. Do you think you can do it??
Look at the instructions, then look at the car can you figure it out? Do you feel comfortable with the job?
4. How much would it cost to pay someone to do it?
Now the shop may say $XXXX, but you need to value your time to do it. To figure out how much your time is worth the easiest thing to do it take the $$ you make per hour at your normal job, and multiply that time the number of hours you figured in #2. That will tell you how much it will cost you in value of time.
5. Do you have a friend that can help? What will that cost you? a case of beer or will he make you feel like you owe him forever? Or will he be more of a hinder?
6. Now for those other things. What if you mess up? Do you have a plan? Do you have another car? Is your wife going to Kill you? (that I hear a lot) Rental car cost? How long will it take to get more parts if you need?

As you will see some jobs are just better to pay someone to do, and some will be worth your time to do on your own. But YOU are the only one that decide.

Old 09-12-2011, 08:44 AM
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Well said!!

That is clear and logical way to evaluate a DIY project. The only thing that might be missing is consideration of the bragging rights when you've completed it. Or the utter shame when you screw it up. Scrapping up the cash for your SC P&P rebuilt! I'm excited I got 130,xxx out of the original but she's starting to chatter and I'm gathering SC oil on the MAP sensor...
Old 10-08-2011, 09:28 AM
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I've never understood the reasoning behind comparing how much you'd make working those hours at your job with how much a shop would charge to do it. Who takes time off work to fix their car? It's hardly the case that you get paid to work 24 hours a day 7 days a week. It's like saying you can't cook your own dinner unless your hourly wage is less than the cost, per hour of cooking time, of eating out. People cook at home because they enjoy cooking and eat out because they enjoy eating out.

Most everyone fixes their car in their off hours. So you're taking time away from other things you could be doing. The question is, would you rather pay a shop their hourly rate so you can watch TV or go to the beach or play with your kids during that time? Is it worth $40 or $60 per hour to you to do those things instead of work on your car? Or maybe you enjoy working on your car; then it's a benefit to spend your time that way.

It really only boils down to whether you like working on cars, and whether you're good at it or not. Or if you're not good at it, if you're willing to risk messing things up and having to fix your mistakes while you learn.

Last edited by Dennis Bratland; 10-08-2011 at 11:56 AM. Reason: typo
Old 10-08-2011, 10:34 AM
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Generally, if you have to ask if you can install it yourself then you probably should not even try. I might ask what is involved in installing a part but really the only one who can answer the question, "Can I install it myself", is the person asking the question. You should own the manual for the car before you ask the question, have done some research to see what is involved and do your own assessment regarding your time, talent, expertise and what tools you own or can borrow. I have even attempted a repair before, taking things slowly, exploring if I was completely comfortable with the repair only to button the work back up and take it to a professional.

Probably the two biggest lessons I have learned from the past is that the right tool saves time and money and sometimes is the ONLY way the job can be completed. And the second it take your time and do not force anything. Bad things happen whenever you do.
Old 10-08-2011, 10:51 AM
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I agree with Dennis, you can't add your time to the cost of a do it yourself repair. That time is money you don't have to spend on the project. Besides, it is fun to wrench on your own car and you can't count fun as work. If you don't think it's fun to work on your own car, you shouldn't be working on your car.

Old 10-08-2011, 06:02 PM
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I decide "will I do this myself?" by weighing how humiliating it will be to take it to a professional after, to have it done right.

I installed my CAI and aux-in myself, everything else I was glad to pay for.
Old 10-08-2011, 06:28 PM
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I love turning wrenches. I have messed up a few things but I suspect that every mechanic has as well. I might have access to the military auto shop which means I may be back in business to turn wrenches again now that I might have access to a lift.
Old 10-09-2011, 06:12 AM
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Othee thing to remember, mini's tend to be hard to work on, both in terms of space, and sometimes specialized knowledge....
A good many threads are there on how to bleed the cooling system on a gen1...seemingly a simple thing that can take several attemps to get right...
The list could go on and on....but wmw basic guidlines are great...heck, some folks can rebuild s motor with a diy, but rememner, do you know everything you need to know to not only take an item appart, and reassemble it, but also fix/avoid the pitfalls while dooing it...things like siezed/broken bolts, broken wire clips/retainers, etc...sometimes one must be creative to get a car back on the road, and be willing to buy/ modify or even make a part or tool to do a job....
Old 01-06-2012, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by DneprDave View Post
I agree with Dennis, you can't add your time to the cost of a do it yourself repair. That time is money you don't have to spend on the project. Besides, it is fun to wrench on your own car and you can't count fun as work. If you don't think it's fun to work on your own car, you shouldn't be working on your car.

IDK I agree with WMW. Unless you love working on cars work is work. If you would be say taking a bike ride laying in a hammock ... then yes your time is billable and the source of funds is your soul.

I am not what you would call mechanically inclined as I did not learns anything growing up. what I am now is mechanically competent.

here are my additions of temperament that help one decide

-you have to be patient.
-you have to be willing to read and listen to others.
-you have to be calm and not panic when that bolt you just took off falls under the car.
-you have to treat the job with respect (this is not your forte right)
-work with a friend (hopefully one that has more experience than you)
-ALWAYs take every opportunity to help others with their car jobs. It is good karma to help out a pal (great way to get free beer) and you learn something at every outing.
-you have to be willing to challenge yourself but at the same time have that phone number handy to have your car towed to a professional if you get in over your head.
-you have to be patient
Old 05-15-2012, 11:09 AM
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Question for folks here re: do it yourself I have on 03 S and have just learned the heater core may have failed.... How hard is it to swap this out. I have a ballpark quote for 250 in labor to do this and would like to forgoe the cost if this is reasonably easy to do.

Let me know what you folks think.

Old 03-15-2014, 12:44 AM
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The median value of your own time that I have heard in various studies is HALF of what you make in your regular job. So even if you make $40 an hour, your time is worth $20 an hour. They way I look at it is if you successfully complete the job, even if you have to buy some tools, you are saving money, and you get to stock your garage with more great tools for next time, saving even more money. And next time maybe you are that guy who helps out a fellow MINI owner.

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