3. You want to replace your car’s stereo system
The expectation: Whether a speaker busted or you’re in need of new technology, it’s time for a new stereo system—and you found the perfect fit, touchscreen and all. So you make your purchase and decide to install it yourself. It can’t be that hard to unplug a few wires from the old system and plug them into the new one. Plus, there must be directions somewhere …
The estimated cost: $300
The reality: Well, it turns out it’s not that simple. Now, several dash lights are on and your power windows won’t go down. A trusted mechanic would’ve known that a bunch of other stuff can be hooked up to your car’s stereo, like sensors, backup cameras and steering wheel controls—just to name a few. Ouch.
The real cost: $90 to $120 just for an electrical system diagnosis—plus $1,000 or more for rewiring (depending on your car and what’s really wrong)
4. You want to fix a crack in your windshield
The expectation: It happens to the best of us—you’re driving down a highway when a rock ever so graciously hits your windshield, creating a small chip or crack. Bummer! But that’s nothing a small can of epoxy can’t fix.
The estimated cost: $10
The reality: Not only is the crack in your windshield still visible, it’s even bigger after that “easy-to-use” windshield repair kit. You should’ve called a professional—plus, that might’ve even been covered by your auto insurance policy. But now, it’s time for a completely new windshield.
The real cost: $300 to $500 (and much more if your windshield camera system needs to be recalibrated)
5. You want to install new brake pads
The expectation: People replace their own brake pads all the time, so why can’t you? You’ve done your research by finding the best how-to video on the internet, you’ve purchased the parts and, considering you’ve even replaced other parts on your car, brakes should be a piece of cake.
The estimated cost: $30
The reality: When setting out to replace your own brake pads, it’s easy to overlook one important detail—safety, not only for you but for others on the road. If you’re not a professional mechanic, there’s a lot of room for error that can cause dangerous circumstances. So, sure—some people replace their own brake pads, but it’s best to leave it to the pros.
The real cost: Beyond repair