How many of you have started working on your own cars because labor prices are just silly now?

So about a month ago, my mechanic said I needed rear brake pads and it was going to cost almost 1200 bucks. He also said he couldn’t find any in stock. So I looked for them online and I saw them for sale for 300. I did the math and realized he was trying to charge me 900 dollars for labor! So I ordered them, bought tools, jack stands, ramps, etc. and changed them myself. Now I’m doing oil changes, brake pads, and next my radiator. How many of you have always done this kind of work and how many have just started recently?


What car do you have to where brake pads cost 300$?
Should be like 30-40$ at most


I do most of my own tuneups now. I have always done things like air filter replacements, and its not that big a stretch to add plugs/wires as needed.

Which tbh is like every 100k miles.

I can do breaks, but I would rather pay because if I screw those up it could kill my family and/or others.

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I suppose 300 is for pads and rotors all around?

Anyway I’ve always done my own work because I-am broke.

It’s just better to invest in tools and knowledge.
Also brakes are a nice easy way to get started on cars.


2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia and 2017 Audi A4 for the wife. The Audi’s were cheaper.


nope, just pads in the rear!

Ah guess those would be more expensive than a Kia Rio LOL

Interesting timing for this thread. I just started rebuilding the entire front steering suspension on a '97 Chrysler LHS, basically a Caravan with a sedan body and mafia-style trunk. It’s a boat but still surprisingly rock solid and the A/C works great.

I was driving down the highway a few days ago and one of the rear tires started to de-laminate it’s tread. Turns out they were new in 2004, which means my grandmother must have put them on when she first got the car and she has been gone a long time now. After new tires ($115/ea) on all four corners it was time for an alignment, but that was a waste of $60 labor as they diagnosed (correctly) all of the issues which ended up being everything which doesn’t require much thought.

Tie rods inner & outers w/ sleeves, end links, hub assy, ball joint assy, and I’m probably going to end up changing out the struts as their outer bushings are garbage. Rear seems alright despite having the initial tire issue, but only a measured alignment will tell for certain.

Garage quoted $1000 and that didn’t include struts, I was hoping to stay under $500 in parts, but I’m guessing that the total will probably be just shy of $600.

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Where are you buying rear pads for 300??! Even the “special” pads for the ceramic composite rotor option car are only only $45

OP buys Alfa, surprised by maintenance cost.

/s sorry that its that expensive its part of why I like Honda’s.

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Try autodoc

These are for your car, Bosch, cheaper available.

Brake pads are one of those things that are super easy to pay extra for if you buy from a dealer, almost no car (except maybe some koenigseggs and veyrons) uses bespoke brake pads, they all use existing brake pads designs that are manufactured by multiple brands so prices are kept fairly reasonable.

mechanics are trying to charge 250 in labor to change sparkplugs here. It’s almost 500 dollars for that to get completed so I’m just replacing them myself for 150 in parts (including wires).

I am seeing it a lot TBH. I can’t change my oil at my apt complex so it cost me 75 bux to get that done, however they threw in a free tire rotation so I didn’t feel super cheated.

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I just changed the oil on my car today and it was over 200

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I got a 1997 Saturn in 2004 for $2000 that I kept running past 2015 (at least) because I crawled under it and swore at it did all the repairs myself despite having zero background, mostly thanks to my lord and savior richpin06a showing me the way. All in all I probably put about another $2000 into in, which includes tires and a new muffler (that one I actually left to the professionals) and a few hundred in tools.

Some of what I can remember doing myself:

  • Oxygen sensors and thermostat replacements
  • Spark plug, wire and coil replacement
  • Alternator replacement
  • Water pump replacement
  • Oil and filter changes
  • Radiator coolant flushes
  • Adding refrigerant and other misc fluids
  • Throttle body cleaning
  • Engine top mount and bolt replacement
  • Engine cover gaskets
  • Possibly the fuel pump? Definitely the fuel filter.
  • Brake pad replacement

Protip: Do NOT use a remanufactured alternator unless you are certain that everything except the shell was replaced. All diodes, brushes, rectifiers, bearings, etc. Otherwise a month later you might be driving along and suddenly you noticed your gauges stop working, and things start seeming strangely sluggish… because an old diode that wasn’t replaced decided to die and your engine is now literally running off the battery. Though a 1997 Saturn was barely electronic. A modern vehicle might go into some emergency mode or something.

Currently though I have a work provided truck, so thankfully maintenance and repair costs aren’t my problem anymore.


You know when was crawling under my car and swearing I always had my manual handy for my model. Every car I have ever owned and planned to do work on.
Haynes/Chilton is my Copilot .

I started working on my car when I was 16. That was 44 years ago. I don’t think I’ve ever paid a mechanic to do my vehicles. Only thing I haven’t rebuilt is a transmission.


I rebuilt a 700R4 at tech school, spec sheet listed just under a thousand parts. Only thing that didn’t work on ours was TCC lockup. If there’s two things you want a specialist to handle it’s transmissions and engine rebuilds, I would only do my own if longevity wasn’t a concern like with a farm truck or race engine.

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Yeah, I’m going to probably go back to it.

3rd party shop tried to charge me $220/hr for labor last week.

Honestly, I think I’m gonna get a motorcycle instead.