I’ve always been one to gladly accept a challenge. And I don’t mind getting way in over my head, either. Becoming submerged on a project forces one to learn because you get outside of your comfort zone. In the end, you end up gaining knowledge, proficiency and confidence. And of course, you’ll save some cash too, by fixing things yourself rather than calling a repairman. I encourage this for everyone.
Here’s a few examples of things I fixed during the last year:
- repaired oil leak and replaced the high pressure oil pump on my Ford truck’s 7.3 liter powerstroke diesel engine
- replaced the axle in our Honda Odyssey minivan
- rewired our Whirlpool electric clothes dryer
- fixed the Kenmore freezer when it died
- replaced the Frigidaire dishwasher heating element
- replaced several old windows in the house
To people that have done this before, these things sound easy, because they’ve been there and done that. However, I can recall my own apprehension before each of these projects. I wondered if I was going to get in there and cause more damage than was already present. I wondered if I could even fix it. I knew it could more expensive for a repairman to finish a half done project than it was to do it from the beginning.
How do you do it? First, start small. If you have no automotive aptitude, then start by doing the easy stuff like changing oil and rotating tires. You will slowly gain familiarity with how stuff works and where things are located. Slowly amass your own tool collection. Use resources like a Haynes manual or the internet. For my truck, I use http://www.powerstroke.org a lot and for the van http://www.odyclub.com. If we’re talking appliances, I use http://www.davesrepair.com.
It does help to talk through things with someone else. I have a friend locally that I talk to about stuff. I also call my uncle Dave. He knows that if his phone is ringing, I’m knee deep in something bad and need some advice. Feel free to reach out to me via the blog. I definitely don’t have all the answers but I may be able to point you in the right direction.
And the other answer to “how do you do it?” Jump! You just have to try it. I often learn more from my failures than from my successes. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake.