Unexpected repairs can be budget killers, but you have the power to prevent or eliminate many common repair bills. While you may not feel up to tackling major jobs, you can save a lot of money by doing your own simple repairs. Before you call a professional, try some of these fixes that don’t require special tools or experience.
Some safe and easy-to-do repairs that can net big savings include replacing gaskets, control knobs, heating elements, and water, drain, or vent connections. You can also do some of your own maintenance, such as dusting your refrigerator coils or replacing your vacuum cleaner belt. If your appliances work but are ugly, purchase color-matched touch-up appliance paint to repair dings and scratches. You can even buy cans of spray paint designed especially to give new life to old appliances.
Even a small auto repair often means a big bill. You may not be able to totally avoid the garage, but you can save a significant amount of money by doing some basic repairs yourself. For example, you can buy special adhesives to reattach everything from your rearview mirror to your door gaskets to your trim. Online specialty stores like Reggie’s Garage or a local brick and mortar automotive shop should have the parts you need, and if they don’t they can usually order them. It’s also easy to top off your engine coolant, check your own transmission or power steering fluid, and add windshield washer fluid as needed. If you are up for something a little more challenging, look online for simple, step-by-step directions for replacing a flat tire or changing your own oil and oil filter.
Many expensive home repairs begin with small problems that you could easily have taken care of by yourself. Use small nails, screws or household adhesives to reattach loose trim, edging, or laminates before they come off entirely. Replace missing screws, hardware, or weather stripping as soon as you notice the problem. Patch screens, spackle over nail or doorknob holes in walls, and touch up paint as part of your weekly chores. Some bigger jobs you can tackle yourself include repainting, wallpapering, and installing self-stick vinyl tiles.
Although serious computer issues require professional attention, a lot of problems that seem serious really aren’t. For example, fix a slow browser by clicking on Control Panel, then Network and Internet, then Delete Browsing History. Then restart your computer and browser. If your computer is behaving oddly, you can often fix the problem by having your antivirus program run a full scan. For other, more specific problems, a quick Google search may show you the solution to exactly your problem. You can also prevent many serious hardware problems by gently vacuuming your tower and keyboard and then spraying compressed air into vents and cracks.
Even if you’ve never thought of yourself as handy, there are a lot of repairs you can handle on your own. As you master these repairs and gain confidence in yourself, you may even decide to tackle some bigger jobs on your own.