I have a general distrust for the automotive industry. I hate paying mechanics for anything - especially things I find out later I could have done myself for much cheaper. I think mechanics can sense this and start charging me by the hour the second I walk through the door. I have too many examples of this sort of thing to count. The best/most recent/noteworthy example is the radiator in my old Cadillac (the 300k mile Seville). The radiator was leaking transmission fluid into the radiator.
Dealership Estimate: $800 (400 was the cost of the new radiator)
Radiator/Muffler Specialist: $500 (250 was the cost of a used radiator)
Radiator King: $240 to diagnose, then more to fix it, depending on the problem...
The radiator I found online (brand new, lifetime warranty) = $141.00
Shipping = Free.
Advice and labor from someone who knew more than me = 2 light beers.
Total Repair Time: 1.5 hrs. max, including beer drinking and admiration at a job well done.
Without going into details, the repair was simple. Painfully simple. So simple that if I had payed for it, I would have driven the car through the shops office. (priceless!)
It is worth noting that a radiator mechanic was nice enough to help me find part numbers and advise me partly through the process should I attempt it myself after I explained to him my financial situation (broke) and the value of my car (worthless). Silent Knight Mufflers and Radiators (Bozeman, MT)
After this I started to think and wonder about other things I could do to my car without help. I haven't had to do anything yet, but I am going to try my own stuff from now on. On this site, I am going to chronicle any auto repairs and/or modifications to any vehicle I am lucky enough to get my hands dirty in. I will try to post videos, pictures, and very simple "How To" instructions for anyone who cares.