So you want to learn how to perform DIY maintenance on your own car, but don’t have the automotive tools or know-how to do it? Or maybe you do know a thing or two about cars, but simply don’t have the garage space for tinkering. Fear not, my fellow gearheads, for there is a solution: “do it yourself” garages you can rent.
What is a DIY garage?
Similar to how artists can book a recording studio, a do-it-yourself garage will rents out garage space where you can bring in a car and work on it. Obviously, it’s a case-by-case basis on how the shop operates, but you can find a garage for rent on GarageTime. Some even offer full-sized lifts, that way you don’t have to use a jack or jack stands to get your car off the ground. Nor do you have to lie on your back to service it.
Along with the equipment, the staff there are (most likely) mechanics as well. So if you have any burning questions, or need any pointers, call upon them to assist. Though, if you need a mechanic to hold your hand through the process (no shame in that), they may charge extra for their time.
So, you’re set on having the tools and help you need to perform whatever job you’re looking to do. But how much is it going to cost?
How much can it cost to rent a garage?
Again, this will be on a case-by-case basis, and you’ll want to first see if you have a DIY garage anywhere near you. The closest one to me was 200+ miles away in Miami Florida, but I made the trip so I could learn and be coached. Now I perform maintenance on my own, so take that as you will.
The shop I visited, Garage Yourself, charged just $30 an hour. This included a lift, tools, and oil disposal if need be. Garage Yourself also charges daily and weekly, meaning larger projects could actually stay in the facility. And if you’re just looking to change your oil, and only need 40 minutes, then the place only charges $25 bucks. Granted, you have to bring your own oil and oil filter, but it still shaves a couple of bucks off a professional oil change.
However, oil changes aren’t the only kind of work you can do at a DIY garage.
What kind of work can you do at a DIY garage? And is it worth it?
The short answer is that, if you know how to do it (or the mechanics can help), then you can do it. You can swap transmissions, change headlamps, and replace fluids on an as-needed basis. For me, I performed an oil change and a tire rotation when I last went. And afterward, I bought myself a jack and some stands and started doing the work at home.
This leads me to my final point: if you’re looking to break into the automotive maintenance world, then a DIY garage is a great starting point. Personally, I went because I needed the guidance, a trained technician to help me out. Without them, I may never have felt ready enough to create perform maintenance on my own.
After that, it’s up to you whether you go back. My first oil change/tire rotation cost me $90 (yes, it took me three hours), and now I can do it in three hours at home with the tools I ordered from Rock Auto. But if you don’t want to work on your car at home, or simply don’t have the space to, then you can keep going back. Build a reputation with the mechanics, and make a few new friends.
So if you’re scared of breaking your car (trust me, I was too), take that step, and surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.