A few years after college, I made the obvious rookie mistake of buying a new, expensive sports car. I thought I was doing well, so why not splurge? This turned out to be a tremendous mistake and potentially damaged my finances for years to come (More on this later). Aside from the foolish cost of buying and financing the car, there is also a very real and underappreciated cost associated with repairs and upkeep. When I took the car in for the regularly scheduled maintenance at 10,000 miles, I was absolutely horrified. The bill for what seemed like a simple (10 liter) oil change, topping off of the fluids, and replacing the front brake pads was $1200. I managed to talk the manager down to an even $1000, but I was furious. What a complete rip-off. From that day forward, I swore to myself I would never go back to a dealership again for routine maintenance. More than anything, I was angry at myself for relying on people who are out to swindle me. This was the beginnings of my attitude adjustment towards self-reliance.
After the dealership debacle, I searched around on the internet for independent repair shops. But each of the reviews painted a bleak picture of these shops. Now, you may know plenty of reputable repair shops, but I just wasn’t finding any in my area that handled German cars economically. A lot of mistakes and larger than expected bills. As I closed the browser, the better option became glaringly apparent: The next time my burdensome car needed maintenance, I should just do all the work myself. I started looking around online for the price of buying the parts directly, and I was shocked at how cheap car parts actually are. The repair shops were charging an outrageous premium to do pretty simple tasks. Never again. Continue reading