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Knowing when to call in an expert on a repair versus doing it yourself

Everyone hates the thought of having to take their bike into a shop and pay an hourly or book rate to have something fixed. The perception is that shops are expensive and doing it yourself will save you more money. The one thing that is usually standing in the way is a combination of time and knowledge. How much is that worth to you? Well, read on and this article can help you decide when you should call in the expert rather than tackle the job yourself.

Realistically, evaluate your own skills. This is going to be hard for most people – by nature, we never want to admit to ourselves that we can’t do something. Whether it be pride or fear of humility, this is something that you will have to get really honest about with yourself – deep down, evaluate the knowledge and abilities you have. If you fail to do this, you can find yourself too far into a project, stuck, and having to pay twice to have a pro finish what you started. If your ego is bigger than your ambition, chances are you should have an expert handle the repair.

If you have gotten past the first two paragraphs and you think you have what it takes to do the work, there is still a little bit more to consider before jumping in. The next test is to bust out that service manual for the bike in question and test your understanding of what it is going to take to do the repair. Read the procedure thoroughly and visualize the process. If this comes easy to you, chances are you can proceed. If not, then that is a sign you should have an expert should step in.

Ok hot shot, so you understand what and how to do it. Do you have the tools required? It’s time to evaluate your toolbox. Some repairs only require the most basic of tools that most DIY’ers will have handy. Other repairs deep in the engine require precision or specialized tools to remove, hold or measure certain parts. These tools can often be expensive to purchase for a one-off repair. If you are not willing to spend the money on the special tool, it would be advisable to let a professional with the right tools handle the repair.

So you have the ambition, knowledge, and tools. Do you have the space? Some repairs may require a covered and secure location to leave the bike while the repair is being finished. How about time? Some repairs may require many long hours and time waiting on parts. If you can’t spare the time or space, it is possible that you will still come out ahead by having the experts at the shop do the work for you. That way, you have will have less downtime and more ride time — and that is really what it is all about, now isn’t it?