Archon: You got it exactly how I feel on the matter. If I want to waste X amount of $ by having someone do it for me, then that is my decision. I have always come here to get knowledge on a problem I have, even if I was guaranteed to take it to a shop to get it done for me. That way if I know it'* my window regulator, and they say they need to replace my whole DOOR, then I know they're full of it. Probably a bad example, as I would already know that they were pulling my leg, but you get the idea...
In the past I was very reluctant to do anything myself at ALL. Except for changing the oil and for very minor repairs (for example I put a new coolant reservoir hose on one of my old cars). I wouldn't have had the nerve to do much else.
Then recently I thought my thermostat was not working like I should, and posted in here to get thoughts on it. Pretty much everyone agreed, and I had a decision to make. Either spend $100+ to have them put in an $8 part, or take 20 minutes of my time and look through here to learn how to do it myself. I knew it was a very simple job, but wanted to know exactly how to do it before I did it. Everyone was more than helpful pointing me in the right direction.
I then decided that I was going to do it myself, as I felt confident with the info on here, and that it was time I did learn something about my car. I took it to a friends house (he has a garage) on a weekend, and took maybe 30 minutes and did it myself. I had even picked up a nice set of ratchets and wrenches before going, as all my tools I already owned were computer based; not the most useful when working on a car. When the job was done, I was actually a little annoyed. Reason being that I knew how much I would have got charged, for such a little bit of actual work. When I was over that I was quite happy in doing the job myself and if the t-stat ever needs replacement again, I won't even think about taking it in.
Am I ready to pull apart the upper and lower intake to replace the gaskets and the UIM itself? Um... no. As it stands today, when they go, the dealer is fixing that. I might start with changing spark plugs and wires, and keep going up from there. Plugs are pretty simple as well, just have to get yourself contorted enough to reach the rear ones...
But if I do more stuff like that then I would probably be less prone to flip out if I saw the internals of my car'* engine; like I would if I DID replace the LIM gasket myself today. It'* basically all just a matter of building my confidence in doing the stuff myself.
My whole point for this long post is this: I would actually love to become a gearhead myself and do 95% of the work on my car by myself. It is hard when you don't have someone looking over your shoulder to help you along the way, as none of my friends are gearheads. Most of them are a lot worse than me. One of my friends had just bought a brand new Hyundai (yeah, I know, I wasn't pleased with him either
) I asked how many cylindars his car'* engine had. He looked at me like I was speaking French and said he didn't know. I had him pop his hood, and pointed to his 4 spark plug wires and explained how this was indeed a 4 cylinder engine. Not all my friends are this bad, but it shows what I have to work with.
That is why I come here to read and post. It'* kind of like the gearhead friend that won't help me physically do something, but will tell me their opinion on the matter (Very cheesy sounding, I know). There is a ton of great info here and great people that are very willing to share tips/suggestions when asked. I often read through the new posts in the mechanical sections on all categories, as I know I will pick something up that I didn't know before... Even if I never have the same problem or question with my car, I still like to learn about it.
I just don't want anyone here thinking that I just come here to waste everyones time by posting stupid questions, and then take the info and say "That'* nice, now let me call my mechanic."
Next Saturday (not tomorrow) I had already planned on taking my car back to my friend'* house (where I changed my t-stat at) and swapping head units with him. He would get my older one, and I get his newer nicer one. So I will talk to him and see if he wants to take a stab at pulling apart my door with me at the same time. If he doesn't mind, then I will absolutely go for trying to fix this myself. If he'd rather not, then I will probably just take it in.
Ok, enough already. Blah, blah, blah. This post has become about 10x longer than I intended it to. So I will stop with my rambling.