Hey everyone, here's a topic that's always fun. Auto repair. As some of you know, my wife and I were in an accident back in September when someone smacked into the front right corner of my 02 ford focus. Unfortunately, the car was disabled from the accident. The steering rack was toasted (five months after having a brand new one installed), there was some mild body damage, and some parts of the front suspension were toasted.
Well, here's where I'm at. The car has been sitting in my garage for 3 months waiting for me to get started on dealing with it. At the time, it was cheaper and easier to sell my macbook and buy a cheap car to tide me over. Enter the $500 Volvo. While I love the Volvo, I'm at the point where I'd like to get my four, soon to be five year old car back on the road. Since I'm a tinkerer at heart, I'll be doing the bulk of the work myself.
Now, for a little bit about my background. While I've been tinkering and working on computers for years, I've also been doing some automotive tinkering. When I was a young teen, I was planning on becoming a mechanic. I was the local independant european car mechanic's apprentice (mom and dad were friends with him - he worked on their volvos). He taught me a lot about the different european cars and the simple fixes as well as the troubleshooting workflow that I use in my career to this day. When I was younger, my grandfather and I would work on my cars. It was a great bonding and learning experience.
In addition to the accident damaged parts, the focus needs some other work, the brake lining was low on all four wheels, so that'll be on my agenda as well. Fortunately, I'm comfortable with doing the body work, the brakes, and some of the little stuff here and there. However, what scares me is the time and labor involved in removing the steering rack from my focus. (the first two times it was changed, I had someone do it for me) I'm debating whether I'm better off doing the work myself or farming it out to a local mechanic. Any suggestions would be appreciated.