1. Go to an auto parts store if your engine light is on. They will diagnostic your car free of charge, this can give you an idea or what is going on with your vehicle.
2. Call at least 3 mechanics to get a estimate and parts needed over the phone.
3. Check to see if your car has a recall. Go to Safecar.gov and key in your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), it will let you know if your vehicle has a recall and how to proceed.
4. a. Go on the web and look for the part(s) that is needed, online parts are usually less expensive then going into the auto part store. If the auto part store has a website order from the website, shipping is almost always free.
b. Ask your mechanic if they have an account with an auto part store, this is very important. If you purchase a defective part, they will not refund labor cost if you purchase it, send the link to your mechanic and ask them to place the order. Auto part stores will only refund labor cost for commercial account purchases.
5. Go to YouTube. There are many things you can fix yourself, and numerous of videos are available to guide you. So if you are up for the challenge, go ahead DIY!
Watch your mechanic
Mark your old part
Ask for your old part back (tell them before they begin)
Take before and after photos of installation
Have your mechanic to ride with you after repairs are done
Get some Roadside Assistance coverage!
Invest in a good tool kit.