Reader Tip: Save money on repairs by watching YouTube videos

Lizjane emailed in the following tip:

We’ve all probably heard about videos on YouTube. I had, but I hadn’t spent much time looking for things to watch — until this week, that is.

We have an older vehicle that was having a problem losing antifreeze & overheating. We had a big belt that needed to go back on, several pulleys, and a bracket. Although my husband is pretty handy with fixing cars, he wasn’t familiar with these problems.

I turned to the internet (as I often do to research things), and looked at a few articles that were sort of helpful. But then, one of the links was a YouTube video.

Voila! It showed and explained in detail what to do, how to do it, and what tools would be needed. I watched the video myself a few times, then went back to the garage and put the belt on myself!

I didn’t find where the bracket went in that video but searched and watched a few more until I found it, then brought the laptop out to the garage and played the video for my husband. The car is now back to 100% with no extra pieces left over (always a good sign!). It runs fine and doesn’t overheat anymore!

I had no idea people would post instructional videos like that out there, but now that I do, you can be sure I will check the next time we need some help figuring things out! -LizJane

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Comments

  1. Kirsten says

    I just fixed my garbage disposal by searching online for a tutorial last week. So glad I did. It wasn’t working at all, but I got it working normally again. No money spent on repairs.

  2. says

    My friend was JUST teasing me the other day because I take care of most of the minor repairs on our car by watching YouTube videos!

  3. Sharon says

    I’ve fixed my laptop & a few other things around the house, and also found Youtube videos showing knitting techniques, how to apply makeup, pack a suitcase for one-bagging . . . it’s quite the treasure trove of info!

  4. Jen says

    Our bottom freezer drain is clogged, and leaks onto the floor every other day or so when it cycles through the auto defrost. I’ve searched for information to fix it ourselves and read a lot of articles. We’re going to give it a try this weekend. I hadn’t thought to look for a video though! Thanks for the advice. Hopefully I can find one, and we will be a little less apprehensive about attempting to fix it ourselves. I’m sure it will save a bundle if we can do it. Wish us luck!

  5. says

    We lost a couple of shingles on our roof a couple weeks back, and instead of $179 to have it repaired, DH watched some videos on youtube and did it himself. (We were supplying replacement shingles either way.) It’s also been very helpful for minor computer fixes and things like that. :)

  6. Lorelei says

    I was able to save about $150 on the repair aspect alone by fixing my oven myself with the help of YouTube. On top of that, I also saved 50% on the parts thanks to Amazon!

  7. Margery H. says

    I taught myself how to rescreen my damaged window screens by finding a how-to video. There is no telling how much money I saved by doing it myself, and each one could be started and completed in about 20 minutes, so I didn’t feel as if I had to do it all at once.

    • Sarah says

      Margery, can you please share where that is with me? I have been looking, but have not found a solution I felt would leave them “professional-looking” (i.e. new) enough. I have several that need doing!!

      • Margery H. says

        I’m sorry I can’t find the original video I watched. I’m sure there are others out there if you look around. I was shocked at how easy the process is, though!

        I do recommend you buy the rescreening tool (a handle with a two rollers on it. It looks like a pizza cutter.) It cost about $3-$4 at Lowes. Buy your new screening in a roll.

        Just pull out the little rubber strip around the outside of the screen. It’s called a spline. I used a small flat-head screwdriver to get started. Then you can lift off the damaged (and dirty!) screen. Lay out the new screening, and re-insert the spline with the rescreening roller tool. I reused the old spline, but found it had stretched about 3-5″. Use a utility knife to trim off the excess spline and the margins on the new screen fabric.

        Good luck. If I had known how easy it was, I would have replaced them sooner.

    • Sharon says

      I did our screens, too–not bad at all (I didn’t use Youtube for that particular thing, though, I already knew how from helping my dad when I was a kid). I did buy a splining tool, because one of the screens I needed to replace was for our slider, and no way I wanted to do that one with a putty knife. The tool has come in handy a number of times since then, too!

      • Sarah says

        Margery, thanks for the tips and Mike, for the videos! We have Andersen windows (not our choice, here when we bought the house), so have to use Andersen screens. They are a little “different” than normal and I was told, more difficult to re-screen. Maybe I was wrongly informed but I have been intimidated. Hopefully I can find a video specifically about re-screening Andersen screens. Thanks again!

  8. Kris says

    I learned how to remodel my bathroom (pull up and install linoleum, install molding, install a toilet, best painting techniques, etc.) from watching howto videos on YouTube. DIY FTW! :)

  9. amy says

    Over the past couple of years, my hubby has fixed issues with our car and van, two different problems with our washer, our dishwasher, and even a few plumbing issues/replacements all by watching youtube instructionals! He had no clue about most home repair things but when we had no money to hire someone (or replace the broken problem) we discovered these great video tutorials! He has learned so much and saved us so much money!

  10. says

    When our dryer started to make a horrible grinding noise (right in the middle of a stomach flu breakout in our house, of course), Youtube saved my sanity and repair fees by showing me how to dismantle it. We didn’t even repair it – we just took our dryer apart and when we couldn’t find anything broken, we put it back together and it worked fine. I use it to learn new sewing/crochet techniques or answer gardening questions as well.

  11. Lana says

    …extra peices left over….Hubby repaired our vaccuum cleaner years ago and had a screw leftover. He took the screw and vac to the repair shop where he got the part and asked where the screw went. The repairman said, ‘Vaccuuming up that screw is what broke your vaccuum cleaner!’

  12. Sarah says

    We saved by not having to buy a new refrigerator. Turns out, our particular model has a problem unique to it, that would not have been solved by a regular repairman. Thanks to others posting solutions and even a parts diagram online, we fixed it ourselves with some labor and $2 worth of copper wire!

  13. says

    Thanks LizJane – I find myself saying, “We could youtube it” a lot. This has helped in home repairs, cutting hair, cleaning, sewing, and even in repairs for our vending machine business. We have learned and saved a ton from these videos. I like ehow, too. That’s so fun about your belt! :)

  14. Katrina says

    I have found so much on YouTube! I taught myself how to knit and crochet from it, and when my front loader washing machine got a rip in the seal I found how to raplce it all on my own from YouTube. When I called to see about getting maintenance it would have cost me 100 just to have a guy come tell me what was wrong with it….in the end it cost me like $90 for the part and my own time. So much better.

  15. says

    My handyman hubby has changed the brakes on our cars and performed several other auto repairs thanks to the instructional videos on youtube. We haven’t calculated the monetary savings, but I’m guessing it would be significant!

  16. renee says

    Love You Tube!
    Taught my son how to tie a tie for Homecoming (I’m divorced, so no Dad in the home to teach him) and just watched a video on unclogging a toliet by adding three tablespoons of dishwashing detergent to the bowl. Worked like a charm!

  17. Krysten says

    I love YouTube! As a music teacher, I save hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars by looking up recordings on YouTube for my students rather than purchasing a huge library of music recordings. Plus, my students get to hear AND see the performance this way.

    • Mitch says

      I learned how to play the ukulele on You Tube and have found tutorials for many songs that I wanted to learn.

  18. Ami says

    I was able to fix our Wii after my son put some coins in it. Youtube had a detailed step by step tutorial of how to take it apart. I was able to repair it myself for 1.49, the cost of a tri-wing screwdriver from ebay instead of $80 for a repairman to just to take a look at it.

  19. coupon woman says

    What ironic timing – I just read a Facebook post by a friend who said she fixed her dishwasher herself thanks to a YouTube tutorial!

  20. says

    My husband has done all kinds of things with the power of YouTube. His advice on fixing things: Don’t be afraid. He repaired our flatscreen tv when it went black. He bought a repair manual on the internet for a few bucks, researched the problem, and ordered a part for under $100. Laid it out on a spare bed after the kiddo went to bed and took it apart. He was able to fix it and saved us a lot of money. Yay!

  21. Marie says

    My husband does this alot when fixing the car! It’s saves us tons of money. Also we found that the car parts store rents expensive tools that you may only need to use one time. You pay up front and when you return the tool they refund your money!!! I love this!!

  22. Tracy says

    We tiled a backsplash in our bathroom and my husband took down a HUGE tree in our yard thanks to youtube videos. And I’ve learned to wrap when I babywear too (I know not really money-saving there, but sanity-saving for sure. LOL)

  23. Beth says

    Our tv stopped working, and my sil suggested YouTube-a few hours and a couple parts we found on Amazon for less than ten dollars and we had it fixed! Great tip!

  24. Heather says

    My husband was on his way to work this past summer and blew a spark plug. Came right out. Our first thought was how much does a new engine cost. Then we thought there has to be a way to fix this. Sure enough there is a youtube video of how to rethread a spark plug. Cost about $60 by the time we were done.

  25. Marcelaine says

    A few months ago my son spit juice on my laptop keyboard. I looked up youtube videos on how to take the keys off (even the spacebar) and clean underneath. Then two days ago, he broke four of my keys so that the plastic clips couldn’t be reattached. I thought I was going to have to spend a lot of money to pay someone to replace my keyboard, but my husband quickly found a youtube tutorial. I ordered a new keyboard for $9, and that’s all it will cost. (And, I’ll have my old keyboard with plenty of backup keys.)

  26. Karla says

    i bought a ceiling fan at a yard sale for $5. My son and I watched utube to learn how to install it. My husband was impressed and my son and I were pretty proud of ourselves.

  27. Connie Lynn says

    Wow, this is great to know. I have not had time to read all the posts but plan on it. We have had things before I would of loved to know how to fix. This will help a lot esp since we are on a tight budget. Thank You! I always enjoy the posts here!

  28. DixyAnn says

    We bought a foreclosed house about a year ago, in an effort to not spend money we use you tube frequently to repair things. We even used you tube on how to install tile. Our tile job gets compliments all the time, people can’t believe we did it ourselves and we saved over $1200 doing it ourselves.

  29. Becky says

    I don’t know how people used to fix things before the internet. I’m a single 30 something gal and I’ve used YouTube/Google to successfully replace an oven ignitor, fix stove burners, fix a dishwasher, install GFCI outlets, replace a bathroom vent fan, and replace a part on my car. I love figuring out how to do these things by myself! And even if turns out it’s not something you can do yourself, you’ll at least sound knowledgeable when you end up talking to a repairman!

  30. KimH says

    Yep.. we’ve watched You Tube at work to figure out how to fix computer boards & a host of other items I’ve been asked to repair at work..
    I love to watch people canning, dehydrating, & using food storage on there.. Its a wonderful site.

  31. Sarah F. says

    My husband has posted at least one DIY video on YouTube – he wasn’t sure if it was worth it till a single lady commented that it helped her do it herself – so let them know it’s helpful!

    That said, our washer has had a few things wrong since we moved in Dec. The moving guys stacked the dryer on top of it – load size knob is broken off and we’re stuck on large (can’t use xlarge!) and lid is hard to close all the way. I never even thought to look for help on YouTube! Maybe it’s good that the repairman never called back when he promised to!

  32. says

    I think this is really cool. I haven’t needed video tutorials on making repairs….yet…but I have used video tutorials for other things like knitting or cooking special foods. I just think this is a fantastic way to learn something new and save money at the same time. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :) :) :)

  33. Tami says

    I agree with this tip wholeheartedly! We started experiencing a problem with our 1 year old Whirlpool washer shortly after the warranty expired. An “F21″ code came on and the spin mode would not work sometimes. I was frustrated for months, but did not want to pay for a service call. I thought to google, “F21 Whirlpool”. A YouTube video popped up. My husband watched it and fixed our issue within 5 minutes!

  34. Brooke Barthold says

    So funny you posted this today! Mt husband and I were just laughing about him and his dad fixing something on the tractor from you tube! I love this site!!

  35. says

    My husband has used YouTube to fix many items around our house- washing machine, oven and car to name a few. It takes a little time to find the right video match, but well worth it. We have saved hundreds of $$’s from using YouTube!

  36. Adrianne says

    I have four children and getting them hair cuts every four to six weeks adds up. We got a barber set for Christmas and watched youtube videos on how to give a hair cut. Now we just line them up in the kitchen or back porch to give them the hair cuts. Money saved!

  37. Liz says

    Saved money by doing my own sprinkler system repair. I watched the video a few times and voila…saved a $79 visit by the irrigation people! I felt so proud of myself.