Labor costs v. doing-it-myself...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 1989

Dear Tom and Ray:

I just a had a speedometer light bulb replaced on my 1988 Ford Thunderbird. The dashboard had to be removed to do this Two bulbs cost $2.40, but the labor cost $66.00. The speedometer is difficult to read without the light. Is this a job a do-it-yourselfer could do?

RAY: If you don't mind having the dashboard apart in your driveway for two weeks while you try to figure out why the directionals, the radio, and the horn won't work since you changed the bulb, this is a job for you.

TOM: This is a classic example of one of the famous Click and Clack Great Unyielding Truths (GUTS): "It's the stingy person who spends the most." Changing that $2 bulb is not as simple as you may think, Wayne. These guys probably did it in two hours because they've done it a hundred times. You paid them $66 to do it, but it would have cost you $266 in lost wages, not to mention the pain and suffering.

RAY: On the other hand, if you do try it yourself, it may take you two weeks the first time, but only a week the second time. Eventually, you can probably hone it down to 8 or 9 hours. Then you can charge your neighbors $66 to change their bulbs. You could even go work for the local Ford dealer as the "dashboard bulb man." This could be a career move Wayne. Think about it.

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