Your car needs some TLC and you’d like to do the work yourself, but you don’t have a garage or the necessary space. Not to worry — there are a few places where you can work on your own car, including at a friend’s house, some public parking lots, storage units, and DIY shops and garages. From oil changes and tire rotations to timing belt replacements and engine swaps, if you can do it yourself, you can find a location to work on it.
Where to Work on Your Own Car
Maybe you live in an apartment complex that doesn’t allow residents to work on their cars in the parking lot, or you have a home with no garage and don’t want to work outside in the middle of winter. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of other places you can go to work on your car.
1. Your Friend’s House, Employee Lot, and Public Parking Lots
If you only need to do small maintenance jobs — like changing the oil, spark plugs, or air filters — consider asking a friend if you could borrow his or her garage for an afternoon. Most people would appreciate a case of beer, a pizza, or something along those lines in exchange, which is a great price to pay for a safe, sheltered space to work. Be careful not to spill any fluids in the garage or on the driveway, and don’t expect much help unless your friend offers it.
Another option is to tackle one of these smaller tasks before or after work in the employee parking lot. Make sure to ask the property manager or your boss first, and take the same precautions not to spill anything in the parking lot. You may also be able to get away with doing some maintenance work in a public parking lot — like the grocery store or mall — as long as you aren’t doing anything too involved and you don’t leave a mess or become a nuisance.
2. Storage Units
For longer-term projects, an option may be a simple storage unit. For a weekly or monthly fee, you can rent a storage unit to store a car and whatever parts and tools you may need to get the job done. A few national storage chains that offer car storage include Public Storage, CubeSmart, and Life Storage. Some storage units don’t have electrical outlets, so make sure you are prepared to deal with that if you need to use any power tools.
Be sure to check with the storage facility before starting any work on your car, as not all locations will allow you to conduct work on a vehicle. Your situation will most likely be handled on a case-by-case basis, so call the storage facility directly to ask.
3. DIY Shops and Garages
Perhaps the best option for self-servicing your vehicle is a DIY auto shop. At these shops, vehicle bays are rented out by the hour or day. You just pull your vehicle up, put it on the lift, if you need to, and get to work. Some shops provide specialized tools and some locations have on-staff mechanics that you can hire by the hour.
DIY garages are popping up in more and more locations, but they aren’t available everywhere. If you happen to be serving in the military on a base, some bases offer DIY garages. Besides that, we found a few in Arizona and California, Virginia Beach, VA, and Kissimmee, FL. If you live close to a major city, odds are good that there is one in your area.
If you need to work on your car but don’t have the space to do it at home, there are some places you can go. You may be able to work on your car at a friend’s house, your workplace parking lot, a storage unit, or a DIY garage. If you know how to do the work yourself, it’s definitely worth asking around instead of going to an expensive mechanic.