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 or limited garage space.
Whatever the reason, there are places you can go to work on your own car at a DIY auto shop, peer-to-peer rental garage, storage unit, or parking lot.
However, there are no nationwide chains that offer rental garage space, so your options will vary depending on your location.
We explain where to work on your car below — from DIY auto shops to unconventional options.
Where to Work on Your Own Car
DIY Auto Shops and Garages
One of the best options for self-servicing your vehicle in terms of safety and equipment is a DIY auto shop or garage.
These shops rent vehicle bays by the hour or the day. Some of them provide specialized tools, lift assistance, and even on-staff mechanics to assist you on an hourly basis.
The only downside to this option is that DIY garages aren’t available everywhere. Some of the garages available (listed by state) include:
- Colorado (Denver area): DIY Auto Repair Shops
- Florida (Kissimmee area): DitY Auto Repair
- Michigan (Detroit area): My Mechanics Place
- Texas (Austin area): The Austin DIY Shop
- Virginia (Virginia Beach area): American DIYG
- Washington (Seattle area): Stew’s Self Service Garage
The easiest way to find a DIY garage in your area is to search for “DIY auto repair [city name].” This should return garages (if any exist) in your city or nearby.
Prices will vary depending on the rental period you choose and the amenities available at the garage. Among the garages listed above, the average rates are around $30 per hour, $125 per day, $360 per week, or $600 per month.
Peer-to-Peer Garage Rental
If there isn’t an established DIY auto shop near you, consider renting a space directly from the garage owner.
For example, Garagetime offers a network of commercial and private garages that allow workspace and equipment rentals. You can filter by amenities like vehicle lifts, workbenches, painting equipment, mechanic assistance, and more.
Rental options include:
- Hourly: Around $10 and $60
- Daily: Around $50 to $150
- Weekly: Around $300
- Monthly: Anywhere from $150 to $1,000
You can also look for bay rentals on peer-to-peer selling platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.
Peer-to-peer rentals typically offer flexible payment options and rental periods, including long-term rental options if you’re restoring a vehicle.
Note that you may want or need to sign a liability waiver and/or formal rental agreement when renting space directly from an owner. This will protect you and the owner from a legal dispute if you injure yourself, damage your vehicle, or damage the garage while working in the rental space.
Storage units provide a place to keep your car, and some will allow you to work on your vehicle at the facility.
You can store the car and whatever parts or tools you need for a weekly or monthly rental fee, making these units suitable for large or long-term projects.
Keep in mind that some storage units don’t have electrical outlets; if you need to use any power tools, check the unit’s amenities before renting.
Storage units also don’t offer lifts, so they won’t provide a solution for all repairs.
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.
For example, Life Storage prohibits it due to lack of electricity, noise, and the chance of spills, smoke, and odors.
For a small maintenance job like changing your oil, spark plugs, or air filters, you may be able to work on your car in a public parking lot.
You should always ask the property manager or business owner if they’re willing to let you make minor fixes in their parking lots.
Public lots, such as those at auto parts stores, may not mind as long as you aren’t doing anything too involved and don’t make a mess or cause a nuisance.
Your employer may also be willing to let you use the parking lot at your place of work.
None of the retailers we contacted (including AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, and Walmart) have a companywide policy that allows customers to do this, so the decision is up to the individual manager.
If a store does allow you to use its lot, be careful not to spill any fluids or leave any materials behind out of respect for the property manager and other people using the parking lot.