Large swaths of the United States were built with the assumption that everyone who lived there would own a car, but that can be an expensive prospect—the average labor rate for auto repairs is hovering around $60 an hour, and can rise into the triple digits, depending on the make and model of your car.

At the same time, the skyrocketing cost of new and used cars means lots of people are hanging onto their vehicles for longer—the average car on the road today is now 12.5 years old, and older cars mean more repair bills.

If you’ve got a beater that needs work done but you can’t afford to bring it into the shop, there’s another option that can save you a lot of cash. All you need is some mechanical skills (or a friend with some skills) and the location of a DIY garage near you.

What is a DIY garage?

A DIY garage is a full-service car repair shop where you can rent a bay, a lift, diagnostic equipment (including computers), and tools, all for an hourly or daily fee. Some will also provide the guidance of certified mechanics—although many people rely on Youtube, manuals, and the free advice of their fellow DIY mechanics. But you do all the actual work on your vehicle, saving yourself a huge amount of money in labor costs.

It’s a fairly straightforward process:

Determine your needs. Depending on the repairs you’ll be doing, you should make a list of all the equipment you might need. People use DIY garages for more than mechanical repairs—some folks repaint their cars, repair rusted roofs, or do other body work.

Locate a DIY garage near you. There’s no national listing of DIY garages, so you’ll have to rely on a Google Search—this page has a preset search box that allows you to enter your zip code and see a list of DIY garages near you. (Here’s a list of DIY repair shops in the New York City area, for example.)

Book your time and tools. Now you just book what you need and show up. DIY garages will supply everything you need in terms of tools, but you’ll need to supply parts and, of course, labor.

The costs of using a DIY garage

The fact that DIY garages can save you money doesn’t mean they won’t still cost you some. Here’s what you can expect to pay in order to repair your vehicle at one:

Base cost. If you just need a bay to work in, most DIY garages will charge about $20 to $50 an hour. For example, My Mechanics Place in Michigan charges $20 an hour for a basic bay, U Wrench It in New Jersey charges $24.99, while Your Dream Garage in Los Angeles charges $50 an hour. A lift bay will run you $30 to $35 an hour, and a paint booth is typically about $100 an hour. These prices sometimes include access to tools, but sometimes there’s an extra fee of $10 to $25 for that. Most DIY garages also have daily and even monthly rates, which can be a better bargain if you need that kind of time.

Expert assistance. Many DIY garages offer the option of having a professional mechanic advise you through the repair for an extra fee. For example, U Wrench It will provide a professional to assist you for $55 an hour on top of the bay rental. This can be a great middle option if you’ve never done serious car repair before and you’re nervous about relying on videos and friendly advice.

Considering the costs of labor, a DIY repair done in one of these shops can save you a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars, depending on how much time it takes.

What to consider before using a DIY garage

A DIY garage isn’t the right solution for everyone, of course. A few things to consider:

Insurance. If your repair stems from an accident and insurance is involved, your insurer may not approve DIY repairs and might require that the work be done in an approved shop. On the other hand, you might be able to keep some of the insurance money if they simply cut you a check for repairs and you do them yourself.

Liability. Most DIY garages will require you to sign a waiver releasing them of liability if you are injured unless the shop is negligent in some way. State laws vary, but if a DIY shop is operating the law most likely places liability on the consumer. Make sure you know what happens if you’re injured, or if you somehow destroy your car while trying to repair it.

Cost. If you rent a professional to help with your repair, your hourly costs may exceed what you’d pay in labor costs. If the average hourly cost for a mechanic is $60 and you’re spending $75 for a bay and professional help, you’re not actually saving any money at all.

Quality. Saving money is great, but if your DIY car repair doesn’t hold up because you don’t know what you’re doing you’ll wind up in an even worse situation.

Education. A DIY garage can also be a great way to teach yourself about car maintenance and repair. If you have a non-essential vehicle that you can tinker with, spending some time at a self-service garage is a hands-on way of learning.

If you’re reasonably mechanically inclined or have some experience fixing cars—or if you know someone who does and who is willing to help you out—renting a bay at a DIY garage can save you a ton of money while keeping your wheels on the road.