When should you thoroughly diagnose and when should you just buy parts?

The question above is what separates professional mechanics from the do-it-yourself driveway mechanic. This is not to denigrate either, but it’s to point out something that is often a reason for debate in our forums. The professional mechanic will always thoroughly diagnose (or at least, should) and will never “throw parts” at the problem. The DIY mechanic, however, can be justified in taking the latter approach, even if the pro thinks it’s a bad idea.

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