If you dropped your smartphone and the screen cracked, would you rather get it fixed or buy a new one? A lot of people will choose to buy a new device rather than have their damaged one repaired. This is because taking your damaged phone to an official store for a tune-up can be so expensive that you might think to buy a new one instead. Some devices also come with features that make it difficult for unauthorized stores and their owners to fix it themselves.

These hurdles extend to other machines, like farming equipment, and have become so prevalent that 20 states have “Right to Repair” laws. These laws require manufacturers to give out information and parts that will allow other stores and buyers to fix their devices on their own. Although this gives buyers the option to try to resolve device issues by themselves, when should they bring their iPhones to a repair store instead?

Know When to Fold Them

“Right to Repair” laws and tutorials all over the internet may tempt you to try your hand at mechanical repair. Before you start dismantling your phone, you should consider the following questions.

  • What is the status of your device’s warranty? It makes more sense to bring your device to an authorized store for repair rather than trying to do it yourself if it’s still under warranty. Manufacturers are obligated to repair hardware issues for free. Attempting to do so when your phone’s warranty is still active can immediately nullify it, depending on its stipulations. You should also recall if you extended your warranty beyond one year, so you don’t void your purchase.
  • How bad is the damage? If the warranty is no longer active, check the extent of damage on your device. If the cost of the repair exceeds its purchase price, it may be time to buy a new device.
  • Do you have the skills to fix the device yourself? You have to do a reality check and determine whether you have the skills to fix your device. If you have previous experience in repairing complex digital devices, you can probably repair your phone on your own. However, if you are a complete novice, it may be wiser to bring your device to a reasonably-priced repair store rather than risk accidentally making the situation worse.
  • How much would the repair cost? Price is one of the biggest motivations for repairing your phone by yourself. However, if you are unsure about your capability to fix your phone, go to a repair store instead. Check how much nearby repair stores will charge for specific repairs. If their prices are more affordable than buying a new device or tools to do your own repairs, you should probably bring your device to them instead.

Right to Repair laws allow you to save money by cutting out the middleman and by giving you the information you need to fix your devices on your own. But it takes time and training to develop the skills necessary to make delicate or complicated repairs. Before you start exercising your right to repair, consider your alternatives carefully or you might end up buying a new device after all.