My son dropped his computer while at school. It was in a case but wouldn't you know that the exact place it landed was on zipper pull of the case which put a dent in the Macbook Pro right where the hard drive and the cable attach. The hard drive continued to work for a while after that but as time went by he gradually had problems to the point where we got the flashing folder icon and replaced the drive. After replacing the drive, we couldn't install the IOS because the hard drive was not being recognized so we ordered the hard drive cable as well. In retrospect. I'm wondering if we missed a step in formating the hard drive and didn't need the cable, but all is done now and working which is really the main thing.
First I have to say that I had a really great friend at work who introduced me to the iFixit site and helped me start fixing my own Macbook Pro. Since that time, I've been teaching my 13 year old how to fix his computer. Being 13 and having gone a few weeks without his Macbook Pro he was impatient to get the cable and get his computer working again. When the hard drive came in the mail it was summer, and my son was home from school and I was at work. I got back from my lunch break to find about 8 texts on my phone. The texts went from "Is this my hard drive cable?" to "I'm opening the package" to " I already replaced it!". So with the help of iFixit, he replaced the HD cable himself. I had to text him through the reformatting process a little after that and then he was on his way again to having the repair completed. By the time I got home from work the OS was installed and the computer was still working on the backup from our Time Capsule. Then taking it a step further, he was having some camera issues and I thought originally that they might have been because of the hard drive. Turned out it wasn't. Again, he went back in, found the camera cable and basically just unplugged and plugged it in again. That fixed the camera - it was just loose. So now his computer may not look like new due to the dent (which we tapped out a bit), but it works like new. My 13 year old son also learned something in the process and as a mom, I like seeing his confidence and pride in himself in having completed the task.
In this day and age - owning a computer is like owning a car. When I was growing up I still remember my Dad teaching me how to change the tire on a car. In our new computerized world, people should be able to do basic computer repairs and iFixit is the perfect site for spreading that knowledge. It's also great because the site provides all the parts and tools you need to complete the job. Just don't be afraid to do it. And if you are afraid (as I'll admit I always was to start), find a friend or an expert to watch you the first couple times. Invest in a good set of tools. It is definitely valuable experience and skills to have that can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.