Fix Your Cracked Smartphone Without Breaking Your Budget

NEW YORK (MainStreet)—Calls drop, and so do smartphones. If yours got cracked or wet and you're still months away from being eligible for an upgrade and don't want to fork over hundreds of dollars for a new phone, don't despair. Repair.

There's a wide selection of relatively inexpensive do-it-yourself repair kits available on the Internet. But before you get started, consider these tips from Matt McCormick, who owns JCD Repair, which did over $1 million worth of smartphone, iPad, and iPod repairs last year. McCormick, who got his start repairing his own smartphone, says to buy a kit that includes all the tools you'll need. It will save you time and money compared with buying the kit contents individually, he says.

First, be sure to get the right parts. "An iPhone 4 screen for an AT&T phone is different than one for an iPhone 4 on Verizon," he says. "The same goes for the Galaxy S phones -- they might all look alike online but they aren't." He also suggests watching how-to videos on YouTube, including at least one by an amateur, showing not only how to repair the phone, but how to put the phone back together, too, before attempting to make the repair. "This is often the hardest part of a repair," McCormick says. He points out that most of these videos are designed to sell parts and, therefore, have an incentive to make the process look easier than it is.

As for ease of repair, here's McCormick's take on it: "The older iPhone 3G and 3GS are both fairly easy to fix if you buy the entire assembly -- glass, LCD, and frame." He says the Galaxy S and Note series smartphones are also fairly simple, but can be expensive, to repair, ranging from $75 to $225.