A thorough cleaning and regular maintenance can prolong the life of the mechanism quite substantially, by reducing the noise, as well as wear and tear. This job is best left to professionals, if you want it to be done properly. However, if you are a car repair professional, you might pull it off on your own. Refer to the appropriate Hayne's manual for your car, to know the details of the procedure. It is better to bear the cost of service, than pay for a replacement. Since the cost can be quite high, the former option is a better one.