tinker with (something)
1. To make unprofessional or experimental attempts at repairing or improving something. I've been tinkering with the washing machine all afternoon, but nothing I do seems to fix it. Bud likes to tinker with old car engines and see if he can make them run better than they used to.
2. To test or use something in order to learn more about it. I'm tinkering with a different platform for my blog, and I can't decide if I like it or not.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Try to repair, work aimlessly or unskillfully with, as in He tinkered with the engine all day but it still wouldn't start. This idiom, first recorded in 1658, alludes to working as a tinker, that is, mending metal utensils.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
To make unskilled or experimental efforts at repairing or improving something: I tinkered with the engine, hoping to discover the trouble.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.