Do you have a USB enclosure in which you could put the drive? If you do, and it fails there, it's probably bad.
By the way, I've found it cheaper to buy my laptop drives as USB "external" drives. Then I pop the case, extract the drive, and can thereafter use the case for the drive I remove from the laptop. (Locally, a 500GB USB backup drive cost about $60, and a "bare" 500GB laptop drive is around $70.)