Car repairs: When to DIY & when to take it for a professional

August 12, 2015

car repairsWe all want to save money where we can and, as much as possible, do things ourselves instead of paying for the services of professionals. No doubt professionals who have spent their lives on a particular skill will do a better job than us; that doesn’t mean we want to pay where, perhaps, we don’t have to. Yet, there will be times when professionals are needed – that shouldn’t stop us still trying to mitigate when and how often that happens.

For example, sites and spaces like AutoMD offer help that let’s you access expertise for free. They cover topics like how to replace a cabin air filter in four easy steps; or show you in six steps how to adjust a headlight. These tips for everyday maintenance might seem trivial, but, added up, means significantly less work for professionals.

Further, this attitude to your vehicle is a good one to have as it encourages a careful attitude that only leads to benefitting your car’s wellbeing.

But there are a range of issues you should be able to fix yourself, if you make sure you get the right tools for the job. For example, to change your breakpads, Edmunds suggests you have:

“Disposable mechanic’s gloves to protect your hands and keep them clean; Jack and jack stands; Lug wrench; C-clamp or length of wood to retract the piston; Wrench (choose a socket, open end or adjustable wrench); Turkey baster for drawing out brake fluid; Plastic tie, bungee cord or piece of string.”

You will need just about an hour to do it and, once you done it the first time, subsequent times will be better and shorter. Practice, after all, makes perfect.

Of course, for certain jobs, we will require professionals like mechanics and panel beaters. This is when your car is damaged or in such disarray that it requires opening it up to get into its interiors. These are parts you would rather not want to tamper with, as making mistakes could cost more than simply taking it to the relevant experts.

It’s best to get someone’s opinion who is an expert, but who isn’t invested in getting your money – this means you could know when you can fix something yourself or when you should take it in. Forums with experts are available, as we’ve noted, so becoming part of a friendly – and perhaps local – community might be a good idea, too.

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