To DIY? Or not to DIY? That is the question. As you'll see there are a few factors you'll want to consider before making a decision, let's take a look:
The Pros and Cons of Doing Your Own Repairs
What are the Pros?
- You can save money - this is the biggest reason people choose to do their own car repairs and servicing
- You can save time, as you don't have to wait for your mechanic to become available
- You'll gain confidence and skills as you perform you own repairs. This can put you in good stead for situations where a mechanic might not be available; for instance if you break down in a remote area
What are the Cons?
- If you make a mistake you can actually cost yourself more money
- You run the risk of voiding any current manufacturer's or extended warranties
- Making repairs can be a dangerous process: if you don't know what you're doing, you can expose yourself to hazardous substances and situations (for instance if don't realise you need to use a jack stand when working under your car. Many people have been killed by their falling car)
- If your repairs aren't effective, this can also be dangerous; resulting in a potential accident or stall in a dangerous location.
After you've weighed up the pros and cons, your decision will probably come down to the TYPE of repairs you want to do, their level of COMPLEXITY and your own degree of EXPERIENCE. Let's take a look at some examples.
What Types of Repairs Can I Do Myself?
We're going to assume you don't have extensive mechanical knowledge but you're still keen to get your hands dirty. Below is a list of car repair jobs we reckon almost anyone can tackle, so long as they understand the steps and the correct order to perform the repairs. Every single one of these jobs you can easily find YouTube videos on how to perform:
- Changing your air filters
- Replacing your windscreen wipers - ok so this one is very basic, but you'd be surprised how much some mechanics will charge you for a wiper change, so it's absolutely worth doing yourself!
- Changing your oil and transmission fluid
- Replacing fuses
- Testing your battery and changing the battery when needed - note with this task you really need to carry it out in the correct order or you can cause problems with the car's computer. If you're not confident, it's probably best to leave a battery change to a mechanic
The above list is pretty basic, the more you learn about how your car functions, the more repairs you'll have the confidence to do yourself. However, there are some repairs it's best to leave to your mechanic. Let's take a look.
When to Call a Mechanic
Some components under the hood are more complicated than others, for this reason, unless you actually are a mechanic, we suggest you steer clear of tasks like the following, note this is far from an exhaustive list:
- Changing the clutch - this is quite a complex job, you'll need everything to line up perfectly, and you'll have to lift some heavy components back into place so this task comes with a degree of personal risk to your safety
- Changing air bags - do not muck around with air bags; they actually contain small explosives and you really need proper training to work with them
- Replacing wiring - while most people can easily replace a blown fuse, replacing any of the actual wiring itself is more complex, partly because the wiring interacts with your car's computer software
At the end of the day, if you're confident about a repair and the task isn't dangerous, you're probably right to do it yourself. If you're not confident or the repairs are complex/dangerous, always contact your mechanic.