Is it sane to fix your own car? In this economy, it is more important than ever to do everything yourself. However, are you crossing a line of safety by repairing your own car? As it turns out, I learned from several engineers and mechanics in my family that there are ways to save money when it comes to getting your automobile fixed. With a few basic guidelines, you can save yourself a lot of frustration. You can also more readily understand if you actually need to throw in the towel and take your car to the mechanic.
How to Understand What Is under the Hood
Before computers, there were ways that a mechanic could look up the information about your particular kind of car. These bulky manuals are still being printed today for every vehicle made. This means there is a complete guide to every working part of your auto. With a book like the Chilton’s Manual, you will quickly start to see that there are many projects you can do yourself with the right tools and replacement parts. Most of the parts can be found at your local automotive retail store. You can also check your local library to see if they have a copy.
A Quick Fix to an Expensive Problem
Many people will take the car to a mechanic if they cannot get the starter to work. Most people will assume that this is a battery issue. However, if you try to recharge the battery and it still does not want to start, is it time to take it to the mechanic? If you want a cheap and simple solution before you attempt to have the wiring examined, consider replacing fuses. In general, finding the panel with all of the fuses is easy. Most come in packs of 5 to 20 and are typically in the $5 to $10 range.
Paying for Tune Ups
While it may sound insignificant, skipping out on your regular oil change can cost you later. For this reason, always be sure to follow the advice of many old mechanics. After all, replacing an engine or transmission is one area that will force you to spend hundreds of dollars. Preventative care for this kind of work is usually less than $80 per year.
When to Consult the Experts
In general, it is a good idea to have someone check your work. After all, you do not want to replace the brakes on your car and have an accident later. In some areas of the country, you will need to have your work certified in a professional setting. Otherwise, if you visit an auto repair retail store on the weekends, you will find many shade tree mechanics willing to help you make sure you do your own job correctly. Informal mechanics are also a great resource for borrowing tools.
With proper supervision from a mechanically minded friend and a little bit of patience, you will save hundreds of dollars over the lifetime of your vehicle. A little elbow grease goes a long way and people take notice. For this reason, over time, you may find that repairing your own vehicle turns into a second source of income for you.