These days, it feels like you can learn to do just about anything online. Between YouTube videos and written tutorials with step-by-step pictures, it’s easy enough to find a new recipe or learn how to build the perfect tree house for the kids. With the multitude of tutorials online for free and the encouragement of that “so easy anyone can do it” Pinterest post, it can feel like you can learn anything—even actual rocket science. Of course, just because you can learn to do something, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. In terms of car repairs, there are absolutely some things you can do yourself to save some money, but there are also a great many jobs that should be left to the experts.
There are plenty of smaller parts of your car that you can absolutely swap out yourself, rather than heading over to your local mechanic. Windshield wiper blades are a pretty obvious one, but changing out headlight bulbs, spark plugs, and air filters are also pretty low-stress, low-risk things that nearly anyone can do for themselves. And while they don’t seem like much, keeping your headlights, windshield wipers, and air filters in good repair will help your safety as you drive, In addition, clean air filters and good spark plugs can help improve your gas mileage and performance, so replacing yours at regular intervals can help your car operate better.
It may seem messy, but changing your oil is something you can do at home pretty easily. If you have some spare time on the occasional weekend, there are plenty of tutorials online—just be sure you’re taking the time to find one from an actual certified and experienced mechanic. The caveat here is that doing an oil change yourself may or may not be a big money saver, depending on the tools you have and the disposal costs for getting rid of the used oil safely. If your local mechanic offers a special or coupon, having a professional change your oil could still be less costly.
Fixing scratches or gouges in your car’s paint may not seem like a big deal. However, it’s important you always find a way to seal scratches, at the very least, because if water can get in under the paint, rust will develop, which is much more costly to deal with. Fortunately, there are plenty of DIY products out there so you can care for the minor scratches and scuffs yourself. Even automotive paint is pretty simple to use, and can easily get your car back to looking great without a great deal of effort.
Keeping your tires inflated to the appropriate pressure can have a pretty big impact on your fuel efficiency. If you don’t already, go to your nearest auto supply store and get one of those inexpensive tire gauges and check your tire pressure at least monthly. In addition to keeping your tires inflated, changing a tire or rotating your tires is a job you can do yourself, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. Of course, many tire services offer free rotations with a tire purchase, so go scrounge up that paperwork and check before you spend your Saturday swapping around your tires.
Brake Pads and Discs
While you’re in rotating your tires, this is a good time to check your brakes and replace them as necessary. However, this is one step to be more careful about as your brakes can directly impact your safety while driving, so it may be better to leave this to your local mechanic, unless you know someone with a lot of car experience who can help. This is one step that, if you’re unsure at all, you’re probably better off at least getting a professional to teach you how to do it.
Dangling Exhaust Pipe
If your tailpipe drags or droops, it might be a pretty simple fix. Many manufacturers use rubber loops to secure the exhaust pipe in place, so a quick look under your car will show you whether those pieces are still intact. If they aren’t, these loops can be replaced pretty easily and ensure no further damage happens to your car.
Repairs to NOT Attempt
While a lot of what we mentioned already may feel cosmetic, they are all steps that combine to keep your vehicles operating smoothly and can help your car last longer. On the other end of the spectrum, however, there are a great many repairs that are better left to the professionals. Generally speaking, anything to do with the function of your engine or transmission should probably be entrusted to a mechanic, as these are complex, interconnected systems that can go wrong pretty easily.
The other big caveat we have here is in regards to any warranties that might be in effect. Many warranties require that work done on the vehicle is performed by a licensed technician, or the warranty will be voided. Even something as innocuous as an oil change done at home could void your warranty. If your warranty is still in effect, be sure you’re getting the work done by a certified mechanic so that, if bigger issues crop up, you aren’t left to get that taken care of on your own.
If you’re car savvy, there is a pretty good amount of upkeep you can take care of yourself. If you’re unsure your you’re looking for car repair you can trust, visit Your Import Car Doctor here in Colorado Springs. Your team of trained mechanics will answer any questions you might have and tell you honestly whether a repair is necessary or if it can wait. Call us today to schedule your appointment!