Car ownership and maintenance can be expensive and in a world of DIY books and “how to” videos on YouTube, many car enthusiasts enjoy the challenge of fixing faulty brakes or replacing the timing belt. If you have successfully done car repairs on your own, you may consider yourself lucky, but don’t assume you have a mechanic’s touch.
Even if your DIY repair is well-intentioned and managed to save you a couple hundred dollars, you could be increasing your risk of being involved in an accident. According to Marks & Harrison, Attorneys at Law, a vehicle that is improperly maintained or has a mechanical failure can cause a deadly car accident; not only could your DIY repair put your own life at risk, but could affect the lives of other motorists on the road.
Want to Fix Your Car? Don’t Make These Mistakes
While changing your oil or replacing your windshield wipers are easy to do and save you some money in the long run, for your own safety, there are some car repairs that are better left to the professionals:
- Disregarding Safety: Auto mechanics make car repair look really easy, but that’s because they are trained (and you are not). One thing that is often overlooked about car repair is that it can be hazardous. In order to do their job well, and safely, mechanics use jack stands, wear protective eyewear, and even latex gloves to avoid exposure to chemicals. Unless your garage is equipped with all the proper safety gear and you know exactly what you’re handling (and how to handle or dispose of it properly), don’t make any major repairs.
- Not Following the Owner’s Manual: Even though there are numerous videos and books available on car repairs, it’s always smart to refer to your owner’s manual. While there are many resources that can give you good general information, it’s important to know what type of fluid to put in your car or other specifics. Remember, not all cars require the same type of fluid or replacement parts (even models or years within a car brand can be different).
- Ignoring Preventative Maintenance: Every car has a maintenance schedule and if you stick to it, your car continue running well for a long time. If you plan on changing your own oil, make sure you do it as scheduled otherwise you’ll run into a bigger and more expensive problem you may not be able to handle on your own.
- Not Knowing Your Limitations: Car repair should never be a “learning experience”. If you don’t know what you’re doing, there are too many safety risks to yourself and others. If you’re just starting out, start small. For instance, if your brakes need replacing, but you’ve rarely used a car jack or removed the tires for anything but a flat, this is not a repair you should attempt on your own. Here are some other major repairs that are better left to a professional and stick to the stuff you’re confident with: replacing suspension parts, replacing a timing belt, repairing an overheated engine, dealing with a check engine light, fixing misaligned wheels, or transmission maintenance. Not only can these repairs be hazardous on the road, if done improperly, they may void any warranties if not performed by a professional mechanic.