The idea of saving money — especially on something as pricey as car maintenance — can be very appealing. However, there are many repair jobs that shouldn’t be attempted by anyone who isn’t a professional. This is especially the case with modern cars, and those who have been used to repairing older vehicles may not realise just how true this is. Between on-board computers and new manufacturing processes that make reaching components difficult, doing it yourself is often a losing proposition. In fact, in attempting to save a few quid on a repair, you could end up doing damage that will cost a lot more to have fixed.
There are plenty of things you can do if you think of yourself as a novice mechanic—replacing air filters and wiper blade, and changing oil are a few. Many belts (timing belt aside) are designed to be easily reachable for replacement, and checking and refilling most fluids and lubricants is a simple job. However, some things you must always leave to a professional:
The relatively recent and widespread use of engine code readers have inspired many an amateur mechanic with false confidence. Far too many drivers think of the code reader as an automatic diagnostic tool. That’s far from the case. While the code reader may point to the area in which there’s a problem, there’s no guarantee that replacing a specific part is going to turn the light off and put your vehicle back into tip top shape. That check engine light may not go out, or it may do so only temporarily, which often means that the root of the problem still persists and may have been damaging your car even more in the meantime. A good garage can identify the problem and fix it swiftly.
The relative ease with which brake maintenance can be carried out, especially on older cars, has caused too many car owners to imagine that repairing damaged brakes or fixing unknown problems with brakes is as simple as disassembling and finding the broken part. While replacing brake fluid and pads due to normal wear and tear is, under ideal circumstances, something that an experienced amateur can do, it’s a better idea to go to your mechanic even for these simple tasks. Why? Because a poor brake job doesn’t just cause your car not to start or to stall out—your life could depend on being able to stop. It’s a job for professionals.
Yes, there are simple things that can be fixed with proper training—like replacing certain hoses—if there hasn’t already been a failure. But if your vehicle has overheated, even once, the risks of doing further damage are simply too great.
For all your car maintenance needs, find a trusty garage which can do the job professionally and keep you safe while driving.