Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders
Whether you're trying to save money, learn a useful trade, or both, tackling DIY car repairs is a good idea that will work to your benefit for years to come. This can be as simple as performing maintenance or doing major repairs, depending on your resources and level of experience. Here are some tips on resolving your own automotive issues.
Noises, rough shifting, or poor performance can indicate either simple or serious problems. When you feel something is wrong, ask yourself exactly when the problem started and what you were doing. Sometimes problems are intermittent and sometimes they're constant. Write down all the signs of trouble, such as hesitation or certain sounds to narrow down the problem even more.
You can find plenty of resources online for diagnosing car problems. These might be general tips or provided for specific vehicles. You'll find illustrated tutorials and videos you can follow on your mobile phone. What you'll really want is an automotive repair manual made for your vehicle model. These will cover your vehicle's specs and outline steps for diagnosing and fixing many issues.
Buying your own repair tools can be expensive, but with care they'll be there to use for a lifetime. Start with a good socket set, assorted screwdrivers, vice grips, wrenches, pliers, a set of Allen wrenches, and a roll of electric tape. Keep them in the trunk for emergencies. It's also advisable to get an OBD-2 code scanner for retrieving trouble codes from your onboard computer.
Doing regular maintenance helps to reduce the chances of unexpected problems. You should regularly check the level and quality of your oil, coolant/antifreeze, battery condition, and transmission fluid. Check for tires and cables showing wear, and loose electrical connections or drive belts. It's important to keep an eye on small problems before they become big ones.
Determining the exact problem on newer vehicles can be tough without advanced diagnostic systems. Many major repairs are also beyond the talents of most novice mechanics. If you aren't confident in the nature of the problem, or your ability to repair it correctly, take your car to a professional like Valley Express Auto Repair or someone similar. Better to have it repaired properly than to cause more problems or even create unsafe conditions.
Being able to do small repair jobs and efficient maintenance tasks will save you money and prolong the life of your vehicle. However, it's important to be able to admit when you're in over your head.