DIY (do it yourself) has always been a popular mindset when it comes to the automotive industry, and for good reason. Paying a professional for car repairs can be awfully expensive. Opting to do your own vehicle repairs is tempting because it saves you money, gives you a feeling of satisfaction, and gives you the rewarding feeling of independence.
We at Searles always encourage people to take an active interest in how their vehicles operate and to tinker with their vehicles as much as possible without endangering themselves in the process, without voiding their warranties, and without causing problems (i.e., accidents!) for other drivers down the road.
There are many things the average car owner can do to take care of on their own car or truck, beyond just taking it into the shop for regular maintenance. Things like washing, waxing, vacuuming, and protecting their interior is a good start (ha!). For the more adventurous types, things like swapping out headlights, replacing dead batteries, switching out worn out wiper blades, and repairing chipped paint are rewarding steps to take as well.
Still, the more hands-on, tinkering types are also keenly interested in doing their own oil changes, changing their own air and fuel filters, and rotating their tires—provided they have the right equipment, or know someone who does. In addition, out of necessity, many drivers don’t flinch at the thought of changing their own flat ties. (See 10 Steps to Change a Flat Tire )
All this DIY is done to save money, learn more about your vehicle as time goes on, and gain a better understanding of cars in general. We applaud you if you’re partaking in any of these tasks in your garage!
DIY automotive repair has never been easier, in theory, because of today’s wide range of easily accessible and affordable car parts, as well as all the helpful instructions out there on blogs (current blog is a fine example 😉 and instructional online videos. Of course, car manuals are still of considerable use as well (and their guidelines should always be followed!).
However, while there are many things a car owner can pull off on their own, there are many larger projects that are a lot more involved and require skilled, certified mechanics who have right tools, know-how, and safety equipment to get the job done. Calling in the pros mean also means you’ll get insured work.
The following are, in our opinion, the top five types of car and truck repairs that require the help from a professional auto mechanic.
Transmission Repair and Maintenance
Transmissions are tricky beasts. If your friend tells you his transmission is acting up, the story is usually met with sympathy. Regular transmission maintenance will cut down on future mechanical repairs and also allow you to drive as safely and economically as possible, but sometimes, things need outright replacing.
Take a new clutch, for instance. A clutch is a wearable part that will need to be repaired and replaced during the lifespan of your car or truck. Located deep within your car’s hood, replacing a worn-out clutch is a time-consuming job that requires many steps and a few test drives to ensure everything is working properly once the vehicle is put back together.
Mufflers / Exhaust System
A muffler is only one piece, albeit the biggest, of a car’s exhaust puzzle, so when a driver suspects there is a problem with their car’s exhaust system, their first thought is to assume muffler replacement. This is where DIY can go wrong; oftentimes the muffler can be repaired or sealed. In other times, it’s another part like the exhaust manifolds, exhaust studs, exhaust headers, exhaust pipes, catalytic converters, or oxygen sensors that are creating the problem.
In this case, a DIY fix can be more expensive than taking the car to a auto mechanic would have been. Another reason to avoid DIY exhaust system repair on your vehicle is how tough the area is to access without the right tools. You could hurt yourself if you’re not careful and don’t quite know what you’re looking at.
Fortunately, until August 1, 2017, Searles is running some special promotions on exhaust repairs. For example, if you purchase both a qualifying muffler or welded assembly, AND a qualifying catalytic converter, you get an $80 MasterCard Card by mail.
A vehicle’s brake system will require a lot of TLC throughout the vehicle’s life. Things like brake master cylinders, brake pads, brake rotors, brake calipers, wheel cylinders, brake shoes, brake drums, emergency brakes, and brake lines are wearable parts that fortunately don’t take too much time to replace, or cost too much.
The trick to brakes is more than just not installing parts the right way, but in repairing the brakes on each wheel at the right times so the car brakes evenly and safely every time. Due to the low cost of a brake job, and the cheap parts, having a professional auto mechanic handle your next brake job is recommended. It’s worth the peace of mind and the time you’ll save.
A car’s suspension system is made up of many small working parts such as ball joints, kingpins, control arms, radius arms, sway bars, sway bar bushings, sway bar links, shocks, struts, lift kits, lowering kits, coil springs, and leaf springs. Where to begin? Fortunately, a suspension system doesn’t need as much attention as other parts of a vehicle, but the odd time there will be something that needs to be replaced or finetuned. A vehicle’s suspension system can be intricately designed and there’s not as much literature out there on how to do this type of repair on your own. Also, you’d need access to a hoist to pull off this type of job.
Thinking you’re in need of some new struts? Until August 1, 2017, take advantage of this exclusive offer from Searles: Purchase two qualifying NAPA Quick-Strut Replacement Assemblies and get a $75 MasterCard Card by mail.
Heating & Cooling Systems
There’s a lot going on inside your vehicle that regulates the temperature of the running parts. Things like radiators, water pumps, hoses, heater cores, thermostats, radiator fan clutches, electric radiator fans, block heaters, frost plugs, blower fan motors, heater boxes, and heater controls, are all parts that are best left to a professional to find, source, diagnose, and repair. The reason these systems top the list of repairs NOT to try on your own is because of the difficulty in accessing some of these parts.
In fact, many advanced car repairs require the pieces under the hood to be dismantled. The dismantling part is easy, but it’s the putting back together part that can prove to be the hard part.
Additional Vehicle Problems that Require a Mechanic
The above vehicle repairs are all auto issues that you absolutely need to bring the car into an auto mechanic for. However, there are many more that deserve an honourable mention:
- Engine trouble: timing belts
- Fluid leakage and fluid flushes
- Severe auto body damage
- Windshield repair and replacement
- Electrical problems that effect things like power windows and power locks
- Ignition troubles
- Power steering problems
- Air-conditioning systems
- Back-up camera and other computer/sensory malfunctions
Book a Peace of Mind Spring Vehicle Inspection
If you hear or smell something suspicious coming from your vehicle, or if some things have just flat out stopped working and you aren’t sure you want to try and tackle it on your own, bring your vehicle to us at Searles Auto Repair in Victoria, BC. The Searles Spring Maintenance Package is an affordable way to have your car inspected from bumper to bumper.
Give us a call at 1-250-475-2000 or schedule an appointment online.
- 4 Signs You Need an Oil Change
- How to Restore Your Vehicle’s Headlights
- 10 Spring Cleaning Tips to Prepare Your Car For Summer
- How to Clean and Protect Your Car’s Leather Upholstery
Many drivers don’t think twice about their vehicle’s braking system until their brakes start to give way. This is a concern because weak brakes are a hazard on the road, especially in regions like Victoria where stoplights are the norm, there are merging lanes as far as the eye can see, and the weather can turn on you in a heartbeat.
Of all the car maintenance tips we like to inform our customers about, brake system maintenance is at the top of our list. We believe staying up to speed on the life of your brakes is one of the smartest moves a driver can make. Read More
Car batteries are the lifeline of the vehicle. These unassuming, small little boxes are the key to starting your vehicle every time you need to go somewhere. Just like your morning cup of coffee provides you with a jolt of electricity every day, it is your car battery that provides your vehicle with the juice it needs to spring into action.
Understanding the basics of how car batteries work will help ensure that you are never stranded with a dead one! Here are some of the most important things you need to know about your car’s battery and electrical system. Read More
Have you ever noticed just how well your vehicle treats you? Just think about it: Your car gets up with you every morning without hesitation, allows you to always pick the restaurant (OK, drive-thru), and constantly keeps you warm and safe. Yes, our vehicles certainly show us a lot of love, and that’s why we believe it’s always good to show them a little love back in order to keep up the healthy relationship.
Whether you’re single or attached this Valentine’s Day, consider spoiling your car with any or all of the following car maintenance ideas. Because isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is really for? Preventing problems from arising in the relationship? (Between car and driver, of course…)
Every year in Victoria, when the rain turns to snow and the snow turns to ice, do you find yourself always asking yourself the same questions?
- Are my car’s all-season tires going to be enough to get me through another year of winter-driving?
- Will the weather even get bad enough to warrant two types of tires this year?
- Do I even need to worry about it?
Answering these questions is an internal debate many Victoria drivers wrestle with at this time of year. Read More
How many times have you heard this from your family members when you ask them what they want for Christmas?
“Oh, don’t worry about me, I’ve got everything that I need.”
Sound familiar? It’s what a lot of us end up saying around this time of year, even though gift giving isn’t about giving a person something they need, it’s about giving them something thoughtful, something that shows them you’re thinking about them and that you care.
This year, when someone gives you the runaround to the age-old question, “What’s on your Christmas wishlist this year?” you could go the Scratch and Win tickets and bottle of wine route, or try and hand-craft something, or you could just take the easy route and buy a gift you KNOW they are going to need eventually: Searles Gift Certificates! Read More
Quickies are often tough to resist. After all, doing things the long way requires pre-planning and a bit more effort. But often times after a quickie oil change, your car isn’t satisfied. And that’s a problem.
By their very design, quickie oil change depots are convenient, especially in larger cities like Victoria where it’s nice to get all of your errands done in one outing to avoid traffic. But more and more, as CBC’s Marketplace reports, car owners are starting to speak out about how much they prefer getting their oil changed by a local auto mechanic instead.
Why the growing dissatisfaction with all of this convenience? Read More
Join our owner, Chris Wylie, for a Searle’s Auto Repair Shop Tour!
Searle’s Auto is located at 517 Kelvin Rd in Victoria, BC, and is known by many for its quality work and honesty. Whether you are male or female, you can put your trust in Searle’s Auto Repair. Our team of professionals takes the time to explain what needs to be done, step-by-step. We feel it is our duty and responsibility to treat you as one of the family. We understand that without our customers trust; we would not have a growing business.
Watch this shop tour video and check out our service offerings here.
Or call us at 250-475-2000.
Looking for more automotive tips and advice?
For many, wheel misalignment is seen as one of those pesky problems that comes along with car ownership. And while yes, wheel misalignment can occur naturally over time, it’s more likely that there’s a specific reason behind your wonky tires. Like your driving habits. Or your tendency to neglect your car. Or that time you bumped a curb in the parking lot.
When your tires are out of alignment, it basically means they aren’t pointing in the right direction. You may notice your vehicle pulling to one direction or vibrating as the wheels pull against each other, or that your steering wheel is crooked even though you’re driving straight. This all negatively affects your steering, suspension and tires, but more importantly, it compromises your safety on the road. And that’s never a good thing.
Are you familiar with these common causes of wheel alignment problems?
Everyone hits a curb at one point or another. Whether it’s a gentle bump as you pull into a tricky driveway or a bad jolt from hitting one of those concrete parking spot dividers (not technically a curb, but close enough), it can be enough to throw a tire or two out of alignment. Read More