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.
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