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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- How to Clean and Protect Your Car’s Leather Upholstery
Happy New Year, everyone! Now that the holidays are officially a wrap, it’s time to get back to the daily grind, and for some of you, the daily commute. If one of your resolutions for 2017 was to stay on top of your vehicle’s maintenance schedule a little bit better, this post ought to help out with that.
Whether you drive a used car or a new car, it will wear down as time passes.
If your car is suddenly making a new noise, it’s probably trying to tell you something. Don’t ignore this new noise as it could end up costing you more in the long run. Instead, listen carefully to it, what exactly does this noise sound like?
If you’re anything like the team here at Searles Auto Repair, you tend to deny winter is coming and delay pulling out the winter boots for as long as possible. “It’s still not dipping below zero out there! I’m good,” you might catch yourself saying some mornings.
Now that we are well into Fall, Thanksgiving 2016 is all but a distant memory and Halloween has now arrived. While these dates on the calendar give us plenty of reasons to celebrate the onslaught of fall, they also make it all too easy for us to avoid the looming task of switching to our winter tires before the weather truly turns nasty.
More often than not, drivers are guilty of ignoring warning signs or doing certain things to their vehicles that lead to an earlier trip to the repair shop than they had anticipated. At Searles we see it all the time: early on-set damage to vehicles that we know could have been prevented.
Sure, accidents happen, and potholes and icy patches can come out of nowhere, but in many cases, paying more attention on the roads and to your vehicle itself will help prevent you from having to see an auto mechanic practically every other month.
However, if you really want to come and see us more often, here are five of the worst things you can do to damage your car: Read More
As an auto mechanic, I sure hate the sound of a car not starting in the morning. And as a car owner, I am sure you do too. For me, the first step is investigating what the problem might be. Whereas, for the average driver, their first instinct is thinking:
“Man! This better not cost me a lot to fix!”
There are plenty of reasons that your car won’t start, even when it was running good enough to get you to Downtown Victoria but just doesn’t want to face another trip up Douglas Street again.
Below are the top 5 reasons your car won’t start, starting with the obvious one: your dead or dying battery. Read More
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…)