Can you do your own Car Repairs and Maintenance?

If you get sticker shock every time you get a repair or maintenance estimate from your car mechanic, you are not alone. After all, a 2013 report by AAA estimated that it now costs approximately $10,000 a year to own and operate a car, with the largest part of that cost being maintenance and repair. Of course, this figure varies depending on the size of your vehicle and the age (older cars will encounter more significant repairs), however, regardless of the age, the point is, maintenance and repairs are a major expense and a way of life if you own a vehicle.

While some costs are a given (fuel, tires, insurance, etc), the one cost that you can more easily save on is maintenance and repairs. It’s now easier than ever to find good, qualified help, advice and tutorials online. Everything from Youtube videos with mechanics demonstrating how to do basic car maintenance or simple repairs on your specific vehicle, to forums where car owners share tips and basic fixes they have discovered, to detailed “how to’s” and instructional websites and pages, are easily available with a simple web search. Even if you discover that the issue is more complex and you end up having to take your vehicle to a mechanic, at the very least you will have a pretty good understanding of the process, which is always a plus when dealing with mechanics and car repair shops.

If you decide to try out your hand at doing your own simple car repair or car maintenance, you need to know what repair needs to be done. So the first place to start is by getting your vehicle diagnosed. Autozone or Rally’s often offer free diagnostic tests. They’ll check your car’s computer and let you know what part is giving you trouble and how much the part will cost you. Another option is to do a google search for the problems your car is exhibiting. For instance typing in, “Ford 150 screeching sound in engine” will pull up forums or other discussions where Ford 150 owners share their knowledge and experience with a Ford 150 that has a screeching sound and what action they took to fix it.

Once you know what the problem is, the next step is to perform a detailed google search for the year, make and model of your vehicle and the car part you are replacing. The more detailed you can be, the more likely your search will pull up relevant videos, articles, tutorials and forum discussions relating to your specific problem. For instance, a search for  “2003 Honda Accord serpentine belt repair” will pull up pages of advice and detailed instructions on fixing that type of vehicle, starting with Youtube videos that walk you through each step of the repair. After watching a video or reading through the instructions, you will have to decide whether you feel that what they are explaining looks doable or whether you’re getting in over your head (everything looks easier with an expert doing it). However, if it looks doable though, go ahead and get the part and give it a shot. If you run into trouble, you can always take it to the mechanic later, but you may surprise yourself and get the confidence to start doing more of your own repairs and maintenance which, hopefully, means more money to spend on the things you love.

If you have any other tips and pointers that we may have missed along the lines of DIY car repairs and maintenance, please let us know by leaving us a message on our Facebook, Twitter or Google+ pages.

And remember, if your car or vehicle gets to the point where it’s time to upgrade to save on repair costs or to avoid having to make a large repair, consider donating cars, trucks, boats, or campers to Donate a Car 2 Charity. Your car donations make it possible for us to fund scholarships, missions and humanitarian projects abroad, plus, you get to claim that vehicle donation as a tax deduction for the current tax year.

To learn more about Donate a Car 2 Charity’s, hassle free, no cost pick up or towing of your unwanted vehicle, call us today at 1-877-505-5665 or fill out an online donation form.

photo credit: Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL) via photopin cc

DIY Car Repair Tips