What Vehicle Repairs Can You Learn to Do?
- Author Emily Smith
- Published August 26, 2019
- Word count 943
Buying and owning a car is a colossal risk. You spend a large sum of money on an inanimate object that isn’t guaranteed to run smoothly or properly, and often, there will be a hiccup at some point along the way. Alas, it happens to the best of us, and, unfortunately, it’s unavoidable if we’re going to invest in risk.
However, with a little bit of research and the right tools, there are some faults that can be fixed at home.
When should you take your car to the garage?
• The engine specifically requires the experience and knowledge of a qualified mechanic. When your engine light appears on the dashboard, you’ll need to book your vehicle into your local garage at the earliest convenience. Not only is it difficult to identify what is wrong with the engine, it’s an intricate procedure to fix the issue without causing another one. Some of the most commons faults that occur with the engine include fuel pump issues, valve damage, overheating, smoking, rattling and running in limp mode.
• If you’ve noticed that your vehicle is pulling to the left or right, that there is extreme tyre wear, the steering wheel is crooked when driving straight, or that your tyres squeal, it may be time to get them realigned at your local garage. Wheel alignment is a sensitive and time-consuming procedure with lots of measurements involved and it’s important that these measurements are 100% correct to sit in line with the angles that were set by the manufacturer. However, there are a few tips that you can take on board to prolong the length of time before your wheels need to be aligned. This include removing unnecessary weight from boot of your car, maintaining the correct tyre pressure, and being gentle when turning the wheel.
• 9 times out of 10 when fluid is leaking from your car it will result in a trip to your local garage. However, understanding what different colours of fluid mean will enable you to explain which area of the car is experiencing an issue. This helps to speed up the entire process. Let’s learn our colours and what they mean:
Red or pink fluid generally indicates an issue with the power steering or transmission.
Orange fluid suggests rust in the radiator, whilst yellow fluid can be a sign of either a loose hose clamp or a damaged o-ring in the radiator.
Blue fluid points towards your windshield wipers as the fluid reservoir and tubing that carries your windshield cleaning fluid can degrade over time.
Dark brown and light brown fluid often signal a fault with the engine, brakes or gearbox.
Green fluid normally isn’t a concern, just that the incorrect antifreeze fluid has been used. Be sure to check your owner’s handbook to find out what the correct antifreeze fluid for your vehicle is to avoid this. Lastly, clear fluid is nothing to panic about, usually a leak of condensation from the air conditioning system.
• In most cases, tyres are the easiest section of the car to identify an issue for. For instance, you will need to take your vehicle in to a garage for a tyre change when the tread depth has worn down. If you notice the vibrations of the car have become more intense, when cracks start to appear around the rim of the tyre, if they squeak when going around roundabouts and corners, and if they’ve ticked over the average lifespan of a tyre which is around 5 years.
• Lastly, whenever you notice a burning smell coming from your vehicle, it’s always best practice to take it to your local garage to identify the issue. If you continue to drive your car without getting it checked, you run the risk of causing extreme damage to your, costing you more in the long run.
What faults can be sorted with a self-fix?
• Apart from general maintenance, one of the easiest repairs that you can carry out yourself is replacing the car battery - a fix that literally takes 15-30 minutes to complete. All you need to do is search for a battery replacement video tutorial and make sure it is relevant to your make and model of car. This way you’ll learn what tools you will need, the correct size battery that you need for your car, where to locate the battery in the car, and how to remove and fit a battery without damaging anything else.
• Brake pads are spectacularly simple to replace and often the only item you will need to purchase is the brake pads themselves as commonly most people will already own safety glasses, a car jack, protective gloves, and a spanner. Simply search online for a video tutorial of how to fit brake pads for the make and model of car to replace these correctly.
• By carrying out regular maintenance on your car, you decrease your chances of running into issues that could have been avoided. Straightforward jobs such as checking the fuel and air filters, testing spark plugs and wires, checking the distributor cap and rotor, and changing the oil will help to preserve the condition of your car.
In hindsight, if you believe you can fix the fault yourself, then you’ll be better off doing this as the most expensive part of taking your car to the garage is paying for someone’s time to analyse the vehicle, fix the fault, and carry out post-fix checks. With the power of Google and YouTube, you’ll learn quickly whether this is a solution you can achieve or if it’s out of your depth.
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