Owning a motor vehicle is not cheap. With gas prices rising and more people in difficult financial circumstances, cutting out extra costs becomes a tempting idea. One method of lowering the expenses associated with owning a vehicle is to buy some repair manuals for your vehicle and handle as much of the maintenance and repairs as possible at home. This can definitely lower expenses but it is also very easy to make expensive mistakes that may take a professional to fix. It is very important to educate yourself before embarking on any repair project.
Here are 5 of the most common mistakes beginners make:
1. Rushing the Job – This is a common mistake for any field, not just mechanical repair. Jumping right into a repair without reading the directions you are following can lead to needing to start over at best or damaging parts at worst. So take it slow instead. Make sure you fully understand what you’ll be doing before you start and get all your parts and tools laid out neatly by your work area. Preparation and patience will save you time and money in the end.
2. Taking Shortcuts – This mistake is a very tempting one for more experienced home mechanics. You’ve become familiar with how a repair is performed and it appears that there’s an unnecessary step involved in the directions. This will not always cause a problem, but sometimes those seemingly extra steps are there because they’re vital. Sometimes parts are not as tough as they appear, or need to be in a precise position to work effectively. When skipping a step in a repair you may damage a vital part that you didn’t know was there or end up having to remove the part you have replaced that is not seated properly.
3. Using the Wrong Tool – Automotive tools are not always affordable, and in many cases you can get away with using a tool that is very similar to the proper tool for the job without a problem. But there are certain jobs that do call for a specialized tool in order to adjust or remove the part without damaging it or yourself. Make sure to research whether or not you need to buy or borrow a specialized tool for the repair you’re doing.
4. Throwing Parts at a Problem – Some problems can be hard to properly diagnose and may seem similar to other problems. Repair manuals are only half the solution for home auto repairs. Without knowing precisely what the problem is you may end up replacing parts that are perfectly fine as you search for what is wrong with your vehicle. Look into getting a reader that will access your vehicle’s computer and inform you of the error codes that it uses. This tool will help you find the right solution to your problems.
5. Not Checking Your Work – Once the repair is done you might be tempted to pack up all your tools and clean up. But spending a few minutes to double check your work may save you a great deal of hassle later. You may think you’ve done everything but it is easy to skip replacing a nut that can cause tons of trouble down the road.
Joseph Fitch is an avid car enthusiast and experienced home mechanic who loves to share his knowledge and tips with the world.