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Do’s and Don’ts of DIY Auto Repair


Don’t be at the mercy of an auto repair shop. Doing things yourself feels good and reduces down time. If you’re the kind of person that would rather put in some work yourself, here is a list of do’s and don’ts that can help you get the most out of that weekend car project.

DO: Think before performing car repairs at home

It’s easy to get excited and jump right into the DIY auto repair project and forget to put on your safety glasses or other protective gear. Performing maintenance services can be fun and rewarding but nothing takes the joy out of it like getting a piece of metal stuck in the eye. The old saying of better safe than sorry certainly applies to fixing cars at home in the driveway.

Although safety glasses guard one of the most vulnerable areas of the human body it’s not the only thing that needs protection before beginning the task. Think about using something to protect your hands. This can be a pair of heavy work gloves or a lighter weight disposable nitrile exam style glove like an EMT would wear. Working on an automobile presents many chances to leave lasting memories on the skin and hands. Whether it’s a shaved knuckle when that bolt finally breaks loose or corrosion on top of the battery terminal you can limit the damage by wearing safety gloves.

Thinking about safety doesn’t end with protecting your own personal body parts. You also want to take a close look at the work area and setting up the vehicle before you begin any do-it-yourself repairs. Take a few seconds and throw a set of blocks under the wheels to prevent the vehicle from rolling. If you’re using a floor jack consult the owner’s manual to find the safe jacking points on the automobile. Then before you begin any repairs make sure to deploy Jack stands to support the vehicle in the case of an emergency.

DO: Make sure you have everything you need

A professional auto mechanic knows the quickest way to success is to start and finish the job in one motion. Any distractions or disruption in the workflow will only increase the repair time and also the chances of making a mistake. If you’re working in the driveway and then realize you didn’t get silicone sealer for the thermostat housing this means stopping and a ride to the parts store. When you arrive back at the job site you need to pick up where you left off. This whole scenario leaves an opening for mistakes.

Thinking along the same lines of being prepared, it’s a good idea to review the individual car repair procedure you have planned for the day from start to finish. In some cases you discover the operation is more involved than first thought. You may also discover other automotive components have to be removed to gain access to the target area. These additional steps might include parts and supplies you don’t have on hand. Professional mechanics put a great deal of thought into the repair before they begin. If you apply this technique to DIY car repairs you can enjoy the same success rate as the pros.

DON’T: Avoid these success stealing pitfalls

Avoid skipping steps or taking shortcuts when following detailed step-by-step instructions. If you’re replacing an air-conditioning compressor this often expensive automotive component will come with detailed replacement instructions. Failure to follow these directions can void the warranty of the compressor. When you are doing automobile repairs in the driveway sometimes a step that you don’t have the tools for is next on the list. Now you have reached a fork in the road. You can either skip it and get the job done, or stop and get what you need to do it right.

If you want the best results then Stop the repairs and get the tools needed to complete it properly. These tools can be purchased but they can also be rented or even borrowed at many local automotive parts stores. Following every step in the instructions ensures the warranty for the component will be honored. It also increases the longevity of the operation and pride in you as another job well done.

A little extra thought and planning when you’re fixing cars can go a long way. This rule applies to both experienced and beginner do-it-yourself mechanics. Get what you need to protect yourself for these kinds of projects at home. Read all the instructions before you begin and make sure to have everything on hand before you loosen the first bolt.

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