Aside from driving a vehicle, many vehicle owners or operators also teach themselves how to perform routine checks and car repairs. With the emergence of video tutorials and DIY articles online, most people think it isn’t that hard and believe that they can save more when they do the tasks themselves.
Dents, scratches, windshield cracks are some of the issues many vehicle owners try to tackle themselves. However, the results of such DIY projects can show how wrong their assumptions are.
While they may occasionally turn out okay, most DIY car body work and repairs tend to go wrong. In some cases, the issue becomes worse, causing a more significant expense and a bigger headache on the part of the car owner.
This article tackles the crucial-but-commonly-ignored advice that certified car repair experts offer and the reasons behind their warnings to avoid DIY work on cars.
Don’t DIY Body Work: Here’s Why
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to do certain projects yourself. Be it sewing new clothes or building a view deck for your house, some DIY projects can help you save money, offer a way to learn new skills, or even spark interest in a new hobby.
However, you can’t DIY everything and expect that nothing will go awry. Unless you acquired a certain level of education or training in the task, it is still best to leave car repairs to the experts.
Although getting poor advice on DIY auto body repair is not as life-threatening as misdiagnosing an illness, the former could still yield significant consequences that would have been avoided if you had just brought your car to an auto body shop. These consequences include:
A bad finish
Perfecting bodywork requires a lot of practice. If you only do it occasionally (as with DIY projects), it may not be as good as a professional car repair man’s output – or worse, it might end up with a bad finish.
High costs for buying specialized tools and supplies
Aside from an approved respirator, you’ll require plenty of tools and supplies in order to perform an auto body repair job properly.
Not convinced? Here’s a list of the recommended tools necessary to perform some basic repair jobs:
- Breaker bar
- Lug wrench
- Jack stands
- Service manual
- Wheel chocks
- Torque wrench
- A set of sockets and wrenches
- Adjustable wrench
- Hex bit set
- Socket adapters
- Torque bit
- Oil drain pan
- Brake bleeder
Keep in mind that this long list only comprises the most basic tools needed for the simplest fixes. There are dozens more that you will need when performing more complex and specialized repairs.
Excessive time spent on the work
From the preparation and sanding to the drying of primer and paint, performing body work can take a lot of time. In fact, even a simple rust removal can take several days to finish. Unless you are a trained body work expert yourself, you probably won’t have enough time for such a grueling and time-consuming task.
8 Other Vehicle Repairs Only the Pros Should Handle
Now that you understand the potential consequences of going the DIY route on car body work, here are eight other vehicle repair jobs that only true vehicle repair and maintenance professionals should handle:
While you can do a simple fuse or relay swap, you should steer clear of any other fixes related to the vehicle’s electrical components – no matter how easy they may seem. Remember that electrical systems involve yards of wiring that link sensors, connectors, and computers together. Even a single wrong move can cause a massive problem.
Fuel System Repairs
Handling fuel system repairs without the proper training and practice is the best way to blow up your car while getting third-degree burns in the process. To avoid accidents and unhealthy consequences, you must never do anything related to replacing the tank, fuel pump, rails, injector, or pressurized lines.
If you ever tried peeking at a transmission bell housing, then you know how complicated it can be. In fact, some might even describe it as a maze of tensioners, bearings, gears, and rods.
Even if you overcome the overwhelming complexity of the bell housing, you’ll find that handling its components is more difficult. This is because each part should be fitted exactly where they belong for the entire system to work.
AC Repair and Restoration
Car air conditioning repairs require quite a staggering number of parts, especially when the AC compressor is done for. When this component of the AC system seizes up, there’s a good chance that you’ll find shards of metal in every nook and cranny. If this is the case, it means that every fitting and line, as well as the evaporator, compressor, condenser, and other components, should be replaced.
Aside from being time-consuming and dangerous, you may find that DIY-ing this task can be quite costly and difficult, especially considering that even experts find it daunting to accomplish.
Defective Airbag Replacement
Airbags are used to protect the driver and passenger in case of a collision. Since it ensures safety, it is crucial that you only entrust experts to repair any defective airbags.
Although removing and unplugging all of its components may seem easy, fitting in the new airbag system is a completely different story. Although DIY work may save you some moeny, letting the experts handle this type of repair will give you the peace of mind that your airbags won’t fail in case of an accident.
Mounting or Balancing Tires
Replacing flat tires is a skill that every driver should learn. However, mounting a new tire on its rim and balancing all four of them should still be left to the professionals.
Aside from being a complex job, this is also a sophisticated task that requires special tools to perform properly. Plus, if the tires aren’t rotated regularly, it can lead to uneven wear and, ultimately, premature tire replacement.
Changing the Timing Belt
The timing belt is a crucial part of the engine that may need to be replaced over time. But, like all the other car parts listed in this article, you must never handle the task by yourself.
Hire a professional mechanic to do it for you. This is because the task often involves disassembling half of the entire engine, which means even the slightest mistake can be dangerous and leave you with a massive headache.
When there’s a crack or chip on your windshield, the best solution you can do is to ask a professional’s help. This highly specialized job requires equipment that only auto body repair shops may have access to.
Performing DIY repairs is not uncommon among car owners. However, certain vehicular problems should only be left to the trained hands of professional mechanics. Let this article guide you on which car repair tasks to avoid doing on your own.
Ahmad Ramadan is a Managing Partner at Deutsche Technik Service Center, Dubai’s first and largest VW, Audi, Mercedes, Bentley, Porsche, & Lamborghini vehicle specialist and performance tuner. DT has also built an illustrious portfolio in classic car repair, maintenance, and restoration, as well as body work (accident repair, painting, and denting). DT Service Centre offers a full range of services: mechanical repairs, maintenance, servicing, etc.