Learning to work on your car at home can be a valuable skill for regular people because it can provide several benefits. From cost savings to improve your knowledge about cars in general, there are many things to look forward to if you can spend the time and a bit of money on learning more about your vehicle.
So to help you out, we’ve put together some tips, advice, and a couple of considerations to keep in mind if you plan to start working on your car at home.
What advantages can you expect when you learn to work on your car at home?
Let’s start by covering some of the big reasons why people decide to learn about at-home car repairs and maintenance in the first place. Keep in mind that these benefits may or may not apply to you, and there could be other factors that will convince you to invest some time and money into learning about vehicle repairs and maintenance.
You can save a lot of money by doing the work yourself
One of the big advantages of doing your own car repairs and maintenance is that you could save a lot of money. This is because you don’t need to pay for the services of a skilled mechanic. Instead, all of the work is carried about by yourself.
However, it’s worth mentioning that there is still some investment involved. For example, you’ll have to buy your own tools, which can cost a bit of money. You also need to pay for the parts yourself. While this is a cost that will be covered by your chosen garage or mechanic, buying the parts yourself generally means you’ll be paying extra.
In short, you will certainly save money by doing the work yourself, but you have to keep in mind that it’s a long-term investment.
You’ll be learning new skills and developing a hobby
Another good reason to learn more about your vehicle is that it can eventually develop into a new hobby if you’re serious about it. You’ll be learning new skills every day, you’ll be more knowledgeable about vehicles, and you could even meet locals that share the same interests as you. This is perfect for people that have a love for vehicles and want to get more personal with their vehicles.
However, there is a caveat to this. Like any other hobby, it’s going to eventually cost a lot of money to keep up with your spending habits. Whether it’s buying a new oil catch can kit to improve your engine performance or just replacing your wheels with something a bit cooler, there are loads of fun little projects to try out.
Alternatively, you could take your car maintenance and repair hobby to the next level and even build a vehicle from spare parts and scrap. This is great for people that want to restore classic vehicles or those who love the DIY lifestyle and want a long-term project to work on.
You have more control over your vehicle and its maintenance
Nobody likes the idea of being forced to take their vehicle down to a service center or to a mechanic for repairs and maintenance. While you eventually might have to take your vehicle to a professional, at least you’ll have the convenience of repairing your vehicle in an emergency.
This also means you can customize your vehicle however you want. This is a fantastic benefit for people that are interested in making their car look nicer or even people that like the idea of tuning their engine to squeeze out a bit of extra performance.
How does one start working on their vehicle? Where do you begin?
Working on your vehicle can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be intimidating if you’re not sure where to start. If you’ve never opened up the hood of your car or even read the manual, then it can be incredibly daunting to get started. However, there are a couple of ways for you to get into car and vehicle maintenance without feeling overwhelmed.
Consult your vehicle’s manual as a starting point
Reading about your vehicle is one of the fastest ways to get started with at-home car maintenance and repairs. Your vehicle’s manual contains important information about its repair and maintenance needs. Make sure to read through it and familiarize yourself with the recommended maintenance schedule and procedures.
The manual will also teach you about things like preventative maintenance, which can keep your car running for longer, and how you can perform a regular inspection of your car to ensure that it’s working correctly. This can help to protect your vehicle from further damage, and it also keeps you safer on the road.
Gather the necessary tools to get started
Before you start working on your vehicle, you’ll need to have the right tools for the job. Some basic tools you’ll need include a socket set, wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, and a car jack. You can also look at your vehicle’s manual to see if there are any specialized tools that might be required for specific tasks.
However, these are typically niche things that you won’t need for basic repairs and maintenance. For example, you can purchase BMW-specific toolkits for VANOS timing adjustments. Most people won’t need to adjust these settings, so don’t get fooled into believing that you need to spend a lot of money for manufacturer-specific gear.
Start with basic maintenance tasks that are easier to tackle
If you’re a relatively new car owner and want to get started with working on vehicles, it’s a good idea to start with basic maintenance tasks. This includes simple things like oil changes, air filter replacements, and tire rotations. These tasks are relatively simple and will help you get familiar with your vehicle.
There are plenty of tutorials on how to do this on the internet, and there are even courses you can take for basic training purposes. However, it’s worth mentioning that these will require some tools, so don’t try to attempt these until you’ve bought a good quality car maintenance kit.
Learn from others that have more experience than you
If you have friends or family members who are experienced with working on vehicles, ask if you can help them with their projects or even just watch them. Most car enthusiasts love when others take an interest in their work as long as you’re not getting in the way or asking too many questions. This is a great way to learn new skills and gain confidence, and it also opens the door to someone that can help you with those car-related maintenance tasks.
Start small and work your way up to harder tasks
As you become more comfortable working on your vehicle, you can start taking on more complex projects. However, it’s important that you start small with projects that won’t cause permanent damage to your vehicle if you do something wrong. You should be humble and not try to tackle something that is out of your league, or else you’ll end up paying a heavy fee to fix what you broke. At worst, it could even lead to a car accident if you’re not careful.
When is it better to call a mechanic instead?
While there are certainly benefits to doing your own car repairs and maintenance, it’s also important to consider the potential downsides. Here are a couple of reasons why you might want to stay away from your vehicle and rely on a professional instead.
You probably have a lack of experience and knowledge
Unless you have a background in car repairs and maintenance, you might not have the experience and knowledge necessary to accurately diagnose and fix problems with your car. This can lead to mistakes and potentially cause more damage to your car in the long run, ultimately leading to more expensive repairs in the future or safety concerns when driving.
Working on your vehicle could be dangerous
Working on a car can be dangerous if you’re not familiar with the proper safety procedures. There’s a risk of injury from sharp tools, hot engine parts, and even toxic chemicals. If you aren’t aware of these dangers, then it’s easy to face an injury. Additionally, certain repairs may require you to work underneath your car. This can be extremely dangerous without proper training and the right tools.
Amateur repairs can lead to expensive repairs
If you make a mistake while attempting a repair, you may end up causing more damage to your car. In some cases, the damage you cause could be irreversible without replacing components, and it could even make your vehicle fail to start or run properly. This can be costly to fix and will likely require you to seek the help of a professional mechanic.
Working on your own car is time-consuming
Depending on the complexity of the repair, attempting to fix, upgrade, or maintain your car can take a lot of time. This can be especially challenging if you rely on your car for transportation to work or other important commitments. After all, you don’t want to leave your car half-repaired when you need to drive to work tomorrow!