Tackling your Own Repairs: Losing the Intimidation Factor

Not a day goes by that we don’t receive a message from a customer regarding the “ease” of installation on a particular part.  We hear tales of intimidation and inexperience, which usually end up in triumph.  This got us to thinking…”Does everyone get intimidated when first repairing a vehicle?”  Sure, things can look overwhelming when someone’s experience with a vehicle involves only driving it, but when you pop the hood, does it look like you’re staring into some mechanical abyss?


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So, we started asking our co-workers (no, we’re not ALL mechanics here)…


The response was a resounding “yes”.  Really?  Intimidated?  But, one thing was mentioned in almost every situation of our co-workers telling us about their “first self-repair” – necessity.  I can certainly recall my first auto repair, and it was done due to the fact that I simply couldn’t afford to have someone else do it.  With that, we find the point of this particular blog segment:  overcoming the intimidation.


You’ve Gotta Do What You’ve Gotta Do


While we see America tightening its belt in the face of tough economic times, it should come as no surprise that self-repairs are on the rise.  And don’t get us mistaken here – we have nothing but respect for our ASE certified co-workers, and believe that there are repairs that a professional should almost always handle.  But, sometimes, the finances just aren’t there, which creates the need for shaking the intimidation.


And we get it.  The automobile is a complex network of various mechanical systems, scooting us across town, across the state, heck, across the country.  But, that doesn’t mean that there’s some magical formula for getting a repair done.  In fact, because of the nature of most common auto repairs, it can be as easy as changing a light bulb.  We’re serious…


Start Slow


Taking things slow when first getting going.  Don’t purchase a Haynes manual and tackle a head gasket (though I can say I’ve done just that).  Instead, start with headlight or something of that nature.  Get used to looking at an automotive assembly, assessing the situation, and taking the necessary steps to remedy the issue.  In time, step up to larger jobs until you feel comfortable enough to handle most common repairs.


Diagnosing is the Real Issue


Don’t toss your mechanic’s magnetic calendar in the trash just yet, however!  Diagnosing a problem can be difficult, which is why you’ll want to always have your mechanic tackle the bigger jobs.  And, a word of advice:


Be careful with larger repairs.  If you bring your half-repaired car to your mechanic, he may charge you more for the trouble of UNDOING what you’ve done, AND THEN fixing the problem.


So, the take away from all of this?


Don’t be afraid to dive under the hood.  Take things slow at first, making only minor repairs.  If you gradually increase your experience, you’ll be tacking brake jobs and tune-ups before you know it!


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