If you are like most people, you are always up for ways to save money, and car repair is one of those areas where it costs money every once in a while (yes, even on your Asian import vehicle that is typically super reliable). We don’t blame you if you think to yourself from time to time, “I wish I could just do this myself,” when it comes to vehicle repairs. But should you attempt to be your own car mechanic? Let’s take a quick look and you can decide for yourself.
Qualities you should possess
First of all, let’s look at some of the basic qualities you should possess if you’re going to do your own car repairs.
An independent streak
Let’s face it. You’re definitely branching off the beaten path in pursuing the DIY option for the repairs on your Toyota or Honda (or whatever vehicle you need to fix). That’s ok, an independent streak is part of what makes us Americans. Not everyone can be a follower or a crowd pleaser. If you’re the bold, daring adventurer type, more power to you!
An optimistic outlook
Sometimes fixing a vehicle is like a puzzle. You get stuck, you get frustrated, and you have to figure things out. Sometimes you’ll need sheer optimism to get you through some of the hard parts of your vehicle repair.
Lots of time
This is a big one, and this is precisely what most people don’t have. Would you rather be tinkering with a car repair project in the garage, or spending time with your kids? If car repair isn’t something you do all the time, there will be a learning curve with everything you do, costing you even more time than it would cost your mechanic. Even if you already do know how to do your own repairs, there’s a compelling case for being able to drop off your car at the repair shop and reclaiming that time for yourself.
If you get stuck and frustrated at some point during your repair, you won’t do yourself or your car any favors if you blow up and smash a window or something. If you know you’re the type to fly off the handle when things don’t go according to plan, just don’t get into DIY car mechanics.
A good head for mechanical stuff
There are some people in the world who seem to have a gift for spatial awareness, how things fit together, and how they work, even with minimal (or zero) explanation. We know a guy whose daughter ordered a spinning wheel from New Zealand (she had taken up the hobby of spinning sheep’s wool into yarn). When it arrived in the mail, it was just a pile of wooden pieces with no instructions. He set to work putting it together, picking up one piece after another and saying, “Well, obviously, this goes here, and this must work like this, and here you go.” With no prior experience with spinning wheels, he put it together with no errors. That’s the kind of head for mechanical stuff that we’re talking about. It’ll help when you work on your car. On the other hand, if you aren’t good at this, you’re going to struggle. A lot.
Willingness to fail
When you learn to fix your own car, you’ll invariably run in to scenarios where you complete a repair and your vehicle still doesn’t start, or you break something along the way, or you don’t get your car fixed in time for something you needed to do. Whatever the case, you need to be a person who is resilient in the face of failure and able to dive right back in to tackle the issue until it’s fixed.
Willingness to get dirty
This should go without saying. Have you ever been to a car repair shop and noticed people hands all black with motor oil? Yeah, that’s going to be part of the deal for you, too.
Resources you should possess
In addition to your personal qualities, doing your own vehicle repair will also require you to possess certain resources. Here are a few of the ones that we don’t think you can go without.
Physical strength & energy
You actually do have to be reasonably strong to do many of the tasks related to fixing a car. From loosening stubborn bolts to lifting heavy parts to remaining in an awkward position under a car for prolonged periods of time, you should be strong, fit, and healthy do do car repairs.
A basic knowledge base
If you don’t know how to change your own oil and wouldn’t be able to distinguish the alternator from the carburetor, you are going to have a much more difficult time doing your own repairs. You’re going to take a lot more time to each task, and you’re going to be at risk of inadvertently committing a costly and damaging mistake.
Someone to help you
When you’re a beginner, there’s no substitute for someone who can work with you to give you step-by-step guidance, troubleshooting help, and encouragement along the way. If you’re free-soloing it with YouTube alone, you won’t know what to do when you run into something unexpected. Theoretical knowledge is always different than practical knowledge, and even the best, most thorough tutorials sometimes leave out a step that the instructor thinks is obvious but that might throw you off track.
This can be a big expense, and if you don’t already possess the right tools for your job, it can offset the money you’re saving by doing the car repair yourself.
We hope this article has been helpful. If you go the route of fixing your car yourself, high-five! But if you’re reconsidering, there’s always your friendly Las Vegas foreign repair shop to help you out. We’ll be happy to fix it for you. Stop by and see us today.